XP 2021 Keynote Speakers

June 14-18, 2021


Session Keynote Speakers


Steve McConnell
Author, Speaker, CEO of Construx

20 Years is Enough! It’s Time to Update the Agile Principles and Values

Agile originated, in part, as a reaction to twentieth century bureaucratic excesses. The Agile principles and values were created when Agile was in its infancy; they were more aspiration-based than experience based at that time. Twenty years later, the Agile principles and values remain unchanged, despite the fact that we now have thousands of times as much experience implementing Agile practices as we did in 2001. It’s time to apply Inspect and Adapt to the Agile principles and values themselves, and bring them fully into the twenty-first century.

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Steve McConnell has been recognized as one of the world’s leading software development experts for more than two decades. In 1998, readers of Software Development magazine named Steve one of the three most influential people in the software industry, along with Bill Gates and Linus Torvalds. In 2019, the Forbes Technology Council named his book, Code Complete, “the single best cornerstone book on good software development.” Steve has been quoted in The Economist, The New York Times, The Guardian, and other major publications. His most recent book is More Effective Agile: A Roadmap for Software Leaders.


Emilia Mendes
Professor of Computer Science, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden

A Discourse on the Union of Sustainability and Agile Software Development

In this talk I’ll introduce social sustainability and discuss some ways in which it could be more deeply embraced in Agile Software Development. I’ll also share suggestions on how existing research on product development in the engineering and manufacturing areas focusing upon social and environmental sustainability, can inform software and software-intensive product development. Finally, I’ll end my talk with a teaser to the ASD community.

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Emilia Mendes is a Full Professor at the Computer Science Department at the Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden). She obtained her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Southampton (UK) in 1999. To date she has published more than 230 fully refereed publications, including 58 fully refereed journal papers, and three books (one edited and two as sole author).

The core of her research is applied and falls mostly within Empirical Software Engineering, and relating specifically to: i) the use of statistical and machine learning techniques for prediction in a number of areas such as value-based decision making, software development effort, productivity, software quality, and team climate in Agile software development; ii) social sustainability and agile software development; iii) human factors in sustainability maturity assessment; iv) Methodological aspects in Software Engineering relating to Systematic Literature Reviews; v) Best strategies for Agile team formation (aiming at higher productivity, quality and climate); vi) human factors in Software Engineering; and vii) use of Grounded theory to understand industrial practices.

Currently she is editorial board member of Information and Software Technology. Former editorial board member of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, the Software Quality Journal, and Empirical Software Engineering Journal. Finally, in 2019 she has been ranked amongst the top 2% best scientists in the world, based upon citations to her career.

Workshop Keynote Speakers


Gunther Ruhe

Industrial Research Chair in Software Engineering, University of Calgary

The Return-of-Investment Perspective on Machine Learning in Software-Intensive Business

Machine Learning (ML) is widely used for different purposes of Software Engineering. ML has the potential to improve efficiency and effectiveness. However, ML is not a silver bullet but needs proper problem and solution approach adjustment. To make proper decisions on that (how much is enough?), we apply the perspective of Return-on-Investment (ROI). We model ROI analysis of ML in general and instantiate the process in the context of software requirements dependency extraction. For OSS data sets, we analyze decision-making on requirements dependency extraction when (i) exclusively based on accuracy with (ii) doing ROI analysis. As a result, we propose recommendations for the context and degree of usage of ML.

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Guenther holds an Industrial Research Chair in Software Engineering at The University of Calgary. This is a joint position between the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Software Engineering. He won various awards, such as the Alberta iCORE (Informatics Center of Research Excellence) award, an IBM research award, and a Microsoft Research Software Engineering Innovation award 2012. Ruhe was in chairing positions for various conferences such as ESEM, RE, SEKE, and SSBSE. Since 2016, he serves as the Editor in Chief of the Information and Software Technology journal, published by Elsevier. His main research interests are in the areas of Product Release Planning, Software Project Management, Decision Support, Open Innovation, Data Analytics, Empirical Software Engineering, as well as Search-based Software Engineering. He is a Senior member of the IEEE and a member of the ACM. Dr. Ruhe is the Founder and CEO of Expert Decisions Inc., a University of Calgary spin-off company created in 2003.


Joseph (Joe) Yoder

CEO and Founder, The Refectory

Evolving Monoliths to Microservices

Many Microservices architectures start from the evolution of a Monolith system by gradually applying the microservices architectural style. There are considerations and principles that assist with successfully evolving from a monolith to Microservices. Deciding what to decouple along with when and how to incrementally evolve a system are the main architectural challenges in this process. There are good principles that help with this evolutionary process. For example, it is important to commit to “stop adding to the monolith” – all new code is added as microservices. The new features are microservices, occasionally replacing part of the monolith. Also, there might be important pieces of the monolith that are getting hard to maintain and you want to pull these out. When this happens, you find design seams within the monolith, which can be refactored out to components that can ultimately be replaced with microservices. This is the core of the “Strangler Pattern”. Beyond the strangling of a monolith, there are other considerations for organizations that make the strategic move to microservices, such as operational readiness and technical skills. Early on, it is ok to create macro services first and then evolve (refactor) them to microservices. Also, when writing new microservices code, it is important to avoid dependencies to the monolith. This talk will examine various scenarios when evolving from the monolith to microservices specifically with variations of the Strangler Pattern.

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Joseph (Joe) Yoder (agilist, computer scientist, speaker, and pattern author) is the founder and principal of The Refactory (www.refactory.com), a company focused on software architecture, design, implementation, consulting, and mentoring on all facets of software development. Joe is also the president of The Hillside Group, a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life of everyone who uses, builds, and encounters software systems. Joe has presented many tutorials and talks, arranged workshops, given keynotes, and helped organize leading international agile and technical conferences. He is best known as an author of the Big Ball of Mud pattern, which illuminates many fallacies in software architecture. Joe teaches and mentors developers on Agile and lean practices, architecture, building flexible systems, clean design, patterns, refactoring, and testing. Recently Joe has been working with organizations and thought leaders on the best practices for including quality aspects throughout the complete software life-cycle. Joe was recently a co-author of “A Scrum Book: The Spirit of the Game” which includes 96 patterns for getting the most out of Scrum. Currently he is working on a book for Cloud Adoption Patterns with some colleagues. Joe thinks software is still too hard to change and wants to do something about this. He believes using good practices (patterns), putting the ability to change software into the hands of the people with the knowledge to change it, and bringing the business side closer to the development process helps solve this problem.


Paulo Merson

Developer at the Brazilian
Federal Court of Accounts

Evolving Monoliths to Microservices

Gradually moving functionality out of a monolithic application to microservices has become known as “strangling the monolith”. The journey for organizations to evolve monoliths into microservices requires a good grasp of technology and architecture, but also requires strategies for smooth, low-risk adaptation of team structures, processes, and infrastructure. In this talk we will discuss some of these strategies, which we have observed in the wild and described as patterns in a recent paper. These patterns include “Pave the Road”, “Macro then Micro”, “Microservices First”, and “Proxy Monolith Components to Microservices”. They can be combined in sequences to help organizations to achieve the agility and flexibility of microservices.

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Paulo Merson has been programming in the small and programming in the large for over 30 years. He is a developer at the Brazilian Federal Court of Accounts (TCU). He is also a Visiting Scientist with the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), adjunct faculty in the Masters of Software Engineering program at Carnegie Mellon University, and a faculty member of the master program in Applied Computing at University of Brasilia. Paulo often delivers professional training to fellow developers in the US, Latin America, and Europe. His speaking experience also includes tutorials at DDD Europe, OOP, JavaOne, SPLASH/OOPSLA, SD Best Practices, SATURN, Dr. Dobb’s Architecture & Design World, lectures to graduate students in different universities, and invited talks at different companies. He is co-author of Documenting Software Architectures: Views and Beyond, 2nd edition. Paulo holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from University of Brasilia and a Master of Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.


Sam Newman

Author and Consultant
Sam Newman and Associates Limited

Rip It Up And Start Again

Much of the attention for microservice architectures tends to focus on the technical aspects. But when you look into the details of organisations that have benefited from this approach you realise that there is more to getting the most out of microservices than lots of shinny new technology.

In this talk, I show how organisational structures and team responsibilities may need to change if you want to get the most out of adopting a microservice architecture. Looking at traditional IT structures and comparing them with the modern autonomous delivery teams, he’ll explore how to get the organisation and architecture working well together. From Conway’s law to Dunbar’s number, stream-aligned to two pizza teams, you’ll see how you can start to apply these ideas inside your own company.

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After spending time at multiple startups and 12 years at ThoughtWorks, Sam Newman is now an independent consultant. Specializing in microservices, cloud, and continuous delivery, Sam helps clients deliver software faster and more reliably through training and consulting. An experienced speaker, Sam has given talks at conferences across the world and is the author of Monolith to Microservices, and the forthcoming Building Microservices, 2nd edition, both from O’Reilly.


Henry Edison

Assistant professor at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, SDU, Denmark

Comparing Methods for Large-Scale Agile Software Development: A Systematic Literature Review

Workshop Description: Large-scale projects are challenging because several teams need to work closely together to release a single software project. This workshop addresses research challenges in large-scale agile development. The workshop explores a full range of issues around how organizations, teams, and individuals handle large-scale Agile work. For some, large-scale Agile implies the specialist cultures that have been developed, refined, and evolved, such as the ethos of the popular music streaming service Spotify. In others, large-scale Agile frameworks such as SAFe or LeSS have been employed. While multiple or hybrid methods are necessary for some, such as in the offshore outsourcing sector.

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Henry Edison is an assistant professor of software engineering at the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute at the University of Southern Denmark. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy in 2017. His main research are within the empirical software engineering in the areas of software product innovation, software startups and agility, and human factors in software engineering. His research examines current and future practices and trends of software development processes and tailor them to suit different contexts from startup and emerging to large and established organisations. He actively publishes in software engineering venues including IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Journal of Systems and Software, Information and Software Technology, etc. He is also active in serving various software engineering conferences and workshops. In 2018, he was awarded a two-year grant of Marie Curie Fellowship COFUND programme at Lero, NUI Galway, Ireland. The programme was co-funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme and the Science Foundation Ireland through Lero.


Alex Haxby

Director of Competa

Enterprise Agile Development during the Pandemic

Workshop Description: Large-scale projects are challenging because several teams need to work closely together to release a single software project. This workshop addresses research challenges in large-scale agile development. The workshop explores a full range of issues around how organizations, teams, and individuals handle large-scale Agile work. For some, large-scale Agile implies the specialist cultures that have been developed, refined, and evolved, such as the ethos of the popular music streaming service Spotify. In others, large-scale Agile frameworks such as SAFe or LeSS have been employed. While multiple or hybrid methods are necessary for some, such as in the offshore outsourcing sector.

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Alex Haxby is the director of Dutch software services company Competa IT and founder of the Fair Trade Software Foundation. His research interests include the application of Agile and ICT as tools for economic development.