Presentations and Courses

Here are a few presentations and courses that I keep up to date and that seem to be popular. Along with the abstracts, I've listed some of the dates and locations for those I can remember.

Agile Immersion: a Hands-on Workshop - 1 day

In this fun and engaging hands-on workshop, participants experience agile first hand. We form into small teams and build working software with real time-boxed iterations. The attendees learn story creation, release planning, estimating, sprint 0, iteration planning, standups, burndown charts, demos, retrospectives, and velocity. A light-weight IDE is provided. No programming skills are required. Two or three computers per team are required: Linux, Windows and Mac OS X are all fine.


Agile Boot Camp - 2 days

In this course I teach the whole team how to run an agile project. More importantly, I get the team to begin to think agile. The course covers Scrum and eXtreme Programming and Lean and Kanban if time and priorities permit. Also covers management of knowledge workers, agile engineering, the origin of agile, effective teams, conflict and more.

  • For clients in 2014
  • For a client in May 2012
  • For a client in late 2011
  • For a client in early 2011 as a 1 day course
  • For a client 5 times in 2010 as a 1 day course
  • For a client in 2010

Agile Readiness Assessment - a couple hours over the course of a couple days

Evaluate your organization or team's agility. Discover the group's strengths and areas for improvement. Create a baseline measurement against which you can compare yourself in the future. This is minimally a coach led self-assessment. We can also validate the results through observations, interviews, and hand's-on involvement.

  • Since 2010

How to Energize People - 2 hours

Creativity is an important aspect of successful software product development and IT projects. Creativity is subject to the mood of the team -- it doesn't exactly ooze from a team that is demoralized. But how do you motivate creative types? It seems that it's as easier to demotivate knowledge workers than it is to motivate them. Or is it? Programmers, testers, analysts and product managers can be motivated if you just take care. Know what motivates teams in general, find out what motivates each individual, be observant, and use a couple simple "tools". This talk covers these concepts and includes thoughts from Jurgen Appelo's Management 3.0, W Edwards Deming, and Dan Pink's Drive.


Motivation - Exercises from Management 3.0 - 1 to 2 hours

Building on my Energizing People talk, this workshop briefly introduces the superiority of taking advantage of intrinsic motivation over attempting to use extrinsic motivation, then leads the participants through a couple exercises from Jurgen Appelo's Management 3.0. These exercises are great for leaders to use as a tool to better understand the people in their team. They are also useful to help people understand themselves. The majority of the time in this workshop is spent with the activities and on self-reflection. Each person gets a chance to play each role in the exercise. Includes debrief and group discussion.


Introduction to Kanban for Software Development - 2 hours

Learn what Kanban is, what it isn't, and how to apply it to an IT or software development project. Kanban focuses on the flow of work through a system. It's a useful tool to visualize the work and the problems that impact flow. It supports evolutionary process improvement and helps control the amount of work in process. Being less prescriptive than many SW Dev methods, it can be used more naturally, that is without shocking the system as it is being adopted. This will be an informal and interactive session with lots of time for Q&A. Time permitting, we'll touch on pull systems, metrics, value stream mapping, the Theory of Constraints and the Scientific Method.


Personal Kanban - half hour

An introduction to Personal Kanban.


Exploring the benefits of work in process limits - 40 to 90 minutes

How many projects does your organization have in flight? How many different things do your people work on each day? Too few? Too many? Do you wish your projects would move more quickly?

This session is a fun exercise that demonstrates the power of limiting work in process, an important lean concept. The exercise is followed by a debrief and discussion. The exercise and debrief takes about an hour, though it can be compressed to 40 minutes or expanded to 90 with an additional discussion on implementing WIP Limits in kanban.

If you think you've done this exercise before, you probably haven't. This doesn't involve pennies, or airplanes, or balloons. I'm not going to be any more specific than that in order to avoid spoiling the exercise.


Exploring Specification By Example

Specification By Example is a collaborative approach to software development meant to influence the way you think about your user stories, to surface assumptions, such that the whole team working together reduces ambiguity and gains clarity. Sometimes called Behavior Driven Development (BDD) or Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD), but with few similarities to Test Driven Development (TDD), ATDD's true focus and benefit is often misunderstood or missed altogether. In this workshop, we'll discuss the ATDD cycle, the roles of the product owner, business analyst, product manager, tester, and developer. We will also work through an example Specification Workshop. Finally, we'll discuss the relationship of Specification By Example to testing and how it helps or affects the job of Quality Engineering. This will be more of a discussion and workshop than a presentation.


Exploring the Engineering Practices Necessary for Scrum - 2 hours

Scrum has been criticized for being incomplete, for not addressing the whole of a development project. And many teams adopt Scrum without thinking about the technical side of agile delivery. We should explore this topic so everyone has awareness of what's coming. This talk explores the set of engineering practices that you should use if you are using Scrum.

See the related blog post.


Code Retreat - 1 day

Give your team a day to improve their skills away from the day to day deadline pressure. Under pressure, programmers do not program at their peak. Nor do they improve their peak.

A Code Retreat is designed to help programmers do just that -- improve their peak performance so that when schedule pressure comes along their code quality doesn't drop as far as it did before.

Programmers will experience Test Driven Development and pair-programming in a day of focused practice on software craftsmanship.

  • In 2012 for a client

TDD and Coding Katas - 2 hours

Gain an understanding of Test Driven Development and Coding Katas via a demonstration.


Agile Quick Start - 2 to 5 hours

I've presented Agile, Scrum, Refactoring, Unit Testing, Story Writing and Estimating multiple times in multiple forms (lecture, discussion, participative exercises, workshops) with the objective of getting the audience up to speed quickly on these topics. When presenting this in the university setting, my goal is to enable the students to use an agile approach with their senior projects.

  • multiple times at Southern Polytechnic State University from 2010 through 2012
  • multiple times at Georgia State University between 2000 and 2010
  • a few times at Agile Atlanta between 2000 and 2009