The Reluctant Agilist

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Recent Posts

Descaling the Enterprise w/ James Gifford

Jurgen Appelo - Agility Scales

Head First Agile with Andrew Stellman and Jenny Greene

Making Agile Work at HUGE Inc. w/ Lance Hammond and Robert Sfeir

Reframing Technical Debt as Technical Health - with Declan Whelan

The Reluctant Agilist’s Picks for Agile 2015

Categories: agile2015 agile 2015

Agile 2015 is just days away. There are lots of options to choose from… too many in fact. When I asked Dhaval Panchal what guidance he had for new comers to the conference, his advice was that you just have to accept that whatever the very best session of the conference is, you’re gonna miss it.

The week is jam-packed with awesome, but it is long and you have to pace yourself.

Also remember to sneak out and take naps every once and awhile

And “drink water like it’s your job”.

I will be at the conference doing video podcast interviews for the Agile Alliance all week and may not be able to leave the desk to attend any sessions. If you'd like updates on the podcasts as they get posted, please follow @Mrsungo.

Even though I can't hit the sessions, I've gone through the entire schedule and picked out some of the sessions I would attend if I could. In case you are in need of some ideas for your schedule… I humbly offer these recommendations. (I am not saying the ones I didn't pick aren't also awesome, these are just the ones I'd be going to if I were free.)

I have not included links to the sessions below but I did set them all up in my Agile 2015 schedule, so if you’d like to see the descriptions for each session you can find them all here:


  • Awesome Superproblems - Luke Hohmann is going to be kicking off the conference and talking about the Every Voice Engaged Foundation. This will set the tone for the days to come.
  • Stalwarts with Ron Jeffries and Chet Hendrickson - anytime you have a chance to see the Ron and Chet show, get there early and sit up front. They are sharp in mind and like ninjas with the delivery.
  • Scaling Agile Projects to Programs - Johanna Rothman - I’m looking forward to hearing her new ideas about how to cope with the portfolio level in Agile.
  • While the coach in me wants to attend Lyssa Adkins talk on Mentoring vs. Coaching,  the PM numbers geek in my head REALLY wants to go watch Larry Maccherone present How Long Will It Take? Probabilistic Forecasting for Math Mortals
  • Product Owner Teams  - Sometimes telling the PO to understand and prioritize everything on their own is not a viable solution. Dean Stevens will explain how Product Owner Teams can remedy this situation.


  • Visioning - the Practical Art and Artful Practice of Conceiving Complex Products - Because Al Goerner is one of the smartest people I have ever met and his presentations rock.
  • Three Things You Must Know to Transform Any Sized Organization into an Agile Enterprise - So, full disclosure, I work with Mike Cottmeyer, but the ideas he is presenting in this talk are a big part of why I was so psyched to take the job. If you are struggling with your Agile implementation, Mike will explain the fundamental building blocks to making it work.
  • Reinventing Organizations by Olaf Lewitz and Michael Sahota. I always come away richer from every interaction I have with Michael and Olaf. Their ideas challenge me and take me to a place where I end up asking questions and learning things I would have never found on my own.
  • A Quantum Physicist and and Agile Executive Walk Into a Bar - because A) Jean Tabaka and B) Frigging awesome title
  • Stalwarts: Craig Larman and Bas Vodde - I’d go to this because I’m curious to learn more about LeSS and also because Bas is another one of those people I have great respect for and who’s ideas always challenge me


  • Individuals, Interaction and Improvisation by Jesse Shternshus - Improv makes me very uncomfortable… which makes it important for me to explore.
  • Stalwarts with Jim Benson - Jim's ideas have had a major impact on my approach to work and I’m a bit of a fanboy. I will probably sneak out of the podcast booth for this one.
  • Agile Jesters, Magicians and Clowns - Adam Wesibart is full of great ideas, he’s a brilliant presenter AND he’ll be using his new AdLibs in the session. (Think MadLibs but for Agile Retrospectives.)
  • Unlearning by Simon Bennett - In the same way that I always want to attend sessions where I know I’ll be challenged at the conference, I also try to spend time talking with the people who make the insides of by brain bleed a little bit… Simon is one of them. Go and Unlearn something.


  • Swarming, the Birds, the Bees and Agile - Dhaval Panchal and Tom Perry - I have heard great things about this talk and these guys are always very solid presenters.

Now, I have a dilemma with the 2nd spot on Thursday because there are 5 sessions I feel like I would need/want to attend: 

  • Elements for True Collaboration - Maria Matarelli and Nic Sementa
  • Risk - the Final (Enterprise) Agile Frontier - Troy Magennis
  • Outcome Driven Organizations - Skip Angel and Richard Watt
  • Organizing for Innovation - David Bland
  • Agile @ OPM - Richard Cheng and Bridget Dongarra

And after that...

  • Be Brave - Try and Experiment - Linda Rising


  • Agile Hiring - Johanna Rothman is one of those people who I will always go see no matter what the topic. I always come away smarter and feeling like the time was well spent.
  • Want Better Collaboration? Don’t be so Defensive by Jim Tamm. I have been studying up on Jim's work and I am really psyched for the closing keynote. I hope I will be able to sneak out in time to attend.
Posted on: July 29, 2015 11:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. "

- Thomas Jefferson