Interview with Eric Bowman

Interview with Eric Bowman

Q. Could you briefly introduce yourself? I’m Eric Bowman, VP Digital Foundation at Zalando in Berlin. I was Zalando’s first VP Engineering, and lead the growth of the tech team from about 300 engineers to over a thousand. During that time we introduced Radical Agility in 2015 to help unlock our tech teams, which seemed to get slower the more people we hired. Since then we’ve continued to grow the business and the tech teams, and now I am focused on large-scale enablement through technology and organization across Zalando Group. Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? I’m talking about autonomy, since lots of people see autonomous teams as one of the keys to unlocking rapid product development, but there are a lot of potential problems depending on how you do that. I’m going to talk about how we did it, all the good and bad things that resulted, and how we pivoted our approach while keeping our aspirations intact to overcome some of the early problems, and unlock some secrets for scaling a modern organization. Q: What do you think could be the main gain for participants in your session? There’s a lot of good advice to help avoid common problems as you try to unlock parallelism through autonomy in an organization. We’re a bit opinionated in what we think works, now, and I think some people will resonate with those opinions, and others may disagree. Either way I’m expecting a spirited conversation. Q: Can you give some advice to teams/organisations that are transitioning to agile? Agility should be the goal, not agile. It...
Interview with Hendrik Esser

Interview with Hendrik Esser

Could you briefly introduce yourself? I am Henrik Esser and I am working as Manager for Special Project at Ericsson. I have more than 20 years of leadership experience in product development, leading small (20 people) to very large (>7000 people) organizations. I am one of the drivers of Ericsson’s enterprise transition. Outside the company I also work as voluntary program director for the Agile Alliance’s Supporting Agile Adoption initiative and I am a frequent speaker at international conferences and company events.   Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? I will talk about experiences with the agile transformation at Ericsson. The company is very large and I have seen a lot of things over the years. Working for the Agile Alliance I have met a lot of people from other companies and I see many having similar challenges. So I want to share what we have found: what worked for us, how we approached a successful transformation and also what problems we faced and how we coped with them.   Q: What do you think could be the main gain for participants in your session? Participants will hear about experiences I made myself working in a large transformation over more than 10 years. So they will get a realistic and unfiltered view on how a transformation can be approached and how it can be kept “on track”. I will especially share how we managed to not only spread agile practices, but also an agile mindset – maybe one of the biggest issues in many enterprises.   Q: Can you give some advice to teams/organisations...
Interview with Xavier Albaladejo

Interview with Xavier Albaladejo

Could you briefly introduce yourself? I work in organizational transformation, change strategy and cultural change, in order to help companies to be simpler, customer centric, more flexible and enjoyable. I coordinate a Master in Agile, I write in a couple of blogs (on Agile and Transformation) and I was co-founder of Agile Spain and Agile Barcelona. I also enjoy hiking, sci-fi and playing the bass guitar.   Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? My talk will be about the “compulsory” organizational re-factoring needed in order to be more Agile. It has a lot of wins but, as any organizational design, it also has flaws and typical issues you should expect (e.g. silo effect in teams, not ready technology base, how to deal with middle management). So, this talk will give some options for dealing with these situations before they get tough.   Q: What do you think could be the main gain for participants in your session? I will also talk on the non-sense of the “corporate transformation” concept and what to do if you are in this situation.   Q: Can you give some advice to teams/organisations that are transitioning to agile? Focus on simplicity and make their people think as if they were “owners” of the company in order to make decisions. For this to be a success, work on growing their skills and give them the needed information to develop the best possible decisions.   Q: How do you see the evolution of agile in the future? I think there is a need to go to the basics of the Agile...
Interview with Gwen Diagram

Interview with Gwen Diagram

Q. Could you briefly introduce yourself? My name is Gwen Diagram, I’m a Principal Test Engineer at Sky in Leeds, UK.  I’m one of the co-organisers of the Leeds Testing Atelier, a free, twice yearly punk rock testing conference.  I’ve spoken all over Europe and I absolutely adore going to new conferences and meeting new people to talk about Agile with.  I spend a lot of my time working on the Test Atelier, writing talks or helping with other meet ups such as Agile Yorkshire.  I’m currently working on changing the culture in my workplace by holding workshops on testing, pairing and generally trying to get people talking to each other.  I believe with engaged teams you build quality software – and so I’m trying to engage the teams! Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? I’m speaking about how one of my old teams in Leeds inherited a project with fragmented, abandoned automation around it.  The automation used so many different frameworks that people couldn’t really run it – and it wasn’t running on any build servers.  From this, we built an automation framework covering multiple testing layers to improve confidence in releasing (and saved us a bunch of time!) We also had to convince the higher ups this was a good thing so I speak about how to sell your ideas to hard to please people. Q: What do you think could be the main gain for participants in your session? Ideas on how to build an automation framework that will get the entire team involved – not just testers.  How to get...
Interview with Alison Coward

Interview with Alison Coward

Q. Could you briefly introduce yourself?  Alison Coward, founder of Bracket, and author of A Pocket Guide to Effective Workshops. Bracket is a consultancy that helps creative and digital teams work better together. I’m a workshop facilitator and I’ve been working in and leading creative teams for more than 15 years. I’m passionate about finding the perfect balance between creativity and productivity, helping teams to use the best of their talents to develop great ideas and make them happen. I’ve worked with clients across many sectors from Fortune 500 companies to startups. Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? Designing a high-performing team We all need to work in teams to solve complex problems, innovate and create great products. Yet effective collaboration remains a challenge for many. How can we make the most of the collective expertise in a team, whilst ensuring that each person can work in a way that enables them to do their best work? In this talk Alison will share her insights on characteristics of high-performing teams, principles for designing an effective team culture and how to create good team habits that stick.   Q: What do you think could be the main gain for participants in your session? Starting to think more intentionally about how to create the environment for everyone in their team to do their best work together. There will be practical tips as well as broader ideas to get them thinking differently about how they approach teamwork. Q: Can you give some advice to teams/organisations that are transitioning to agile?  I’m not an agile expert ?   Q: You have given...
Interview with Dave Snowden

Interview with Dave Snowden

Q. Could you briefly introduce yourself? Dave Snowden – I’m CSO of Cognitive Edge and Director of the Cynefin Centre.   Cognitive Edge is a commercial company building methods and training as well as the SenseMaker® product range.  The Cynefin Centre is an R&D base focused on Government and NGO programmes Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? I’ll be talking about Complexity and uncertainty and how to navigate it.  That will include the latest version of my Cynefin framework and ideas on ‘pre-scrum’ techniques within Agile and non-linear approaches to design thinking Q: What do you think could be the main gain for participants in your session? Ways to reduce the risk on projects. and understanding that uncertainty is often a good thin and should be navigated not eliminated.  New methods and techniques Q: Can you give some advice to teams/organisations that are transitioning to agile? Do it in small stages building on your current strenghts – think transition not transformation.  Avoid the big scaling frameworks at all costs, don’t abandon non-Agile methods they still have a role Q: How do you see the evolution of agile in the future? Increasing commodification so we need to think hard about how we restore some of the original vision before its toolate. Q: You have given many interviews/presentations about agile. Is there a question you wish to have been asked but no one ever asked you? Absolutely, I’m still waiting for...