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 Marcus Hammarberg

Interview with Marcus Hammarberg

Q. Could you briefly introduce yourself? I’m Marcus Hammarberg, a software developer that got interested in how to work effectively together about 2004. This led me to examine and learn from agile, Kanban and lean to find better and better ways. Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? My talk is about how we use kanban and lean to save a hospital in Indonesia from ruin (physically and financially). It’s a roller coaster of a story that shows the power of the principles we are using in IT and how they can be applied outside our normal sphere. Q: What do you think could be the main gain for participants in your session? Inspiration and deeper understanding of what the principles behind lean and agile. At least they was what I got during the adventures there. Q: Can you give some advice to teams/organisations that are transitioning to agile? Start by finding The one metric that matters and that the whole organization can rally behind. Make that visual and in-your-face-present for everyone in the org. Start doing fewer things at the same time. Q: How do you see the evolution of agile in the future? For starters I think that term Agile soon will grow out of fashion. We will talk about flow or value driven development instead. 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? Can you sign my arm? Seriously – any question that was not asked because it was deemed “too stupid” is waste. There are...
Interview with Richard Mironov

Interview with Richard Mironov

Q. Could you briefly introduce yourself? 30 year product management veteran of Silicon Valley software companies, including 6 startups.  I coach product leaders at commercial software companies, and sometimes parachute into companies as interim/temporary Head of Product. Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? Critical need for product managers/product owners to directly validate their problem statements and requirements.  Everywhere I go worldwide, I see teams building products or features that fail in the marketplace, because they didn’t do enough direct interviewing/validation/analysis with actual end users — before starting the development cycle.  Huge waste as teams try to dig out of poor assumptions and bad information from proxies. Q: What do you think could be the main gain for participants in your session? Separate productivity improvements of agile (build things well, often faster) from lean validation/customer discovery work (deeply understand user/customer needs, then build the right thing).  Most agile discussions assume (incorrectly) that we are building the right things, with the right priorities, and have a plan to measure outcomes. Q: Can you give some advice to teams/organisations that are transitioning to agile? Keep a focus on real end user value (do they use our products? how do they measure value?  how do we know we are building the right things?) as well as process improvements (quality, velocity, estimation, retrospectives). Q: How do you see the evolution of agile in the future? Every team I meet (anywhere in the world) tells me that they are “agile.”  On inspection, this is usually just a standup or Jira backlog or release cadence… missing all of the goodness of...