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Agile Lean in Government

Innovation & Government (Keynote)

Keynote: “Innovation & Government:  The Biggest Oxymoron?”
Brian Elms
, Innovation Practice Lead, Change and Innovation Agency

Imagine the possibilities …if government employees were empowered to seek new and innovative ways to provide better and quicker services to citizens and businesses, and all the while make their jobs better. While some may find this impossible – and in some cases even laughable – cities across the country are letting their imaginations run wild and finding that the possibilities that innovative thinking can offer in a government setting are truly endless and worth pursuing.

During this highly engaging and interactive keynote, attendees will hear first-hand from Brian Elms, author of Peak Performance and former director of the Denver Peak Academy – the largest, nationally recognized government innovation program in the country – how he and his team created a culture where government and innovation became synonymous. Under his leadership, employees were tasked with making changes to their own environments and delivering services faster to residents and businesses. As a result of this new-found focus on innovation, Denver reduced the time it takes to get business licenses, license plates, food stamps, and health inspections.

Cities and counties across the country continue to adopt the surprisingly simple, yet highly effective innovation model designed to foster innovative thinking and achieve results that matter most – all without additional money, technology, or people.

Agile Lean in Government (Keynote)

Agile Lean in Government: Where Are We Now?
Steve Mayner
, SAFe Fellow and Principal, Consultant, Scaled Agile, Inc.

Not long ago “Agile” was considered in the halls of government to be a wild-wild-west approach to development that only worked in Silicon Valley. Certainly, these methods could not provide the rigor and oversight needed for developing the high assurance systems commonly built by federal agencies? Over the last three years that picture has changed dramatically. Most government leaders are no longer debating “if” Agile applies in their context, but rather “how” and “where” it can be implemented. In this talk, Dr. Steve Mayner, SAFe Fellow and Principal Consultant at Scaled Agile will provide a “state of the union” survey of the Agile Lean adoption landscape in the U.S. federal government, including the most recent events and trends. The presentation will conclude with a look forward to emerging patterns for Agile, Lean, and DevOps in the public sector in the U.S. and around the world.

Lean Transformation

“Fueling a Lean Transformation: Learning to Move Beyond Training, Tools, and Projects”
Robert Carr
, Director of Business Transformation, Department of General Services, Commonwealth
Beverly Hudson
, Deputy Secretary of Administration, Department of General Services, Commonwealth

Like many organizations, PA’s Department of General Services (DGS) began its lean journey by introducing basic lean principles and tools into its organization. Exposing roughly 30% of its workforce to these tools through about two dozen training events over 18 months resulted in the launch of dozens of improvement projects. DGS could count our number of trained resources and the number of projects initiated, but we succeeded in providing significant added value for customers in only a few cases. In this session, we will share how we have been working to re-energize lean within the agency. We will review briefly our lean history to date, talk about some key lessons learned over the last year as we began to think more deeply about lean, and use a few real world DGS case studies to show how our actions have evolved beyond training, tools, and projects. While we realize that no prescription exists for how to “practice lean,” we want attendees to gain some insight into how they may evolve lean within their own organizations.

ScrumBan for DevOps Teams

ScrumBan for DevOps Teams
Brian Stonesifer
, Director of Client Solutions, Acclaim Systems

A common problem for project teams implementing Scrum is how to handle production support and maintenance requests. For most teams, developers and analyst support upcoming releases as well as production support requests (incidents). How do you plan a time-boxed sprint when your customer cannot plan 2 weeks out in advance; and your team is consumed with urgent requests or production issues routinely? The answer is ScrumBan! ScrumBan (Scrum + KanBan) is an innovative, hybrid framework, which leverages the ceremonies and artifacts of Scrum with the flexibility of KanBan. It provides several operational advantages including a core focus on process improvement and quality, reduced waste with continuous flow of work assigned just-in-time, flexibility to support urgent incidents, and incremental review of changes through system demos. Please join me in exploring my story of how I discovered ScrumBan and the project it helped save! We will cover a real project case study for a government client where sprint planning became nearly impossible. The projects urgent requests caused constant sprint re-planning, poor velocity and inefficient use of team capacity. We will discuss how the team worked with the Product Owner to identify a hybrid agile approach known as ScrumBan.

Auditable Federal DevOps

Holidays & Happy Hour: Unexpected Signals of Auditable Federal DevOps
Melinda Solomon
, Agile Training Lead, United States Citizenship and Immigration
Ken Moser, Senior IT Specialist, United States Citizenship and Immigration

As with most federal agencies, The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must construct OIT processes to comply with regulatory oversight entities. This oversight is necessary to maintain trust between the American public and the public servants creating and maintaining public systems. In an effort to bridge the new DevOps landscape in government with the need for auditability, the Delivery Assurance Branch at USCIS has created a series of Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) to help tie suggested measurements to positive system outcomes. Over the course of three years, the DAB Quality Analysts began to see some surprising signals of system health, team collaboration, and sustainable work environment. As analysts poured over regularly generated health measurements to prove due-diligence to regulatory authorities, they identified note-worthy trends. There were simple and sometimes unusual measurable signals that revealed devops maturity and health. For example, when commits did not occur after “happy hour,” there was a correlation to a healthy work environment and a reliable pipeline in place.

Scaling Agile to Enterprise

Big Agile (Keynote)

Big Agile: It’s Not Just for Small Projects and Startups Anymore
Jesse Fewell
, Agile Author, Speaker, and Coach, Fewell Innovation, Inc.

One of the stereotypes for Agile approaches is that they only work for small projects. However, over the last several years, Agile techniques are being applied to increasingly larger and more complex environments. From the largest telecom in Europe to the largest chip-maker in the world, large organizations are changing the way they do work. But how is this possible? How does self-organization work for a thousand people? How do programs run without plans? How can a massive solution go to market in a matter of weeks? In this illuminating session, we will explore both a common, repeatable approach and case studies from the real world. Come learn both recent trends and actionable tips for growing out of small Agile to big Agile.

Big Agile

Big Agile is Coming, but are Big Technology Leaders Ready?
Jeff Dalton
, Chief Evangelist,

2019 will be the year of Big Agile, where large adopters like General Motors, the Department of Defense, the State of Michigan, Lockheed Martin, and others, who have combined IT budgets exceeding 100 Billion dollars, have all announced their desire to “go agile” at a scale not yet seen in our community. Are technology leaders who cut their teeth in a low-trust, command-and-control, high-documentation environment prepared to make a successful transformation? What will Big Agile look like, and how will it affect the rest of the community? Jeff Dalton thinks this is will be our industry’s biggest challenge, and he’s been studying it for years. As the large adopters in the federal government and corporate sector begin to adopt agile, they’ll bring their habits, culture, and bureaucracies with them, and in dozens of podcasts, articles, books, and keynote speeches Jeff has been talking about getting in front of the wave.

Effective Program Planning

Effective Program Planning is About More Than a Single Event…Why Your PI Planning Session isn’t Eliminating the Chaos
Tyler Spindel
, Program Delivery lead, Capital One

Ahhh, the good-ole PI planning session, the lifeblood of Agile at scale. They always seem to be such a great idea. Most times, the day itself goes very smoothly. But two weeks later, the chaos, confusion, and dependency constraints are back, and no one knows why.

Programs often focus on the day of the PI planning session itself. The key to unifying teams around an objective, however, is continuously planning and adjusting on an iterative basis. The PI session itself is just a ceremony. This talk will help participants figure out the optimal framework for their program planning processes, how to prepare for the PI session (if they need it), and how see things through to the next PI.

First, we will dive into dependency mapping, laying out 4 common models programs operate in based on how teams interact. Once interaction models are understood, we can determine what type of planning events are required and how to help teams follow-through on their commitments. This framework strives to making planning a continuous process that stays agile and molds to a program’s needs, not a single day where teams commit to 3 months work.

Interspersed through the presentation will be real-life examples of planning successes and failures. Emphasis will be placed not on what was done, but how we decided to do it that way, encouraging attendees to think about their own programs and how to adapt the concepts to meet their specific needs.

Descaling Your Organization

Descaling Your Organization
Kumar Dattatreyan, John Maxwell
, Certified Coach, Speaker and Trainer, Xscale Steward NA; ICAgile Learning Expert, Treya Consulting

Scaling is an anti-pattern. Big meetings, long loops, slow cadence, tight coupling, and deep hierarchies represent bottlenecks no matter how Agile an individual team may be. De-scaling refactors your organization into self-managing streams of self-organizing teams working together like pods of dolphins.

How can organizations de-scale? How do we balance the autonomy of teams against alignment to business realities?

In this talk, we’ll explore some of the popular scaling frameworks, as well as XScale’s approach to scaling agile to organizations; Descaling. This talk focuses on the metrics and practice patterns for de-scaling based on a uniquely successful historical precedent, the Iroquois Confederacy, which sustained a de-scaled society of hundreds of thousands for over five centuries. We’ll explore some successful implementations of this model, including Spotify, Apple/Steve Jobs DRI’s, as well as Haier, the world’s largest appliance maker.

Project Management

Project Management ‘Fun’damentals Online

Project Management ‘Fun’damentals Online
Harrisburg University Project Management Faculty

The PM ‘Fun’damentals Online course is a series of short, modular learning videos that give a sharp, visual glance of focused Project Management topics. A fun exploratory experience for those looking to get a 360-degree view of Project Management.

Intro to Agile Scrum Online

Intro to Agile Scrum
Harrisburg University Project Management Faculty

The Intro to Agile Scrum course is a series of short, modular learning videos that give a sharp, visual glance of focused Scrum topics. A fun exploratory experience for those looking to get a 360-degree view of Agile Scrum.

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