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7 - 8 May 2015

Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, UK

Can Agile Save a Sinking Ship?

Katie Buffalo Byng

Session type: Tutorial
Session duration: 45 minutes

About this Tutorial

This is a true story. I was there. I've seen things, man. Things you wouldn't believe.

The ad said something like "Agile PM wanted. Exciting, fast-moving project. Must be flexible, technologically sound, able to help the team turn on a dimeā€¦" and I think there was some bumf about wanting nice, smart people.

Let's rewrite that with a bit more honesty:

"We're completely underwater with technical debt. Literally drowning. You'll be working with a team of talented but completely jaded young developers and designers and that team will change on a near monthly basis as they give up and leave, one by one.

"You'll be managing development and maintenance on a bloated set of software, littered with piles of abandoned, half-built functionality and out-of-date integrations. The client is threatening legal action every other day and to be honest, we don't blame him.

"There's no account management - so that will be part of your job on top of everything else. Even though this is a business-critical client, as a company, we're tired of dealing with it, so decisions about resourcing will usually come down from a senior level in favour of clients that don't make us feel like failures.

"We heard a bit about "Agile" and think that it means someone who can perform miracles in an environment with no structure and no hope. We offer a competitive salary, Cycle Scheme, and Flexible working. No recruiters!"

It's one thing to be Agile when everyone is on board and excited to be there, or when there's a new project and a clean slate. What about when things are going as wrong as they possibly can - and have been going wrong for a very long time? Is there anything that Agile can offer in these situations?

In my tutorial, I'll be relating some of the specific situations I faced as a PM trying to integrate agile processes to help lead a disheartened team out of a pretty dire situation. I'll ask questions and lead a discussion of ideas and suggestions that other people might try- or have tried - in similar circumstances. Then I'll share what I did - and explain what worked, what failed and what I learned.

Did I help save the ship from sinking? That's a more complicated question than it might seem at first glance, and a more interesting answer than you might expect."

About the Speaker

I'm a proud Yorkshire-American who's been toiling in the digital mines in some form or other for nearly seven years now. I love Agile but hate buzzwords and BS so it's my mission to cut through all that and keep myself and my colleagues focused on the incredible quality that I know Agile can deliver.

Let's see, what else... I have amazing taste in music, terrible taste in films and I'm addicted to peppermint tea. Leave the bag in, please.

katie_buffalo

Session Types

Need help planning which sessions to attend? We've provided a breakdown of our various session types below.


Case Study/Experience Report

A presentation and discussion of real-life (not theoretical) experiences of the application (or mis-application) of Agile and Lean practices. Case studies and experience reports include some discussion of lessons learned and an indication of how novel the work is.

Hands-On

Participants learn a new approach, tool or technology through using it to solve one or more practical exercises. Any software/hardware requirements are disclosed in the session description.

Tutorial

A session focused around some specific tool, technique or issue. Primarily led by the speaker, tutorials usually include some elements of interactivity or individual / group exercise.

Workshop

An in-depth working session on a specific topic. May include paper presentations.

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