8 – 10 May 2019

thestudio, Manchester

Session type:

Session duration:
90 minutes

Presented by:

Simon Girvan

UK Government

Chris Knowles

UK Government

About this Workshop

Starting a new agile project can be a daunting prospect. By their nature, there is lots of uncertainty and lots of choices for the team to make. You may have a rough idea of what you need to do, but does everyone have the same rough idea? And do you have enough information to actually get started?

After happening upon a treasure chest in the Agile ocean some years ago, the contents revealed bountiful goodness that will help any Agile team resolve these issues. Join Jolly Rotten Richard and Scurvy Simon aboard the ghostly Black Sprint for this voyage into the Promised Agile Land. Expect much pirate talk and no mutiny at all (and don’t worry – no Sea Shanties will be sung during this workshop)

We will share the secrets of the Inception Deck, and show how, when used at any time in a project’s life (but especially at the start), they can help ensure everyone is agreed on what the project aims to do and explore project options, risks and stakeholders.

Using a combination of practical exercises and worked examples, we will walk participants through an Inception Deck, showing where it adds value and emphasising how it supports an iterative and incremental approach, and a ‘Just Enough, Just in Time’ mindset.

Where the Inception Deck is mainly a pre-project activity, once the crew is assembled, Project Lift-Off or Agile Chartering can help ensure that they set sail with as much harmony (and as little mutiny) as possible.

Using our Inception Deck project as an example, we will then explore some Lift-Off techniques that can help get a new team set sail in the right direction or realign an existing crew while also showing how they can continue to use the Inception Deck through the project’s life.

We aim to give you tools, tips and techniques that will help you back in the office with your own Pirate Crew. This is suited for all levels, whether you are a fresh faced shipmate or a windswept Sea Captain.

Come join our crew. Yahhhaaaaaar!

Some of the techniques and tools in this workshop have been adapted or inspired by the Inception Deck (The Agile Samurai by Jonathan Rasmussan) and Lift-Off by Diana Larsen and Ainsley Nies.

About the Speakers

Simon Girvan

Simon has worked in and around agile projects for the past 15 years or so, predominantly in the public sector. Recently, as technical director and lead agile coach for a new software development business unit, he led the recruitment of and established agile practices for almost 150 software engineers at all levels of experience.

In this role, he applied agile techniques to the business processes and model, and introduced tailored techniques and processes such as the Inception Deck to the agile teams he led.

He has lots of certification badges like CSM, A-CSM, CSP-SM, lean kanban and is even LeSS and SAFe certified (though doesn’t like to talk about it), and a fellow of the BCS and the IET. He is currently working towards achieving certified team coach with the Scrum Alliance, and combines agile coaching with providing technical direction for public sector software teams.


Chris Knowles

Chris began his career as a software engineer in the private sector then moving into UK Government. Chris spent 10 years developing code generation, HR and financial products, and telecommunications systems. However, Chris has always preferred people to programs and performance management of engineers is an area of particular interest.

More recently while working as a solution architect Chris found himself spending more and more of his time, coaching the performance of teams of engineers on software and Agile methods. This has led him to a career as a Scrum Master and on a learning journey towards becoming an Certified Team Coach with the Scrum Alliance.

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Software Acumen Limited | Registered in Cardiff | Registration No. 05210967 | VAT No. 896 7958 26

© 2010-2019 Software Acumen. Agile Manchester and the Agile Manchester logos are trademarks of Software Acumen LTD.

Software Acumen Limited | Registered in Cardiff | Registration No. 05210967 | VAT No. 896 7958 26