Net Objectives Agile Mini-Conference for Microsoft


For Microsoft Employees Only (Contractors not eligible)

This full day conference, sponsored by Net Objectives and Microsoft Engineering Excellence focuses on Lean, Scrum, Kanban and technical practices. It is designed for leads, managers, program managers, developers, testers - virtually anyone interested in improving their software development efforts, whether as part of an IT organization or as a product development group.

Net Objectives, a preferred supplier of Microsoft, is the only company that has the range to provide experts in all the areas needed to accomplish this. By providing the conference in this fashion, attendees will be presented with a cohesive method of transitioning their organization (or team) to better methods. The methods presented include the latest Lean-Agile methods that have been demonstrated to overcome many of the challenges facing practitioners of first generation Agile. The speakers regularly present at prestigious conferences around the world. The long breaks between the sessions are designed to enable you to have time interacting with the speakers to discuss your particular challenges.

February 21, 2012

Register Today! For more information call or email: Mike Shalloway, Director of Marketing and Sales



This mini-conference is designed to introduce several topics for those relatively new to Agile methods. The morning is geared more towards management, with the Scrum Clinic, just after lunch, being a session on how to overcome common challenges Scrum teams face. The rest of the afternoon is geared toward developers. Come for those sessions that are of greatest interest for you.

8:30am- 9:00amRegistration and Networking. Continental Breakfast
9:00am-10:15amOpening Remarks and An Introduction to Agile for Management and Teams
Alan Shalloway
Scaling Agile with Lean-Flow: Handling Multiple Products and Multiple Teams
Alan Shalloway
12:45pm- 1:45pmThe Scrum Clinic
Alan Shalloway
2:15pm- 3:15pmIntroduction to Acceptance Test-Driven Development
Amir Kolsky
3:45pm- 4:45pmSustainable Test-Driven Development
Scott Bain
4:45pm- 5:00pm
Closing Remarks

Session Descriptions

An Introduction to Agile for Management and Teams
This seminar is a general introduction to Agile from a why you'd want to do it perspective. While the mechanics of Scrum and Kanban will be alluded to, this is not a presentation on either of these methods. Too many teams assume they should start with Scrum without really asking the question of why they are going to agility at all. When the need for agility and the basics of what that implies is understood, it is relatively straight forward to choose a method to attain it. This seminar discusses the following business reasons for agility:

  • achieve more value in a shorter time
  • validate assumptions quicker
  • be able to be more responsive to changing requirements

It continues by discussing some of the general characteristics of what this means for teams:

  • building vertical slices of functionality to create quick feedback
  • closer ties between developers and testers
  • attending to integration so quick deployments are possible

This seminar is intended for project managers, product owners and team leads to assist them in deciding both what agility is and how they might proceed down the path to achieving it.

Scaling Agile with Lean-Flow: Handling Multiple Products and Multiple Teams
Getting Scrum to work on one or two teams is not particularly difficult. But getting it to work across teams, when teams are dependent upon each other, is much more challenging. This seminar presents some case studies illustrating the effectiveness of using Lean to create a context for Agile (either Scrum or Kanban) teams. If you are struggling with extending Scrum/Agile beyond the team, this seminar will provide insights into proven (yet, unfortunately, unpublished) methods.

The Scrum Clinic. Many teams are doing only part of Scrum - "we're doing Scrum, but we don't do ..." We hear Scrum coaches deride Scrum-but as if something is wrong with the folks doing it. But the reality is that in many situations, pure Scrum is not the most effective method of Agile development. Scrum is supposed to be tailored to meet the needs of the team. Unfortunately, it is often hard for teams new to Scrum to understand if their changes are good or merely accommodating the challenges present. Understanding a few key principles of Lean-Flow can be of great assistance in guiding teams to truly solve their problems without being forced to take a dogmatic approach.

Introduction to Acceptance Test-Driven Development
One of the major challenges facing any development organization, large and small, enterprise to startup, is to satisfy their customers. All too often software is delivered and does not meet the customer’s needs. The effects of defects negatively impact the customers, developers, management and their relationships. The solution is surprisingly simple – Acceptance Test Driven Development. ATDD is a process for achieving consensus across all pertinent stakeholders before work commences. By practicing ATDD the organization can ensure that the implemented software delivers what needs to be delivered, no more, no less leading to increased satisfaction and reduced waste. In this presentation, we will introduce ATDD, who partakes in it, and how to commence with the rollout in the organization. Much of this seminar is based on the book Lean-Agile Acceptance Test-Driven Development: Better Software Through Collaboration.

Sustainable Test-Driven Development
Test-Driven Development has gained a strong foothold among many development teams, but as popular as it has often become, many organizations struggle to keep the testing effort sustainable over a long period of time. As test suites become large, they tend to become significantly difficult and time consuming to maintain, which is required to keep the TDD effort alive. Similarly, disciplined refactoring skills have become, for many, an essential part of a development team's toolkit, especially when confronted with large amounts of legacy code. However, the effort it can take to refactor a system can be difficult to weigh against the business value of new development; spending time on one would seem to limit the time spent on the other. The purpose of this presentation is to create a context for TDD and refactoring focusing on those specific elements that allow them to be conducted in a sustainable way. Much of this seminar is based on the work being described at Sustainable Test-Driven Development.

Net Objectives will be scheduling another Microsoft Mini-Conference in May. There will be some overlap of sessions, but the tentative schedule for sessions is:

  • An Introduction to Agile for Management and Teams. This is a repeat of the above session.
  • Scaling Agile with Lean-Flow: Handling Multiple Products and Multiple Teams. This is a repeat of the above session.
  • An introduction to Scrum and Kanban and how to choose between them. This session assumes a level of interest and understanding of agility and helps the participants decide whether Scrum or Kanban would be more effective for their situation.
  • Effective Story Writing. The heart of team-agility is the story - a short description describing some desired feature that can be built in 1-3 days. How to start with the true business need driving these stories and how to write them is illustrated. This seminar is intended for those both new to Agile methods and those having troubles writing small enough stories to be effective.
  • Essential Skills for the Agile Developer. This seminar is based on Net Objectives latest book - Essential Skills for the Agile Developer: A Guide to Better Programming and Design. It is intended for developers new to Agile methods that are now concerned with how they will be able to write code in this different environment.

All the Details

Feb. 21, 2012 8:00am PST
Cost: Free
Microsoft Main Campus
One Microsoft Way
Redmond WA 98052-8300 US
Questions or problems with registration or directions? Contact Mike Shalloway for assistance.
Presented By:
Net Objectives
PDUs: 5 PDUs Category B

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