Innovation by Immersion [Series 3/5]

 Experience is the Message

People have experiences about product, products don’t have experiences.  – Marcelo Marer, Chief Creative Director, Intel Media

What sells well in the U.S. many not be a benefit to anyone elsewhere. If you sell globally, it’s critical to design products for the new markets you plan to enter. Doing so requires research and an honest/thorough analysis of the information you have collected.

User Stories and User Personas

In the previous blog, the product teams hypothesized their customers and prospects need to collaborate – on demand, from anywhere – with their partners and other growers, in order to be more productive and to reduce risk. Continue reading “Innovation by Immersion [Series 3/5]”

From Iron to Cloud – Customer Driven Innovation [Series 2/5]

Customer Driven Innovation: A Global Perspective

Changing iron by using the cloud

Growers (Matt rarely called his customers “farmers”) are a uniquely tenacious and optimistic group. They have to be risk takers too, so many out-of-their-control environmental factors impact outcomes.  You might never guess that this group is well set to innovate/change how they farm.

The head of  Product Management explained that today’s growers, in order to feed the many billion of us, must find ways to limit their risk and increase their yield. They’ve already teased out most of their farming costs from fuel (which impacts feed, fertilizer and other necessary items on the farm). More was needed to be done – there are hungry people to feed.

Continue reading “From Iron to Cloud – Customer Driven Innovation [Series 2/5]”

Going Global – PDMA Georgia [Series 1/5]

Something innovative happened again at KO HQ this Thursday

The PDMA| Georgia chapter held it’s 9th annual Summit – topics were global in scope but personal in focus. Much shared learning and best practices offered. A very good reason to step away from desks/deliverables and come together with like-minded product professionals.

Innovators may already be intuitively using Agile

Top-line takeaways from the Round Table

  • Get a handle on things that bite in your planning stage, not during execution (import laws, regulations)
  • RESONATE! – don’t just BE in the chosen markets (do provide consistency, quality, awesome user experience)
  • Create RELEVANCY- use everything around your product to do this
  • LISTEN, partner with a local  –  help your prospects ARTICULATE their unique drivers Continue reading “Going Global – PDMA Georgia [Series 1/5]”

Find me Speaking at Agile Tampa – August 9th at ValPak

For our August 9th meeting, ValPak will be hosting the next Tampa Bay Agile meetup.  Peter Saddington from Agile Scout ( has graciously agreed to give a talk on the following…

“The New Role of Management in Building and Sustaining High-Performance Teams”

There has been a ton written about management techniques for creating great teams. Let’s go a bit further, and look into how managers can build great teams not by using a new method or management style, but rather understanding team dynamics and behavioral science and patterns.

  • What is a High-Performance Team?
  • Self-Organization – Not what you think…
  • New Role of Management
  • Behavioral Science

Peter Saddington is an Organizational Consultant and Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) who has been in software development for 15+ years. He has 3 Masters degrees (Counseling, Education, Theology & Philosophy) and is publishing his second book in late 2012 (Wiley) on Agile and Human Performance. He is the co-founder of a research and analytics company, Action & Influence, which measures human dynamics within the enterprise cultures.


Pizza and drinks to be provided.

Location: Valpak

10001 28th St. N. St. Petersburg, FL 33716 (google map)

Find it on

Agile 2012 – August 13-17, 2012 – Scaling Product Ownership at the DoD

Yup. I’ll be speaking about Scaling Product Ownership with the Department of Defense and United States Air Force. I also have to submit a nice IEEE formatted paper on the Experience Report.

I’ll be in Room Ft. Worth 7 — time: Wednesday 16:00 – 16:30. Sounds delicious.

See you there!

San Francisco Agile 2012 (SFAgile2012)




As a consumer, there are good things and bad things.

Good: there are lots of products, services in today’s world to choose from. So many that we may not be even aware of.

Bad: WE have to make the choice.
Being a typical Libran, it’s a difficult one for me.

Since my introduction to agile, there have been multiple conferences that I have been hearing about. I’ve been fortunate to attend some large conferences and some small ones. One such conference that caught my eye was SFAgile Conference. This is the 2nd year SFAgile will be held and got great reviews from 2011 attendees.

SFAgile 2012 is a 3-day “unconference” that brings together practitioners from Lean software development, the LeanStartup movement, and Agile software development. 

It’s a refreshingly different conference format: a mix of crowd-sourced content that include workshops, talks, dojos, and open-space-inspired spontaneous sessions. There will be many ways to learn new things, share your ideas, and get your questions answered. Continue reading “San Francisco Agile 2012 (SFAgile2012)”

2011 US Agile Coach Camp – The unConference for Agile Coaches

This year’s US Agile Coach Camp will kick-off this weekend following the outstanding camps held in Norway, Germany, Canada, and elsewhere. The Camp organizers couldn’t be happier about continuing the fine tradition from prior Camps both inside and outside the US.  Agile Coach Camp was started by Deborah Hartmann-Preuss and Naresh Jain and held in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Since then additional Camps have been added around the world.

The primary goal for these Camps is to bring Agile Coaches together to share experiences and develop new ideas that will assist each other as they help  organizations in adopting Agile.  The Camps use an Open Space format such that everyone is a participant; there aren’t any ‘speakers’. Each camp is organized by a team of coaches that come together out of inspiration to bring others together for connecting and sharing information.  many coaches work alone and rarely get to have a forum to better their coaching skills and develop new directions forward for themselves. Agile Coach Camps give coaches that opportunity.

The Camp this year will be in Columbus, Ohio 24-25 September with a Games Day prior on 23 September.  This year’s theme is S’mores, a play on words for that great camping treat…  Getting S’more Learning,making S’more Connections, and having S’more fun is what it is all about.  The US Camp’s hope is that it will inspire people to go back to their local Agile communities and stand-up their own small self-organizing, self-help groups such as the Agile Influencers of DC (AID).  Agile Coach Camp has a wonderful set of sponsors; our title sponsor GrowthPlus has worked hard to make sure this is the event to remember.  We are also happy to have Mike Sutton of Wizewerx to facilitate our event; he’s traveling quite that distance to help make our event truly special.

The US Agile Coach Camp Games Day and Camp itself had sold out by the beginning of August and tickets were increased to accommodate more people.

You can learn more about the Camp at

If you are interested in following along with what is going along at the
Camp see the Agile Coach Camp Daily at or follow the #accus hashtag on

#PCAMPATL – Best Session Winner of Product Camp 2011 with @AgileScout!

I’m on cloud9 right now. This past Product Camp Atlanta was simply the best one I’ve ever participated in. The sessions were absolutely fantastic… plus… I won BEST SESSION and the random lottery for an iPad 2!!!

Today is my day. Love it. Thanks to everyone out there who voted!!!


Here is my presentation deck below on SCALING PRODUCT OWNERSHIP – A STORY OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!:

Continue reading “#PCAMPATL – Best Session Winner of Product Camp 2011 with @AgileScout!”

Rally Success Tour Atlanta

Rally Software is taking Agile to a whole new level, utilizing social media, coaches conferences, and client success tours. Yesterday was the Rally Success Tour in Atlanta. There was a great turn-out and there were some fantastic speakers there to share their success with Agile, not necessarily all about Rally.

I personally had a great turn out for my “Agile Basics” break out session. We played some Agile games and made sure we posted up enough big visible stickies to take pictures of for the participants. Some good time was had by all.

It’s great to know that there are companies out there willing to spread the knowledge and success of Agile. Rally, we salute you!

Agile Coach Camp 2011

[Guest Post: Paul Boos serves as the software maintenance lead for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP).  His team currently uses Kanban and Scrum to maintain the OPP legacy code base.  Prior to that he implemented Scrum as the Branch Chief for the National Development Branch within USDA/Rural Development. Follow him on twitter: @paul_boos]

Get Some S’mores – It’s Camp Time!

Agile Coach Camp is a non-profit conference where coaches come to network and develop ideas and practices for enhancing Agile Software Development. It’s an Open Space, a self-organizing, highly participative (un)conference in the vein of Bar Camp.

Agile Coach Camp is truly a special venue for Agilistas. As an Open Space event, there are zero speakers; only participants. Everyone that is attending is passionate about learning more through shared experiences. The agenda is set by the coaches attending and will be facilitated by Mike Sutton; himself an experienced Agilista and passionate facilitator. The conversations that occur are powerful and deepen everyones understanding.

Anyone that is currently or is interested in becoming an Agile Coach is welcome to attend. Consider Agile Coach Camp to be for any of the following:

  • Thought leaders looking to develop or try out new ideas.
  • New coaches who have been thrust into helping others adopt Agile Principles and Practices.
  • Experienced coaches who wish to network and share experiences and problems that have encountered. Continue reading “Agile Coach Camp 2011”

Agile Is… Excerpts from RallyON 2011

[Link to video here]

RallyON 2011 was a fun conference for sure. Read about my experiences here.

“For me RallyON was one of those – you know what, I am living my dream – moments in life. My favorite town (Boulder) was filled with 150 of our largest and best customers along with 85 expert agile practitioners from our coaching, product and technical account management teams. It was a swarm of agile expertise all gathered to share with each other for the sole purpose of getting smarter and building community. And you know what? It turned out great!” – Ryan Martens, CTO/Founder of Rally Software

Looking forward to the next one!

Oh, and you may be wondering why I’ve put up such a dumb-looking self-deprecating photo of myself. It’s because I’m fun. 🙂

[VIA: RallyDev]

RallyON2011 – My Experiences – One Awesome Agile Conference!

As an Enterprise Agile coach and Rally Coach Partner, for me, this was the event of the year (and I’m speaking at 2 other conferences coming up later this year!)

So… just a day ago I got back from the RallyON 2011 conference out in Boulder, CO. If I were to sum up my experiences in one sentence it would be: An awesome-sauce of a time.” – Need help translating?

I believe this was probably one of the best Agile conferences I’ve been to ever. Ryan Martens (@rallyon) and his incredible team put together one of the most interactive and fun conferences that simply gave back to the community of practice what is desperately needed: An opportunity to talk about what they wanted to talk about.

Would you pay to go to a conference, hotels, rental car fees, etc and find out that Day 2 of the conference was… open to whatever people wanted to talk about with no agenda??? Well, that’s exactly what happened, and it worked. The Open Space during day 2 was fantastic. There was so much information and learning going on you could almost cut it with a knife.

So instead of just ranting about how #epic it was, I’m going to just put together some bullet points of highlights that were just dandy:

  • Getting to hear Ryan Martens speak about “living the dream.” – You had to be there!
  • Getting to see how passionate the Rally Software people are about their work in the Agile space.
  • Day 1 – Tons of great speakers talking about everything from Kanban to building great Agile teams – [[Get all the notes of Day 1 here]]***
  • Beautiful downtown Boulder – I think the happiest people in the world all live in Boulder, seriously.
A perfect day in Boulder, CO - Day 1
  • A beautiful hotel – St. Juliens – Highly recommend going there.
  • A social experiment with a kick-butt crew from StackExchange (@aalear and @mpmobile) – Bringing community building to a conference worked! Taking questions from the conference and crowd-sourcing online communities to answer them. #winning
  • Networking with some of the most passionate and helpful Agile coaches around!
  • Day 2 – Open Space – What more can I say? This was really neat! [[Get all the notes of Day 2 here]]***
A Cold Snow Day 2??? Crazy weather
  • My open space talk on Agile and Social Media 🙂
  • Continual Agile-conversation, from the conference to talking over good Boulder, CO local food joints.
  • Again, and I cannot stress this enough for me: Meeting some of the most passionate, helpful, and happy people in the Agile community. Thumbs up!

All in all the conference was top notch. The only downside was that I got stuck in Denver because of a sudden blizzard. :)~

Thanks again Ryan Marten and your Rally crew, you guys did an amazing job. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

Agile Coach? Go to Agile Coach Camp 2011

US Agile Coach Camp + Games Day

Sign Up starting today!

The 2011 US Agile Coach Camp will have tickets go live starting tomorrow, 12 April 2011 – hurry and sign-up.  This nominal cost event will ensure our bills are covered and will also help out some great charities including Haiti Partners and Mano a Mano.  Whether you have been to a Coach Camp before or this is your first time, this will be a not to miss event if you do coaching.  Space is limited to 75, so don’t miss out!

We are actively looking for our final Games day presenters and seeking donations for a silent auction to benefit our charities.  Please contact Paul Boos (boos dot paul at EPA dot gov) for either of these items.  If you would like to become a sponsor, please contact Siraj Sirajuddin (siraj @ sirajuddin dot com).

[HT: Agile Coach Camp]

Top 5 Entrepreneurs I Would Interview #StartupRiot


In light of today’s event for Startups and entrepreneurs, here are the top 5 people I would love to interview if given the chance:

I would love to interview these entrepreneurs because they (in their own right) have changed the game in their own demographic. Each of these individuals have found a niche, filled that niche, and succeeded. I would love to get their take on how they turned their startup to a full business model that thousands of others look to as a example.

I also chose Walt Disney, though he is deceased because I’ve always looked up to him! Disney #ftw!

Would would you interview?

Agile Startups – 5 Must-Have Characteristics for a Startup

This week on February 16th, AgileScout will be at Startup Riot 2011. We’ll be covering the LIVE event in full with potential live blogging and checking out the newest stuff coming out. These events rock.

We love startups.

Especially technology startups. As a startup ourselves, Agile Scout works and runs like a lean-startup.
A question was posed to the Agile Scout as to what we look for in an individual who wants to be part of a startup. Here’s our answer:

Top 5 Characteristics of a Startup Person

  1. Enthusiasm – Does the team and leadership of the team LOVE what they do. Are they saturated in it and absolutely ooze their product or company. Take Apple fan-boys for example. They love Apple. You just KNOW it when you see it.
  2. Expertise – Does the team and leadership know their domain-space. Meaning, do they know their market? Are these guys thought leaders? Are they active in their community (i.e. Software development community). Are they using social media? Are they the best ruby developers working together? Even to the point if some of them are avid bloggers or writers. These guys have to continue to love their craft. Grow themselves personally for the company.
  3. Know their Mission – Does the team and leadership share the same values and mission for the company? Could you pull any of the guys off the team and ask them what the mission and vision for their product is. You should get 100% of the same answers from any of the team members. Then you know they’re working together and understand the core of their business.
  4. Know the Plan – What is the 3-6-9-12 month plan? What iterative development plans do they have to build the next great features for the product? How are they taking community feedback and incorporating it into their next build? What are lessons learned that they have taken to heart and have learned from? Plans change, we understand that. But there has to be some plans in place.
  5. Who are they listening to? – This is the absolutely most crucial part. Working in a vacuum doesn’t help a company. Who is on their board? If they don’t have one, what thought leaders are they going to for advice? Who are they listening to? Who advises them on their product? Who are they leveraging to help them build the best product they can? This is crucial. A wise man once said that plans fail from lack of counsel. This is absolutely true with web development and web product development.
**Notice we didn’t talk about having a stand-out product or something that is niche. Tons of cool products come out all the time. Some have already been done. A solid team can make something that’s been done before look even better. With correct strategies in place you can make the next facebook, next twitter. Why? Because your team know’s it’s core business and can build something great from it. It’s just a matter of time before some code-savvy entrepreneurs come along and make the next Facebook.

So, are you ready to be part of a startup? Looking to get involved in one? Drop a comment or let us know, let’s have a conversation!

[News] – Confradar – Know Where Awesome Conferences are Happening

I absolutely love this service. Why? Because I had this idea last year and dang near built it myself! I’m always interested in going to the coolest tech conferences and any local Agile events that I can get to. But there isn’t a really good site out there that provides all of that information.

Well, that is no longer the case: is here.

The smart guys over at Agilers built this baby and it’s already getting some pretty good traction.

Do you have a conference to add? Sign up. It’s free. Get the word out.


PW&WCBA Complete and Wrap Up! – Full List of Sessions

PW&WCBA has wrapped up. We at Agile Scout wanted to give a big shout out to the organizers whom you see above. This conference would not have happened without their hard work and dedication.


Also a big thank you to Jack Vince Productions for helping out with the setup and infrastructure. These guys are awesome if you haven’t had a chance to use them at your conference.

Continue reading “PW&WCBA Complete and Wrap Up! – Full List of Sessions”

PW&WCBA – Ellen Gottesdiener – Improve Your Product and Process with Retrospectives

Ellen Gottesdiener speaking on Improving Your Product and Process with Retrospectives

“How we feel about projects affects how we perform on projects.”

The prime directive of a retrospective:

“Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.” – Norm Kerth

Continue reading “PW&WCBA – Ellen Gottesdiener – Improve Your Product and Process with Retrospectives”

PW&WCBA – James R. Lucas – How Worldwide Teams Merge Competing Ideas

James R. Lucas speaking on Think: How Worldwide Teams Merge Competing Ideas

“Working with people would be easy if it wasn’t for the people.”

Managing competing ideas:

Our teams have a group intelligence that is greater than the sum of the parts. We need good thinkers, multiplied!

Continue reading “PW&WCBA – James R. Lucas – How Worldwide Teams Merge Competing Ideas”

PW&WCBA – Arthur Shelley – Boost Project Performance by Leveraging Behavioral Assets

Arthur Shelley speaking on Boosting Project Performance by Leveraging Behavioral Assets

“I’m the behavioral story guy. We must have conversations around behaviors in regard to projects.”

How many people in the room believe behavior has a significant impact on project outcomes? – Most all agree.

How many of you FORMALLY recruit for project team members based on behavioral characteristics? – Not many do this in the room.

Continue reading “PW&WCBA – Arthur Shelley – Boost Project Performance by Leveraging Behavioral Assets”

Michael Menke, Ph.D. – YOUR SPACE 2010

Michael Menke, Ph.D. moderating topic discussions:

  1. Accountability of leadership at all levels
  2. Managing the tension between projects and operations
  3. Achieving common disciplined resource management
  4. Managing stakeholder expectations
  5. Communication between all groups
  6. How to deploy PPPM best practices?
  7. Software development process design
  8. Reducing ambiguity on business requirements
  9. How to create an executive summary of a large portfolio?
  10. Selecting PPM tools

Continue reading “Michael Menke, Ph.D. – YOUR SPACE 2010”

PW&WCBA – Mary Gerush – Define, Hire and Develop Your Next Generation Project Managers

Mary Gerush speaking on Define, Hire, and Develop Your Next Generation Project Managers

“It’s time to paint a new picture of the IT project manager.”

Traditional project management has helped us build our world and these standards are entrenched in our IT culture. Today’s project manager is skilled, trained, certified.

But are we successful? Data suggests the answer is “NO.”

Continue reading “PW&WCBA – Mary Gerush – Define, Hire and Develop Your Next Generation Project Managers”

Day 3 PW&WCBA – Begin with an Exercise – Planning for the Future with Arthur Shelley

“When you get back to the office those list of great ideas from the conference has now evaporated. Always remember to record lessons learned and things you want to bring to your business.” – Arthur Shelley

“What will you do when get back to the office? If you don’t do anything you’re losing actionable knowledge.” – Arthur Shelley

“Turn potential into value.” – Arthur Shelley

Continue reading “Day 3 PW&WCBA – Begin with an Exercise – Planning for the Future with Arthur Shelley”