Keynotes:

Culture and Global Enterprise Implementation of Agile – Adrian Lander

Adrian Lander, expert in Enterprise Agile Transformation, will explore the relationship between culture at various levels and implementing Agile in global enterprises. He will also examine the influence of various cultural aspects on global distributed agile. Can one be fully successful in moving to and “applying agile” without carefully looking at culture and addressing cultural impediments? Should one wait for those impediments or pro-actively address any needs to change culture?

F!sh!ng with Agile Teams – Madhur Kathuria

Kaizen is a daily process, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity improvement. It is also a process that, when done correctly, humanizes the workplace, eliminates overly hard work (“muri”), and teaches people how to perform experiments on their work using the scientific method and how to learn to spot and eliminate waste in business processes. In all, the process suggests a humanized approach to workers and to increasing productivity. Using the Fish! workout, Let’s discover together the daily improvements you can bring to your team. The things you discover here are not merely theoretical but something that you would work upon Monday morning, so make sure you carry the notes and get them back to your teams.

Track Sessions:

Distributed Agile Challenges – Umadevi Vengateswaran

Why Distributed Agile, Distributed Agile Challenges and Mitigation, Communication Challenges, Time zone Challenges, Bringing “One team” mindset, Challenge in building Trust, Distributed Agile patterns, Questions and Answers

Agile methodologies and Organizational theories in Global Development context – Subrahmaniam S R V

The success of the Agile methodologies, depends to a great extent on the dynamics of the team and their relationships with the stakeholders, now spread globally. The objective of the session would be delve on the relevant organizational behavior theories and principles on the following areas – which are critical from the perspective of Agile teams. The overall intent is to juxtapose Agile practices alongside organizational theory principles and take the key learning from there-on.
– Fostering a self-managed team – Typical characteristics in terms of work scheduling, team profile, leadership and addressing conflicts
– Behavioral traits of high-performance teams: Technical expertise, Problem-Solving and decision making skills & interpersonal skills
– Building a suitable organizational culture : Dimensions of Organizational Culture and building a global mindset
– Organic versus mechanistic cultures > Strategy and Structure relationship in terms of Innovation, Cost minimization, Imitation
– Organizational Structure & Design > Structure formulation for typical Distributed Agile Scrum / XP teams; Design considerations include, work specialization, formalization, Span of Control, Degree of hierarchical control, virtual communication structures, collaboration frameworks and so on.
– Organizational change management – while transitioning from Waterfall to Agile and sustaining the change; accounting for multi-locations and heterogeneous local cultures
– Reward & Recognition mechanisms > Factoring in the concept of “Joint responsibility” for team performance into the appraisal process; Concept of “Social Loafing”
– Leadership of Virtual teams
– Monitoring and evaluation of performance of virtual teams

Top 10 challenges with distributed team & viable solutions – Naresh Arumugam

While co-located teams  is a preferred choice of project sponsors and management there are multiple influencing factors that favors team distribution. We have IT service providers with onshore, offshore model which provide cost arbitrage advantages, Fortune 1000 organizations with captive centers and business operating globally and the most highly distributed teams are our open source communities leveraging the vast talent pool.  Though we have been fairly successful with distributions, there are multiple challenges associated with it. This is more so in an Agile team where the level of collaboration is far more higher than teams which work on traditional delivery models. Some of the key challenges are associated with communication channels, skewed value stream (increase in non value adding activities ), adopting  new tools & associated learning curve,  cultural & structural aspects. While the paper presentation discusses about the challenges it also highlights some plausible solutions, key resources  and how technology enablers that can be leveraged to mitigate these risks.

Adapting Kanban Method to Fixed Price Projects – Sudipta Lahiri

Fixed price (and fixed scope) projects dominate the offshore industry. These projects have distributed teams and often, large team size (over 100s of people in one team). Agile thinking uses team velocity/ throughput to project an end date (Kanban system) or how much scope can be accomplished in a given time duration (number of sprints in SCRUM). Inherently, they assume a stable team. However, this is not applicable for many projects. Projects experience resource and productivity ramp-up issues. Often, resources keep changing as attrition happens or new business needs to be serviced. Projects do not have past velocity or throughput data. Extrapolating historical data from other similar projects, though possible, is inaccurate for multiple reasons.

 Agile thinking also does not focus on project budget tracking. However, these projects need a strong budget tracking process. Each calendar day of slippage translates to a loss of several person months of effort and revenue. Sudipta’s session will be focused on his experience of working with such project teams and how the Kanban Method can be adopted while ensuring (a) Capacity planning (b) Assess the impact of scope creep to the project end date and (c) Budget tracking, using a combination of earned Value (EV) principles and CFD projection available from a Kanban system.

The session assumes a basic understanding of the Kanban method.

How Agile Contracting is Transforming Our Company – Rahul Dewan

Within one-year of committing to Agile, importantly on Agile contracting and choosing the right customers and projects to work with, we’ve been able to transform our company from an at best struggling software solutions company to one which is dreaming of 5 times growth in the next 3 years. We’ve been on an Agile journey for several years. However, it has been unshaken commitment to choosing Agile projects over fixed-cost projects, in the process letting go of fixed-cost projects and clients with fixed-cost mindsets. It’s been scary as well. I wish to share my experiences of transforming our company in the last, roller coaster year. I am confident my co-entrepreneurs looking to transform their companies and intending to move up the value chain would benefit from my candid sharing.

How to prevent Agile from becoming Fragile? – Thirunavukarasu Shanmugasundaram (Thiru) & Abhishek Kumar

Like every coin has two sides, all project methodologies also have a good side and a bad side.  Distributed environments often present themselves with specific set of difficulties and inherent risks. In this session we will compare the empirical agile with distributed agile and see how the two measure up against each other. We will discuss about road Map to De-risks Agile Projects in distributed environment including couple of case studies. Towards the end we will also discuss about team management in distributed agile.

Agile = Jugaad? – Fakhruddin Bandukwala

Exploring the concept of Jugaad in an Agile environment with the introduction of Jugaad games for the first time in the Agile world.

Jugaad has its roots in thinking out-of-the-box, implementing non-conventional solutions, following non-linear processes with a high level of disregard for impediments. Has Agile been around for longer than we think?

Effective Requirement Management in Distributed Agile – Harshawardhan Pandit

Distributed Agile environment offers many challenges. But at a ground level we have experienced that the problems can be summarized in 2 categories:

1. With product managers on the other side of the globe, the team members get limited face to face (overlap) with them. With the result, the team many times does not ‘truly’ understand the user stories & requirements.

2. Even if they do understand, maturity of some of the (junior) team members falls short in implementing these requirements.

How to handle this seemingly simple problem, but which has serious consequences? In this session we will discuss about ‘the small -yet effective’ changes introduced in the execution which ‘worked’ with positive results, in our (Persistent Systems Ltd) environment.

Thinking and Customizing Agile – Sivaram Athmakuri

We should understand the purpose of Agile Manifesto and Principles to implement them in an organization. When participant attends any of the sessions, they get convinced on principles. Real Challenge is ensuring the Organization, Customer and Supporting groups aligned as per Agile principles.

My session will cover 5 Hands on Exercises which will help the participants start thinking in Agile/Scrum. They can use them to convince others.

My session will cover 2-3 scenarios of Customizing Agile (to Organization needs) particularly in Distributed Agile & Scaling Agile.

Around the World with Agile Wings – Geetha Anand

This session  opens up  with the context of various customer requirements and also the business playground in which it has to developed, executed and deployed. It stresses on the importance of some of the keys aspects while working Agile and in a Globally Distributed development. Some of the Key aspects include – bridging the cultural gaps, having a common vision, Talk the same language, use the same tools, global scaling of product owners, breaking down of requirements, Development and continuous Integeration and also importance of Faster feedback.