January 11, 2019

Speaker Bios & Session Descriptions 2014

Scaling Agility – Cory Foy

When teams see successes with Scrum, Kanban and other agile methods, they naturally want to see those gains be able to be scaled to programs that are much larger than “2-pizza” size. But doing so requires much more than doing “Agile at Scale” – just like scaling a software program requires more than just adding more RAM and Disk Space. Cory will cover what it truly takes to have agility in the face of challenges such as regulated environments, teams distributed across the globe, immovable deadlines and many more.


Cory Foy has a unique background in both software and organizational change. He has worked with organizations such as Microsoft, Beats By Dre and MIT to help build, scale and debug highly scaled solutions in a variety of languages. He has also worked with companies such as DirecTV, Invensys, Stratos Global and EMC to train and coach organizational transformations. Cory helped craft the Software Craftsmanship Manifesto, and has lectured at both Notre Dame and Carnegie Mellon. He currently lives in Durham, NC coaching organizations in both technical and process practices at scale.

Agile Testing and TDD – TR Buskirk

It is an introduction to the practices of testing in an Agile environment intended to prepare teams so they can collaborate to build quality software.  It includes a sections on what to expect on an Agile project and how to handle changes including a section on tools and strategies used for Test Driven Development.  Attendees should expect to learn the mindset of a team that reliably delivers the correct software for the business while avoiding technical debt.


TR Buskirk is an experienced quality assurance professional with over 20 years in the industry. During this time, he has served in various positions across the quality assurance spectrum including positions of engineer, manager and director. His experience has crossed many industry sectors including software, medical systems, telecommunications and internet retail.

His diverse background has included opportunities to lead teams through successful IPOs and mergers.  TR enjoys the dynamics of a startup and building high performing teams. He’s an experienced agilest with strong experience as a Scrum Master and is a leader in the area of test automation and continuous delivery for his current employer, Interactive Intelligence.

Demystifying the Product Owner Role – Bob Galen

Have you ever wondered what makes a good Product Owner? It’s certainly a broad and a deep role that is often filled with a hodgepodge of differently skilled individuals. And certainly many organizations struggle to fill it and understand its importance as they scale their agile transformations. But what about exceptional Product Ownership—what does that look like or entail?

In this highly collaborative session, you will explore the 4 Quadrants of Effective Product Ownership with experienced agile coach and author Bob Galen. The four quadrants include: Product Management, Project Management, Leadership, and Business Analysis. All of these critical aspects of the role surround the agile team and well-constructed Product Backlogs, with an emphasis towards creating high quality and high value products.

You’ll leave this session with a better understanding of the breadth and depth associated with outstanding Product Owners. You’ll also leave with a newfound respect for how challenging the role is. Finally, you will leave with immediate insights and actions for how to improve your organizations’ Product Ownership.


Bob Galen is an Agile Methodologist, Practitioner, and Coach based in Cary, NC. In this role he helps guide companies and teams in their pragmatic adoption and organizational shift towards Scrum and other Agile methods and practices. He is currently the President of RGCG, LLC and Agile Coach & Evangelist for Velocity Partners, a nearshore firm that excels at Agile Value Delivery.

Bob has held director, manager and contributor level positions in both software development and quality assurance organizations.  He has over 25 years of experience working in a wide variety of domains at companies including Bayer, Bowe–Bell & Howell Mail Processing, ChannelAdvisor, Deutsche Bank, EMC, iContact, Lucent, Unisys and Thomson.

Bob regularly speaks at international conferences and professional groups on topics related to software development, project management, software testing and team leadership. In 2009 / 2013 he published the 2’nd Edition of the book Scrum Product Ownership – Balancing Value from the Inside Out. The book addresses the gap in guidance towards effective agile product management. In 2012 he published the book Agile Reflections. You can find links to both books here – http://rgalen.com/agile-software-development-scrum/

The Impact of Lean and Agile Practices Quantified: 2014 – Larry Maccherone

Did you know that dedicating team members to a single team doubles productivity? Do you know what levers will cut your time to market in half? Did you know that teams that most aggressively control their simultaneous work in process (WiP) have as much as a 75% reduction in released defects? How much of an impact do the simple things like holding regular retrospectives have on performance?

Groundbreaking research on the performance impact of Lean/Agile practices! This session answers the questions your organization is asking. You will learn how the elusive Lean/Agile impact is finally quantified, through data derived from tens of thousands of teams across a wide variety of industries and contexts.


Larry is an industry recognized Agile thought leader.

Larry is currently Tasktop’s Data Scientist and recently served as Rally Software’s Director of Analytics and Research where he led a team using big data techniques to draw interesting insights, provide software development performance metrics, and provide products that allow Rally customers to make better decisions with data.

Before coming to Rally Software, Larry worked at Carnegie Mellon with the Software Engineering Institute for seven years conducting research on software engineering metrics with a particular focus on reintroducing quantitative insight back into the agile world.

Larry is an accomplished author and speaker, presenting at major conferences for the lean and agile markets over the last several years, including the most highly rated talk at Agile 2013.

Larry presented this topic at Agile 2013 where it was voted the best presentation of the conference. He again presented on this topic with all new findings at Agile 2014 to another packed house, but he’s constantly updating it with new findings so it evolves every time. You will get to see the latest findings!

Bringing Agile to the Portfolio Level – Todd Olson, Founder and CEO

Elevating your Agile Process to the Portfolio Level

How does your organization prioritize work across teams?    Do teams
understand how and why projects get funded?  Do you feel that your
organization moves too slowly to attack large market opportunities?

Agile at the team-level is a critical first step to start adding consistency
and predictability to your development organization, but in order to
truly make your entire organization Agile, you need to continue the
transformation.  This talk focuses on how to continue your Agile
transformation at the Portfolio-level.

We’ll talk about:

  • How to manage and prioritize work across teams.
  • How to manage work at higher levels (features, themes, etc)
  • How to develop a process around making (and shifting) investments
  • How to balance Roadmaps and dates with Agile practices.
  • How to look broadly at processes up-stream and down-stream from development that are affected by Agile techniques.


Mr. Todd Olson recently served as Vice President of Products at Rally Software Development Corp. Mr. Olson led the evolution of Rally’s proven Agile ALM platform for enabling software and product-driven enterprises through its public offering. He managed Rally’s largest remote office in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has technology thought-leadership and a pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit. He co-founded 6th Sense Analytics, Inc., served as its President and Chief Technology Officer and led the fundraising of $7 million in seed capital. Mr. Olson was Chief Scientist of the Together business unit of Borland Software that he joined as a result of the successful acquisition of TogetherSoft. Prior to 2002, he served as Vice President of Product Development of TogetherSoft Corp., and was responsible for leading the Together® product line. Prior to joining TogetherSoft, Mr. Olson co-founded Cerebellum Software Inc. and served as its Chief Technology Officer. Mr. Olson invented and created the pioneering Cerebellum data integration product. At Cerebellum Software, he oversaw the ongoing research and development of its Java™ technology-based products. Prior to Cerebellum Software, he worked at MBNA for six years as a Database Designer and Software Architect. Mr. Olson frequently speaks at leading industry events on the topics of Agile software development, Product Management, and entrepreneurism. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Electrical and Computer Engineering and is a graduate of its Entrepreneurial Management program.

An Introduction to Agile – Jared Richardson

Agile software practices have never been more popular, but too often teams skip the basics and only pick and choose parts they think are useful. This talk provides a brief background of popular Agile processes and explains how you can apply them to your own work. We’ll discuss both the technical practices and the project management processes. Both are useful alone, but together they’re a powerful force that can revitalize your team and organization.


Principal consultant and a member of the core team at Agile Artisans, Jared Richardson works with other software craftsmen to build excellent custom software. He sold his first software program in 1991 and has been immersed in software ever since. He balances his time between coaching Agile teams and creating great software.

Jared has authored and coauthored a number of books, including the best selling Ship It! A Practical Guide to Successful Software Projects and Career 2.0: Take Control of Your Life. He is a frequent speaker at software conferences. Jared lives with his wife and children in North Carolina where they recently, quite by accident, became backyard chicken farmers. He’s on the web at AgileArtisans.com.

The Value of User Stories – James Sweet

The real challenge in writing software isn’t the time spent writing the code itself. Instead it’s the time spent deciding what software we should build, and perhaps just as importantly what we shouldn’t build.

User Stories are lightweight, simple requirements. We don’t try to get all the details right up front, because inevitably they will change. The goal of User Stories is to place the focus on the needs of the User. Instead of trying to write down all the words that need to be said for a requirement, a User Story is the opposite: it’s intended to start a conversation between the people who will implement the Story, and the Customer/Product Owner.


  • Why User Stories
  • What’s a User Story
  • User Story Formula
  • How detailed should a user story be
  • User Story Personas
  • Technical/Architectural Stories
  • Epics/Initiatives and Features
  • Acceptance Criteria
  • Definition of Ready
  • User Story Grooming


James Sweet – Eliassen Group Agile Delivery Lead


  • Over 15 years experience in solution delivery across diverse industries.
  • Deep Agile Transformation/Implementation experience spanning industries and enterprises of all sizes
  • 10+ years of Agile Coaching/Training success
  • 5 years of hands on Agile practitioner experience
  • 10+ years management consulting experience working with the highest levels of organizations


  • Solution Delivery Manager
  • Director of Service Delivery
  • Scrum Master
  • Agile Coach
  • Transformation Agent

Industry Experience

  • Telecommunication
  • Financial Services
  • HealthCare
  • Professional Services