Helping Agile Teams Work More Effectively

Creating the environment your team needs to solve difficult problems and thrive

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Providing Inspiration for Your Team

Each year, I speak at several public and internal conferences. Visit my video library to see some of my past talks.

Get in touch to arrange a high impact talk at your company. I love to speak at agile user groups and am happy speak to local groups when business takes me to your area.  Drop me an email, and if I’m around I’ll visit your group.

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Keynote Topics

Still No Silver Bullets

The term “best practices” is alluring. Best practices promise that if you just do these things, all will be well. But what works at another company may not work for you. Copying what worked else where may not achieve the results you want, and may not help at all.

You /can/ learn from what other companies do. But in the end, what matters is how well you are satisfying your customers, employees, and stakeholders. And that requires a unique approach based on your unique business model, culture, and value proposition. In this talk, I’ll explore the lure of silver bullets.

I’ll outline when looking for a best practices makes sense, and when it doesn’t. I’ll offer guidelines–based on my experience and research–to help you discern when to adapt a practice to your environment, and when to adapt your environment to take advantage of a practice invented by someone else. And I’ll share ideas on how you can innovate a path that reflects your unique situation.

Six Rules for Change

Change is often much slower than hoped for, and more painful than anticipated. In the end, you may be left with feelings of frustration and dismay rather than the benefits you hoped for. How can we make change–whether it’s adopting Scrum at the team level, or agile at the enterprise level–more successful, and more enlivening?

Through my work with many organizations, I’ve distilled principles for successful transformation into Six Rules for Change. These principles address both the complexity of the organization and the complexity of the human experience of change. They provide a set of touch-points to guide Change Artists as they support and enable change in their organizations.

Self-Organizing Teams Demystified

“Self-organizing team” may be the most over-used, mis-understood, vague, and mis-leading phrase of the decade. So what is a self-organizing team? How are self-organizing teams different from other teams?

How can managers and team members get the self-organizing mojo going? What are the challenges that self-organizing teams face? In this workshop, we’ll explore all these questions and get beyond the buzzword.

Scaling Agile Teams

Agile methods depend on effective cross-functional teams. We’ve heard many Agile success stories…at the team level. But what happens when a product can’t be delivered by one team? What do you do when the “team” that’s needed to work on a particular product is 20 people? Or 20 teams?

One response is to create a coordinating role, decompose work, or add layers of hierarchy. Those solutions introduce overhead and often slow down decision making. There are other options to link teams, and ensure communication and integration across many teams. There are no simple answers. But there are design principles for defining workable arrangements when the product is bigger than a handful of agile teams.

In this talk, I’ll cover principles and practices and explain how they work together to address coordination, integration, and technical integrity without adding levels of hierarchy or bureaucracy.

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Speaking Engagement Testimonials

Esther is a terrific teacher, facilitator, consultant, and human being. She does so many things well, you’ll want to check her profile whenever you want to improve your software process.”

Jerry Weinberg

I would highly recommend her to anyone seeking advice on how to successfully manage a team. In particular I would say that anyone who wants to improve their ability to ‘nip conflict in the bud’ and forge positive working relationships should not hesitate to get in touch.”

Robert Fitzmaurice

Upcoming and Past Speaking Engagements

July 2018Uber ConfDenver, Colorado
August 2018Agile 2018San Diego, California
October 2018Agile BrazilCampinas, São Paulo, Brazil
November 2018Scrum GatheringDurban, South Africa
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