GLASScon 4.0 Sparkers & Their Sparks

As mentioned on the Experience page, Spark talks are short talks to inspire you to think differently. Our theme is intended to push this even a bit further. We want you to reflect on what you hear, then if the concept resonates with you, use an open discussion to see when and how you can apply what you have heard. Or does it inspire you to try something else? Have a dialogue on that!

We’re honored to have some really awesome Sparkers this year coming from around the country to share how they have stretched their agility. Here they are and the topics they will be providing:

April Jefferson & Scott Showalter

April JeffersonApril Jefferson is a coach that enjoys helping organizations, executives, management, teams, and individuals on their journey to create awesome solutions with positive organizational cultures by leveraging Agile, Lean and UX. She enjoys walking in curiosity, seeking to understand others, discovering new ways to solve problems collaboratively, motivating others with positivity, as well as, cultivating other’s potential. In like manner, she is passionate about empowering others to foster their gifts for social change.
Scott Showalter has a dynamic presentation style, delivering learning in diverse ways for many different types of learners, and he threads humor throughout everything he teaches to help drive his points home and make them memorable. Scott enjoys attending conferences & meetups just as much as speaking, both gaining and imparting wisdom among fellow colleagues about creating teams that can work adaptively to solve meaningful problems that the people who use their products or services actually care about. He runs 4 active Agile & Lean UX meetups in the Great Lakes region that serve over a thousand designers, engineers and product leaders.

Design Thinking Powered by Improvisation for Product Development: A Workshop

The power of design thinking with improvisation is explored in this fast paced and laughter filled experience. This is a no decks learning experience that could enhance how you ideate, collaborate, create, learn, design, and innovate. We will leverage problems you would like to solve whether routine or wacky.

Dante Vilardi

Dante_VilardiDante is an enterprise agility coach with 18 years’ experience in IT and operations. He specializes in applying the Lean / Agile framework to data-driven technology programs. In both coaching and training contexts, Dante brings a product focus to Agile program delivery. He has a track record of successful Agile transformation in industries such as financial services, manufacturing, insurance and the public sector.

That’s The Signal – Program Level Data Tricks That Encourage Team Problem-Solving

The story program leaders tell with data can urge teams to assess patterns, look forward and solve problems, or… seek ways to shift the blame. This is a delicate procedure; data ensures all contributors remain focused on outcomes, and yet data without context can rob your teams of a deserved sense of safety. We’ll discuss ways of threading this needle.

George Dinwiddie

George DinwiddieGeorge Dinwiddie helps organizations develop software more effectively. He brings thirty years of development experience from electronic hardware and embedded firmware to business information technology. He helps organizations, managers, and teams solve the problems they face by providing consulting, coaching, mentoring and training at the organizational, process, team, interpersonal, and technical levels. Involved in the Agile community since 2000, he has helped groups ranging from 8 developers to a Fortune 100 company and a half-billion dollar federal program. He is a frequent presenter at conferences such as the Agile conference, Agile Development Practices, and numerous regional and focused conferences, and has been published in print and on-line magazines.

Creating Organizational Learning


Jenny Tarwater

Jenny TarwaterJenny is a 20-year veteran of Technical Program Management with a disciplined approach of cultivating success and growth in people, process, and products. Her mission is to lead others to surpass goals, contribute positively in collaborative environments, and explore undiscovered opportunities and solutions through continuous learning and game play. Her hobbies include purchasing sharpies and post-it notes in bulk. 

Safety First! Creating Psychological Safety on Agile Teams

Many organizations are recognizing that high-performing teams have something in common: the presence of psychological safety. After this spark, you will understand what that is and why it is essential for your agile teams. You will also leave with several ideas of how to promote and maintain it within your own team.

Julie Bright

Julie_BrightJulie tried on many hats before settling into her current identity as an Agile Coach at Capital One. In the past, she has worked in Purchasing, served as a childbirth doula, supported Government engineers designing military safety equipment, and even tried her hand at self-employment as a Personal Chef. In 2009, she was bitten by the Agile bug. She is happiest when facilitating workshops, teaching Agile concepts through games, and co-creating professional environments where people can feel motivated, engaged, and empowered. Julie is a CSM, SASM, SPMPO, and ICP certified in Facilitation and Agile Coaching (ICP-ATF, ICP-ACC).

Invitation, Identity, and Lasting Change

A short story about a big mistake, which led to a powerful insight about something people need in order to feel safe about Change.

Ken Furlong

Ken_FurlongKen Furlong is a Product Development leader, specializing in SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Product Management, Lean, and Systems Dynamics. He has experience leading Product Management departments, consulting with both large commercial & federal organizations, and training Lean business management.  He currently serves as the Director of Product for an eCommerce SaaS company operating in the Amazon space.

Skip the Hours: Effective Agile Forecasting w/Relative and Probabilistic Estimation

Many people find estimating in an Agile environment frustrating and convoluted.  This is because organizations try to “do agile” by renaming ‘estimated hours’ to ‘story points’ but not actually changing anything about how estimates are generated or used.  In this talk, we’ll cover how forecasting in an Agile environment needs to be approached in a fundamentally different manner than it has been traditionally.  This different approach results in different – and better – outcomes for individuals and organizations as a whole.  The keys to this different approach are relativity and probability.  We’ll see how these concepts work and help build a very different perspective on estimation, ultimately resulting in much lower overhead and better decision making.

Mathias Eifert

Mathias_UpdatedMathias Eifert is a coach and advocate for agility at all levels of the organization. He has more than fifteen years of experience using Lean and Agile approaches to improve clients’ processes and build better products. As a consultant to both public and private sector organizations, Mathias helps clients discover the power of shortened feedback loops to manage uncertainty, optimize the customer experience, and maximize business value. He is particularly focused on coaching organizations to apply Agile and Lean principles to improve their own practices rather than relying solely on acquired processes. Mathias is active in the DC Agile community and is a frequent presenter at conferences and local user groups.

The Real Value of Agile is Not in Delivery

Most organizations begin their foray into Agile with software development and that makes sense – after all, the Agile Manifesto focuses on “working software.” Unfortunately, though, this is often also where the Agile journey comes to a grinding halt. Leadership confines Agile to a small box labeled “Delivery,” puts a lid on it, and everything else continues as usual. Development teams in such an environment may produce more software, faster and with better quality, but the expected impact on the organization often fails to materialize because the business value of the produced software doesn’t increase along with that.

We’ll take a closer look at why Agile shouldn’t end with “working software” and how we can apply the Agile mindset beyond delivery to produce better business outcomes and organizational impact.

Nayan Hajratwala

NayanNayan is a Lean/Agile Coach with over 15 years of intensive technical experience. He has a passion for helping software teams increase their productivity and decrease their time-to-market while improving the quality of their product.

He has an extensive hands-on background in Java software development, enterprise architecture, project management techniques, as well as proven leadership ability.

Mob Programming in Action

In this session, Nayan will discuss how the recent use of Mob Programming at a Fortune 500 company resulted in changes to the environment, tools and culture.

Paul Boos

Leadership - Paul BoosPaul Boos is an IT executive coach helping executives, senior managers, and teams transform their software development thinking and how to effectively lead them. He also serves as the Agile Alliance’s Program Director for the Agile Coach Camp Initiative. A passionate learner, he has continued to help those learn better ways to coach and lead people inside the Federal Government and software industry. When he was Fed and inspired by various conferences and unconferences, he founded GLASScon to help his peers learn more about Agile and Lean development.

Going from Technical Debt to Technical Health: A Workshop

In this workshop, you explore how to improve the work system so that teams aren’t constantly trying to keep their technical debt in check and the entire organization helps maintain the technical health of its applications. This will be a portion of Declan Whelan’s two-part workshop from Agile2017.