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Lean Agile SA 2014 conference – Highlights

Lean Agile 2014-From left to right, Shannon Ewan, Mary Poppendieck,
Mario Matthee, Tom Poppendieck and Stephen de Villiers Graaff
Lean Agile 2014-From left to right, Shannon Ewan, Mary Poppendieck,
Mario Matthee, Tom Poppendieck and Stephen de Villiers Graaff

DVT Academy, the training arm of software and services company DVT, successfully delivered the inaugural Lean Agile SA 2014 conference double-header in Cape Town and Johannesburg in the past week.


The events were hosted in collaboration with the International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile), one of the key organisations responsible for globally-recognised Agile certifications and accreditations and Rally Software, international provider of Agile consulting and software solutions for helping companies go Agile.


More than 200 delegates attended the events, held over two days in each venue, a milestone for the company and the industry according to DVT Gauteng MD Jaco van der Merwe.


“This was easily the most successful event we’ve held in South Africa and shows the strength and influence of Agile in the local software development and business fraternities,” says Van der Merwe.”


“Much of the credit goes to event organiser and Head: DVT Academy Gauteng, Joel Oosthuizen, who assembled a star-studded panel of international Agile mentors and experts and made this a truly world class event,” he says. “The only way we can top it is by making it even bigger and better in 2015.”


Fronting the event were renowned Agile authors, mentors and consultants Mary and Tom Poppendieck and ICAgile MD Shannon Ewan, with whom DVT collaborated closely to host the conference in South Africa.


“It was a privilege for us to host such a high profile team of global Agile leaders, and says much for the reputation of our own experts and trainers at the DVT Academy,” notes Oosthuizen.


“Most importantly it gave our clients and the local development community access to the type of skills, resources and networking opportunities they would normally only get from travelling at great expense to international conferences,” says Oosthuizen. “I would like to think this is the first of many events that signal South Africa’s position on the world map of Agile development.”


The highlights of the event were inevitably the keynotes from Mary Poppendieck and Shannon Ewan.


Giving the audience the benefit of decades of experience through her talks on effective Agile teamwork (in ‘The Building Blocks of Scale’) and career development advice (in ‘Think for Yourself: the job of a software engineer’), Poppendieck covered topics ranging from problem solving in a silo to managing the size of development teams, overcoming constraints and achieving constant delivery.


“We tend to be good at solving problems in a silo,” she said, in a talk that was tweeted live on DVT’s event feed (@LeanAgileSA). “We need to foster cooperation through shared responsibility but also ensure that our teams are at a manageable size. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos once said that if a team can’t be fed with two pizzas it’s too large, and that’s a good principle to instill in your planning.”


Ewan offered equally poignant insights in her talk on ‘Embracing the Agile mindset for organisational agility’.


“Be agile about your agile process,” she offered. “Empirical processes require us to inspect and adapt, learning what to learn over knowing what you know, and asking the right questions over having the right answers.”


Other notable and compelling speakers included DVT’s quality Assurance specialist Mario Matthee (Cape Town), Scrum trainer Peter Hundermark (Johannesburg) and Stephen de Villiers Graaff, principal Agile consultant DVT Cape Town.


For more information on the event, and to register your interest for 2015, visit http://www.leanagile.co.za. To view the live tweets from the event search for #LASA2014 or @LeanAgileSA.


Head – DVT Academy Gauteng,
Joel Oosthuizen
Head – DVT Academy Gauteng,
Joel Oosthuizen