DA 2019 Un-Conference

Las Vegas DA 2019 UnConference


Relevant topics for Disciplined Agile Practioners

The inaugural DA Un-Conference kicked off with all the pomp and show that Las Vegas can bring at the Mandalay Bay Resort. With over 31 in attendance the group travelled as far as Bosnia, UK, US and Canada. The conference was facilitated by Klaus Boedker, (Disciplined Agile, CDAI,CDAC) who was fantastic. A mixed group of agile new to seasoned practitioners accross industries and skills presented, requested or were interested in some of the topics I am highlighting below, I plan to deep dive into those that get interest from the community in future blogs.

So whats a un-conference you may ask, well its a group of folks who meet and decide what topics they are interested in. People from the group choose topics and state the subject they wish to discuss, and when the subject is put up in a time slot on a wall (see picture 1), then they agree to be present to help lead the topic or theme. They dont need to have any knowledge of the subject, topic or theme; however, they should help guide and if possible take some notes and have them available after the time has expired. The time allotted is up to the facilitator of the Un-Conference and is usually 45 min or so giving time between the next topic for people to regroup, look at the topic board and grab a coffee. As more than one topic/theme/ subject are discussed during the same time slot, several stations (locations with a large Post-It paper board/stand) which were labelled Ace, King, Queen and Jack player cards in keeping with the Vegas theme.


Topics discussed

  • Agile != DevOps ( near and dear to my heart as I led this one of course its poking the hornets nest!)
  • Benefits of Disciplined Agile
  • Inception, establishing, extending and getting ready
  • The Agile PMO
  • Remote training and coaching
  • Creating DA communities
  • Disciplined Agile @ Scale
  • Distributed Teams, Offshore development, large teams
  • Ways to track bugs, manage interruptions from production
  • Funding processes, moving to capability and budgeting in DA
  • Change Management
  • Tactics and Strategies for addressing technical debt @ scale, plus architecture and governance topics
  • Establishing SDLC (which was defined as system development lifecycle) with DA milestones (a hot topic with lots of interaction and interest), measuring progress was also discussed
  • New DA tool was announced and attendees were given a demo
  • DA tool brainstorming (I liked this one a LOT & see huge potential from the three or four use cases discussed)
  • Data Drivers
  • Member and certification benefits for DA
  • Business role and of course the other roles (AO, PO, TL)
  • What do we do with Managers in Agile teams (co lead this one and very pertinent, tricky subject, lots of hornets with this one, make sure you have a sharp stick)


So if your interested in any of those topics, please let me know, in the comments below. I have pictures of many of the outputs and may also have some insights as well or create future blogs with some of the participants ( if I find them and they are amicable to it).

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Born 1965, San Antonio, Texas and lives in Dallas, Tx.
Mr. James, Ronald, Maverick holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at The University of Texas, San Antonio.

Mr. Maverick or JR as many call him is a “slick” but warm and friendly character in our upcoming book on the DevOps Mindset. Mr. Maverick cares about his IT team very much and could charm the socks off a Texas Longhorn. JR is liked by many in his organization; however, he is not as well trusted by the Overlords as he used to be. Mr. Maverick has a group of loyal staff, including Mr. Barker a bit of an opposite to JR. Of course, Mr. Barker would never call him JR; he would only call him Mr. Maverick because well, Mr. Maverick is his boss. Mr. Maverick has held many IT positions in the past, including starting as a Sales Professional for HP and IBM mini and mainframe computers. Over the years he has risen through the ranks to hold this senior position by delivering using high-paid consultants and Big name firms. He also received his promotion from outsourcing to a foreign country where he was able to reduce his IT spend significantly. Recently he has discovered (actually this was made painfully aware to him by the Overlords) that both the Offshore roadmap and use of external consultants was not giving him the value and velocity for his IT department, and he was probably paying more than he bargained for

So, after hearing a talk at a DevOps event by the Agents of Chaos, JR decided to enlist them to help with their digital transformation roadmap and help improve the value, focus and velocity of his department. However, MR. Maverick has a few ideas about agile and DevOps, something he has heard about for a while and read in various CIO magazines; he thinks of these as Marketing terms and something that can be bought. While Mr. Maverick has held on for many years to traditional IT ways of working he has come to the end of his tenure if he doesn’t do something fast and get DevOps working quickly as he has promised to the Overlords providing him with a little more rope to get the transformation completed more quickly as they view his IT department ageing, procrastinators who are not able to keep up with business demands. JR says in his mind, “I will get it done, they don’t call me Maverick for nothing!“