Dhaval Panchal

    Stop Scaling, Start Growing

    Companies of all sizes need to grow their own agile way of working, becoming more agile is a journey, not a destination, it is not about implementing a model or another…

    It feels like someone presented scaling as the ultimate solution to solve every problem… and now everybody wants to buy it, it really feels like an old story. Way to often the focus about scaling agile lands on the delivery of projects, and explicitly on the operational model behind that. Every true Agilist would know that agility is about continuous improvement and excellence as much as it is about delivery of value. The real challenge lays in how to make an organization learn continuous improvement and embed it into its own culture.

    In this session, I will compare different Scaling Models and highlight their pros and cons and present a framework that focuses on continuous improvement and development on organizational capability compatible with your organizations culture and business context.


    Dhaval is a Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC), Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)  and Innovation Games Facilitator. Dhaval brings results oriented, people centric perspective while training and coaching. He is often described as creative simplifier who is able to navigate through variety of challenging contexts. Dhaval is a frequent presenter at international conferences and a repository of his articles can be found on his blog site www.dhavalpanchal.com.

    Eddie Merla
    Duende Project Management



    Adopting the Agile Mindset: Leading Agile by Becoming Agile

    Are you agile enough to lead Agile projects? Are you ready for the transformation from traditional project management to an Agile approach? Are you agile enough to adapt to significant demands, changing business environments and external pressures? Do you only execute orders or do you provide value above and beyond what’s expected? Are you called on because you can execute a plan or because you can create value out of complex situations? Become indispensable as a project manager by adopting the Agile mindset. This session is designed to raise your agility intelligence through the seven habits shared in this presentation. Adopt the Agile mindset by enhancing your creativity, sharpening your communications, rethinking your leadership model, managing complexity and connecting for novel and effective solutions. To lead Agile effectively, you must become Agile.


    Eddie Merla, PMI-ACP, PMP®, is the founder and owner of Duende Project Management Services. He is a PMI-ACP® preparation instructor and a speaker and trainer on Agile, project management and leadership topics. He has over 25 years of project management and Agile experience including seven years leading international consulting engagements and projects. He has published multiple articles with PMI and is a frequent presenter at PMI Conferences and Congresses.

    Fabrice Bouchereau
    ProcessZen Consulting

    "LEANing on Agile: How to Leverage your Agile and Project Management Skills to Lead in Continuous Improvement and Innovation"


    Traditionally, the job market has favored career professionals who seek stable employment at the same company for more than 10 years.  In the last few years, ever increasing pressure on businesses to improve their bottom line has resulted in layoff and created job uncertainty.  Many of us have had to at least consider new careers and thus answer the question: “What are my transferable skills?”

    Developing a good understanding of what these skills are, is even more important since job search marketplaces powered by the internet of things have created a new paradigm.  In this new competitive space, specialists can now showcase and sell services to customers who increasingly expect short term engagements and immediate results.

    The goal of this discussion is to highlight how AGILE and traditional project management concepts can be:

    • leveraged to lead in Continuous Improvement and Innovation
    • adapted and applied to the less traditional lean, quality and innovation projects we are now frequently asked to manage


    Fabrice is a licensed Industrial & Systems Engineer, facilitator and trainer with 18 years of experience managing lean, quality and continuous improvement projects and teams. His experience changing company culture and improving processes covers a broad range of industries including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, oil & gas, heavy equipment manufacturing and textiles. He is fluent in English, French, and Spanish and has delivered training in the United States, Caribbean, Mexico, and Latin America. He founded and manages Houston-based ProcessZen Consulting, which delivers transformational business solutions.  The company focuses on process optimization and cultural transformation through facilitation, implementation and training. 


    Roland Cuellar
    LitheSpeed LLC

    Project Portfolio Management and It’s Impact on Project Delivery

    Many organizations struggle with how to improve project performance and significant effort is placed on project management efforts. However, many of the issues that we see in project delivery have their origin upstream at the portfolio level. Challenges with schedule, scope, quality, and alignment are often natural outcomes of inadequate portfolio management. In this session, we will discuss portfolio management and it’s direct impact upon cost, quality, and schedule. We will then demonstrate methods for using agile ideas such as visualization, WIP limits, timeboxing, and other tools for dramatically improving project portfolio management and resulting project delivery.


    Roland Cuellar (‘kway-are’) has focused exclusively on agile software development and lean business process improvement for the last 12 years. During that time, I have worked with Capital One, CNBC, Westinghouse Nuclear Power, Nationwide Insurance, US Citizenship and Immigration, the US Courts, and many many other clients on enterprise agile adoption.  I have also worked with a number of start-ups and early-stage ventures to help accelerate delivery. I have spoken at numerous conferences and have published a number of articles on the subjects of agile, portfolio management, quality, and kanban. I have a BS in Computer Science from the University of Houston and an MBA from UCLA.

    Todd Little
    Founding Member, Houston Chapter of Agile Leadership Network



    7 Sins of Scrum and other Agile Anti-Patterns

    Anti-patterns are something that looks like a good idea, but which backfires badly when applied. Many organizations and teams fall into the trap of these anti-patterns, becoming stuck without ever realizing it. Frequently, this is due to a dogmatic understanding of what is right and wrong about Scrum and agile development. The first step to getting unstuck is to be able to detect these “sins.” The presentation exposes teams to these common pitfalls and then also provide a vision for a virtuous path to take them to the Promised Land.

    Todd Little has been developing or leading the development of software for over 35 years.

    For the past 10+ years, Todd has been a frequent presenter at Agile and Software conferences around the globe. He is a founding member and past President of the Agile Leadership Network.  He has served on the Board of Directors of both the Agile Alliance and the Agile Leadership Network, and was a co-founder and Conference chair for several of the Agile20XX conferences.

    Todd is a co-author of the book “Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility,” Addison Wesley.

    Bruce Tankleff
    HP Inc

    HP Mobile Hardware Diagnostics: An Exercise in Agile

    In this presentation, we’ll view a case study of how Agile was utilized in the development and release of diagnostics software for HP’s Elite x3 device. Particular attention is paid to how this Agile project was integrated into the more traditional waterfall development model utilized for the hardware. As the case study progresses, we map specific project activities back to the Agile Core Values and Agile Manifesto to help determine how Agile we really were. The case study ends with lessons learned during the course of the project.


    Bruce Tankleff is the program manager for Diagnostics Strategy at HP Inc. He has spent 30 years in the personal systems hardware and software industry, including 28 years at HP (Compaq) and IBM. Almost all of his experience has been in leadership roles for both software and hardware development, as well as quality management. Bruce is the holder of three US patents in software and hardware design, with one pending. He has also been a long-time instructor for PMP prep sessions, and actively mentors both new and experienced PMs at HP. Originally from Miami Beach, Bruce eventually settled in the Houston area. When not working, he is the caregiver for his mentally disabled brother and has a second job working for his 8 year old basset hound, Lyndi The Wonder Dog.

     Chris Murman

     Things Are Broken…A Case Study In Moving Tooooooo Fast

    “Move fast and break things.” — Mark Zuckerberg

    Mobile is no longer a hobby for companies. In that world, speed is the key. My company embraced the principle of “welcoming changing requirements, even late in development.” It’s allowed us to grow, and we have accomplished some amazing things.

    It’s also caused some challenges for teams. They felt the pain of this pace, and our clients were frustrated by delayed releases.

    This presentation describes a 3-month case study I ran to measure things like team communication, productivity, and quality while implementing Scrum for the first time. The results were convincing, and allowed us to learn what happens when you value speed more than anything else. I hope you’ll join me in seeing how we learned to work smarter instead of harder.


    My first job out out of college was the weekend sports anchor at an NBC affiliate. If had only known what was in store for my career! Interestingly enough, I still love telling the stories of others around me every day. Each interaction is an opportunity to learn what made you unique, and understand where you came from. I think if we got to know each other more on a personal level, it would make the tough conversations easier to have. Today, I help tell the story of change through various projects at ThoughtWorks.

    Come tell me your story!

    Allan Watty
     President, Houston Chapter of Agile Leadership Network

    Achieveing Lean Principle #2 - Build Quality In

    In their book “Implementing Lean Software Development”, Mary and Tom Poppendieck identified 7 principles of Lean Software Development which are based on the principles of Lean Manufacturing. My presentation is around steps that any organization should take to achieve Principle #2: Build Quality In. The quality of our product or solutions affect our ability to deliver new value at a fast-sustainable pace and to be responsive to changing business priorities. It is therefore important that we change our attitude towards software quality as something that is tested in at the end to something that is built-into our development from the start. I will cover practices that the Whole Team can undertake to achieve that along with the required mindset changes that need to accompany this.

    Allan Watty has over 25 years of software development experience.  Allan’s background includes working with international teams, mentoring and creating development environments that produce strongly crafted, quality products. He has served in multiple industries including telecommunications, investment banking, project management, pricing, and energy. 

    Allan has served as senior manager of application development at ABB, a global automation and power technology business. Additionally, Allan managed process safety teams and has held senior management positions at various chemical, energy, oil and gas software companies including PROS, Aspen Technology and BMC Software. Allan also held software development positions at Solomon Brothers (now part of Citibank) and AT&T.

    Allan is currently President of the Houston Chapter of the Agile Leadership Network.  He holds an MBA from Bauer College, University of Houston, an MS degree in Computer Science from Polytechnic University of New York and a BA in Mathematics and Biology from Lehman College, City University of New York.


    Scott Frost
    Solutions IQ


    How to use Value Stream Mapping Workshops to kickstart your Lean-Agile Journey or get it back on track.

    Value Stream Mapping has become the best place to start your Systems Thinking dialogue with your organization. Whether starting a new Lean-Agile Enterprise journey with frameworks like SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) or correcting/evolving your existing scaling efforts, the Value Stream Mapping Workshop leverages Lean Thinking tools to help identify Operational Value Streams, the Systems that delivery that value and then the people that deliver the systems. Understanding how Value Flows through your enterprise is absolutely essential to a scaling journey. In this presentation we will take a look at how this workshop creates alignment and how to run it successfully.


    Mr Frost is currently an Enterprise Agile Coach/Trainer and SAFe SPCT for SolutionsIQ and based on Houston, Texas. Scott has 30 years of Industry experience in organizational leadership and technology delivery. As a seasoned agile professional, he trains and coaches at all levels of the enterprise from Scrum teams to portfolio and executive leadership. He leverages his experiences as a former developer and IT executive to lead large scale transformations. In every engagement he believes in “acting like an owner. Like it was my money on the line.”

    Erin Urban

    Closing the Gap – Keys to Stakeholder Engagement


    Understanding how to connect with the stakeholders and leadership in a strategic project is vital to establishing a robust project foundation, ensure sustainability and the health of the overall initiative. Without informed, structured support from stakeholders early in the planning process; projects can suffer from set-back and unnecessary roadblocks. In fact, leadership and stakeholder support is vital to obtaining traction to get most strategic endeavors off the ground at all. However, are the steps to engaging stakeholders and leaders fully understood?


    Interestingly: not all stakeholders and leaders grasp exactly what is required of them to ensure that the precious time and energy of their resources are not wasted. ‘Engagement’ and ‘Support’ have different levels of meaning based on individual perspective. Oftentimes leaders do feel that they are engaged, even though the project team may see it otherwise. This seminar will discuss how to close the gap to get your stakeholders on board.

    With years of developing grass-roots strategic initiatives in several industries and organizations of all sizes; I will share with you what I have found works and doesn’t work when it comes to laying the foundation for successful projects and establishing a connection with stakeholders. Fortunately, this goal is not as unattainable or overwhelming as it may seem. Join me for a discussion of these topics followed by an open Q&A session. I look forward to adding value to your project endeavors!

    Erin Urban is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified Leadership & Professional Development Coach, Professional Facilitator, Experienced Trainer, and Speaker specializing in leading sustainable continuous improvement culture changes with a mission to add value to others by inspiring individuals and businesses into groundbreaking performance. Erin has over 15 years project management experience and has spent the last eight years instilling grass-roots cultural change initiative programs in organizations with a focus on sustainability and a platform of employee engagement.

    Erin also serves on the Board of the Houston Lean Six Sigma Professionals (HLSSP): a non-profit organization with the mission of encouraging knowledge-sharing and networking opportunities to continuous improvement professionals throughout the Houston, Texas area. 

    Ken Howard
    Improving Enterprises

    The Psychology of Error

    Why do even the smartest teams make decisions that seem dumb in retrospect? What do you do when the biggest impediment to success is your own brain? Even equipped with the best possible data, a growing body of research reveals just how deeply flawed our perceptions, thinking, and conclusions are and why. Be careful not to assume that agile methods alone are the solution.  

    What is the Solution? Awareness! By exploring the psychology of error we create the opportunity to overcome many of the pitfalls hindering even the best teams.  We reveal a common condition that lowers individual IQ by 13 points! We show why many teams perform far below the level they think they are. We explore the biases, fallacies, and mental pratfalls common to every one of us rendering even the smartest teams dumb. You’ll come away with an understanding of the very real forces that distort our decisions and concrete tips you can use to mitigate the damage, and avoid these traps altogether.


    Ken Howard is President of Improving Enterprises in Houston, TX, and has been involved in most aspects of software development, training and mentoring for over 30 years. Ken’s specialty is helping companies increase productivity through efficient practices and pragmatic organizational dynamics, which was the topic of the Addison- Wesley book that he co-authored titled Individuals and Interactions: an Agile Guide.

    Nhung Nguyen


    Driving a Quality Mindset for Continuous Improvement

    In today's fast paced business world, quality has never mattered more. Agile development and DevOps stresses the importance of quality, but many teams and organizations making the transition to agile development still struggle with quality issues.

    Join Nhung as she tells her story of her journey to instill a quality mindset and continuous improvement by in which quality is embedded in employees’ actions. She will share a few case studies highlighting the quality state of the teams and the specific actions the teams have taken.  Overall this is driving to have an organization where a culture of quality has started taking shape.