Presentation topics

If you want me to do a keynote or talk, here are some topics that have worked well in the past. Typical length is 45-90 minutes. I’m happy to adapt both content and length.


Hot Topics

  • Lean from the Trenches (sample slides) – based on my book Lean from the Trenches – Managing Large Scale Projects with Kanban. Good for more experienced practitioners working on larger projects.
    • Find out how the Swedish police combined Kanban, Scrum, and XP in a 60-person project. This is a high-paced talk based almost entirely on photos, diagrams, and concrete examples. We’ll go beyond the basics and walk through the project step by step, from customer engagement, to the “daily cocktail party”, test, cross-team synchronization, multi-layer kanban boards, version control, metrics, and more. The project, Pust Java, was finalist in the Swedish “Project of the Year” awards for 2011. The subsequent project Pust Siebel was a massive failure, which is also an interesting story.
  • Everybody wants Change, but Nobody Likes to Be Changed (sample slides).
    • The hard thing with Agile is that it is all about change, and people are naturally wired to resist change. This talks provides a model for approaching the change process, and plenty of practical real-life examples of how to overcome resistance to change and help organizations become agile.
  • The Essence of Agile (or What is Agile) ( Sample slides).
    • A summary of what Agile is really about, with plenty of concrete examples.
    • Good for organizations (large or small) in the middle of an agile transitioning, where people need to see the big picture.
    • Here’s a video recording of a shorter version of this talk, aimed at students.
  • Spotify engineering culture (or “Scaling Agile @ Spotify”, or “Culture > Process”) (sample slides)
  • Focus (or Stop Starting, Start Finishing) (sample slides)
    • We’ll take a look at how agile principles can be used to get focused and improve your life, both at home and at work. And how to eradicate the phrase “I don’t have time”.
  • How do you know that your product works? (sample slides)
    • Most companies and projects fail because they build the wrong product. We tend to spend too much time focusing on things like velocity, cost, and feature delivery, and too little on figuring out what the customers actually need. This talk is about how successful product companies combine Agile and Lean Startup techniques to increase the odds of success.
  • Agile @ Scale (sample slides)
    • Agile is pretty easy to understand when dealing with a single team, but for larger organizations with multiple teams and big projects everything gets harder. Let’s look at some practical examples of how agile and lean principles can be applied in a scaling context. The talk is based on two case studies: Spotify (product company with 60+ teams), and a 60-person government project. We’ll wrap up with some general scaling tips. No frameworks or theory, just practical examples and real-life experience.
    • (this talk is a mix of “Scaling Agile @ Spotify” and “Lean from the Trenches”. Needs at least 90 minutes).

Older talks that can be dusted off

  • The Power of Visualization (sample slides).
    • Software development is mostly an invisible process. How do you improve something that is invisible? How can you collaborate around something that is invisible? In this talk I bring up real-life examples of the power of visualization to drive collaboration and process improvement, within software development as well as outside.
  • 10 ways to screw up with Agile (and updated version of 10 ways to screw up with Scrum and XP)
  • Agile Metrics – what to measure and how (sample slides)
  • Manager’s role in Agile (updated version of Manager’s role in Scrum)
  • What to do when Scrum doesn’t work (sample slides) (article).
    • Scrum is great! Except when it isn’t. What do you do when Scrum doesn’t appear to work?
  • Kanban and Scrum – making the most of both (sample slides). The Agile Alliance board told me that this was the highest-rated presentation ever since the first Agile conference in the US! Based on my book with the same name.
    • There’s a lot of buzz on Kanban right now in the agile software development community. Since Scrum has become quite mainstream now, a common question is “so what is Kanban, and how does it compare to Scrum?” Where do they complement each other? Are there any potential conflicts? Can an organization combine these techniques? The purpose of this session is to clarify Kanban and Scrum by comparing them, so you can figure out how these may come to use in your environment.
  • Agile @ Home – simplifying life using agile and lean principles (sample slides).
    • Now for something completely different. Let’s take a look at Agile & Lean techniques can be used for things like travel planning, party organization, helping kids with homework, keeping the kitchen clean, etc
  • How to deal with technical debt 
    • A lot of companies are drowning in technical debt, and getting slower and slower because of bad code quality and lack of tests. So what can we do to avoid this problem? What can we do solve the problem if we’re already stuck in debt?
    • Based on the two articles “The Solution to Technical Debt” and “Good and Bad Technical Debt“.