We are people who love Agile. We want to share experiences and unite like-minded people. For us this is the only natural way to think, work and sometimes to live.

Posts by Julia Vastrik

Agile Saturday XV – Juha Heimonen (Flowa)

“Mix Tech/Case ” Track (11:10) – Juha Heimonen (Flowa)

With topic:

“Wait, wait, wait a.k.a. My code is compiling: the things we wait when creating software”

Juha Heimonen

Short introduction about speaker:

Juha is a holistic software developer. He has experience in many things agile, and he is enthusiastic about simple things and human interaction in order to deliver magnificent software. He loves Clojure, cloud and people. He loves punk, both the music and the attitude.

Topic Abstract:

We take many things for granted. One of them is ‘waiting’. Waiting takes many forms, depending on context, but then again internet is full of cat pictures, so what’s the problem?

Some say software development is costly. That may be true. But it’s not very easy to point out the reason for it being so. Though, one of the things we generally tend to agree on, is that we wait. And waiting is costly.

We wait for a meeting to start.
We wait for CI build to finish.
We wait for our code to compile.
We wait for that certain pull request to be merged, so we can continue.
We wait for a daily morning meeting to start, at noon.
We wait for coffee to be ready.
We wait for go or no-go.
We wait for a meeting to end.
We wait for input from product owner.

All in all, we wait. That costs something, doesn’t it?

So what can we do?

Fear not, there’s things. Mythical one-piece flow, stupendous delegation board! Yes, there’s certain tools, methods, what-nots. But it’s so very important to understand the fundamental thing:

We wait.

This will be a light-weight talk, with a robust message: waiting is caused by simple set of conditions, with very unforeseeable consequences. But fear not, you can make the situation better!

Here’s a short introductory video as well

Agile Saturday XV – Pascal Papathemelis (Agile42)

“General” Track (16:15) – Pascal Papathemelis (Agile42)

With topic:

“Going Agile with Culture”

Pascal Papathemelis

Short introduction about speaker:

Pascal has worked as an agile project manager/scrum master/facilitator of various developments in size and type for almost two decades. His focus is on people and practical approaches in order to deliver value. Currently Pascal is working at agile42 as an agile coach. Since 2014 a co-organiser of Agile Finland’s coaching circle in Helsinki and an active member of the Agile Finland community.

Topic Abstract:

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Why is it so? Everybody says that culture is important and that it needs to be improved. But a decision by the management alone and the announcement at the summer or Christmas party do not bring much. The organisational culture is based on people’s values & their behaviour. How can it be quantified in order to really know where the organisation stands on this? How to evolve it and follow up the journey based on real facts?

In this talk we will see how to identify an agile culture based on the competing values framework and how an organisational culture transformation can be measured and followed up in smaller steps.

Agile Saturday XV – Antti Karjavainen (Flowa Oy)

“General” Track (15:15) – Antti Karjavainen (Flowa Oy)

With topic:

“Facilitating Change through Helping Leaders Grow “

Antti Kirjavainen

Short introduction about speaker:

Antti Kirjavainen, a co-founder of Flowa (flowa.fi) and a coach at Lean-Agile Culture Accelerator at Yle, is an entrepreneur and a coach helping digital businesses reach their potential through new methods of creative and knowledge work.

Topic abstract:

In the face of digitalization and amidst risk of being disrupted by new products, companies, and business models, many companies have woken up to the need for change in company culture, management and the way of operation.

Whether the goal is business agility, the culture of experimentation, or agile company culture, the key challenge is how to foster change in a large organization. The big question is: what investments to actions help make the change stick in the organization while still providing a return bigger than the investment.

One approach to this that I have been a part in at Agile Company Culture Accelerator at Yle, as well as other companies, is creating coaching curriculums to grow leaders and change agents to enact and catalyze the change itself.

Change in organizations spreads like innovations in the population: in a network. You can reach the early adopters with a small change agent team, but to spread the meme of change wider in the organization network, you need other tactics.

In coaching curriculums such as Yle’s Culture of New Work Leadership Coaching, we offer coaching for the hub persons in the organization network (not necessarily the ones in management positions) to grow as and into leaders and change agents. This way, we foster the change in the organization at an arm’s length. This way, different parts of the organization can tailor the change according to their own context and take responsibility for the change themselves.

In this talk, I will share my experiences in designing and carrying out these kinds of coaching curriculums for the leaders. I will also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this way of fostering change.

This talk is targeted at coaches, change agents and managers who want new ideas on how to foster change in their organization and for their customers. The audience will walk away with tips on how to, and how not to, organize a coaching curriculum for leaders, as well as an idea how and in what context it makes sense to consider this way of fostering change.


Agile Saturday XV – Maksims Yemeljanov (Accenture Latvia)

“General” Track (12:10) – Maksims Yemeljanov  (Accenture Latvia)

With topic:

“What it takes to be a Scrum Master in Baltics and not only with real life examples”

Short introduction about speaker:

I’m a Certified SCRUM Master and have more than 5 years as Scrum Master within multiple international start-ups. My expertise lies in establishing, improving and / or developing Agile practices, and my career of 15 years within operations management at major international companies enables me to add value very quickly within a Scrum Master role.

Topic Abstract:

I’ll plan to go into talking what it the core of the Scrum Master role

Speech will cover following topics:
1. What SCRUM Guide says about the role
2. What are general role expectations from various stakeholders: team. PO, organisation
3. Evolution and comparison of the role in Scaled environment: SAFe, Less, NEXUS, Tribes
4. Common anti patterns: with team, with management, organisation, recruiters
5. Career path: is Agile Coach role actually a next step for Scrum Master or the other way around?
6. Quiz

Agile Saturday XV – Third keynote speaker !

Hi all!

We would like to introduce you our third keynote speaker of Agile Saturday XV – the event that will happen already in two weeks!

Our third keynote speaker is – Soledad Pinter and her topic will be –  “Heart of Agile”!

And there is short abstract as well:

“During the last 18 years, we have seen how agile has become more complex with frameworks and techniques, leading us to forget that underneath it all there are “simple” values and principles.

The Heart of Agile (by Alistair Cockburn), is a simplified approach to achieve effectiveness in your daily work and life whatever initiative you are part of. With just four words at the heart of agility and teamwork to describe it: Collaborate, Deliver, Reflect, Improve.

This session provides a practical and interactive view on how to use these basic elements from the Heart of Agile as guidelines to advance your practice. Hope that you take away a new approach and perspective to map your daily challenges in those four simple quadrants, along with new tools to probe with your teams.

Soledad is an agile consultant, coach and trainer with more than 20 years of experience and working in agile since 2006. She has given keynotes and orientations on practices and techniques related to the Heart of Agile on several continents, using an informal and interactive presentation style. Soledad is driven by her passion for helping organizations, teams and people to become better at their every day work. “

Soledad Pinter

Filips Jelisejevs- Also Cloud Latvia

“Got no Product Owner… What to do? .”

Product Owner is the helmsman of your galley. You can have the best rowing team ever, but if helmsman fell overboard, you will never get to the port! What do…? Story from trenches.

What are the strengths of agile development? How does a Product Owner contribute to those? What if a PO is not performing? Or can not scale? Or is altogether absent?

This is the real world story of our company, where through necessity we were forced to dissect and replicate the functions of the PO through a gamified voting process of direct stakeholders. More details and takeaways inside!

BIO: Filips has been a Scrum master and team lead for longer than is probably healthy.

To secure your spot, go ahead and register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/agile-saturday-xiv-registration-44994750510 

Andrei Solntsev- Codeborne

“Automated tests.”

Agile is just a buzzword without technical excellence. Automated tests is the only effective way to assure that you are delivering WORKING software.

BIO: Agile software developer, creator of selenide.org

To secure your spot, go ahead and register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/agile-saturday-xiv-registration-44994750510 

Kati Orav- Creativity Catcher

“Visual thinking as a tool for productive conversations, meetings and processes.”

From this hands-on session you will get to know why, how and where to use visual thinking and practices. I will enhance your skills to doodle and give you a courage to use it in your professional life. After that you just fall in love with visual thinking and ask yourself “How did I even live without it before?”

Visual thinking is a tool for everybody who needs masterfully and visually communicate important messages, enhance meetings, project works and the creation of strategies. If you need to provide overview and shared understanding for teams and groups in all sizes, collaborate purposefully, communicate effectively and navigate in complexity then this session is for you!

A good leader must have the ability to create a free and open environment for dialogue where truly meaningful conversations take place. Nowadays we have less and less time for that cos there is so much information around us and problem-solving seems to become more complicated. It is therefore many leaders around the world have started not just to improve their conversation skills but also their visual abilities. Graphic facilitation is the practice of using words and images to create a conceptual map of a conversation. It is both process and product.

It is a great tool for making cooperation, processes and learning visible, to harvest, to see the common understanding and results. Pictures make people talk, share, ask questions, collaborate and, most important, understand and participate. The main emphasis of the session is to encourage the participants to draw and use simpler drawing techniques in professional life. Additionally, we learn to piece the drawings together in strategic contexts, how a picture can support important texts and how to create complete visuals- the templates.

Templates are the most interactive way of using visual facilitation. Templates are something that invites people to collaborate and participate. Can you imagine the situations where you want to do a project or a strategy but it is so complex that your team member just don’t get the whole picture.

Then you take a big paper and fill it with all of the elements with a lot of white space for everyone’s contribution. First- people start to see the overview, second- they can understand the structure, patterns and how things are connected. And third- they can start to fill it with their own ideas. What could be more fun and inclusive!?

BIO: I help people to fulfil their dreams. For that I teach them how to bring structure to their ideas by using simple pictures. One of the great missions in my life is to help people to find the courage to doodle in their professional life. I live in South-Estonia with my family. I am entrepreneur who dreams a lot but always asks how to make the dream come true. I love teaching and using visual thinking cos this tool and mindset helps me the most. I have made some books and have performed in TEDxTartu and many conferences in Estonia.

To secure your spot, go ahead and register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/agile-saturday-xiv-registration-44994750510 

Liisa Schneemann- LHV

“Scaling agility in organizations – the big, the small and the in-betweeners .”

Can agility scale in organizations, and does size matter? LHV will share their experience in launching an agile startup-like new business venture in the UK in rather unsteady pre-Brexit times.

Last month, LHV launched their new business venture in the UK. As a new generation influencer bank, LHV will start integrating and linking together traditional banking with emerging financial services and fintechs. This requires a large amount of agility and flexibility from the organization and the team, as well seeing and leveraging opportunities in unexpected places and in seemingly less than perfect circumstances. The UK is a rather unpredictable business environment due to obvious Brexit concerns. This can bring about challenges that require adapting to constantly changing conditions and having a personalized approach to your customers.

Starting a new UK venture right before Brexit means swimming upstream when everybody is going with the flow or avoiding Britain altogether. Taking full advantage of the robust growth in the UK fintech sector can only be done with an agile startup mindset as well as business development process that allows rapid adjustments if and when needed. More than anything, launching LHV’s UK business resembles more to launching a startup within an already successful company, than a traditional corporation merely extending their operation across borders. During the session, we’ll explain how we apply agile business modeling in launching and developing our UK business and describe the obvious and less obvious challenges we are facing and overcoming.

Agility is not only for small businesses and startups, it’s a mindset you can take upon in all aspects of your business, teams, and organization as a whole. Agility is scalable, it’s for smaller and bigger companies alike, and for anyone who feels they’re in-between – hustling their way to growth and success. LHV’s UK business demonstrates well how bigger companies can leverage agility not only to grow their already existing business but also launch new ones and explore exciting unknown territories.

BIO: Liisa is the UK Product Manager for LHV, the biggest domestic financial group in Estonia. She has extensive experience in digital marketing and advertising, having held positions in media companies as well as agencies in the past. It is not her first PM role in LHV, she has previously also managed LHV’s integration of internal tools as well as client onboarding. Technology has always been in the center of Liisa’s work and continues to stay close to her heart.

To secure your spot, go ahead and register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/agile-saturday-xiv-registration-44994750510 

Wilko Nienhaus- Vaimo

“Mob programming.”

“All the brilliant minds working together on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and at the same computer”. How we transformed as a team by working together on everything.

1. What is mob programming. Woody Zuill, co-creator of Mob programming calls it “All the brilliant minds working together on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and at the same computer”. It’s basically a “whole-team” approach to teamwork in software development.

2. Why The team’s technical lead found an article about mob programming and shared it with the rest of the team. The team has always been open to try new things and was already familiar with Scrum and Test Driven Development, so they decided to give it a try. At that time the team consisted of 3 persons, the technical lead himself and two other developers.

3. How we got started The team read up on the guidelines of mob programming, booked a conference room and identified a reasonably short user story. The user story was a new feature, part of the code-base they were already very familiar with. They wrote down a plan on how to implement the new feature and took turns at the keyboard.

4. How mob programming changed the team’s process The team followed their regular process, which had the following steps: Todo, In Progress, Code Review, To Test, Done. When they got to the Code Review step, they noticed they had already been code reviewing the code together from the very beginning. They had also been testing the new feature (both with TDD and manual tests), so the Testing step didn’t make any sense either. So they merged the work, deployed the new feature and moved the user story straight to Done. This allowed them to streamline their process where they now only have 3 states: Todo, In Progress and Done.

5. Strategies for working as a mob The talk will cover various strategies for reducing distractions, increasing focus and dealing with exhaustion from too much uninterrupted focus.

6. Learnings from Mob Programming The team will share practical learnings they made, which any team can learn from, even when not doing Mob Programming. The team was also fortunate enough to grow by 2 developers since starting mob programming, so will share how mob programming allowed new developers to adapt easily and even learn TDD in record time.

7. Manager’s perspective Finally we will add a short insight from the manager perspective, on how mob programming actually made the manager’s life easier, all while giving the team more freedom and autonomy.

BIO: CTO at Vaimo. Background as a Backend Developer. Worked with various teams in Vaimo from Product to Hosting to Internal Tools. Focussed on developing Continuous Delivery capabilities within Vaimo.

To secure your spot, go ahead and register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/agile-saturday-xiv-registration-44994750510