Agile 2015, the most talked about agile conference, is in its 13th edition and takes place from August 3 to August 7, 2015 in the Nation’s Capital, at the Gaylord Hotel. This conference brings together an international community of agilists who seek to expand their knowledge of agile methods and practices.

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At Blue Agility, we’re very excited to be sponsoring this event (Silver) and look forward to meeting new agilists and reconnect with old friends.

Blue Agility executives will also be attending the Agile Executive Forum and join a select group of executives in an intensive 1-day event to explore the latest strategic thinking in Lean/Agile principles and practices.

Ok, so here’s my take on Top 10 at Agile 2015!

1. We’re hereby formally inviting you to join us at our booth to talk challenges and solutions with #agiletransformation #scalingagile, #bluejazz and more with our Executives and Team!

2. Dean Leffingwell, creator of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFeTM), will be at our booth on Wednesday, August 6, from 7:45-8:30 pm. Alex Yakyma, SAFe Methodologist at SAI, will join us on Monday, from 9-10 pm. Bring your questions and get ready for interesting discussions!

3. If you’re new to agile and wondering what it’s really all about and how it can benefit your organization, then you might want to sit in on this session: Introduction to Agile: The Genesis – Monday, Aug. 3 – 10:45-12:00 – James Newkirk – http://sched.co/36M

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4. Ok, so you’re already doing agile. But now it’s time to scale the benefits! What are some of the activities that can promote success or spell failure? Scaling Agile Patterns and Anti-Patterns – Monday, Aug. 3 – 2-3:15 pm (Monica Yip and David Grabel) – http://sched.co/36Pm

5. It’s always a cool thing to hear the spearhead of something speak of his work. Don’t miss Dean Leffingwell, creator of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) talk about the Nine Immutable Principles of Lean/Agile Development. Thursday, August 6, 9-10:15 am – http://sched.co/37oV

6. As we all know, change is a difficult thing, regardless of where you stand on the agile continuum. In this sessions, presenters will discuss practical ways of dealing with the challenges inherent to change in a large organization: Navigating the Complexity of Organizational Change – Monday, August 3 – 10:45-12:00 (Jason Little and Declan Whelan) – http://sched.co/36QW

7. When facing the task of becoming more efficient, Value Stream Mapping can be a little tricky sometimes. In this session, the presenter will show practical ways to uncover bottlenecks, queues and silos in any organizational process: Value Stream Mapping Workshop – Wednesday Aug. 5 – 3:45-5:00 pm (Nayan Hajratwala) – http://sched.co/36sj

8. Coming from a neuroscience background, the behavioral aspect of change and its challenges and how to mitigate these in the agile world always fascinates me. These ones, I wouldn’t want to miss: Six Rules for Change – Monday August 3 – 3:45-5:00 pm (Esther Derby) http://sched.co/36Q4 and The Secret of our DevOps Success: Fostering Human Behavioral Change – Tuesday August 4 – 2:00-3:15 (Mark Nemecek) – http://sched.co/36Z4

9. DevOps on your mind? What is it? How can it benefit your organization? The 10 Myths of DevOps – Tuesday August 4 – 3:45-5:00 pm (Seth Vargo) http://sched.co/36Re

10. Now this one is kinda neat. If you’re interested in having dinner and mingling with your fellow agilists on Tuesday evening, August 4, you can sign up for “Dinner with New Agile Friends.” Restaurant seating is limited, so sign up early! http://sched.co/3xfB

See you in DC!


You know that feeling when you hear a song and it matches your mood perfectly? Or, when you’re driving across the city and somehow manage to breeze through traffic signals hitting all the green lights? That feeling when you are strolling through Facebook and come across a quote that resonates with your exact sentiment in that moment?

When you are fumbling around in your front seat of your car – coffee in hand, balancing your laptop on your leg and biting into your cream cheese dripping bagel- trying to get your seat belt on and then finally… that lovely click.

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Ok, ok, enough with the descriptions. You get it. It’s when something clicks. When something feels right and makes logical sense. This is how I felt at the Agile Alliance’s Annual conference, Agile 2014, last week. While I had the calendar on my Agile 2014 iPhone App, filled with sessions that I wanted to attend, I was busy running around organizing meetings, Instagram’ing, Facebook’ing, Tweeting, Pinning, networking and ‘manning’ our booth for the expo hours.

Being an exhibitor, in a marketing role and not attending sessions may make you wonder then, how I could have had that feeling. I’ll tell you what it was – the conversations. Whether it was a brief 2 minute conversation about the conference while folks were lined up at the buffet line for lunch, or a lengthier 15 minute conversation when someone made it a point to connect with us at our booth and learn more about what we do. It was clear to me that we were not only at the right conference, but that we have the right solutions, the right expertise, and that there is a great need for our services.

Having missed the last year’s Agile conference in Nashville, after taking a year off from the agile world, I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as enterprise agile adoption, concepts around scaling agile practices, knowledge of the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe), DevOps experience and the uptake of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools. All of those topics were at the forefront of my mind when we were walking into the Gaylord Palms Resort Orlando.  In my previous life, I had gone to Agile shows, and I had done my due-diligence on the conference itself, so I knew that it was going to be a good fit for us – but I still had those lingering questions.  Are people going to be interested in what we have to say? Is there a need for our services? Is this going to be the right audience for us? Is our messaging on point? (Of course I had these questions – I am our marketer after all!) The answer to my questions – was a resounding “YES!”

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Through the conversations at our booth, I learned that scaling agile practices from the Team Level to the Program and Portfolio level is truly one of the most critical needs for enterprise organizations today.

This adoption simply has to take place in order achieve an effective agile transformation (and a high performing organization) but so many struggle with this transition.  Whether it’s not having a framework to help with the adoption, not having business buy-in, appropriate coaching or a technology war, organizations are having a difficult time with this delicate – Ok daunting ‘task’ – of scaling agile at the enterprise level. I didn’t love knowing organizations – people are struggling with this, but I did love knowing that we can help from a process and tools aspect as well as people by providing expertise using a proven framework (SAFe™), on-site consultants and online guided mentors (powered by bluejazz). Click.

The DevOps movement is in full swing.

People are beginning to understand the concepts around DevOps and that those that have incorporated DevOps into their software development life cycle (SDLC) have a great need for automating their DevOps practices.  Right? Yes, that’s right. But even though there is an understanding, well-developed studies and publications on what DevOps is – when talking about a set of concepts – things can get ‘cloudy,’ or maybe even ‘fluffy.’ What is this DevOps and why is it so important to automate it? Feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken, but it occurred to me, that if an enterprise organization – with interdependent teams is operating using an agile approach (ability to respond to change, cross-functional and self-organized teams, adaptive planning etc.), then operations and development must participate together throughout the SDLC – from the front end (design) to development, delivery and support to monitoring and optimization. From an agile transformation standpoint, agile and DevOps go hand-in-hand – or rather, if an organization is undergoing an agile transformation, DevOps will be an integral piece tightly woven into the cloth. Knowing that we have a solution from a process and tools perspective in this space gave me comfort and assurance – it was difficult to not just smile the entire time when asked if we can help with DevOps – and automating their practices. Another… click.

People… process… and what’s the other one? Technology.

No matter which way we slice it, after whiteboards, sticky notes and planning poker, there is still ultimately going to be a need for tools. At the enterprise level, having a ALM solution that supports an organizations’ agile implementation is vital. I don’t mean just delivering on cadence (or ideally faster) and taking an iterative approach (although those are great perks to agile). I mean refining what’s going into the portfolio, prioritizing and selecting the right investments, ensuring that the right features are being built, and ultimately delivering the right products and to the right audience. Can this business and IT alignment occur without a tool? Sure – but it’s a heck of a lot easier with one and, I’m going to go out on limb here, and say that it would not be possible to repeat that process and continuously deliver value without a reliable tool solution. Being a business partner of IBM and having the Rational suite to go along side our agile transformation services (leveraging SAFe™ and our bluejazz™ solution) puts us in a very good position to help enterprise organizations with not only successfully scaling and adopting agile – but in implementing a dependable tool solution as well. The Rational suite of tools seamlessly supports each stage in ALM, from Rational Requirements Composer and Rational Focal Point, to Rational Team Concert and Rational Quality Manager to Rational Insight. Additionally, IBM’s Urbancode™ and Pure™ strengthen the DevOps strategy and automation process. So, people, process and technology. Yet another… click.

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Suffice it to say, that I am very pleased with our choice to attend and sponsor Agile Alliance’s Agile conference again this year. Not only do I feel that we made an impact and provided value, I felt like we also acquired more knowledge and pertinent information that will help us to better help others.

You know what I mean when I say that it just…clicked?


Being new here to the Blue Agility family, and to the Marketing Department, I’ve been itching to write our first blog post of 2014. With the Polar Vortex hitting us once again on the East Coast, I thought, what better time than this to get some writing in? Rest assured, The Vortex hasn’t slowed us down one bit (a few cancelled flights but nothing a few collaboration tools can’t remedy). With February beginning, and line of sight to all of the activities and events 2014 has in store for us, things are heating up in the Blue Agility world.

Oh, allow me to introduce myself… My name is Ashley Bailey, responsible for Marketing and Communications at Blue Agility. That is a bit of a mouthful, so please; feel free to call me Ashley. After about a year far away (except for my sneaky follows on Twitter, Facebook, blogs on Tech Crunch via Flipboard, and Google Alerts to stay connected…), from working in the tech industry, and specifically the Agile space, I am geek’ing out with enthusiasm to be ‘back.’

In 2013 I left Boulder, CO (I have spent most if my life along the front range in CO), made my way to Bar Harbor, ME for about 7 months, then on to South Florida and just shy of a month before the New Year hit, I landed myself in Philadelphia, PA. Yeah, yeah, just in time for this Vortex business… But I’ll tell you what, I couldn’t be happier to be a short drive away from many of my colleagues and Philadelphia is indeed, a beautiful city.

In an effort to get a feel for how 2013 and excitements for the coming year, I asked the leadership team to provide some insight.

  1. In your opinion, what was the best thing in regard to the Agile Industry in 2013?
  2. What do you think was best thing in regard to Blue Agility in 2013?
  3. What is one thing that you are looking forward to related to Blue Agility or the industry in general in 2014?

As you can imagine, I received quite a responses as 2013 was loaded with highs for both the industry and Blue Agility, so I will attempt to summarize

Agile Industry: 2013 Highlights

  1. Emergence of Scaled Agile Framework™, (SAFe) as a scaleable agile framework
  2. Increased acceptance amongst software delivery practitioners and businesses that new methods and frameworks, such as SAFe and DevOps, can be successfully adopted to deliver high-value software to their customers, more efficiently and effectively

Blue Agility: 2013 Highlights

  1. bluejazz goes LIVE (June 2013)
  2. bluejazz is awarded Best of Show at IBM Innovate 2013
  3. Blue Agility participates in the inaugural SAFe Program Consultant course through the Scaled Agile Academy
  4. Blue Agility becomes a SPC Trainer provider, adding SPC certification to our offering
  5. Blue Agility hires Mike Bonamassa as president
  6. Blue Mercury Consulting rebrands and refocuses as Blue Agility
  7. Blue Agility announces focus on DevOps and SAFe
  8. Agile 2013 conference and Dean Leffingwell at our booth

 

innovate2013booth-1024x675 Agile 2013: Left to Right: Pratik Bengali, Dean Leffingwell, Ken France, Eyal Abukasis

 

Excited for in 2014

  1. Attendance at IBM 2014 Partner World Leadership Conference (in less than 2 weeks!)
  2. Attendance IBM Innovate 2014
  3. Attendance Agile 2014
  4. New hires joining the Blue Agility Family (psst…check out open positions)
  5. Furthering our partnership with Scaled Agile, as a Gold Partner
  6. Furthering our long-standing partnership with IBM, as a Premier Partner
  7. Next release of bluejazz

 

bluejazz, our free, role-based, online mentor bluejazz, our free, role-based, online mentor

 

As for me? As an outside looking in on the industry for much of 2013, I think the ‘best’ was the momentum in organizations embracing DevOps concepts. From my perspective, DevOps, where people, process and tools converge, is the foundation needed for any organization to continuously improve their existing products while also continuing to bring new innovative products to market. DevOps gives organizations the breathing time, space and energy to properly gather and vet ideas/requirements for their portfolio from the many sources of input (including their own strategic direction) and, ensure they are building the right product.

And for the best in regard to Blue Agility in 2013… When I read the press release (via Flipboard on my handy iPad) last fall that Blue Mercury made the decision to refocus and rebrand as Blue Agility, I nodded my head up and down (coffee in hand) and said “Yes.” Rebranding as Blue Agility to better represent the commitment to enabling enterprise agility in conjunction with Scaled Agile, Inc. and Development and Operations (DevOps) tools; and forming a strategic partnership with Scaled Agile as a Gold Partner is a 2013 Blue Agility highlight in my book.

For 2014, I’m not sure I can choose just one. For one, the conferences stacked up this year are kick-ass. With IBM’s Partnerworld Leadership Conference just around the corner, followed by Agile and Beyond, I can’t think of a better way to kick-off the year. We then have Innovate 2014 (bluejazz best of show last year) and of course, Agile 2014 – not to mention all of the other conferences, Scrum Gatherings and local Meetups in between. Each providing unique opportunities, jam-packed with compelling agendas and brilliant thought-leaders.

2014 Conferences

 

In addition to conferences, I’d have to say that I am super excited to have front row seats watching organizations embrace change and take the steps to become an empowered enterprise by making an Agile transformation, leveraging the Scaled Agile Framework™ (SAFe) and DevOps solutions.

It’s going to be a good year folks, be part of the Blue Agility Community and join our discussions.

What do you think the best of 2013 was and what are you excited for in 2014? Drop us a line and let us know.