Full Session List

Check out the presentations from our exciting sessions here

KEYNOTE: Can you teach a 150 year old dog new tricks?

Don Monk – General Mills

Only a handful of fortune 500 companies from the 1960s still exist. For a company to exist long term, they must continuously change their business model and adapt to customer and consumer needs. This continuous change is only possible with the acceptance that all companies are tech companies. Even more key than the technology is the how the work gets done.

This talk draws on the journey of General Mills as it dramatically transforms it’s business model and the role technology, data and agile play. This journey has many lessons – both positive and negative to learn from. General Mills is truly a tech company that makes food people love!

KEYNOTE: The Post-Agile Future of People-Powered Collaboration

Luke Hohmann – Conteneo

Now that Agile has “crossed the chasm” and is the “new normal” method for creating software, we owe it ourselves to look towards the future to understand where we are heading in the post-agile world. In this keynote internationally renowned agile expert Luke Hohmann will present a post-agile future of People-Powered, framework-driven collaboration.

What Beethoven Can Teach Us About Failure

Anna Bliss – Twin Cities Product Community

As humans, we don’t like to fail. We’re taught from an early age to avoid it. So what if we re-frame that thinking? What if we follow the lead of musicians, who know they will hit wrong notes as they learn? Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the world’s best known classical music composers. Even people who have never attended an orchestra concert recognize the opening notes of his Fifth Symphony; four notes that, over 200 years after they were written, we all know. What is less known is that Beethoven spent four years creating the 30 or so minutes of music that is the Fifth Symphony. We could look at that as four years of failing before Ludwig got it right, or we could reframe it as four years making sure he didn’t deliver the wrong thing. How can we, as technologists, follow Beethoven’s lead and fail in small ways in an effort to make sure we aren’t delivering the wrong thing? How do we use “test and fail small” like a musician would – making our mistakes in our practice sessions and not in performance? By finding ways to reframe how we talk about “failure,” we can identify what we need to practice so that our performance, and delivery to production, will shine.

Product Discovery Stories: when and how to use a discovery sprint to validate your ideas

Kevin Burns, Matt Engstrom, Jonathan Wentz – Thomson Reuters

Are you unsure about whether your big idea has legs? Or maybe you’re confident your idea has a positive ROI but you’re not sure how to design and deliver it. This talk will illustrate how teams move from concept to prototype to customer interviews in a week using a Dojo Discovery Sprint. In this talk you’ll learn how the Dojo Discovery Sprint focuses the team on idea and design discovery more than delivering the next software increment. In many cases, it’s hard to know with a high degree of certainty what the next most valuable software work is when the ideas and designs haven’t been tested with real customers. You’ll learn how to test your ideas and designs before jumping into implementation.

People & Products: Partners in Vision

MC Legault – Pyxis Technologies

My vision with partners and teams builds on support, collaboration, and going beyond. We will share how we enjoy inspiring new approaches with Agile — giving us a voice and wings! We’ve discovered that by partnering with Collaborators, Corporations, and Clients (the 3 C’s), we can help “open the kimono”, focus on people, and respond to issues of change with continuous innovation and empowerment. This approach can often yield a significant level of support.

This presentation will cover how engaging and building relationships with each of these remarkable “Vision Partners” can bring additional help and investments into our work, products, and in our lives. Because of this “people attitude”, clients such as Disney, McDonald’s and Crayola have continued to issue us additional projects, helping us reach further and do more together — including being really vulnerable with said clients while working on some of the world’s toughest initiatives.

Through exchanges of ideas, case studies, and legacy sharing, come learn how our special initiatives and tools can give YOU wings for thinking and doing differently from the people mindset.

How Can Product Managers “Be More Strategic”? Foundational Behaviors of Strategic Product Management

Jeff Lash – SiriusDecisions

Many organizations feel that their product management teams are overly focused on tactical and technical aspects of product development. Product management leaders and business executives often push their product managers to “be more strategic,” but don’t provide any guidance on is expected from a “strategic” product manager. In this session, we will describe five sets of behaviors required for strategic product management, as well as resources and frameworks that can help develop and support strategic behaviors.

Behavioral Driven Development and its reliance on teams

Chris Riley – Cprime

The word automation brings to mind the elimination of people and the talents they can bring to bear. In test automation we focus on the ability of computers to execute unit, functional, or other tests against our products to confirm stability and quality as quickly as possible. Behavioral Driven Development, while still leveraging computers to execute tests, is a form of development that focuses on a shared understanding of what software is meant to provide. Teams can use a natural language metaphor to describe inputs and expected outputs of tests, which in turn are then use to generate acceptance tests that easily plugin to Continuous Integration solutions.

This presentation will share the philosophy of BDD and its working components, as well as showcase the shared understanding necessary in BDD for teams to successfully work together.

Human-centered data: using data science and human-centered design to grow your product

Justin Royer, April Seifert & Tres Tronvold – Sprocket

April Seifert, Justin Royer and Tres Tronvold are the creative nerds at Sprocket.  In this 45-minute workshop, they will introduce you to five important principles that will help you reframe the way you think about using data science and design to grow your product. You’ll focus on a business scenario for a hypothetical Twin Cities microbrewery and complete hands-on work in small groups, leaving with a concrete understanding of the creative applications of data science, a framework you can apply in your own business, as well as a smile on your face (and perhaps a free growler…we’ve got a drawing for free beer).

Lean Leadership

Kurt Schmidt – Foundry

Many organizations are asking us to do more with less. This makes leading teams increasingly more difficult. The concept of “Lean Leadership” means deliberately creating space for others to take initiative. Join us for a relevant discussion on how each and every one of us has the potential to become “lean leaders”.

Product Management – The Next Release

Mike Smart – Egress Solutions

The function of product management has a lifecycle. There are new roles emerging that will lead to successful products in the future.

What are the outside influences effecting how product managers are valued? We will explore some of the trends we have observed in the discipline.

Product Management or the Intricate Art of Getting (the Right) Things Done

Anne Steiner – Cprime

Being a product manager (owner) is a rewarding yet challenging gig. Balancing product strategies with financial realities, strategic thinking with tactical needs, and customer desires with technical constraints can leave us frazzled and frustrated. Everyone needs something from you, and you find yourself in the position of having to make tremendously difficult choices that will inevitably leave people disappointed. Sometimes it feels like we have little control over outcomes, but do not fear as that is hardly the case.

Grounded in the context of her 10 years working at various levels of product management, Anne Steiner discusses three common roles within a product organization and the multiple ways they have to influence varying types of product decisions and to make things happen. We’ll dig into specifics on how each level of product manager can influence, decide, and advocate on behalf of their products and teams. You’ll learn how each step on your product journey gives you different responsibilities and also different tools for guiding product impact.

Yes, You Can! No, I Can’t! Yes, You Can!

Lee Zukor – SportsEngine

High performing product teams know what to do, but even more importantly, they know how to do it. In this session, we’ll talk about why how means everything to the success of your team, from building trust and hiring to estimating work and nailing deadlines. We’ll also discuss how the culture of your engineering team and your company are critical to your success and how to bring them along.

HR As (Underutilized) Driver of Innovation

Fabiola Eyholzer – Just Leading Solutions

Innovation is the pulse of any flourishing business and yet many companies still have a narrow view on innovation; one that lacks vision and strategy and absolutely underestimates the role of HR in creating a sustainable culture of innovation.

Join us on a discovery journey to learn about the impact of an agile-minded HR approach on the company’s creativity and innovation power. And hear more about the role of your personal growth paths in the whole equation.

Is your HR up to the challenge?

The Human Side of Data in Product

Dave Mathias – Beyond the Data

We as product managers leverage data (“data science”, “AI”,…) to make decisions, enhance our products, and influence others yet data is imperfect just like humans. Stop! Don’t throw the data out with the bath water. But, also don’t blindly go with instinct. In this session we will discuss how we can: 1) understand human perception differences and how to leverage these; 2) deal with biases and uncertainty and make decisions in spite of these; and 3) use data to influence others and at same time balancing instinct and discerning thought.

The Product Owner Tax: 5 Inevitable Taxes every Product Owner & Leader Pays

Nicole Smith – Express Scripts

How many conversations do we find ourselves repeating? When was the last time your teams evaluated their currency, and what does that even mean?

In this short breakout (insert format) session, Nicole walks us through 5 things any Product Owner or team leader, new or old, can focus on starting today to help their teams focus, on the right work, and reach decisions as leaders, faster.

Bring your biggest problems, a notepad, and some humor. She’ll provide the visuals to leave you with increased self-awareness and immediate changes you can lead your groups through.

Effective Product Brainstorming

Braden Ericson – PayPal

You’re responsible for your team’s roadmap and product goals, but that doesn’t mean that your team can’t help you create them. In this session, you’ll learn how to effectively hold a brainstorming session for your product that will not only help you create value for your customers, but will also help you drives stakeholder buy-in.

A New Hope: Building Accessibility into an Agile Environment

Natalie Austin, Carrissa Merrill, Ginny Yahnke – US Bank

As designers and developers of software, we act as gatekeepers in people’s lives more than we realize. When done right, our software could be the difference between someone with a disability living an independent, productive life, or needing outside help to complete a task, including at their job. From banking, to grocery shopping to collaborating online, accessible software can range from somewhat convenient to a total game changer helping someone to excel.’ In this session you will learn about universal design, the industry standard, problems with accessibility during the development phase, and how U.S. Bank integrates accessibility into both design and development.

Improving Collaboration in Agile Teams

Elizabeth Hodos – HIL Training

Did you know that 75% of job success is derived from soft skills, yet very little time is spent developing them? This session is all about developing collaboration skills using the tenets of Improv Comedy. (You heard that right.) The focus will be on why Improv can help agile teams collaborate more effectively, and how to apply basic techniques in your own teams.