Full Session List

What Beethoven Can Teach Us About Failure

Anna Bliss – Best Buy

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.

Uff da, I am so Gosh Darn Burned Out!

Leah Cunningham – SGD

Christmas Day, 2016 I found myself getting admitted to the cardiac unit at Abbot Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. For three days I laid on a hospital bed, hooked up to all sorts of monitors, with doctors running all sorts of tests to determine what was going on with my heart. I was 37 years old, athletic, seemingly healthy and the doctors diagnosed me with left ventricular hypertrophy and high blood pressure. Having excellent labs with everything else, the docs chalked it up to long ignored high blood pressure caused by a combo of genetics and stress. I was burned out. With so many misinterpretations about scaling, agility, breaking things and moving fast, many organizations are realizing a growing concern of employee burnout. This is a serious problem not only for the person who is burnt out, but it also affects their family, friends, workplace, community, and even our economy. As written in a recent Forbes article, “Why We Need To Talk About Burnout In The Tech Industry”, the healthcare spending on workplace stress costs an estimated $125 to $190 billion annually. Even worse, it contributes to around 120,000 deaths per year. Look, the reality is that burnout is rampant in our fast-paced, high-demand, competitive environment that is the tech industry. But it does not have to be this way. This talk will focus on sharing real and tangible solutions on what we can do to protect ourselves against burnout. Join the conversation and lets and make a positive difference today.

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.

The Post-Agile Future of People-Powered Collaboration

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.

MC Legault

Pyxis Technologies

MC can connect, engage and empower a new generation of game changers in Canada and around the world. She can address key global challenges with heart and transparency…Marie-Christine is an Agile buzz executive/partner/collaborator!

Holding a bachelor’s degree in communications, She is an ardent fan of building relationships and new opportunities. She has 20 years of street-smart marketing and advertising experience for national and international companies (GE, Quebecor World, Cadbury, Royal Canadian Mint, Hyundai, Nestlé, Pepsi, Lancôme, Robert Mondavi Wines, Crayola, Disney…).

Session:Coming soon

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!

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”.

Mike Smart

Egress Solutions

Mike has the DNA of a product strategist and product manager. He is an intensely focused problem solver and somewhat of an introvert. As the Founder and Principal Consulting of Egress Solutions, a boutique product consultancy he helps tech companies achieve market success and sometimes gets to play with very cool things.He brings more than 20 years of experience with lean techniques in product strategy, product adoption, product launch and customer acquisition.

Session: Coming Soon

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

Lee Zukor is Senior Vice President of Product and Engineering at SportsEngine and is responsible for creating products customers love. Before joining SportsEngine, Lee held executive positions at both large companies and startups, including VP of Product and UX at Bluestem Brands, Founder/CEO at Simplegoodandtasty.com, and Chief Experience Officer at Wize.com. Lee earned his undergraduate degree from Boston University. When he’s not working, Lee spends his time writing music, traveling, and exploring the Twin Cities with his wife and two teenagers.