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Conference puts emphasis on agile thinking within team structure

Event is first of its kind in West Michigan for engineers, business owners, project managers and IT pros.

September 4, 2015
| By Pat Evans |
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A conference designed to help organizations streamline their operations is on tap Sept. 16 at Davenport University.

The Agile Gathering West Michigan is the first event of its kind in West Michigan, said Ted Kallman, a consultant at Unified Vision Group.

Agile is an alternative methodology to traditional project management. One type of agile management is Scrum, a main topic of the one-day seminar, which concentrates on how to manage tasks within a team-based development environment for engineers, business owners, project managers, IT professionals and software developers.

The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Davenport University’s Fieldhouse and costs $499 per person, $249 per person for a group of 10 or more, and $199 for nonprofits and students.

Kallman is one of the keynote speakers of the event. He will discuss his new book, “Flow Beyond Agile,” which focuses on governance and agile transformation while demonstrating studies documenting more than $100 million in added value using Flow and Unified Vision Framework. The book expands on the topics covered in his first book, “The Nehemiah Effect,” co-authored with Andrew Kallman, which discusses agile governance.

“We take the methodology and expand on it so it can be applied to any organization,” Kallman said. “There are agile practices that can accelerate solutions with a simple framework just by optimizing team performance.”

Kallman, who founded Agile West Michigan to help spread the idea with monthly get-togethers, said the speaker lineup is “high-powered.” Kallman has led seminars across the globe in cities such as Stockholm, Sweden, and has consulted with large companies such as General Motors, OnStar, Whirlpool and Spartan Motors Inc.

Keynote speaker Mark C. Layton is the author of “Agile Project Management for Dummies” and “Scrum for Dummies.” He will discuss disruptive thinking and how to create an environment that fosters innovation.

Michael Vizdos, a certified Scrum trainer, is the third keynote speaker. He has nearly 25 years of software development experience and now facilitates the international certified ScrumMaster and certified Scrum Product Owner training workshops.

A breakout seminar will be led by David Rico, a leading expert in agile measurement.

Mark Mochel and Michael Sudyk will present on working with international teams and cultures. Mochel focuses on work within Europe and Sudyk focuses on India. Both have worked with multi-national organizations.

Although this event is the first of its kind in the area, Kallman said more project managers are becoming aware of the agile methodology. He said companies such as Spectrum Health and Dematic are quickly adapting to the new methods.

Kallman said IT professionals, engineers and project managers are quickly beginning to understand the value of increasing efficiencies through the use of agile methods.

“If they’re not familiar with it, they’ve heard of it,” he said. “Pockets of groups are quickly understanding and migrating toward this way of doing things.”

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