Agile Philly

Committed to helping members build better software

Agile Transformation

Agile Transformations

Agile Transformations - Taking Your Organization to the Edge presented by James Schiel

Post-Meeting Notes

Tonight unfortunately, Agile Philly missed the company of James Schiel, as he was feeling sick. But, with André Dhondt, Naresh Jain & Tobias Mayer's guidance, we as a group, were able to create a very thought-provoking discussion on the same topic. All of us walked away with many new thoughts, skills & techniques.

Since "Agile Transformations" is a huge topic to tackle in just one evening, we decided to "reduce the scope." Tobias introduced us to a very effective technique for decision making by consensus, called "35". With about 15-20 people in the room, it took us about 5-7 minutes to come to a unanimous decision for a topic, an amazing accomplishment itself! (We all have been in meetings, where hours and even days get wasted, and sometimes without any positive outcome)

Next the group architected the following mind map on our chosen topic of "Agile Transformation Patterns" :

We then voted and decided to delve into more detail and discussed the "Managing" aspect of Agile Transformation Patterns. Mostly all of us took part in the very interesting exercise called "fish bowl", giving us a first-hand experience into this very effective discussion tool. The following patterns emerged out of this discussion:

1. Set upfront (Business) goals. 2. Communicate the goals, processes & tools to stakeholders. 3. Have passionate / excited people on project. 4. Have an Agile (Executive) champion. 5. Advertise the point of success. 6. Have a process to align Developer and Customer Goals. 7. Support personal growth of team members. 8. Recognize context, use shared language, e.g. "Velocity" can be easily misunderstood. 9. Maximize use of Agile, while fulfilling the client's needs. e.g. in addition to burn-down charts, provide the client Gantt charts, if requested.

Some other quotes & discussions:

"use pain to sell change" "Agile is about delaying decisions" "Advertise your goals instead of just proclaiming 'we are going Agile'" "Never 'sell' Agile"

All in all, the evening was successful and full of thought-provoking, insightful discussions. We all are looking forward to the next Agile Philly meeting, and hoping it will be as engaging and stimulating as tonight's.


When planning to transform an organization to agile development, one has to consider a multitude of challenges that only begins with software and development process. An agile transition changes processes, practices, organizational structure, and customer relationships - just to begin. The most difficult and time consuming aspect of an agile transition begins and ends with the people that make up the organization. Can they walk the line between order and chaos? Can they embrace chaos sufficiently to accept agile requirements management while, at the same time, embrace order and discipline sufficiently to create software in a highly regulated industry. By examining both the successes and failures of Health Services Soarian Enterprise development organization, we will look at all that is entailed in transforming an organization to agile product development.


Jim Schiel has been with Siemens Health Services for over 20 years, spending all of that time in software development, first as a developer and, for 15 years, as a manager. Jim is a Certified Scrum Trainer, a member of the Agile Alliance, and a contributor to the Agile Alliance newsletter. He is currently the Agile Development Program Manager for the Siemens' Soarian Enterprise development organization, responsible for the introduction and continuous improvement of agile development in the Soarian organization.


  1. 6:30 - 7:00 - Greet, Food, intro, and announcements, etc.
  2. 7:00 - 8:00 - Presentation
  3. 8:00 - 8:30 - Conclusion and further discussion
  4. 8:30 onwards - Social Hours

About the facility

(Note to visitors that have been to Ternary before--this office is across the street from where we met last time). 180 Sheree Blvd., Suite 2000 Exton, PA 19341



At AgilePhilly, we have been Promoting Agile Ideas since 1776

AgilePhilly is a not-for-profit user group of volunteers in the Philadelphia area dedicated to better software development practices.


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    • 8:20-8:30 Q & A , Pack-Up, More Networking

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