Sample Submissions


Software Education
Shane Hastie


The Basics

The Product Owner is a crucial role in Scrum and many of the branded agile methods, however the way it is understood and most often implemented is wrong at best and very dangerous at worst.

This talk shows how effective product ownership almost always requires a team with a variety of skills and backgrounds to be effective.

Product Ownership requires clarity of vision, alignment with organisational strategy, understanding of the development process and the ability to communicate with a wide variety of stakeholders across all levels both inside and outside the organization. The complexity of the role is most often more than a single person can (or should) cope with – effective product ownership requires a teamwork approach covering a variety of skills and knowledge.

This talk addresses the following key topics:
* The Product Owner Role
* Project Types
* The Product Ownership Team
– Product Ownership relationships
– Critical success factors for effective Product Ownership
– Product Ownership antipatterns & common mistakes
* Wrapup

Learning outcomes
Clarity in understanding of the difference between Product Owner and Product Ownership
Understanding of the variety of skills needed for effective product ownership
Understand what is needed for Product Ownership to be successful
Understanding the impact different product ecosystem elements have on the way teams are able to work
Understand the important relationships needed for effective product ownership
Understand some common mistakes and antipatterns

This is a talk with a number of interaction points where participants are asked to discuss points in small groups and share their thoughts with the remainder of the audience.
For a 40 minute session the talk covers the following topics & rough timings: (based on feedback I have removed the group discussions and structured it as more of a tutorial)

5 mins Introduction & scene setting
10 mins common patterns & antipatterns of product ownership
10 mins why product ownership really does need a team, what skills that team needs and the relationships that need to be built
10 mins critical success factors for product ownership success
5 mins wrapup


Dipesh Pala


The Basics

In introducing Agile, a key element User Stories will allow a beginner to grasp core Agile values and associated principles, and use them as a primary vehicle for hearing the voice of the customer.

Breaking up user stories can sometimes be as painful as a relationship break up – but it does not have to be like that!

Our experience has shown us that the key to getting full benefit from introducing Agile is in how the team’s work is broken up. When it gets difficult to see how to write small enough user stories, teams often resort to technical story cards. While this may give the team visibility of the work that is being done, the business is not seeing potentially implementable product, or early delivery of business value.

This talk will expose the real reasons for splitting up user stories and not just talk about doing it as a good practice – we must BE Agile not just DO Agile!

Using real-world examples, this talk will also offer a set of guidelines and some unconventional ways for breaking up larger chunks of work into valuable user stories that can help Agile teams become more successful.

Do you have a large User Story that you believe is impossible to split? Bring it to this session and be prepared to be surprised!

This interactive session will inspire and encourage every Agile practitioner to simplify User Stories and to think like a Customer.

Learning outcomes
The presenter will be drawing upon their extensive Agile experience to share learning’s and use real case studies and examples of user stories to illustrate the following:

  • Understanding that making stories smaller may be the least important part for splitting up stories
  • Anti-patterns to look out for when trying to break up user stories
  • Knowing when NOT to break up user stories
  • A set of guidelines and some unconventional ways to follow when breaking up larger features / epics into valuable user stories
  • How to ensure that it can all still be put together after the break up
  • How to convert the most common ‘Excuses’ into ‘Opportunities’ to break up User Stories.

This talk is conducted in a fast paced, highly-interactive style to keep the audience engaged throughout. Light-hearted humour is used to make the analogy between relationship break ups and user story break ups.

Outline of the session

Introduction and setting the scene – Why are break ups (be it real life relationships or User Stories) so difficult?
The perfect User Story – is there such a thing?
Breaking up – a set of guidelines to follow when breaking up larger chunks of work (epics) into valuable user stories. The presenter will be drawing upon their extensive Agile experience to share learning’s and use real-world examples of user stories to illustrate how this is done.
One format that has worked really well for this presentation in the past is breaking up this (core) 25-min section of this talk into 3 segments (with 2 short ‘commercial breaks’ in between). During these 2 ‘breaks’, the session is turned into an open-forum kind of style where a couple of seed questions are planted to encourage some insightful discussions. A couple of example questions are When is the best time to break up? or Who should initiate a break up?. These sorts of questions get the audience really excited. These discussions are lead to become a nice segue into the next segment.
Conclusion: Call to Action to convert every ‘Excuse’ into an ‘Opportunity’ to break up!
Q & A

May even challenge the audience to come up with large Users Stories that are unbreakable!

As the presentation title says, there will be 10 break-up techniques covered during the talk – 3 of which will be done with audience participation. These will be treated as exercise for the audience. The mechanics of this will be is really simple regardless of the size of the audience.

In addition to that, there are several other opportunities for audience interactions throughout the presentation.

While this presentation is mainly targeted towards beginner and intermediate levels, expert Agile practitioners will also get a lot of benefits out of this talk. I also use this talk as a segment of the Agile Fundamentals and the Scrum Master Certification courses that I teach… it is ideal for going back to the basics.

I will be sharing a lot of tips and techniques for splitting up user stories that are unconventional and not commonly found in published patterns and methods. Audiences in my previous sessions connected really well with the real life user stories from real projects.

All attendees will also get to hear a lot of little ‘gems’ (general Agile tips and tricks of the trade) that are based on my hands-on experience in this area. The little ‘gems’ peppered throughout this talk ensures that participants of all experience levels are inspired!


David Mole


Culture Teams Mindset


  1. Are you inspired and happy in your work? Do you feel motivated to give your best every single day? Inspired by Daniel Pink, we delved into the research of what actually motivates people and can now tell you the intriguing story of what we learned and how we were able to create a significantly happier, more productive, motivated workplace by focusing on Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose – the key concepts made famous by the book Drive (and the associated TED talk and online video clips).
  2. Through a combination of research, coaching and lots of trial and error we made a range of changes to the way we worked and to our environment. Proudly, we were able to significantly increase happiness and in turn directly impact the productivity of our Agile teams (although the happiness spread into the wider workplace too!). Of course not everything worked and you will hear about the strategies that triumphed and those that (sometimes spectacularly) flopped! After hearing this talk, you will not only be able to understand what we did and why but you will also take away techniques and ideas for experiments that you can try for yourself.
  3. Debunking stubborn workplace myths along the way, we can also demonstrate exactly what happens to an organisation when you focus on happiness and motivation as your key measures and all the other KPI’s take a backseat. Importantly this is about much more than the theory, yes we will cover that along the way, but we will also tell the story of how we have been able to strategically improve happiness and productivity at two of New Zealand’s largest organisations.

Learning outcomes
The audience will:

  • Understand the key concepts which sit behind happiness and motivation at work
  • Understand why old fashioned thinking and myths no longer apply in the modern workplace
  • Take away different techniques for measuring happiness and understand which ones may be most applicable at their organisation.
  • Identify and understand the overlap between this area and Agile principles.
  • Understand the link between happiness and productivity and strategies for influencing both.
  • Hear a real story of how this work has been applied at two well known New Zealand businesses.


  1. Introduction [5 mins]
  2. What we did and and how it all started by simply measuring the happiness of software development teams.
  3. This section will include the first thought experiment, where the audience will be asked to consider the times when they have been happiest at work and identify common factors.
  4. Research and what we can learn [10mins]
  5. This will include clarifying the concepts and definitions to build a common understanding.
  6. What we can learn from the work of Daniel Pink and his concepts of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
  7. Myths and strongly held beliefs in the workplace (inc. where they originated from).
  8. Other research drawing from Daniel Gilbert, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Daniel Kahnemann.
  9. Techniques for measuring happiness in the workplace [5mins]
  10. Example techniques for measurement.
  11. Real examples of the numbers we gathered and the techniques used.
  12. Other measurements including productivity and (the dreaded!) utilisation, how happiness impacted these and vice versa.
  13. Strategies to improve happiness and motivation [10mins]
  14. The story of what we actually did to improve happiness and motivation.
  15. The strategies that worked (inc gimmicks like slides and scooters in the office!).
  16. The strategies that didn’t work (how we failed and what we learned).
  17. Variations in strategies for different types of role (creative vs. the logical mind).
  18. Ending this section with a second thought experiment where the audience will be challenged to think about what they would do to improve happiness in their workplace with no constraints.
  19. Final Thoughts [5mins]
  20. The people in an organisation who can have the greatest impact (including managers, CEO’s, Agile Coaches and Peers).
  21. What we will do next in our continuing drive to improve happiness and motivation.
  22. A note on the impact of stress.
  23. Key applications of these findings for an Agile Transformation (including team based performance reviews and self-organisation).
  24. Audience questions and anecdotes of happiness at work

‎Note: This is not a purely-theoretical talk nor is it a detailed explanation of the science or neuroscience behind happiness, it is an explanation of the information we gathered from our research and the story of how we were able to apply that knowledge to increase happiness and motivation, on two occasions with two separate organisations.