GTFS Speakers 2020




The Spirit of Scrum

Jeff Sutherland is one of the inventors of the Scrum software development process. Together with Ken Schwaber, he created Scrum as a formal process at OOPSLA ’95.  Jeff helped to write the Agile Manifesto in 2001 and is a co-author (along with Ken Schwaber) of The Scrum Guide.  Jeff has also founded Scrum Inc, a leading authority on Scrum that has provided training, consulting, and counsel to hundreds of companies and individuals.

Dave West -


The future of Agility as Scrum turns 25 and the
Impact of Covid-19

The year 2020 has demonstrated the need for governments, organizations, teams, and people to be more agile. COVID-19 and the associated economic, social, and environmental impact have turned many well-built plans into messy wish lists and
impossible targets. Agile has become not just a competitive nice to have, but a foundational requirement for success. But what is this agile? Is this the same agile as Scrum defined 25 years ago? Or is it some new agile that embraces everyone? In this
talk, Dave West, CEO of talks about the lessons we have learned from Scrum and how they will provide a foundation for the future of work. He will discuss how Lean Startup, Design Thinking coupled with a people-centric approach to the organizational structure will when aligned to the right customers and outcomes drive to a more agile and responsive organization.

Dave West is the Product Owner and CEO at He is a frequent keynote speaker and is a widely published author of articles. He also is the co-author of two books, The Nexus Framework For Scaling Scrum and Head First Object-Oriented Analysis and Design. He led the development of the Rational Unified Process (RUP) and then worked with Ivar Jacobson running the North American business for IJI. Then managed the software delivery practice at Forrester research where he was VP and research director. Prior to joining he was Chief Product Officer at Tasktop where he was responsible for product management, engineering and architecture.



The game of Scrum has changed: suddenly and without warning, effective video communication IS NOW A KEY AND ESSENTIAL SCRUM SKILL.

Communicating with Scrum teammates, stakeholders…executives…all of a sudden, you have new opportunities and advantages. Once you figure it out, you have new SUPERPOWERS. It does not matter what height you are, for example. That no longer matters. Or if you speak softly. That is now AN ADVANTAGE.


In this session, Daniel Mezick teaches from his course HOW TO TEACH, MANAGE AND LEAD ONLINE. You’ll gain all-new skills at video communications, skills that give you an unbeatable advantage when communicating with Executives, Stakeholders, Product Owners, Scrum Masters and Team members….over video. You’ll learn what to do, and WHAT  NOT TO DO. You’ll learn why TOOLS DON’T MATTER if you do not first effectively CONNECT with the others. Attend this session to learn new video-communication superpowers, as you bring your full self to work each day, with your Scrum teams, over online video.

Daniel Mezick is a ScrumAtScale Trainer, an expert on business agility, and an author of three books on organizational change. A frequent keynote speaker at industry conferences, Daniel’s list of clients include Capital One, INTUIT, Adobe, CIGNA, Pitney Bowes, SIEMENS Healthcare, Harvard, and dozens of smaller enterprises.

His books include  THE CULTURE GAME , which describes 16 specific patterns that extend Agile ideas across the organization, beyond software; the OPEN SPACE AGILITY HANDBOOK , which pioneered the Open Engagement Models concept for agile and digital transformations; and  INVITING LEADERSHIP: Invitation-Based Change in the New World or Work™, which introduced the concept of Invitation-Based Change and introduced the domain of Authority Studies. INVITING LEADERSHIP published in 2018 and upon publication it reached #1 on the Amazon bestseller list in the Organizational Learning category.

Daniel’s enterprise consulting practice is built upon the core concepts found inside these books. He conducts workshops based on these books, and also offers enterprise Agile coaching, Agile training programs for teams, and management consulting. You can learn more and contact him at


Gathering Scrum Requirements with Clean Language

The November 2017 Scrum Guide said:
A Product Backlog is never complete. The earliest development of it lays out the initially known and best-understood requirements.

Knowing and understanding requirements is absolutely essential to success using Scrum. But most of the time, end-users have only a vague idea of what they actually want. How do we help end-users to clearly communicate what it is that they actually want?

In this session, you learn about a very effective tool for achieving exactly that. This tool, called Clean Language, is a set of questions and protocols which lead to rapidly developing a shared understanding of the requirements. Clean Language clarifies communication, by discovering and then using the language and metaphors of the end-user. By distinguishing between inference and evidence your team can develop a genuinely shared model for what everyone would like to have happen. Clean Language is a very effective communication tool that can speed up the process of requirements discovery and greatly improve your overall results. Attend this session to learn about how to achieve these goals within the context of your Scrum practice, using the Clean Language toolset.

Caitlin Walker is a pioneer in the domain of Clean Learning and the developer of Systemic Modelling™. She is the author of From Contempt to Curiosity, which details many of the innovative and transformational projects that she has led across the U.K. and beyond.



Konstas (Chuck) Yannakopoulos, Vice President, Software Development, Healthcare R&D, NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS

John Curry, Senior Director, Program Management, Healthcare R&D, NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS



Publicly-Traded, Large, Mature, Globally-Distributed Enterprise

The November 17 Scrum Guide says:

“The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including: leading and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption (and) planning Scrum implementations within the organization”

Too often, leadership believes implementing Scrum is a simple process change that can be authorized, funded, and then delegated.

But this leads to mandated transformation initiatives that teams have no part in defining, and results in no real lasting change, and costs millions of dollars…mostly wasted on external consultants. To truly reap Scrum’s benefits, Executive Leadership must own and model the Agile Transformation because it is nothing short of a strategic reorganization, and a collective, org-wide, emotional experience of cultural change.


First and foremost, Executive Leadership must reform as a senior cross-functional Scrum team, or Executive Action Team (EAT.)  This EAT is responsible for leading the Agile organization; providing clear and challenging transformation goals, eliminating “organizational debt,” removing impediments for the teams, and holding Scrum Masters and Product Owners accountable.

It is one thing to establish such a team of engaged executives if you own the company or you encounter leaders so desperate that they are willing to try anything. But what about establishing an EAT within a successful organization where only some leaders recognize the need to transform in order to compete in the modern business world?

In this case study, Enterprise Agile coach and transformation leader Joseph DeAngelis will share his experience, with two senior executive leaders also presenting. We plan to describe starting an Executive Action Team within the Healthcare division of our publicly traded technology company, using nothing more than an invitation, explicit agreements, and a whole lot of patience.

What started with a simple invitation to an executive Healthcare leader and his staff to attend a local Open Leadership symposium, has led to an established team of highly engaged leaders that meet 2 hours per week to discuss transformation initiatives. They work in this way every week to remove organizational impediments.

Within two (2) quarters, this Executive Action Team has achieved the following:

  • An Agile practice to carry-out transformation activities;
  • A thriving Scrum Master Community of Practice;
  • Org-wide, shared definitions of the key terms, “Agile,” “Scrum,”, “Kanban” and “Scaled”
  • Over 80 willing, self-directed and truly self-organized Scrum teams;
  • A highly effective training program for over 400 leaders and individual contributors
  • The establishment of organization-wide Scrum metrics, especially metrics around Sustainability and Process Efficiency.

From this presentation, you will walk away with an understanding of what it really takes to convince long standing engineering leaders to try Scrum and Scrum@Scale…. for real.

You will also learn:

Why it took multiple attempts before we achieved a functioning Executive Action Team, and the lessons we learned from each attempt, and…

  • How to invite leaders into the transformation, as the first step
  • How a single set of org-wide Open Space Technology events strongly contributed to our larger culture shift
  • How to gain explicit agreements around core terms and definitions and, and the very positive changes these simple agreements bring, to personal and team behavior
  • How to manage the inevitable ups & downs the come with transformation success and failures.
  • How to create a VERY RAPID impediment escalation process, from the Teams to Executive Action Team, and
  • The planned next steps on our journey.

Everyone who attends this session receives a roadmap/checklist that highlights key achievements towards establishing an Executive Action Team and what ultimately were the drivers of our success, so you can try these very same techniques at your company.

Joseph DeAngelis has been coaching executives and Agile teams since 2010, and is currently a transformation leader at Nuance Communications.  In this role Joseph consults on the implementation of Scrum at Scale across the Healthcare organization, providing coaching and training to over 75 Scrum and Kanban teams and senior leadership and executives. Joseph is a founding member of the Healthcare Executive Action Team and also guides several Healthcare Guilds including those that develop Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Agile Leaders, and is currently working to establish true Healthcare-wide Portfolio Management. Joseph has also been the Agile Boston operational leader since 2016.




The Scrum Team Canvas

The Scrum Guide says:
Scrum Teams are self-organizing and cross-functional. Self-organizing teams choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team.

A team is a collection of Individuals whose interactions can be messy. Everyone sees the world through a unique intersubjective lens, which can create challenges for scrum team productivity. Clarity and accountability around many elements beyond the “definition of done” are crucial to self-organized scrum team success. In this session, you will learn with a canvas that surfaces the major elements of intersubjective thought and behavior and creates a foundation for accountability conversations based on commitments. Participants will learn how to rapidly iterate the “rules of engagement” for working together productively and avoiding the pitfalls of intersubjectivity by defining how they will work together while optimizing accountability and feedback delivery and minimizing or eliminating dependencies.

Doug Kirkpatrick is an organizational change consultant, TEDx and keynote speaker, executive coach, author, and educator. He recently released his third book, The No-Limits Enterprise: Organizational Self-Management in the New World of Work with Forbes Books, and is a partner in NuFocus Strategic Group, an international consulting firm helping companies embrace the future of work. A member of the Forbes Speakers network, he has served as a director on a number of boards including the Association for Talent Development (ATD), the world’s largest talent development association with 35,000+ members in 120 countries, and the Leadership Institute for Development, Education and Research (LiDER) to develop leaders throughout the Americas.

Doug began his career in the manufacturing sector, principally with The Morning Star Company, a world leader in the food industry, as a financial controller. He now engages with Open Leadership Network, HumanCentric Labs, Great Work Cultures, Center for Innovative Cultures, Responsive and other vibrant organizations and leaders to co-create the future of management. His previous books include Amazon bestsellers Beyond Empowerment: The Age of the Self-Managed Organization and From Hierarchy to High Performance: Unleashing the Hidden Superpowers of Ordinary People to Realize Extraordinary Results.

Mark Burgess


Discussion facilitated by: DANIEL MEZICK

No one can make a promise for YOU, only YOU can do that. This simple fact has very-wide-scope implications for getting people and technology to work together — especially when scaling services and organizational changes. Promise Theory provides a framework for understanding decision-making, leadership, teamwork, collaboration, and organizational change at scale.

Promise Theory says that an approach for scaling human systems ought to also work well for scaling computer systems, and vice-versa. Now what is interesting about this is the fact that a network of autonomous agents, who independently make and keep promises, is a proven way to scale. Scaling in this way does not decay throughput as additional nodes and agents are added. Promise Theory describes a strategy for achieving linear scalability through scale-free networks. Promise Theory describes the mechanics of cooperation at scale.

In this lunch-and-learn session, you are introduced to Promise theory and how it applies to Scrum forecasting in Sprint Planning, Release Planning and more. We’ll take a look at previous versions of the Scrum Guide and explore the terms “commitment”, “forecast” and “promise.” A video on Scrum and Promise Theory from Promise Theory originator Mark Burgess will be presented, followed a lively discussion of how to apply Promise Theory to your Scrum At Scale applications.

Mark Burgess is a theoretician and practitioner in the area of cooperation and information systems, whose work has focused largely on distributed information infrastructure. He is known particularly for his work on Promise Theory, a theory of high-performance based on autonomous agents at scale. Promise Theory describes the interactions between autonomous agents within a system. It provides a semi-formal language for modelling intent and its outcome, which results in a chemistry for cooperative behavior.

Patricia Kong photo


When to pivot and when to progress. How organizations can manage value with Evidence-Based Management

More than ever, organizations must be focused on their investments and efforts. We cannot expect that tomorrow will be like today. With all of our assumptions called into question, the ability for organizations to be agile is what will help them pivot and sustain. To achieve true business agility, organizations must not only grow and support self-reliant, cross-functional, self-organizing teams, they must also change the way their organizations oversee their agile initiatives. They must believe in feedback and allow that feedback to work.

In this interactive session, Patricia will dive deeper into the Evidence-Based Management (EBM) framework and the 4 EBM Key Value Areas of Current Value, Unrealized Value, Time to Market and Ability to Innovate and their supporting Key Value Measures with attendees through a series of exercises.  She’ll also go through how EBM has evolved and the intention behind the recent updates to the EBM Guide around seeking goals and continuous improvement.

Patricia Kong is co-author of “The Nexus Framework for Scaling Scrum” published by Pearson. She is also a public speaker and mentor. Patricia is the Product Owner of the enterprise solutions and leadership program which focuses on helping organizations thrive in a complex world. She also created and launched the Partners in Principle Program.

Patricia is a people advocate and fascinated by organizational behavior and misbehaviors. She emerged through the financial services industry and has led product development, product management and marketing for several early stage companies in the US and Europe. At Forrester Research, Patricia worked with their largest clients focusing on business development and delivery engagements. Patricia lived in France and now lives in her hometown of Boston. Patricia is fluent in 4 languages.

YUVAL YERET with GILLETTE executive David Ingram

Using the Scrum Spirit to Sprint GILLETTE’S holistic product development process

Yuval and David will share how Gillette’s world shaving HQ based right here in Boston is using Scrum to dramatically overhaul their product research and development processes. Gillette is using Scrum to figure out the holistic proposition including the concept, claims, product design, branding, financials, packaging, shelf appearance, and more. Scrum’s empiricism has already helped accelerate learning and convergence in several strategic programs comprised of multiple Scrum teams. Now the challenge is how to anchor this new spirit in the organization’s operating system and culture. Being pragmatic while staying true to the Scrum Spirit has been hard but was, is, and will continue to be a key success factor in this journey.
David Ingram heads R&D for P&Gs Grooming Chemistry and Gillette Male teams. He’s the senior Scrum champion in Gillette and also acts as a Product Owner and Stakeholder. His background is in Chemical Engineering, Innovation, Process and package Development, R&D.  Before moving to Gillette HQ in Boston he headed the Brussels Innovation Center.

Yuval Yeret is a Professional Trainer (PST) and a SAFe Program Consultant Trainer (SPCT5) at AgileSparks. He’s an internationally recognized Kanban thought leader, a co-author of the Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams and the co-creator and steward for the Professional Scrum with Kanban (PSK) class. He received the Lean/Kanban Brickell Key Award, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He hails from Israel and is currently based in the Boston area.

Stuart Turner Photo


THE GAME OF SCRUM: Designing Game-Changing Games

The Scrum Guide defines the ‘rules of the game’ of Scrum.

Rugby scrums are games within the larger game of rugby. When you use Scrum, you’re also playing a game within a larger game. The values, rules, rewards, boundaries and feedback of the enclosing game tend to have a significant influence on what you can achieve using Scrum.

We’ll use the traits of games to understand your experiences using Scrum, including:

  • Clarity about the Authority and Rights of the Scrum Team
  • Working within constraints such as cost, deadlines, defined scope, etc.
  • Definition of Done

We’ll go on to explore some patterns of good games and some of the common problems experienced due to poorly designed or implemented games.

Finally, we’ll learn about designing game-changing games for:

  • Improving facilitation
  • Living according to our desired values
  • Avoiding triggering resistance
  • Benefits beyond the Product

Stuart Turner holds all of the Scrum Alliance’s guide-level credentials including Certified Agile Leadership Educator, Certified Scrum Trainer, and Certified Enterprise Coach. Thriving workplaces are Stuart’s passion. Being much more financially successful, they will be our future. Stuart’s merely helping those who want to achieve it sooner.

Having initiated radical transformation from within two organisations and having coached and mentored people at all levels in many more, Stuart has a wealth of experience of both personal and organisational transformation.

Over the past 20 years he has observed the patterns and trends of organisations attempts at agile/digital transformations and now devotes most of his time to educating and coaching holistic approaches to change, both at an organisation-wide level and with the complementary agile leadership skills for individuals.

Stuart is a keynote speaker, a certified coach with the International Coaching Federation, founder of the Agile Singapore Conference, and a member of Link: LinkedIn

Jon Jorgensen Photo


We Develop ExecutiveLeadership with Scrum

What does an Executive Team’s foray into Scrum look like?  You might be surprised.  People who develop an organizational model, instead of software products, have leveraged Scrum to achieve great leadership outcomes.  And they ran up against all the challenges many other Scrum Teams have. In this session you’ll hear from a coach and an executive who have DONE THIS.

Facing the formidable, pervasive challenges that arise in organizations is how extraordinary people distinguish themselves and their outcomes from the ordinary, unsatisfying, error-prone, easily disrupted “normal” ways of working.

There are practices, approaches, tools and structures for fulfillment which have been time-tested, available and hiding in plain sight for decades and could really make a difference for you.  Rockers of boats, and makers of waves, are finding new ways to getting it ‘Done’…by borrowing from this rich array of Scrum practices, or re-inventing them fit-for-purpose.

Take a stand for yourself and your team.  Come to the session and pose your tough questions.

All participants will do an activity where everyone re-imagines their work system in a new way wherein trust comes alive for everyone and value emerges early and often.

Jon Jorgensen likes learning about everything: business, people, software development, languages, brain science, improv; pretty much whatever he runs into.

Jon spent 17 years working in Japan, learning to be Lean, Agile, and to flow with work. He won’t toe-dip. He dives in head-first and goes deep. He returns to the surface with ideas which are uncommon, unconventional, and simple, but just might work when nothing else will. (Think: MacGyver without the mullet.) Jon has literally won a competitive Japanese game show (The Magic Lamp, 1997) paired with his wife’s grandfather.

Coaching teams and leaders is a passion of Jon’s. He won’t fix or protect people, because they don’t need it. Instead he gets curious about them, and what they really care about. If they feel “stuck” he helps them find their way to break through. That’s Jon’s happy place; where people are being awesome and are acknowledged for their greatness.

He sees the irony in life, sees his mistakes, and relishes learning from both. He appreciates the counter-intuitive bits of work, and rolls with it. He feels he’s at his best amidst uncertainty.

Based in Mission Viejo, California, if given the opportunity to sail a boat, Jon will try even in gusty conditions. He has capsized more than once; no damage nor casualties. On weekends his wife and children don’t sail with him, and keep his phone dry.


Hiring for your Scrum Team

The Agile Manifesto touts “people over process and tools,” and the principles mention, “build projects around motivated individuals, and trust them…” as well as “the best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” But how can we hire the right people and best utilize the people we have? Heidi will share proven ideas for hiring great folks for scrum teams, drawing from her extensive background in teamwork and collaboration and pulling from various sources such as the Google Aristotle study, Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Open Leadership Network Open Patterns, and more. Attendees with leave with concrete ideas on how to find the right candidates for teams and a new way to engage existing team members to increase levels of self-organization, collaboration, empathy, and teamwork.

Heidi Araya partners with leaders and companies to help solve agile, organization design and strategy execution challenges. A specialist in digital transformation with over 20 years experience, Heidi is no stranger to leading agile transformations in a wide range of global and distributed companies. Always bringing a pragmatic approach to her work, she collaborates with businesses to create more responsive, effective, and resilient teams with engaged employees. Her passion? Helping organizations harness the creativity and innovation of their people.

Heidi is currently Innovation Product Manager at Adaptavist. She is also co-founder and advisory board member of the Open Leadership Network. She trains and speaks at events and conferences worldwide and co-hosts a popular virtual meetup series for Agilists at Her forthcoming book is The Agile Open Practitioner: Growing High Performing Teams.

Connect with Heidi:



The Trusted Advisor: Coaching Executives in Scrum

“Transformation” coaches have been told and in fact sold the idea that: if you can facilitate, if you can teach, and you can mentor, and you can coach, you are all set. This is simply not the case. Facilitating, teaching, mentoring and coaching are not enough.

To counsel executives, they must first have confidence in you, and view you as a trusted adviser. Without this kind of relationship with executive leaders, all coaching is a “local optimization” that cannot and will not change the wider system. THIS SESSION introduces you the essential and missing element to your coaching skills: acting like an executive coach.

Peter Fischbach is an executive coach and Scrum trainer located in Berlin, Germany. He has co-delivered Scrum education with Scrum co-creator Jeff Sutherland over 30 times across Germany and the European Union. Peter worked more than ten years as stage actor and acting coach. He has trained hundreds of actors how to discover their most vibrant personality onstage. As an executive coach specializing in Scrum, he now helps other coaches to develop their presence and have more impact. Within the Scrum Events network, Peter is a co-chair of SCRUM DAY, Germany’s oldest and largest Scrum conference. Scrum Events established eduScrum Germany in 2016, where Peter is an active team member.



We have an absolutely great lineup of topics and speakers for the 12 Annual GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM event on November 24.

All participants receive access to all videos and a kit of take-away tools you can use at work the next day.

Ticket sales END as of 12AM on 11/23 (Sunday night at midnight). Get your ticket now!


2020 speaker photos