GTFS speakers 2023


SPEAKERS for the 15th Annual GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM event (2023)


Unlocking the Physics of Scrum: Empiricism as the Universal Constant

In an era marked by uncertainty, Scrum stands as a beacon of empiricism, a principle deeply rooted in the very fabric of the universe. Drawing upon Wolfram’s concept of computational irreducibility and the emergent nature of physics, this talk will delve into the raw power of empiricism as it manifests in Scrum. We’ll explore how the physics of work and time converge to define the power of personal and team performance, and how this power is the driving force behind evolutionary survival and complex adaptive systems. Join us to discover how Scrum is not just a framework but a manifestation of universal principles that govern everything from atomic particles to organizational dynamics.

Dr. Jeff Sutherland is an individual that needs no introduction, but let’s take a shot at it.  Jeff is a former US Air Force “Top Gun” and the co-creator of the Scrum framework. This model, developed in 1993 and formalized in 1995 with Ken Schwaber, has since been adopted by the vast majority of software development companies around the world.  Jeff is a leading expert on how the framework has evolved to meet the needs of today’s business. Realizing its benefits are not limited to software development, he has adapted this strategy to several other industries including finance, healthcare, education and telecom.  Scrum and Scrum@Scale are now widely adopted and create hyper-productive development teams.  As founder and Chairman of Scrum Inc., creator of Scrum@Scale, Senior Advisor and Agile Coach to OpenView Venture Partners, Jeff trains executives and shares agile best practices with organizations around the globe.


How do you build an empirical organization?   One Product at a time

It seems obvious, but Scrum manages uncertainty by applying an empirical approach.
Incrementally delivering value increases understanding, allowing teams to deliver more value.
The cycle of learning and value. But most organizations are NOT empirical. They are built
around pre-digital ideas, serving a world that is predictable and slow to change. That creates
friction between Scrum Teams and the organization in which they reside. But how do you build
an empirical organization?

In this talk, Dave West, CEO of, discusses the ideas of building an empirical
organization and how the process of change has to be driven by a product-centric approach. He
describes the characteristics of an empirical organization and defines some steps people can
take to influence change.

DAVE WEST is the CEO of 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.


Who’s your HiPPO and do they really have all the answers?

Curiosity, experimentation, ongoing quest for truth and knowledge in an ever complex, changing world…why are these not the primary behavior patterns we systemically instill in our modern-day organizations.  Instead, we seek answers in the next consultant, the next great operating framework, or the next great HiPPO (Highest paid person’s opinion).  Why do we think we have answers to questions we do not even know to ask yet?  In this age of digital revolution where organizations are embarking on multi-million dollar agile and digital transformations to create long term business success and sustainability, we must understand what it takes to find comfort in the unknown. Leaning on the power of our workforce within systems designed for rapid learning through experimentation is critical but often challenging for incumbent, non-digital native organizations.  Join in this discussion to explore approaches to overcoming this cultural barrier.

he is responsible for leading agile adoption and enablement at scale. In this leadership role, she is focused on delivering value-driven services and solutions that meet customer needs, using lean startup principles, agile methodologies and self-management practices. Stephenie is also a highly technical leader with the ability to translate business needs into technical requirements resulting in a strong technical strategy that supports the business objectives. Stephenie thrives on seeing ideas from the teams turn into viable products and services. Learn more at

Tonya T’ere Webb-Wallace

Being vs Doing: The dance of agility through empiricism

Agility is often called a dance. Training of the mindset, framework, values and principles is the beginning of ‘doing’. As the mindset shifts and practice becomes muscle memory, the “being” of the dance takes over. Turning choppy, sometimes forced steps into a beautiful, graceful and melodic dance. This session will discuss how empiricism is the teacher, we are the students, and the result is the beautiful dance of agility.

TONYA WALLACE is known as a Culture Guru and Agile Jedi. She combines leadership coaching, lean thinking and agility to develop high performing individuals and teams. As a Solutions Delivery Director for Cox Automotive, Tonya supports one of the top revenue drivers that transforms the way cars are bought and sold within the Automotive industry. As a technologist for over 20 years, she is the owner of Gideon VI, a M/WBE Indy based Tech company specializing in Project/Program management, IT staffing and consultation, and cloud based software applications. As a DEI enthusiast, Tonya is known for her dynamic and engaging speaking style and information packed facilitation. Tonya uses her skills to combine agile principles, leadership skills and emotional intelligence strategies to drive a sense of ownership and self motivation to empower, influence and motivate those around her to raise the bar to achieve personal and professional goals.


Executives, Empiricism and Experiments
Wikipedia says this about empiricism: “…empiricism holds that true knowledge or justification comes only or primarily from sensory experience.”  Hundreds of years earlier, Benjamin Franklin held the completely opposite view: “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”
So: which is it? Learn from direct experience, or learn from the experience of others? It’s a trick question of course. Because it depends.
How much empiricism is needed?  How do we explain this to executives?  How can we size up how much empiricism (how much “agility”) to apply?  We will answer these questions together.
During this session, we will also examine:
  • Why the empirical approach requires decision-makers to admit that we are not sure and we don’t know… and why this is THE big, huge, problem
  • How to demonstrate steady, measurable progress via “empirical process control” and experimentation
  • A rational framework for selecting and funding experiments
  • How to employ empiricism to achieve coordination at scale
Everyone attending will receive a takeaway resource kit, including,
  • A white paper on how to take advantage of empiricism, and make the most of Scrum
  • A scorecard for assessing just how much empiricism to apply in a given context
DANIEL MEZICK has been Coaching executives and teams in Agile since 2006, and is the leader of  Improving Agility. Daniel has guided dozens of organizations in the art and science of Agile improvement. An author and co-author of three books on organization change, Daniel is a frequent keynote speaker at industry conferences and events. Daniel Mezick is the originator of OpenSpace Agility, an engagement model for enabling authentic and lasting organizational improvement. He is also an Advisory Board member and co-Founder of The Open Leadership Network, a certification body and community of practice dedicated to implementing Open patterns and practices inside business enterprises worldwide.


Using the Scrum Spirit to Unlock Empiricism and Agility in OKRs

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are considered a “Modern operating system” by many companies and investors. But the typical implementation doesn’t deal well with the uncertainty and complexity involved in achieving the typical strategic objective whether it requires building a product, innovating a business model, or creating a new cross-functional company capability. In this talk, we will look at common anti-patterns involved in the typical OKR implementation and how the Scrum spirit can help OKR practitioners bring empiricism, empowerment, and continuous improvement to their OKR operating system. This talk is especially relevant to Scrum and Agile practitioners who are looking for creative ways to bring Scrum’s goodness we are so grateful for to the wider organization.

YUVAL YERET is a Lean, Agility and Flow Coach, SAFe Fellow and Professional Scrum Trainer with over 15 years experience helping organizations achieve business agility leveraging agile techniques such as Scrum, Kanban, SAFe, OKRs.  Yuval has experience working with world-class companies in Technology/IT, CPG, BioTech on how to pragmatically achieve agility in complex situations – including designing and building cyber-physical or physical products or in business domains such as Marketing.  Reach out to Yuval at Yeret Agility


Solving the Coordination Problem Through Creative Management          

Birds do it, bees do it… but what is it that they do what, exactly?

They solve large scale coordination problems with coordination mechanisms that work. This talk will explore lessons learned from multiple vanguard companies as they unleash the power of organizational self-management to flow coordination at scale through nonstop experimentation and applied empiricism.

Is it possible to realize emergent strategy without traditional management?

Is it possible to unlock no-limits value creation?

Is it possible to manage great complexity with simple rules?

Is it possible to create an entire organization that moves forward into an uncertain future like a single, focused Scrum Team?

The answer is a resounding YES!

What you’ll take away:

  • Learn How to Create a Highly Scalable Enterprise Without Bureaucracy
  • Learn How to Create Agility, Learning, and Coordination at Scale through Organizational Self-Management
  • Learn How Organizational Self-Management Can Create Strategic Business Advantage

Doug Kirkpatrick is an organizational change consultant, TEDx 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, an Amazon bestseller with Forbes Books, and is Founder and CEO of D’Artagnan Advisors, 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. His previous books include Amazon best sellers 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.


Empirical Mastery: Navigating the Agile Coaching Maze, Elevating Scrum Masters, and Achieving Success

Recently, there have been several companies that have fired their agile coaches and Scrum Masters. Why is that? How do you prevent that from happening in your company? Many Scrum Masters have lost their way (or never knew it) about their accountabilities. Scrum Masters serve the Product Owner, the Developers, and the Organization! That means agile coaches and Scrum Masters have to improve the system, or they are failing. This session will show you techniques for using empiricism and problem-solving strategies to improve the system to demonstrate the value of agilists in your organization.

Dan LeFebvre was the first Certified Scrum Coach in New England with over twenty years in product development as a developer, manager, director, and coach. He has been applying agile practices to successfully deliver products since 2003. He has worked with Dr. Sutherland since 2009. Dan holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Boston University and is a Registered Scrum Trainer Fellow.



Ann Brea is member of the Agile Boston leadership team and is teaming up with Daniel Mezick (listed below) to serve all participants by recording, sequencing and delivering the event.

She’s also a 1st degree black belt in martial arts.


Joseph is the operational leader of the group, inviting, welcoming and supporting our speakers, and executing our monthly events. He’s been the MC of the GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM event for 5 years running. Joe works at Microsoft where he leads and coaches process improvement via agile methods.

Here is Joe in his own words, via his LinkedIn profile:

“I am an Enterprise Transformation Leader, Executive Leadership Coach and expertise in Product, Business and Leadership Agility. I am a cultural game changer who can quickly transform any organization to utilize the Agile mindset and frameworks to create instant engagement and higher productivity, while strengthening customer relationships and improving service quality.

“I have been recognized by others for my work ethic and a “do whatever it takes” attitude, as well as for my sense of ownership, passion for my work, providing candid and honest feedback, and an ability to strike a balance between short-term wins and long-term vision. I have expertise in a variety of enterprise technologies and solutions as well as strong experience working with offshore centers of excellence.

“As an organizational change agent, I set a high standard of excellence by example and I care deeply for the people I work with. As a coach I create a collaborative environment where the Agile mindset is understood is adopted by invitation, information is shared freely and safely, and individuals grow in their roles and confidence. I have a proven track record of successfully re-energizing cultures that are collectively aligned to clear and visible business objectives.”

He’s also a serious tennis enthusiast and lifelong player of the game. But .. his kids play much, much better!

Daniel Mezick Photo


Daniel is the Master of Ceremonies for the 14th Annual GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM event, teaming up with Ann Brea (listed above) to serve all participants by sequencing and delivering the event throughout the day.

DANIEL MEZICK is 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