2017 SAFe Summit Agenda Now Live!

October 2-6, 2017 / San Antonio, TX

We are pleased to announce the 2017 SAFe Summit main conference agenda. Attendees can look forward to a wide variety of sessions, covering both introductory and advanced topics from our SAFe Fellows and other experts.

In addition, we’ve upped the number of case studies, so you can learn first-hand from your peers. Below are a few of our featured sessions. Be sure to check out the full agenda on the 2017 SAFe Summit website.

Don’t forget to register by April 1st for the best rates!

Featured Sessions

Measuring Business Value
Business value is one of the most critical business drivers in SAFe. This session will describe aspects and uses of the SAFe business value parameter. In addition, you will learn how enterprises use Value Stream KPIs to help determine economic return and other beneficial business outcomes.

Identifying Value Streams and ARTs
Value Streams and Agile Release Trains are the fundamental SAFe constructs for organizing around a continuous flow of value delivery. This session will provide an overview of these critical concepts, and highlight the analysis and change management steps needed for an effective SAFe implementation.

How to Secure Buy-in for SAFe (Getting Leadership to the Tipping Point)
We all admit it. Change is hard. Those who have been through it often report that the SAFe transformation was one of the hardest—and absolutely the most rewarding—change processes they have experienced. In this combination workshop and session, SAI leadership will share some of the secrets they have learned that get leadership to the table, and to help assure they lead, rather than follow, the transformation.

**View FULL Agenda here: 2017 SAFe Summit Agenda Now Live!


Radical Management: Making the Entire Organization Agile

Organizations today face a crisis. The crisis is of long standing and its signs are widespread. Productivity is one-quarter of 1965 levels. Innovation continues to decline. Workers are disgruntled. Customers are frustrated. Brands are unraveling. Executive turnover is accelerating. In the last 25 years, startups created 40 million jobs in the US, while established firms created almost none. Traditional management is broken.

The principles described in this webinar show how Agile thinking can respond to the crisis and be applied to the overall management of any organization so as to inspire high productivity, continuous innovation, deep job satisfaction and client delight.

Radical management is an approach to management that is fundamentally different from traditional management. It comprises seven inter-locking principles of continuous innovation: focusing the entire organization on delighting clients; working in self-organizing teams; operating in client-driven iterations; delivering value to clients with each iteration; fostering radical transparency; nurturing continuous self-improvement and communicating interactively. In sum, the principles comprise a new mental model of management.

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Creating a Kaizen Culture for a High Maturity Agile Organization

Everyone I know working to help organizations to become Agile agree that…

Becoming Agile is a Process

I know teams that have been maturing for 3+ years and they will tell you they still have room for growth.  That tells me from first hand experience as well as talking to organizations that have committed to this journey so they can be more responsive to their customers and business, that not only do you have to be committed to being patient with the growth process – you can help the process by creating a Kaizen Culture.

What is Kaizen?

Kaizen is a Japanese word for “improvement”, or “change for the better”.  It refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes.

Kaizen is a daily process, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity improvement. It is also a process that, that can humanize the workplace, helps people work smarter, not harder; and teaches people how to spot and eliminate waste in their own work and business processes. It covers five main areas: Read more


Transitioning to Agile Webinar Series

Business Agility enables an organization to respond quickly to external forces (such as new market opportunities and competitive forces) as well as to respond quickly to new insights attained internally.

So, how do you achieve Business Agility?

While many organizations have achieved the local optimizations of more effective teams, few have achieved agility at the organizational level. Even when team agility has been achieved, if improvements to how the business is selecting their product enhancements isn’t done, overall return on investment of software development may not have significantly improved.

This webinar series is organized around roles so each person in an organization can be introduced to what they need to know for their business to achieve business agility.

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Scrum Alliance’s Learning Consortium Report

Scrum Alliance opened an exciting new chapter for the organization. This involved 11 companies, including Microsoft, Ericsson, and Magna International, which conducted a series of mutual site visits to investigate the hypothesis that a fundamental management makeover is underway in organizations around the world.

The site visits revealed a striking convergence toward a set of management goals, principles, and values that are markedly different from the management practices of hierarchical bureaucracy. Noting a variety of labels that include Agile, Scrum, DevOps, and Lean.  The site visits revealed a common mindset that included:

  • Goals that focused on adding value and innovation for customers.
  • Managers acting as enablers rather than controllers.
  • The use of autonomous teams, and networks of teams, in some cases operating at large scale on complex and mission-critical tasks.
  • The coordination of work through iterative, customer-focused practices.
  • Embodiment of the values of transparency and continuous improvement.

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Can Management Get Us Out Of The Economic Mess It Has Created?

denning_bookCan management embrace audacious change? That’s the bold question that Julia Kirby, editor-at-large at Harvard Business Review, posed at the launch of the Drucker Forum 2014 in Vienna Austria on March 10, 2014. Can the leaders of the world’s most important organizations transform their management practices so that their organizations get on a path to growth and prosperity, instead of steady economic decline?

An absurdly romantic fantasy?

Not necessarily.

The plan

Here’s how it might unfold.

  • Let’s suppose most of the world’s thought leaders on management were to come together to address and help resolve the issues facing management today at the same place at the same time.
  • And what if their discussion took place under the guiding spirit of a thinker like the late Peter Drucker, who enjoyed universal respect and whose wisdom brought out the best in everyone, so that the focus was less on emphasizing the differences between their individual contributions and more on how much they had in common?
  • Let’s recognize that this already began happening at the Drucker Forum in November 2013, so that the thought leaders can build on a track record of a convergence on commonalities.
  • What if the thought leaders were to embrace the commonalities of their thinking explicitly, with passion and commitment?
  • And what if this was a common vision of an audaciously revitalized concept of leadership and management that began to be seen as a guiding beacon for organizations all around the world?

First steps taken

Time will tell, but the first steps have already been taken.

The place and date for bringing many of the world’s management thought leaders together are set: the Drucker Forum in November 13-14, 2014 in Vienna, Austria.

The bold challenge to the thought leaders has been issued. “We have arrived at a turning point,” says Richard Straub in the conference description entitled “The Great Transformation: Managing our way to prosperity.”

“Either the world will embark on a route towards long-term growth and prosperity, or we will manage our way to economic decline… the very coherence of our societies is at stake. Incremental changes won’t suffice…. What does it take to reshape management as an effective social technology … for transforming our institutions and organizations?”

Many of the world’s thought leaders have accepted the invitation. The conference chair is Adi Ignatius, Editor-in-chief of Harvard Business Review, which strongly supports the Forum. The speakers constitute a veritable who’s who of management thinking today, including Clayton Christensen, Gary Hamel, Herminia Ibarra, Roger Martin, Pankaj Gemawat, Lynda Gratton, Nilofer Merchant, Rita Ghunther McGrath, Vineet Nayar and Julia Kirby, among many others.

The guiding spirit for the event—the late Peter Drucker—is bound to bring out the best in everyone. His books, such as Management (1973) and Innovation and Entrepreneurship (1985), continue to serve as guides for managers decades after they were written. That’s because Peter Drucker foresaw more clearly than others what was coming and said exactly what he thought, without compromise. It’s also because he had a large concept of management that was fundamental to achieving genuine social and economic progress. “Management and managers,” he said,”are the central resource, the generic, distinctive, the constitutive organ of society…and the very survival of society is dependent on the performance, the competence, the earnestness and the values of their managers…What managers are doing is therefore a public concern.”

The discussion begins

The discussion began at the first launch event in Vienna, Austria earlier this week amid a consensus that the failings of management have been with us for a long time.

A long-term failure of management

Julia Kirby, editor-at-large at Harvard Business Review, cited the 1980 Harvard Business Review article by Bob Hayes and Bill Abernathy: “Managing Our Way To Economic Decline.” The piece begins: “During the past several years, American business has experienced a marked deterioration of competitive vigor and a growing unease about its overall economic well-being.” This was 1980, but, she said, it’s just as true today.

The article blamed management. “The reason why the economy is screwed up,” she said, “is because of management. The authors blamed this contagion on short-term focus and a failure to invest in long-term competitiveness.”

Shareholder value

This in turn is related to an excessive concentration on short-term shareholder value, which ironically flows from one of Peter Drucker’s most famous dicta, “You manage what you measure.”

“What we had with shareholder value was this really nice metric,” said Julia Kirby, “As managers, we love metrics. It gives us something to manage. It had a kind of runaway effect in managing to that measure, because as we got better and better at it, we had more and more blinders on, in respect of all the other forms of value creation that we needed to engage in as organizations and as managers.”


The fact that we can now measure and track of lot of variables hasn’t seemed to help. Unfortunately, in many large firms, this has led to asking people to focus on many variables in a single time frame. “It’s an absence of leadership,” said Julia Kirby, “in failing to make clear what the focus should be in a certain time frame, instead of just flooding people with 25 or even 300 variables on their radar screen.”

Felix Thun-Hohenstein, Global Business Director of 3M/Winterthur Technology Group, welcomed the capability to measure more things. “But,” he said, “the question is: are the tools being used properly?

It’s great to have KPIs as tools, so long as we don’t use them to mistreat our people, by using metrics to take away responsibility, accountability and the freedom to integrate the data to make decisions. I see that happening very often in companies: simply using the metrics as a decision-making process rather than drawing on the knowledge and experience of the people.”

Demoralized workers

Angelica Kohlmann Kupper, CEO of IFITECH (Germany), pointed to the demoralizing effects of hierarchical methods of management. “In the Traditional Economy,” she said, “people cared about hierarchy. Everyone, including Peter Drucker, tried to diminish the role of hierarchy within companies.

But nothing really changed. For young people in startups, it’s the reverse. The most important thing for them is the innovation they can bring. They don’t care so much about position. As a result, the Traditional Economy has difficulty in attracting young talented people. They don’t want to work with those firms anymore.”

Failure of innovation

The focus on shareholder value also tended to make firms inward looking. It led to a focus on what’s good for the firm. This way of managing has difficulty with innovation and it’s not very agile, which is a real problem in a dynamic marketplace. Management in the traditional economy is becoming steadily more efficient but it’s less and less able to capture the gains of its efficiencies. In fact, it’s getting harder and harder to make profits by managing in this way. As John Hagel noted in the Drucker Forum last November, the rates of return on assets and on invested capital of US firms are now only one quarter of what they were in 1965.

Management has fractured into sub-disciplines

When the discussion turned to what is keeping managers from addressing these issues, Julia Kirby, along with others, pointed out that “management as a discipline has effectively divided and conquered itself. The fragmentation of the discipline in the academy and in practice has robbed it of its power to take on big challenges. Management’s ‘progress’ is to make ever smaller incursions into the weeds and down rabbit holes.”

The way forward

Despite these grave problems, there was general optimism that the way forward was possible.
Participants could see many signs of what Peter Drucker called the Entrepreneurial Society, aka the Creative Economy. Richard Straub, president of the Peter Drucker Society Europe, quoted Peter Drucker who said: “I never predict, I just look out of the window and see what’s visible but not yet seen.”


Ever since Peter Drucker talked about the Entrepreneurial Society back in 1985, it has become steadily more prominent. It is now a vibrant rapidly growing economy made up of vast numbers of small and medium-sized startups, as well as some famous large high tech firms like Apple and Amazon, and islands of creativity even within large old firms like GE that are still mostly operating in the traditional mode.

Many participants saw this as the economy of the future and the way to prosperity. It’s an economy where the principal focus is on delivering profitable customer delight. It gives customers what are increasingly demanding, namely, better, faster, cheaper, smaller, lighter, more convenient, and more personalized. It is outward-looking as compared to the Traditional Economy. The paradoxical result is that it ends up making more money for the firm than if it were tightly focused on making money.

Firms in the Creative Economy look at profitability in a different way from the Traditional Economy–it is a result, not an objective. Just last week, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple [AAPL], was asked by a shareholder about an activity that wasn’t apparently giving any direct return to the bottom line and he was pressed to say why he was doing it. His answer was, “I don’t care about the bloody ROI of that activity. We don’t manage Apple like that.”

There are many things in Apple that don’t make money in themselves. The music store (iTunes) and the App store are hugely popular but they don’t make much money. Apple also loses money on free software upgrades. Apple’s view is that if the overall package of things that Apple delivers delights its customers in a profitable fashion, then it doesn’t matter that any individual activity doesn’t make a profit. Everybody in Apple knows that the bottom line at Apple is delighting customers.

Inspiring the workforce

One participant, who worked in a traditionally managed firm, asked whether it was possible to inspire people who perform a mundane activity, like making bricks. The response was to refer to the old story of some men who are laying bricks and who were asked what they are doing. One said he was laying bricks. The second said he was constructing a wall. The third said he was helping building a cathedral.
The same activity is seen in three different ways.

The Traditional Economy, which is focused on making money, will not inspire people. It’s not at all like building a cathedral. Telling people that it is will simply make them cynical. John Hagel explained at last year’s Drucker Forum that at present, only 11 percent of the workforce are passionate about what they do at work. That will not lead to an inspired workforce. That will not give us a workforce that is capable of continuous innovation. That will be a workforce that is filling in time and collecting their paychecks. We need managers to formulate a worthwhile goal, akin to building a cathedral, and then enable people doing the work see their work as part of that noble goal.

Measurement for prosperity

There was a lot of support at the launch event for the focus of the 2014 Forum on prosperity. “When you use a term like ‘prosperity’, said Julia Kirby, “it allows you to think about other measures of well-being. There are now lots of ways in which people are getting objective rigorous metrics on things other than shareholder value. It helps them understand: am I better this year than I was last year at creating value for customers? And creating value for my own people? And creating value for my community? As we get a fuller range of metrics, we can move away from a single-minded focus on shareholder value.”

Richard Straub commented that “employee engagement would give a better perspective on the longer term development of a firm than shareholder value. However, even though companies have these data, in many cases they tend not to talk about it.”

Hierarchical management

Angelica Kohlmann Kupper said that the values of people in the startups of the Creative Economy were quite different from people in firms in the Traditional Economy. She said that since working a lot with young tech companies in the Creative Economy, “my view of the world changed completely. It was a big transformation. The first thing that matters for the people in those firms is: what innovation can I bring? The young people are passionate about it. They want to have fun. They want to bring something new. Of course, they also care about money. They don’t mind having some good shares in the firm. But this is number two. And hierarchical position? They don’t care about hierarchical position at all. It’s totally irrelevant. This is a big difference. The traditional firms have a lot to learn from these young people.”

Johan Roos, CEO and Dean of the Joenkoeping International Business School, Sweden, said that he had removed a layer of managers at his business school. “The people who were most upset,” he said, “were those who were brought up valuing title and position. For the younger generation, they don’t care.”

“It is worthwhile,” said Lukas Michel, Managing Director of Sphere Advisers AG, “to think about how we organize our firms around inspiration, around the ambition of people, and around purpose.”

Can management get us out of the mess it has created?

Julia Kirby suggested that if management had gotten the economy into a mess, it could also get us out of it. She said that this should be the role of the Drucker Forum. “It’s to create the locus of thinking about: What are the grand challenges in management? What could management do to get us back on a path to prosperity? What could create a center of gravity for management? What could create a consensus for action, with energy and commitment about it? There has been a failure on the part of the management to understand how consequential their work is. That’s what we have to keep in mind. It’s up to management to manage our way to prosperity.”

“The Drucker Forum,” she said, “can be an important locus for identifying big issues that management can tackle only collectively, and can stage the kind of discussion that can result in greater understanding, consensus on desirable action, energy, and commitment. Managers are rule-makers within their firms. They will increasingly see that they can participate in rule-making on a larger stage.
And indeed, that they must participate in it, given their unprecedented heft, pan global reach, and messaging prowess. They are too powerful not to be principled.”

The choice ahead

That’s the choice in front of us. The Drucker Forum in November 2014 is a historic opportunity to deepen the understanding of these challenges and help organizations and managers grasp what is at stake, and so facilitate and enable the transition from one way of running the world to a very different and more prosperous one. Organizations in the Traditional Economy may well stagger on for quite a long time, but they will eventually give way to powerful economic forces that are undermining this way of operating.

The issue is: Will the transition to the Entrepreneurial Society be slow and ugly and brutal with a lot of unnecessary liquidations and job losses? Or will it be quick and elegant and intelligent? The Drucker Forum 2014 can help us to get to the latter, more prosperous outcome.

“The current way of managing corporations,” said Richard Straub in his closing remarks, “is not susceptible to bring to the surface the productive and creative capabilities of employees at a large scale. An entrepreneurial society could make all the difference. Knowledge workers and knowledge entrepreneurs who are no longer suffocated by the straight jackets that large organizations force upon them and who contribute as largely autonomous partners to the enterprise could free up huge amounts of productive and creative energy. You won’t find this is any economics statistics but the impact will be profound in terms of value creation, innovation, growth and job creation. These are existing reserves (like oil reserves in the ground). They are not accounted for by any economic model but they could make all the difference in our way to prosperity.”

denning2AUTHOR:  Steve Denning is the author of the award-winning books, including The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Re-inventing the Workplace for the 21st Century (Jossey-Bass, 2010). He works with international organizations on leadership, innovation, business narrative, and radical management.


ScrumMaster or Armchair Psychologist

New ScrumMasters tend to focus on the perceived administration they see in Scrum: facilitating a sprint planning ceremony or a retrospective, for instance. But what tends to get overlooked is the “people stuff.” When ScrumMasters embrace their new role, they ask:

  • “My team is sticking to their old roles. How do I get them to work together?”
  • “Nobody updates our information radiators. How do I get people to do this?”

These are not truly “Scrum” problems but, rather, are people problems. Ah, enter the armchair psychologist now known as ScrumMaster. How do you get people to do anything?  This is more art than science, and it requires ScrumMasters to be willing to roll up their sleeves and engage in active facilitation.

This webinar hosted by Scrum Alliance will focus on practical tips to help any ScrumMaster tackle the greater task of improved teamwork.

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The Two Basic Forms of Coaching for Lean

Coaching is an essential practice for lean leaders. But not all coaching is the same. Did you know that there are two basic kinds of coaching that you have to recognize and know when to use?

  1. The first is Coaching for Correction. This happens when you give someone feedback and direction about how to improve performance. Coaching for Correction seems to come naturally to us.
  2. The second – and harder – kind is Coaching for Development. This happens in a lean culture when you are developing a coachee’s problem-solving capabilities. This kind of coaching doesn’t come naturally. In fact, we have to overcome some behaviors ingrained in us by traditional management to Coach for Development. But you can master this key type of coaching, if you learn a few key techniques.

Find out what they are and grasp the fundamentals of how to use them during this practical, 60-minute, free webinar with David Verble, the former manager of Human Resource Development for North American Manufacturing at Toyota’s HQ in Erlanger, KY.

You will learn about…

  • When to use the 2 basic types of coaching
  • What capability development really means in a lean company
  • 2 big reasons why Coaching for Development is more difficult and how to guard against them
  • “Yes or no” versus “open” questions
  • How to use the essential practice of Humble Inquiry to develop others and how it supports people moving through the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) process
  • How to get coachees to “look” at what they are thinking so they are aware of what they know and what they think they know

About the presenter: David Verble applied his organizational skills at Toyota’s Georgetown, KY, plant where he worked in management and organizational development during the facility’s startup phase and beyond. During his 10 years at Toyota, David became the manager of Human Resource Development at Georgetown and then manager of Human Resource Development for North American Manufacturing at Toyota’s manufacturing headquarters in Erlanger, KY. Before his tenure at Toyota, David was responsible for organizational development as assistant to the Dean of the College of Education, University of Kentucky.

Click here to listen to Webinar Recording


Facilitation Skills for Project Managers

Meetings are nothing more than a tool to get results. A successfully facilitated meeting helps to achieve and exceed project goals, by improving issues resolution, decision making, and risk management. Facilitation is an art and science that consists of a set of skills that can be learned. Successful facilitators can recognize and balance the needs of the meeting, the individuals, and the team.

This webinar discusses typical challenging behaviors of individuals and groups and associates them with various animal metaphors. We will review a few facilitation strategies for key challenging behaviors. We’ve all been in meetings with the “wise old owl” who philosophizes at great length. And we all know what it feels like when there is an “elephant in the room.” The images may be simple to grasp, but this is not a basic meeting management webinar.

You will learn about:

  • The fundamentals of facilitation
  • A perspective shift that encourages the use of meetings as a tool
  • Overview of the top individual challenging meeting behaviors
  • Strategies for dealing with some challenging behaviors

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Launching Agile Release Trains: Why Start at the Program Level? …with Dean Leffingwell

Many organizations are tempted to begin their agile transformation with a series of low risk, stand-alone pilots. While these pilots may prove that teams can adopt a new process, they don’t prove that enterprise teams can work together to drive out dependencies, gain alignment across stakeholders, provide program-wide transparency, and deliver end-to-end value.

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