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Thursday, August 8 • 10:45am - 12:00pm
How We Successfully Adapted Agile for a Research-Heavy Engineering Software Team (Alfred Lorber, Kyran Mish) LIMITED

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In our development team at Sandia National Laboratories we have honed our Scrum processes to where we continually deliver high-performance engineering analysis software to our customers. We deliver despite our non-ideal circumstances, which include development work that can be categorized as scientific research, part-time developers, changing team size, highly specialized skill sets and a broad range of deliverables.

In this talk we will discuss how we create and prioritize our product backlog, write our user stories, calculate our capacity, plan our sprints, report our results and communicate our progress. This talk is for you if you work in a heavily research-oriented environment such as that found in a government laboratory, academic institution or corporate research facility. If you are considering using Lean/Agile for your project in one of these environments, or have started and are encountering problems, we encourage you to come learn from our experiences.

Some of our non-traditional approaches include writing our User Stories in a way that recognizes the realities of research, arriving at the Planning Meeting with a Starting Point for Negotiations instead of simply a prioritized backlog, running a Task Based Daily Standup and running a Review meeting that is more like an Apple Keynote Address than a demo to users. We found that many of these changes were needed to address the culture of our developers, namely Ph.D. Engineers who were trained in a heavily individual-based atmosphere.

We are the Scrum Master and Product Owner of a large software development team that writes applications used for engineering analysis at Sandia National Laboratories. Our team writes scalable C++ applications that use numerical simulation of natural phenomena to model the physical environment encountered by nuclear weapon delivery systems. This is done by solving the mathematical equations that govern heat conduction and radiation, air flow, fire and other physical phenomena.

avatar for Alfred Lorber

Alfred Lorber

Agile SME, Sandia National Laboratories
I am currently an Agile SME in the Corporate PMO (Project Management Office) at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM as well as the co-lead of the Agile Community of Practice and PMO Agile Working Group. In the PMO I conduct training, coach individuals and teams, sponsor... Read More →

Thursday August 8, 2013 10:45am - 12:00pm CDT
Canal E