Mad City Agility Conference 2020

August 20th, 2020

Are you a trailblazer? Rebel? Change agent? Boat rocker? Welcome!

"Mad" is typically a reference to "mad scientist" which implies outside of the norm thinking and experimentation. That's Mad City Agility 2020 - we are focusing on revolutionary, rebellious, "mad" thinking that is required in 2020 and beyond for organizational agility.

We are about 2 decades into the agile revolution. As we enter the Roaring ‘20s of Agility let’s use the empirical data we have since the creation of the agile manifesto to forecast the future.

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Rich Sheridan

Rich Sheridan, CEO and Chief Storyteller at Menlo Innovations, is a successful entrepreneur and author of two best-selling books—Joy Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love and Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear. Rich’s passion for inspiring organizations to create their own joy-filled cultures has led him to address audiences across the world—through four continents and 18 countries (and counting) as well as throughout the United States.

What motivates Rich to travel the world, speaking to tens of thousands of people in nearly every setting imaginable? What does he share with his audiences that makes them jump to their feet with enthusiasm and return to their organizations on fire with inspiration? Simply this: joy. More specifically, that joy in your organization is not just possible but essential—essential to profitability, to productivity, to every measure of success.

Rich and his message of joyful leadership have been featured in press outlets ranging from Inc, Forbes and New York magazines to Bloomberg, U.S. News & World Report, NPR’s On Point podcast, NPR’s All Things Considered, and the Harvard Business Review. His videos for organizations such as Gemba Academy, VitalSmarts, and the Arbinger Institute continue to inspire audiences around the world.

Rich doesn’t just talk about joy in the workplace. He lives it every day at Menlo, the custom software and consulting company he co-founded in 2001 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since then, Menlo has received worldwide notice for its unique culture, including recognition by Inc. Magazine as the most joyful company in America. Menlo has also been recognized by the Alfred P. Sloan award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility for 11 straight years and has received a lifetime achievement award for Freedom at Work from WorldBlu, as well as five revenue awards from Inc. magazine. Today people come to Menlo from all over the world—nearly 20,000 in the past seven years alone—to learn about Menlo and how they can create a culture of joy in their own organizations.

Dave West

Dave West is the Product Owner and CEO at In this capacity, he engages with partners, and the community to drive’s strategy and the overall market position of Scrum. Prior to joining the Ken Schwaber and the team at he was Chief Product Officer at Tasktop where he was responsible for product management, engineering and architecture. As a member of the company’s executive management team was also instrumental in growing Tasktop from a services business into a VC backed product business with a team of almost 100. As one of the foremost industry experts on software development and deployment, West has helped advance many modern software development processes, including the Unified process and Agile methods. He is a frequent keynote at major industry conferences and is a widely published author of articles and research reports. 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) for IBM/Rational. After IBM/Rational, West returned to consulting and managed Ivar Jacobson Consulting for North America. Then he served as vice president, research director at Forrester Research, where he worked with leading IT organizations and solutions providers to define, drive and advance Agile-based methodology and tool breakthroughs in the enterprise.

Chad Beier

Chad is an organizational agility advisor and external change agent with and Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) with He promotes organizational agility and positive pressure for change through speaking, advising, coaching, and training.

His first experience with "agile", Scrum specifically, was in 2005 on a global transformation team responsible for software customizations driven by a global consolidation of accounting software. He ran into typical implementation challenges and organizational impediments.

Around 2012, his passion for lean, agile, and continuous improvement grew. He left his traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind and evolved into an internal change agent kickstarting an agile transformation. Now in an advising role as an external change agent across many organizations, he promotes organizational agility and positive pressure for change.

Jeff Bubolz

Jeff is a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) with, Agile coach and speaker. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member and has worked with companies ranging from enterprise to small start-ups. While working with many teams across many companies Jeff has found that most problems are not technology problems, but are organizational structure, process, and people problems. Jeff brings storytelling, a broad array of experience, along with a collaborative approach to teaching and speaking.


Virtual conference part of - details will be sent to registered attendees.


Thursday, August 20th, 2020 - 1pm to 5pm Central Time (US and Canada)


1:00pm to 1:15pm Welcome!

1:15pm to 2:00pm Lead with Joy and Watch Your Team Fly! - Rich Sheridan

2:00pm to 2:15pm Break 1

2:15pm to 3:00pm Exercise Your Change Muscles: Stop Chasing Agile Transformations and Adoptions - Chad Beier and Jeff Bubolz

3:00pm to 3:15pm Break 2

3:15pm to 4:00pm Agile Product Management and the Product Owner - Dave West

4:00pm to 5:00pm Social!

Lead With Joy and Watch Your Team Fly!

Rich Sheridan

1:15pm to 2:00pm Central Time (US and Canada)

Change is hard. But you won't create a joyful workplace by leading the way you've always led. In this talk, Rich explores his own journey to joy, focusing on how he had to learn to lead in a completely different way and, by doing so, witnessed results that exceeded his wildest expectations.

Exercise Your Change Muscles: Stop Chasing Agile Transformations and Adoptions

Chad Beier and Jeff Bubolz

2:15pm to 3:00pm Central Time (US and Canada)

Organizations that are adaptive and responsive don't think about "change" as something they need to do, they simply become adaptable by exercising their "change muscles".

As we enter the roaring ’20s of agility, many organizations continue to focus on transforming and adopting "agile things". Most agile transformations and adoptions tend to change vocabulary used in the organization without significant changes to structure and processes.

What's the alternative to adopting or transforming? Join us as we look inward at your organizational structure and processes — management layers, incentives, information flow, and decision making — and ask some questions. How responsive are we today? How adaptive are we to change our organizational structure and processes? We will explore how to increase your adaptiveness vs chasing a prescribed agile transformation or agile adoption.

Agile Product Management and the Product Owner

Dave West

3:15pm to 4:00pm Central Time (US and Canada)

Agility is an empirical approach to delivering value. Driven by the complexity of the environment, teams deliver small chunks of ‘stuff’ to learn. The Product Owner / Agile Product Manager is responsible for steering that delivery. Ensuring that the most valuable outcomes are achieved. And that is not easy as they navigate the problem, the organization and the teams developing the solution. Add to that the confusion of their role with other roles such as project manager, business analyst and even the traditional product manager.

In this talk Dave West, Product Owner and CEO, the home of Scrum, describes the genesis of the Product Owner role and how many organizations are dealing with the challenges of slotting this key role into existing product, project and release roles. He will introduce some techniques such as user centric design, and hypothesis based development and describe how approaches such as Lean Startup and pragmatic marketing are providing product owners with a tool box to do their job.


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