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Thursday, August 8 • 14:00 - 15:15
Black Holes and Revelations (Sarah Harper)

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Do you have a work stage in your process where things get "stuck"? While we typically look for a process problem, what if I told you it's likely that your team behavior is the real culprit?
All teams will eventually experience challenges with how work moves through their system. These problems can often manifest as a “blocked” column creeping into your flow, or even the well-meaning “Waiting for Reporter Input” limbo.
These problematic stages are sucking the work in but nothing comes out. They begin to look and feel like black holes. Agile Black Holes are detrimental to your process and your team's morale, but they are often hard to spot until they become supermassive giants. Unlike the celestial version, once you detect the Agile Black Hole in your process, you can understand the cause and escape.
Have you fallen into an Agile Black Hole? How can you prevent black holes from forming in your process? More often than not, the root cause of the black hole is not the process, but the culture of the team. You’ll need to dig to the root cause of the negative team behaviors to understand how to change the team culture and prevent the agile black hole. Join me and become equipped to avoid the madness of the Agile Black Hole. You'll also see what Cerner did to address one of our "black holes" and what we've learned as a result.
This presentation is for anyone wanting to improve the team culture by understanding the cognitive, psychological, and UI design concepts for why work slows.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Cognitive and behavioral psychology concepts that contribute to the formation of Agile Black Holes and how recognize these behaviors in a team.
  • How to apply informed UI design for Kanban and Scrum boards so that Agile Black Holes are easier to locate.
  • Application of "sling-shot" techniques to escape a potential Agile Black Hole by harnessing its energy.
  • Team-building exercises that teach teams to recognize negative behaviors that contribute to Agile Black Hole formation.


avatar for Sarah Harper

Sarah Harper

Director of Engineering, RxSavingsSolutions
Psychology of Agile, Security, Coaching, DevOps, Twins, Quilting, Space, Pugs, Dog Agility

Thursday August 8, 2019 14:00 - 15:15 EDT
National Harbor 12/13