Keynotes and invited speakers


Kent Beck: Managing by the ‘Book: Ten Improbable Policies that Conquered the World

How did Facebook seize the social networking opportunity when others fumbled it? One of the many factors that had to go right was that engineering had to keep up with unprecedented, unpredictable, explosive growth. The secret sauce that helped the geeks keep up isn’t so secret: everyone takes personal responsibility for the entire system. Instead of making up for a lack of responsibility, Facebook’s engineering policies foster and exploit personal responsibility. The talk presents the thinking behind ten of these policies that contradict conventional wisdom.

Kent Beck

Kent Beck has been at Facebook for four years, during which he has worked on privacy, messaging infrastructure, and coaching for promising engineers. Before that he was a pioneer in patterns for software, Extreme Programming, Test-Driven Development, and the xUnit family of testing frameworks. His research includes syntax-tree-based development tools and the quantitative study of software design and software process. He lives in southern Oregon with his wife of thirty years and the youngest of his five children, raising goats and making cheese.


Rebecca Parsons: Agile Is Not the Easy Way Out

While Agile is not the easiest way to develop software, it is the easiest and best way to develop good software effectively.  There are three aspects of Agility that make it hard: the rigor involved in the practice of Agile, the support for sustainability that is achieved through the practice of Agile, and the extent to which Agile forces us to deal with the world as it is, rather than deceiving ourselves about how things might be.  When I say the practice of Agile, I don't just mean agile practices.  Rather, I view Agile initially through the principles, which give rise to various practices applicable in different contexts.  This talk explores these three perspectives on Agile software development and demonstrates why the various Agile practices, while not the easy way out, are indeed effective in both the short term and, perhaps more importantly, in the long term. 




Dr. Rebecca Parsons is ThoughtWorks’ Chief Technology Officer. She has more than 20 years’ application development experience, in industries ranging from telecommunications to emergent internet services. Rebecca has published in both language and artificial intelligence publications, served on numerous program committees, and reviews for several journals. She has extensive experience leading in the creation of large-scale distributed object applications and the integration of disparate systems

Aslam Khan: A little less kool-aid and little more focus

I am part of this software development community for just over the last 20 years and at least half of that in the agile community.  In this time, I have had the privilege of being involved quite closely with many companies' agile "experiments".  About 3 years ago I started reflecting on what we have achieved, and similarities over the years and across companies.  This reflection caused me to change focus dramatically.

The reflection left me perplexed with several aspects that range from scalability to pop-psychology, with code, process and (lack of) humanity squeezed in-between.  It crosses over into the state of software development as a sector in the global economy, the kool-aid we pedal and the reality of the enormity of the problem we face in (South) Africa.

In this talk I will share my insights, observations and opinions on what it takes for us to be globally competitive with agile software development as one of the enablers.



Aslam has been building software for long enough to make peace with the fact that software design is ridiculously difficult. After 20 odd years, he still finds a way to work at the extremes - lines of code and strategy. Most teams he works with will tell of his off the wall experiments in agile software development. In between, he is writing the book Grokking Functional Programming. And when he doesn't have enough to do, he blogs at http://f3yourmind.net. Mostly though, he is focused on software development that is centred on the enhancing and appreciating the humanity in all of us.

Paul E McMahon: Enough About Processes: Let’s Use Patterns

When new developers and testers join the company, we want them to learn the “way we do software here.” So we give them the “stone tablets”?the volumes of process documentation? to study. However, the problem is that the details in this documentation are primarily for beginners and don’t give practitioners what they need to perform at a high level. Paul McMahon has found a better way to achieve and sustain high performance—by focusing on common patterns that repeat in organizations to help practitioners make better decisions. Join Paul as he shares common software development patterns he has observed, questions practitioners should be asking, and tips and warnings to help them make better decisions. Take away practical and easy-to-use techniques to identify and communicate repeating patterns specific to your organization, patterns that can help less experienced practitioners learn faster and consistently perform at a higher level.



Paul E. McMahon has been an independent consultant for 18 years helping organizations improve their development and management performance. Prior to his independent work Paul acquired twenty-four years of experience as a software developer, project manager and internal company coach working for Link Simulation and Lockheed Martin. He has taught Software Engineering at Binghamton University and published more than 50 articles on software and systems development and management.

Doug Bradbury: The Modern Software Apprenticeship - How to Grow Coding Talent via Mentorship

The demand for talented coders is extremely high throughout the world. Experienced programmers are hard to find and educational institutions are not keeping up with the demand. Even those who do  graduate from a University rarely have the practical skill sets needed to be a professional coder.

How is is possible to build a strong team of skilled coders in this environment?

Doug draws on his 8 years of experience building the apprenticeship program at 8th Light and on centuries of learning in historical craft and trade to explore how you can build a program to teach coders in one of the oldest and best proven methods of education: Apprenticeship 

The Modern Software Apprenticeship.pdf

Software Craftsmanship Manifesto


Doug Bradbury is the Director of Software Services for 8th Light in Chicago. He was one of 8th Light’s original Software Craftsmen, and he authored the Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship. Doug helped 8th Light develop and refine its modern apprenticeship program, and has mentored dozens of apprentices into successful software careers. Doug’s interest in social justice and reconciliation has brought him to Africa on a number of occasions. He has met with developers in Kigali, and is excited about exploring more possibilities in programming-based business on the continent.


Accepted presenters

Abstract and slides (where available) Talk
Lethagile Phoku Adopting agile in a corporate environment Companies adopt the Agile methodology to improve the delivery of software, add value to business and satisfy customers. In order to measure the success of the adoption, the reasons for changing the...
Pavel Dabrytski Agile Economics: Contracts, Budgets,... How much does one story point cost? Is Sprint 0 an expense or an asset? Can you run Scrum with a fixed-cost contract? Agile challenges the existing approach to financial aspects of running projects:... Agile Economics: Contracts, Budgets, Capitalization
Travis Frisinger Always Be Delivering : The Neuroscience of JIT... Software development is all about delivery, hence ensuring the most important thing is delivered as quickly as possible is key to a project being successful. To facilitate this Kanban boards have... PDF icon Agile Africa 2015 - NeuroLean.pdf
Justin Kotze, Simone Hull Coaching Circles - collaborative learning Since 2010 there have been coaching circles in South Africa for the select few that knew about it. This session is about how to start/join coaching circles, even if you do no have a big community in...
Nosipho Sithembiso Mdlovu Creating self-organizing teams that create high-... In an organization where agile practices have been adopted it is important to have self-organizing teams that can create high-quality software. There are various aspects that come into play when... PDF icon Creating self-organizing teams that create high-quality software in a diverse South African organization .pdf
Sizwe Mabanga DDD OverDrive: Wittgenstein's Java The world of software often attempts to model real-world scenarios, then allows the users of these models to solve certain problems. The world of philosophy often attempts to model real-world... PDF icon WittgensteinsJava.pdf
Brendon Page Delivering Technical Debt Whether we know it or not, every time we deliver a feature we also deliver technical debt. This debt remains largely invisible, it isn't tracked, it isn't visible on our information... Delivering Technical Debt - Slideshow
Tom Clement Oketch, Augustine Kisitu DevOps - Agile on Steroids Before Agile, many of us were happy building software using the waterfall methodology. This was despite the fact that we often failed to deliver or get to market on time, and that when we usually did... Agile on Steroids - Slideshow
Rouan Wilsenach Emergent design: cakes, showers and electricians. What is emergent design? How should we 'do design' on an agile project? Rouan will answer these questions by providing you with an introduction to the concept of emergent design. He'll... Emergent design: cakes, showers and electricians - Slideshow
Angie Doyle Finding your problem-solution fit I often hear about a new product and think… “That’s a really cool idea! I should go and get myself one”. The sad reality is that I seldom follow through with the actual purchase. Does it mean... PDF icon Finding your problem solution fit.pdf
Alfred Mukudu From infancy to adulthood: The human aspects of... We have been executing projects across a variety of industries for a while and have observed and supported agile , waterfall and "please don’t label our methodology" implementations.... PDF icon Poster From infancy to adulthood-The human aspects of agile maturity-POSTERv6.pdf
Justin Doyle High-Stakes Planning Poker – What to do when you... Planning and prioritisation of work at the portfolio level can be tricky business. Faced with a roomful of high-powered executives, each with their own opinions and agendas, things can quickly go... PDF icon agile_africa_2015_high_stakes_planning_poker.pdf
Yusuf Kaloo How to appease the demo gods One of the key Agile principles is our ability to show working software. How many times have we reached Demo day, happy with our sprint efforts, only to be affected by the Demo Gods and Murphy... PDF icon Agile Africa - Demo gods.pdf
Theo Bohnen, Terence Kruger How to deal with conflict in an agile team? We do not believe that conflict in an agile team is a bad thing. On the contrary a complacent team that is lacking energy, either positive or negative can be more destructive to an agile team. How do...
Josef Langerman How to execute an Agile Cultural Transformation... In this talk we will present a novel methodology to perform an agile cultural transformation at scale. We have implemented this approach in Standard Bank when we realised that we are struggling to... PDF icon AgileAfrica2015V1.pdf
Reuben Dlamini Ideation Ecology, Innovative Ecosystem and... The ‘disruptive change’ in our society alters the existing value networks to develop ideas and getting innovation solutions or services to the market faster and at a right price. According to...
Biase De Gregorio Ignore middle-managers at your peril! Why middle-... Lack of Executive buy-in is known to be one the leading causes of failed Agile transformations! But what about another level of management buy-in that can either make or break your agile... PDF icon Ignore Middle Managers at your Peril v3.0 Agile Africa Version.pdf
Leanne Howard Introduction to Session Based Testing Companies cannot afford to not be using agile within their projects. Worldwide surveys are telling us that this is the most popular methodology being used today. Business is demanding faster time...
Imtiaz Abdul Kader Organisational Agility - A Complex Systems... Organisation Agility is a term associated to a 21st century business strategy that is being adopted by many organisations that are African based continuing the trend adopted in Asia, Europe and... PDF icon agile africa 2015.pdf
Ann Wangari Mwangi Overcoming impostor syndrome in an agile... Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic...
Janco Wolmarans, Oz Chihwayi Real Agile Quality How do agile teams deliver quality solutions? Quality has traditionally been viewed as the responsibility of QA, or "testing", but can testers really test quality into a product? With... PDF icon testers-and-developers-static-agile-africa.pdf
Martin Cronjé Stop doing Agile! (Agile vs agility) Only a handful of software teams - that embark on the agile journey - see dramatic improvements in their ability to deliver software into production. On the other hand the majority of companies who... PDF icon Agile Africa 2015 - nReality - Stop doing Agile.pdf
Kerryn Felling The age old battle: Physical vs. Virtual Task... To understand whether to use a physical or virtual Task Board for your Agile team you need to know all the advantages and disadvantages of each. I will be listing from my own personal experience... PDF icon Kerryn Felling.pdf
Karen Greaves, Samantha Laing The Agile Analyst Mindset Often business analysts wonder what their role is in agile. Fitting somewhere between a Product Owner and Team member role, many analysts feel left out or alienated by agile. In this talk we will... PDF icon AgileAfrica2015.pdf
Danie Roux The Big 5 of Flow Philosophy "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust. The real value of agile is a new mindset and a different philosophy. This...
Mark Pearl The Natural Order of Progression for adopting... Many think Agile is just about stand-ups & sticky notes when it is actually about being able to deliver valuable software quicker. It is impossible to do this if you don't leverage the... NaturalOrderOfProgressionPrintOut.pdf
Jason Suttie The RMB Investment Bank Agile Journey I would like to tell the story of how RMB Investment Bank has adopted an agile philosophy as well as agile practices in its technology teams. The story is one of fluency and how we have shifted...
Candice Mesk Unboxifying Your Agile While Agile is many things for many people, I consider it a set of principles or guidelines which lead to successful outcomes. One such outcome is regular and predictable delivery of value to our...
Austin Fagan Wake up, smell the confusion. Product ownership... Scrum is one of the most popular agile frameworks and one of it's key components is the role of the Product Owner. Scrum advocates one person fills this role. My talk will delve into how in...