Who We Are

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Matt Anderson

Matt Anderson is a Director of Program Management at Cerner Corporation. An 18+ year IT veteran with a background in development, architecture and project management, Matt has led Cerner’s Enterprise Agile Transformation since its beginnings in late 2008.

With more than 4,000 associates now trained in Agile and Lean principles, Cerner has embraced an Agile culture. Application is not confined merely to software development, but across Cerner’s entire business. Matt’s expertise includes individual team level implementation, Agile in regulated environments, systemic lean process improvement, and enterprise change management. Matt has shared Cerner’s experience at Agile India 2011 and other conferences as well as mentoring other companies throughout the world.

In addition to Agile, Matt is actively engaged in the Project Management community. Matt has been a certified Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2004 and an Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) since 2011. He recently served on a PMI Committee as the Integration Chapter Lead for the version 5 of the PMBOK and currently serves KC PMI as a member of their Executive Roundtable. Matt has also served on the National Local Chapter Committee for the Agile Leadership Network.

Areas of Expertise: Enterprise Agile, PMI and Agile Reconciliation, and Lean Process Improvement

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Troy Tuttle

Troy Tuttle is a Lean-Agile coach, software developer mentor, and consultant with almost a decade of experience working in Lean-Agile environments. He currently operates KanFlow, a consulting firm dedicated to helping software professionals, teams, and organizations improve by the study and application of Lean and Agile principles and practices. Most of his work is directed by approaches that support better clarity, understanding, and continuous learning about Lean, Agile, and the nature of knowledge work itself.

Troy has been heavily involved in the community as a facilitator and speaker. He founded the Limited WIP Society of Kansas City in 2009—a user group for Lean, Kanban, and Agile practitioners to help others in the community with the theory and practice of Lean software. He also regularly speaks at local, regional, and international events and conferences. Recently his interests have focused on systems thinking and complexity theory as alternative means to achieve a better understanding of Lean and Agile software development.

Areas of Expertise: Lean-Kanban-Agile Coach & Trainer, Organizational Improvement, Community Facilitator, and Speaker

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Leslie Maness

Leslie Maness is the PMO Director, Resourcing and Capacity for Hallmark Digital, the consumer facing division of Hallmark. Leslie leads the Project Management organization which includes project managers, business analysts, resourcing and capacity management, and project delivery processes for Hallmark Digital. Prior to this role, Leslie was a program delivery manager with a high focus on process improvement. She has been engaged with Lean since her early days at Hallmark within manufacturing and operations. Leslie’s passionate approach to drive for results and make every day better in the process has kept her motivated to learn about new and exciting spaces. Lean applied to Software development became an interest of hers in late 2010. Since then, the zeal for learning and applying Lean to software development has been unquenchable.

Leslie is a project, program, portfolio and operational management professional with 8+ years’ experience in Quality and Continuous Improvement, Leadership/Management and Training, Purchasing, Contracts and Supply Chain Planning. She is a Lean Leader at her core. She is also a Lean/Agile coach for the group she works with each day.

Leslie has 4+ years’ experience driving results via project and program management for consumer physical and digital projects and services. She has managed cross-functional teams (70+) to develop and launch a new website. She has overseen the implementation of multiple iPhone and Android app projects from creation and development to service and support for each. She has led peer project managers and coordinated multilevel projects to drive effectiveness of project delivery processes. She is the Process coach for her division: including coaching, leadership, mentoring for project teams and department leaders.

A curiosity for learning continues to drive Leslie to study and apply new techniques to excel process improvement each and every day.

Areas of Expertise: Kanban, Lean, and Consumer facing digital (web/app)

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Jenny Tarwater

Jenny is owner of Blueshift Innovation – a company focused on helping companies realize the potential of Agile through training, coaching and mentoring. Jenny Tarwater is a twenty year veteran of Technical Project and Program Management with an approach of cultivating success and growth in people, process and products. Jenny’s perspective drives her involvement in cultivating the “small company start up culture” in companies of all sizes and outreach in the Kansas City community.

Her diverse talents are evident through a stream of successful products, including the launch of Kansas City’s first web page for the Kansas City Board and Trade; www.80s.com -winner of People Magazine’s 1996 ‘Best of Bytes’; standing up a new record label; acquiring and turning around a failing travel publication; several iconic Sprint device launches; launch of the award winning Chrysler Connected Vehicle platform UConnect; and most recently several mobile applications. Her approach to continual improvement is illustrated in her leadership of the year-long transformation of Sprint’s Product Development organization into an agile division using several methodologies including scrum and Kanban.

Areas of Expertise: Scrum, Kanban and SAFe 101, Enterprise Agile Implementation and Team Dynamics

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Kay Harper

As a coach trained in Organizational and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC), Agile Coaching (ICAgile), and Agile/Lean frameworks, Kay Harper partners with businesses to create sustainable change and growth. Her coaching stance can be described as holistic, comprised of a dual-focus on addressing both the people side of organizations (culture, leadership, teamwork) and business side of organizations (strategy, process improvement, implementing delivery frameworks). She also works with the Johnson County Community College Continuing Education branch to develop and deliver Agile course offerings.

Prior to launching Kay Harper Consulting LLC, Kay worked for 20 years performing coaching, mentoring, training, project and product management in a variety of industries. When she started utilizing Agile principles and practices in 2008, she quickly determined that Agile and Lean principles, when wholly implemented, give organizations a competitive advantage in the new, Information Age. Through her years of experience, Kay has witnessed the impact of unhealthy organizational systems to a company’s success and is passionate about creating powerful teams at all levels.

A member of the International Coaching Federation and graduate of Organizational Relationship and Systems Coaching (ORSCT). Kay is also a long-standing member of Agile KC and the KC Project Management Institute chapter. She holds several certifications through ICAgile including Agile Fundamentals, Agile Coaching, Agile Facilitation, Agile Project Management and Agile Testing. She is a Scaled Agile Framework Certified Professional Consultant and a Scrum Alliance Certified Scrummaster.

Areas of expertise: Teams and Systems coaching, implementing Agile/Lean, organizational change

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Melissa Crouch

Melissa Crouch has over 20 years of software development experience including application development, project/program management, and application development management. Melissa currently manages multiple middleware scrum teams and DevOps within Sprint’s IT Service Delivery organization. While Sprint IT has leveraged scrum and Agile for years in pockets of our organization, our official Enterprise IT level move toward Agile began in 2012.  Melissa led the Sprint Agile transformation from inception to what is now a Scaled Agile environment leveraging SAFe with multiple Agile Release Trains.

Melissa’s favorite principle from the Agile Manifesto is, “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software”. When Melissa transitioned to Sprint in 1999 she was part of a small technical group embedded with a business team. She saw first-hand the effectiveness of closely coupling business ideas with technical solutions in-person on a daily basis. Melissa is committed to bringing that same level of partnership at scale while still accommodating standards, best practices, and complex architectures.

Melissa has a computer science degree from Missouri State University where she also serves on the Computer Science Advisory Board.  She holds the following certifications: CSM, CSPO, SAFe Agilist, ICP-ACC, and PMP.

Areas of Expertise: Scrum Execution, Scaled Agile (program level SAFe), and Hybrid approaches

Shahzad Zafar

Shahzad Zafar is a ScrumMaster and a Manager at Cerner Corporation. Shahzad is also an Agile Coach at Cerner and facilitates the Agile Bootcamp, ScrumMaster and Team Facilitation training, Lean Process Improvement training and is always looking to develop new trainings to help teams. He has also been leading Agile development teams since 2009.

Shahzad has a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2005 and also received his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Kansas in 2009. He joined Cerner in 2005 as a software developer, working on C++ and Java. He got the benefit of seeing projects being run in a waterfall methodology before transitioning to Agile development. As a ScrumMaster, he has worked with different teams (both large and small) and in different team environments. As an Agile Champion and Coach, Shahzad gets the opportunity to work with other teams to offer support and guidance to setup productive and successful teams by leveraging Agile and Lean methodologies.

Currently, Shahzad is working with teams building Cloud Services and is managing the overall project plan and deployments for the Cloud Services team. He is also leading the effort to continuously improve the development and operations processes, to enable DevOps within the organization.
Besides Agilehood, Shahzad is also an active participant at local events and conferences, such as speaking at Agile KC, Cerner DevCon and Kansas City Developers Conference. You can follow him on Twitter @m_shahzad_z

Areas of Expertise: Enterprise Agile, Agile Coach & Trainer, Lean-Kanban Process Improvement, Team Dynamics, DevOps

“Steve

Steve Toalson

Steve Toalson is a KC Home Boy, growing up in Prairie Village, KS. Steve now resides in Lawrence, KS. Steve earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Washburn University in Topeka, KS. His first job out of college was with Electronic Data Systems, which had him moving to Milwaukee, WI, then Camp Hill, PA, and finally the Washington D.C. area. The Midwest life style (and costs) brought Steve and his family back home.

Steve’s Agile adventures began at Hallmark Cards, where Steve learned the ins and outs of being an Agile Coach on Hallmarks initial Agile endeavor. Often referred to as an evangelist, Steve is never shy to offer his perspective when it comes to the Agile Principles. In fact, he has them memorized. While at Hallmark, Steve assisted in all things Agile, conducting Training and working with other Agile Coaches – striving to build and promote high performing teams.

A shorter commute and another transformation opportunity now has Steve at Westar Energy in Topeka, KS. Steve is currently a ScrumMaster with two customer facing teams. His joy of teaching the benefits as well as the challenges of Agile are keeping him busy as Westar continues to adopt an agile mindset.

He is married with 4 adult children (ok – maybe an 18 year old isn’t quite an adult) and enjoys cycling and fixing things. His favorite Agile Principle? #5 – look it up or ask him.