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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Martin Olson

Martin Olson grew up in the Kansas City metropolitan area and has an affinity its people and the mid-western culture; honesty, respect, caring, warmth and community. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from UMKC School of Computer Science and Telecommunications, and a Graduate Degree from the University of Kansas, School of Business and has been working in the IT industry for over twenty two years.

Martin is currently a principal with Silicon Prairie Solutions, providing Agile and Lean leadership coaching, team mentoring and training to clients throughout the United States. Martin is also a founding member of the Agile KC group and has helped lead the group since 2003. In addition Martin often presents at conferences and other speaking engagements on agile and lean practices in the real world.

Martin’s latest endeavors have centered on assisting enterprises understand and successfully transition being Agile at scale. Rather than following a prescriptive format, Martin believes that it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses inherent within the organization and structure a process that fits the underlying culture and helps drive its evolution.

Martin can be reached at molson@siliconprairiesolutions.com.

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Ron Montgomery

Ron Montgomery is a management consultant and owner of OnPoint, LLC, a firm that partners with clients to drive business value from I.T. projects. Ron has 36 years of hands-on experience with projects that encompass business planning, software development, process improvement, and deployment of software solutions.

Ron launched his independent consulting career in 1994, and his clients include major insurance carriers, banks, technical solution firms, and non-profit organizations. He has assisted these clients with business planning, IT strategy, project and program management, vendor selection and team training / mentoring. Over the past eight years, Ron has led multiple initiatives that employ the agile framework.

Ron’s clients value his common sense application of agile principles to improve project performance. Client teams appreciate his collaborative manner of work, his ability to build strong relationships with all levels of stakeholders and his willingness to help team members accomplish their goals.

Ron has achieved the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification sponsored by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and has held the office of president on the local PMI board. Ron holds the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner certification and the Certified ScrumMaster designation from the Scrum Alliance. Ron is also certified as Scaled Agile Program Consultant by the Scaled Agile Academy.

He holds a B.A. degree in Industrial Relations from Rockhurst University in Kansas City.

Areas of Expertise: Project Management, Business Process Outsourcing, and Financial Services

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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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Tom Westervelt

Tom Westervelt was the Lead Scrum Master for the Business Process Solutions (BPS) division of DST Systems, Inc. He earned his BA in Computer Science from the University of Missouri and started his career as a COBOL programmer. Since then, he has garnered 25+ years of experience in all aspects of IT. Tom has been directly involved in the BPS division’s Agile adoption since 2007. This has also involved mentoring their offshore development teams in Bangkok, Thailand and Hangzhou, China. More recently, he was one of the drivers behind the BPS division’s move from product-based teams to feature-based teams. This transition also includes a more aggressive software delivery schedule.

As additional divisions within DST adopted Agile, Tom started the DST Agile Forum. This group met monthly and was composed of multiple roles across all divisions in DST that have adopted Agile. The idea being that each division can learn from and assist other divisions throughout their Agile adoption journey.

Tom holds both the Certified ScrumMaster designation and the Certified Scrum Professional designation from the Scrum Alliance. Besides the Agile Hood group, he is also involved in the Agile KC group.

Tom is a big believer in the transparency that Agile brings and is also highly interested in the impact that culture, psychology, and motivation have on the execution of the Agile methodology. But his real interest is in the statistical side – root cause analysis; and measuring Agility of individuals, teams, divisions, and companies.

Areas of Expertise: Release Planning, Retrospectives, Integrating offshore teams into Agile, and Metrics/Reporting

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John Flagler

John Flagler is a project and program delivery director who has been delivering and managing technology solutions, at Hallmark Cards Inc., for over 28 years. Collaborating with business partners and countless vendor solutions and services, he has led teams delivering custom build, COTS, ERP, Saas, and internet business systems for Retail stores, Mass Channel retailers, eCommerce, supply chain and product development.

Challenged to realize business value quicker in a climate where the speed of change is accelerating, he is leading Hallmark’s agile transformation efforts integrated with corporate Lean initiatives. He is responsible for directing and managing program and project managers of corporate priorities as well as oversight of technical development analysts (70+). Driven to challenge the status quo, Hallmark is pursuing the application of “all agile on some projects or some agile on all projects” built around motivated individuals and a continuous attention to technical excellence.

Outside of work, he tries to keep up with his family’s academic and sporting events or “recharge” on a long run.

Areas of Expertise: Agile hybrid implementation – Continuous Flow, Kanban, and Pair Programming

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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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Josh Roberts

Josh Roberts is a Solutions Delivery Manager and Team Coach with a focus on agile/lean practices. With over 14 years of experience delivering software solutions, he has managed projects with both traditional and agile methodologies. His background in portfolio, program/project and team management enables him to successfully architect and implement agile/lean delivery frameworks tailored to enterprise objectives.

Coupled with his experience in the Finance and Telecommunications industries, Josh also draws from his undergraduate degree in MIS and an MBA in Finance and International Business. He has provided solutions delivery services to both large enterprise IT organizations and product development companies. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the role of lead developer for an iPhone game.

Areas of Expertise: Agile Team Coach, Agile Engineering Practices, and Scaling Agile

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Melissa Crouch

Melissa Crouch has over 17 years of software development experience including application development, project/program management, and application development management. Melissa currently manages a group of Agile practitioners within Sprint’s IT Architecture and 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. We have already seen success using scrum and applying some of the Agile principles to our Waterfall programs.

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 and holds the following certifications: CSM, CSPO, SAFe Agilist, and PMP.

Areas of Expertise: Scrum Execution, Scaled Agile (scrum of scrums, 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

Paul Carter

Paul Carter grew up on the central coast of California. He currently resides in the Kansas City metropolitan area where he has lived for the past 20 years. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from

DeVry University in Computer Information Systems. He has been working in the IT industry for 16 years with a strong background in the financial services industry – Mutual Funds, Annuities, Life Insurance and Banking.

Paul is an Agile Coach and Scrum Trainer for Commerce Bank. He is actively involved in multiple Agile user groups at work and in the Kansas City community. Paul is an Agile enthusiast with a passion for transforming teams and growing agility as a business strategy within the enterprise. He currently teaches the following workshops: Agile Scrum Boot Camp and Product Visioning and Story Mapping. He also provides agile consulting and training with AgileNow LLC. He holds the PMP, CSM, and CSP certifications.

He is married with 6 children (a nice size scrum team with a 18 month old impediment) and enjoys roller coasters and water parks. You can follow him on Twitter @AgileFamilyGuy

“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.

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Scott Bird

Scott Bird is the Process Excellence Leader for se2, a Third Party Administrator in the life insurance and annuity industries, responsible for insuring the efficiency and effectiveness of all their development and project delivery processes. From the minute Scott showed up at se2, he has advocated and implemented agile principles and practices throughout the organization. Prior to joining se2, he was a full-time internal agile coach and trainer during agile transformations at JP Morgan and Great West Financial, both 401K administrators. Over the past 5 years, Scott has trained about 400 project delivery personnel, implemented cross-functional teams, agile portfolio management, and “Big Room Planning”.

Scott has taken the “accidental” path to becoming an agilest. Educated as a Naval Architect (think mechanical engineering on the water), he moved to computer simulation, then to IT in 2001, receiving his PMP in 2003. He received his CSM in 2006, but didn’t really put it strongly into practice until 2009. He now considers himself a “Reformed PM”, and has received his PMI-ACP, CSPO, CSP, and SAFe certifications. Despite the alphabet soup behind his name, he really believes it’s all about the collaboration and communication between individuals and teams in the organization.

Scott prefers taking a pragmatic approach to implementing agile in an organization. It’s not about following the “rules” of agile, but more about implementing elements of agility where and when a company needs it, using an approach the company can most quickly absorb it. His favorite agile tools are whiteboards, sticky notes, and sharpies.

His Areas of Expertise include Enterprise Agile Transformation, Financial Services, and Agile Meeting Facilitation.