Nigel Dalton is known in Australia as The Godfather of Agile, having run one of the two famous enterprise experiments in new ways of delivering software, each beginning in 2007. One was Suncorp, led by Jeff Smith, who went on to be global CIO at IBM in 2014. Nigel learned his agile skills building a startup in the USA from 2000 – 2004, applying agile principles to all aspects of the business – from tech to sales. In 2007 Nigel was GM of IT at Lonely Planet, the travel guide publisher – where hundreds of agile practitioners, in both engineering and delivery roles, began their XP, Scrum and Kanban journeys. Thoughtworks were a key partner for Lonely Planet.
Ten years later, working as CIO (and more recently Chief Inventor) at the REA Group, who own Iproperty in Asia, Nigel now offers his reflections on the successes and failures of obsessing with agile dev practices to deliver great business and tech outcomes. He will present a model built on 17 years of being agile, that begins with Toyota-inspired lean management; flows to a focus on resilience (because “agile is fragile”); which unleashes invention; which can finally be executed in an agile ‘factory’ that includes unified design, engineering and product.
Attendees should take away an understanding that as engineers they need to be very careful to ask for a clear organisational purpose, effective organisation structure, and multi-disciplinary teams – just as loudly as demanding AWS access, Github keys, Docker licenses, Slack logins, and pair-programming desks.
After 5 years as Chief Information Officer of the REA Group, Nigel has transformed into the Chief Inventor – having handed the technology reins to a proper Chief Engineer, Tom Varsavsky. His scope is global, looking 2-5 years ahead to technologies that impact the currencies of online real estate – time, trust, and transparency. Those technologies are predicted to be Virtual Reality, Augemented Reality, and Robotics (with the accompanying digital brainpower provided by machine learning and data science). Nigel runs a small team in REALABS in Melbourne focused on those 3 T’s. Nigel is an active member of the agile community globally, and from that earned the unlikely title of ‘Godfather of Agile’ 10 years ago.
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