Agile is easy to understand, but hard to implement, because it takes your problems and throws them in your face every day.
In this talk, Michael Toppa, IT Director at Penn’s School of Medicine Information Services, and Jorj Bauer, Manager of Engineering, Research and Development at Penn’s ISC, will discuss the challenges and rewards of adopting Agile practices in a University environment. We’ll start with an overview of the Agile philosophy and the practices of Scrum, which is a popular Agile methodology. We’ll explain the motivation for adopting Agile practices in our respective organizations, the barriers we encountered, and the benefits we’ve experienced.
Our session will primarily focus on the unique challenges of IT support organizations in a University environment, where there are typically a large number of projects and too few staff, working within a business context where authority and responsibility are highly distributed. This makes client expectations management a complex and daunting challenge, and creates a tension between doing quality work and providing fast turnaround on multiple simultaneous projects.
We will also share experiences from a colleague at the University of Iowa’s Research Information Systems, which also adopted Scrum.
12th–14th July 2011