12th Nov. Susan Atkinson & The problem with Agile and contracts + Thom Lawrence on What I Learned About Enterprise Sales From Apocalypse Now

Post date: Oct 16, 2013 9:24:9 AM

November is about big projects and behemoth organisations. It's a strange fact of life that the way software engineering projects unfold has a lot to do with the prevailing legal circumstances. Despite the influence of these legal arrangements, collaboration between lawyers and engineers remains rare. Technology has changed rapidly, agile process innovation is now common. Yet, innovation within commercial law is more elusive. Susan Atkinson is one of the few voices coming from the legal profession trying to address a changing agile world. Thom Lawrence on the other hand knows literally what a jungle the enterprise can be. While it's still the natural habitat for many IT people he's here to tell the story of a tiny software vendor's journey into this Heart of Darkness.

Susan Atkinson & The problem with Agile and contracts

A hot topic in recent years has been the search for an Agile contract. But are we focusing on the right thing? When we say we want an Agile contract, what do we actually mean? Do we want a contract that reflects Agile processes? Do we want a contract that focuses on a minimum usable subset, a MosCoW prioritised requirements list, on story points, function points, velocity or burn-down charts?

Our experience is that many ‘Agile’ contracts have led to disappointing results. Many are still too inflexible, focus on speed at the expense of quality, or lead to ‘feature-farming’.

Agile is the means and not the end result. What do customers actually need? Agile should be about delivering true business value in a complex and rapidly changing environment. We have developed the flexible contract model which is methodology agnostic and which focuses on the delivery of target outcomes.

This session will look at some of the Agile contract models and give a brief overview of the flexible contract model.

Bio: Susan is a commercial lawyer at Keystone Law based in London. She specialises in IT, e-commerce and online financial services, and has worked both in private practice and in-house. Her practice has typically included high-value, complex commercial transactions, primarily in the technology, financial services and public sectors, and often with an international element. Susan adopts a proactive and pragmatic approach, acknowledging that any legal solution must be business-focused. Susan is recognised for her work by the International Who’s Who of IT Lawyers. She is a regular speaker both in the UK and internationally, and has written many articles and blogs in this area which have featured in publications of the IEEE Computer Society, InfoQ, the Society for Computers & Law and Computer Weekly. She sometimes tweets @satkinson42

Thom Lawrence on What I Learned About Enterprise Sales From Apocalypse Now

Many people mistake Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film Apocalypse Now for a classic war movie, never realising that it was intended as a handbook to entrepreneurs trying to learn about enterprise sales. I'll walk you through the dark journey at the heart of every enterprise project, from the point of view of small startup trying not to get shot at too much.

Bio: Thom is a co-founder of Delver, a platform for natural language interfaces. We're trying to make it dead simple for you to integrate Siri or Facebook Graph Search style natural language queries into your own apps. You can follow him on twitter @hotwoofy