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Changing of the Guard at the APLN

by Deborah Hartmann Preuss on Jul 30, 2006 |
The Agile Project Leadership Network (APLN) is a non-profit organization focused on making people great project leaders by focusing on value, teams, context, customers, individuals and uncertainty.  Today they held their first North American Leadership Summit, in parallel with the Agile2006 conference still going on in Minneapolis.  The day-long event, sold out in advance, allowed 150 business and project leaders to learn from (and brainstorm with) experienced agile leaders like Jim Highsmith, Sanjiv Augustine, Christopher Avery, David Anderson, and Pollyanna Pixton.  For those who missed it, InfoQ filmed most of the sessions and they will appear here in the next few months. Also, the next APLN Leadership Summit will take place in London, England on November 7th, at the Agile Business Conference.

The last event of the Leadership Summit was to award Jim Highsmith the "Superhero of Agile Process" award (a spider-man statue :-), as a thank-you for his leadership in creating and developing the APLN since its inception at the ADC 2004 Conference (at the time, code named the "Dead Fish Society").  Highsmith will stay on to focus on program development, and hands the reigns over to Agile2006 chairperson Todd Little, who will head the Network for the coming year. Little is also among the originators of the Declaration of Interdependence and the APLN, and has been working closely with Highsmith.

Todd Little has 25 years of industry experience and is currently a Senior Development Manager for Landmark Graphics Corp. where he manages four product development teams using a homegrown Agile approach which blends aspects of Crystal and Scrum methodologies.  Little spoke yesterday at the Agile2006 conference on “Context Driven Agile Leadership,” sharing his first-hand experiences at Landmark Graphics.  Video of the session will appear on InfoQ in the coming months.

In his role as APLN President, Little looks forward to growing the two key programs already in place: the twice-annual Leadership Summit, and the sowing of local chapters - at present they number about twenty, with large groups thriving in Calgary, Alberta and Richmond, VA, among others.  A third program, the Members' Network, is a SharePoint collaboration site to support members, and it will become more active this year, too. It already contains items like the "Local Chapter Cookbook" to help start groups in new cities.

Asked today what message he'd like people to hear about the APLN, Little immediately replied:
"If you have passion and want to make a difference in how project leadership is done, please join us!'



Update, July 30th 2006: 

The Agile Project Leadership Network (APLN) has named several new officers to its board, to carry on the work of the Network into its third year.  "These select individuals represent the foremost experts and leaders in the Agile software development community," said Todd Little, program director for Agile 2006. "We look forward to utilizing their skills and expertise to increase the awareness and understanding of our industry as we host another successful Agile conference next year in Washington, D.C."

New board members are:
  • Ashley Johnson, principal at Valtech Skill Development;
  • Mike Griffiths, senior technical director at Quadrus Development, Inc; and
  • Barbara Wilders, managing consultant at CC Pace.

Officers of the board for the next year are:

  • Todd Little, senior development manager for Landmark Graphics as president;
  • Pollyanna Pixton, president of Evolutionary Systems as vice president;
  • Kent McDonald, business analyst at Genesis 10 as treasurer; and
  • Christopher Avery, senior consultant with the Cutter Consortium as secretary.

The APLN was founded in 2004 by individuals active in writing about, practicing and evangelizing the movement toward fast, flexible, customer value-driven approaches to leading projects of many types. Although the organization is separate from the Agile Alliance, the group's aim is to work closely with the Agile Alliance to help them become better Project Leaders.

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