Presentation: Leadership Lessons From the Agile Manifesto

Track: The Whole Engineer

Location: Ballroom BC

Duration: 11:50am - 12:40pm

Day of week: Tuesday

Level: Intermediate

Persona: Architect, Chaos/Resiliency/SRE, CTO/CIO/Leadership, Data Engineering, Data Scientist, Developer, Developer, .NET, Developer, JVM, DevOps Engineer, Front-end Developer, General Software, ML Engineer, Mobile Developer, Security Professional, Technical Engineering Manager, UX Designer

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Whether you’re a Tech Lead, Engineering Manager, or Project Manager for an engineering team, you probably weren’t handed a leadership instruction manual when you were given your first team to lead. Even experienced technical leaders usually operate from a set of instincts and the hard lessons learned from painful mistakes. However, leadership is a skill that you can learn and develop if you know where to look. You don't have to be a “born leader”, but you do need a set of principles to guide the leader within you. This session will teach you how to apply the principles in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development to become a leader equipped with a framework for making decisions.


What’s the motivation for this talk?

When I was given my first technical team to lead many years ago, I didn’t know what to do. I copied the style of technical leads I worked with and what I could learn by reading USENET newsgroups about leadership (yes, it was that long ago). The results were mixed, and I felt that I was constantly making it up as I went along. However, after I began leading projects that used Agile software development, I eventually realized that the principles behind Agile provided powerful guidelines for leading my teams! These principles made me a more effective leader, increased team morale, and improved my ability to deliver software to customers.

What do you hope someone will leave this talk with?

This session will help attendees understand the principles behind the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and how to practically apply them to their daily leadership practices. They will leave the talk with a decision matrix for determining the right course of action when leading their teams, interacting with customers, and dealing with uncertainty.

How you you describe the persona and level of the target audience?

The persona of the target audience is someone tasked to lead a team of software developers. Ideally, this person has worked with cross-functional teams of 3 to 9 people and has completed at least one software development project using Scrum or Kanban.

Speaker: Anjuan Simmons

Technical Program Manager @Questback

Anjuan operates at the intersection of business and technology by relentlessly focusing on delivering delight to customers while effectively using engineering resources. He was a Technical Program Manager at Assemble Systems. When leading projects, he prefers Agile practices but will choose the right approach for the conditions on the ground. Anjuan works primarily in Swift and contributes to open source projects as often as possible.

Find Anjuan Simmons at



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