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Mental Models in High-Performing Agile Teams presented by Amit Uttam


As the key principles of "Agility" have been put into practice over the last decade, there has been an increasingly alarming trend to look at "Agile" as a magical set of tangible team actions. It has sadly become all too common to equate software delivery agility with the mechanics of standups, certifications and iterations. Collaborative skills and introspection are often diminished, despite being a fundamental pillar of the Agile Manifesto.

A principal distinguishing characteristic of high-performing software delivery teams is the ability to gain quick and intuitive convergence around a set of business needs. This is not an easy task. Business, Management and Technology typically find themselves complaining (in equal measure!) that the other parts of the team "just don't seem to get it". It's as if they're "always speaking a whole different language". This is when sustained collaboration begins to decay into dysfunction. Detailed research and analysis of performant teams reveals that the recognition and adaptation of a team's various "Mental Models" plays a central role in prolonged, sustained success in delivering business and growth outcomes.

This talk (with brief interactive exercises) has been presented at multiple international Agile Conferences to resounding reviews. It introduces the basic principles of Mental Models, their recognition in individuals and teams, and their application toward managing/participating in successful Agile software delivery teams.


Amit Uttam is currently the VP of Engineering & Operations at PetroFeed. He is a frequent speaker on the international Agile conference circuit, evangelizing pragmatic "agile" over dogmatic "Agile". Amit bears the scars of successful organizational Agile transformations in diverse environments, from multi-national corporate enterprises to small, less-focussed start-ups. His long consulting career and present role at PetroFeed have been to bridge the familiar chasms between business desires for growth and propulsion, versus entrenched software engineering preferences. Transforming these divisions into the creative and healthy tensions that characterize his successful Agile clients and teams is what charges Amit and gives him immense satisfaction. Amit's software engineering and management career has had him consulting, residing and working full-time in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Canada and the United States, which he strongly credits for embracing diversity in team mental models.

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  • Gabriel A.

    Nice talk by the presenter (Amit Uttam), since we've learned the basics, I would like the presenter to find time to come back to give us more insight into part 2 of this presentation.

    Great thanks to all the organizers of this event for their continuous effort in helping members to sharpen their skills and knowledge. How amazing! The information sharing among members before and after the event concerning various opportunities to improve themselves such as seminars, training and information on job postings. Let keep the good work up. Thanks!

    February 8, 2014

  • SM S.

    Thanks Amit for the presentation. Btw, we are looking for a couple of good developers with some Ruby/Rails experience and a couple of QA's to to join my team at Cisco security group. If you are interested, or know anyone, please get in touch at [masked]

    February 7, 2014

  • Tys von G.

    Really enjoyed the talk Amit, thanks!

    I forgot to write down your book suggestions, mind sharing them?

    February 7, 2014

  • Jonathan H.

    Thanks Amit. Great talk!

    For members, last night there were a lot of people who are looking to hire right now. Feel free to post links to your job postings here in meetup for other members to see.


    February 7, 2014

  • Kelly C

    Great presentation Amit! For those that are interested, the Software Quality Discussion Group is having a panel discussion "Detailed test cases and metrics, do they work in agile?" on Feb 12th at noon.

    For further details you can go to Everyone is welcome!

    February 7, 2014

  • Tim U.

    Great presentation from speaker Amit, with good facilities provided by Innovate Calgary.

    February 6, 2014

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