Talks

Getting your organization and leadership to think differently about their way of working is really hard. One of the ways that Target started to change their way of thinking was to bring speakers in from external organizations to challenge their way of thinking. Actually hearing stories and seeing examples from other organizations made it more real to Target Team Members and got them excited about the change, and to believe that it was possible.

Target now has our own stories to share and we want to give back to the community that helped us when we were starting our journey. While we still have a long way to go, our hope is that other organizations will learn from successes and failures, and that we can keep sharing and learning together as a community.


Talk Logistics

While our team would love to travel around the world and speak at every conference and event that we would like, we do have some limitations on where and when we can speak. Below outlines some of the logistics, expectations, and restrictions for Target to talk.

  1. The first step is to request Target to speak and let us know if one of the talks below are of interest to you, or if there is a custom talk you are interested in.
  2. Once we get the request, we will evaluate our availability to fulfill the request.
  3. If we are able to accommodate your request, we will work with you on logistics of travel and details of talk.
  4. Being a large enterprise, we do have to work with our PR team to get approval to do any talk outside our organization. While this is usually not an issue, we do want to make you aware of it this process.
  5. Following the talk, while Target does not charge any speaker fee, all travel expenses need to be reimbursed. We will send an invoice for all related travel expenses.

Don't see a talk below that works for you? Let us know and we can work with you on if we have a story to share based on your need.


The Target Journey
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Over the last 5+ years, Target has gone through some massive changes, starting within IT and now throughout the entire organization. This story is an amazing one of grassroots efforts, leadership change, and complete shifts in mindsets.

The talk starts with covering where Target started and the reasons why we needed to change, followed by some of the tools and mindset that were foundational to the change. We also cover how we have and continue to measure success as well as the need for leadership and organizational support to allow for this change to take place. Finally, we wrap up with where we see our journey continuing and advice to others who are starting in their own journey.


Save the World, Save Your Team

'Can you save humanity? You and your team are the only things standing in the way of deadly diseases that threaten the world. The fate of humanity is in your hands.'- description of 'Pandemic' from Z-Man Games

Game on! But can a game really teach me something about being Agile? How can a board game save my team?

In this interactive workshop, we'll explore how cooperative board gaming relates to the work of Agile teams. We'll dive head-first into the Agile nature of 'Pandemic' through gameplay in small groups and then retrospect to identify similarities and differences between cooperative board gaming and Agile team behaviors. We'll discover how the patterns observed during gameplay can be used to help identify possible dysfunction within your team. You will leave this session with the ability to use cooperative board gaming with your own teams to inspire new ways of thinking, shift mindsets, and increase team engagement.

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The Dojo - Implementing Immersive Learning Environment for Teams
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Has your standard classroom curriculum provided the improvements you're seeking for your teams?

Based on the philosophy of Japanese places of learning, a Dojo - which literally means 'place of the way' - is a physical training facility for practitioners of martial arts. Throughout the centuries, these immersive learning environments have instilled the disciplines and skills for students to master their craft. The Target Dojo provides a similar immersive learning environment for teams to practice basic kata (actions) related to Product, Lean, Agile and DevOps practices and mindsets via Challenges, where Agile and Technical coaches work with teams to help them learn and refine their craft in a dedicated space.

In this presentation, we’ll share with you why Target pursued creating a Dojo for Product, Lean, Agile and DevOps learning, how it evolved over its 3.5 years, the outcomes and success that teams take back with them, and the behavior changes this learning style has impressed on the culture of our organization. We will also talk through the mechanics, physical environment, coaching investment, process, and other tactics of implementing a Dojo in your company.


May I Help You Find Something - A Journey of Enterprise Business Agility
Are you ready for your Enterprise Agility journey? Let’s take a look! Becoming Agile and getting to Enterprise Agility is a journey of incremental progress where, as with other journeys, you’ll explore, discover, experiment, and learn - at your own pace and in a way that's right for your Enterprise.

In this presentation, we’ll travel together through journeys taken by Target Marketing business teams that are becoming Agile. We’ll join them as they progress from Team and Product Agility into Strategic Agility and enter into Enterprise Agility as we envision it. We’ll see teams operating in various frameworks including Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban (hybrid), and experimental groups forming practice squads and guilds to deliver what’s new and next for Target Guests.

Anchoring to the Agile Values and Principles, these teams are developing empathetic, trusting, and collaborative relationships within their teams and across organizational pyramids. We'll see how delivering valuable outcomes early, often, and beyond expectations helps drive engagement with Executive Leadership. And we'll share some of the signals that indicate that your Enterprise is advancing toward Business Agility such as our Coach-in-Training experiment that enables teams to continue along their learning journey once they've skilled up in our internal immersive learning environment.

Being a leader in an industry means having trend-setting strategies, leadership and products that adapt to change, and making guest-centric decisions. Today’s industry leaders must be agile – ultimately across their Enterprise. Tom Diedrich and Chris Diller, Lead Agile Coaches at Target, will share stories of Marketing teams’ journeys and outline an ongoing approach in pursuit of Enterprise Business Agility at a large corporation.
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Target's Journey from Project to Product Funding
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Going from a project-based organization to a product-based organization is not an easy task. It requires your whole organization to change how they think about prioritization, work definition, organizational structures, and, of course, funding. Target moved its IT organization to product-based several years ago, and has seen some great success.

This presentation will give you an overview of how Target moved to a product-based organization, and dive deeper into the funding model behind it. You will learn the motivators behind going to product, how Target figures out what products to start, stop, or continue to invest in, as well as the benefits and learnings so far. Be sure to bring your questions as there will be opportunities for Q&A.

Crowdsourcing Technology Governance
In the past, architecture choices, ensuring quality, and security and compliance technologies were the ways to enforce governance through tollgates, centralized approvals, and silos. Three years ago Target started recommend_tech, a git repo, which uses crowdsourcing to make technology choices at Target.

This is one example of how Target is moving away from traditional governance to more of a guidance model by crowdsourcing our technology choices, which allows our IT organization to respond to change more quickly. This is essential in empowering your engineering team, and to stay up to speed with the rate of change in technology today.
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Greasing the Gears – Calibrating for Enterprise Business Agility
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Unleashing Enterprise Business Agility (EBA) requires routine maintenance and long-term investments in areas such as architecture and product management; combined with ongoing investment in coaching and training of lean-agile principles to empowered teams.

We will share stories behind Target’s journey and what it takes to grease the gears for Enterprise Business Agility at a large corporation, such as tuning Team Agility, Product Agility, Strategic Agility, and Operational Agility.

What is Technical Coaching? The Art, Science, and Culture Of Engineering Enablement

Software engineering may be difficult, but fostering a working environment that enables skilled engineers to perform their best can sometimes seem downright impossible. Every day, many engineering teams are battling a messy whirlwind of forces like unmovable deadlines, impostor syndrome, psychological safety issues, personnel/leadership conflicts, fierce technological preferences, and more. With teams more distributed all over the world than ever before, cultural differences can exacerbate many of these difficulties.

As a software engineering coach, my job is to not only introduce new technology to software teams, but to strengthen their working relationships within their organization. Coaches aren’t simply technical instructors. Rather, they are change agents that guide a team towards better outcomes for their project as well as their interactions with one another.

In this presentation, I will discuss tips, tricks, and techniques that technical leaders and managers alike can utilize to better coach engineering teams, including concepts like the definition of empathy (and, more importantly, what doesn't count), the trust-influence relationship model, introducing new technologies in a meaningful and consumable way, and a 5-step process to provide teams confidence to own their new solutions moving forward

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Experiment Gone Right! (TDD Mobbing Workshop)
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Imagine the ideal solution - sleek, intuitive, maintainable. Imagine the model team - cross-functional, customer focused, value driven. Now add a dose of reality. Deadlines are looming, shared understanding is deprioritized, distractions are rampant, corners are cut, maximize output (not outcomes) is emphasized. How are you suppose to continuously improve towards either of those visions, let alone both? In short, it's a journey, and you need to figure out a way to take that first step.

The Target Dojo (immersive learning environment) has harnessed the power of test-driven development (TDD) and mob programming (mobbing) into a journey jump-starting workshop. The workshop promotes the mindset behind the practices, prioritizes practical application using a team's work vs. static examples/exercises, and reinforces frequent, quality deliverables and stable, high-performing teams as the backbone to a healthy product.

This session will cover the following:

  • How we engage and obtain buy-in from the entire team (developers, product owners, scrum masters, and leaders) to try TDD and mobbing
  • An overview of the experimentation we did with the workshop and its format (over a year of inspecting, iterating, and improving)
  • Details and approach of the workshop (consultation meeting, prep activities, metrics, agenda, facilitation techniques, etc.)
  • The ongoing grassroots (e.g. Product Management Community of Practice) and leader (e.g. Leader Chats) mechanisms to generate continued interest and support