The Fall 2021 UACon has gathered quite an array of speakers. You’ll hear from folks who have experience as UX Designers, Software Developers, Scrum Master, Product Owners, Development Managers, Lean/Agile Coaches/Trainers, and Consultants.

All packed into a one-day conference!


Jay Packlick

Principle Consultant, Improving Enterprises

How to Overcome the Adaptive Challenges Killing Your Transformation

9:00 am


Let’s face it, most Agile transformations fail or fail to produce a fraction of the benefits desired. The reason for this failure can be summed up in two words:

Adaptive Challenges

  • Adaptive challenges are those messy-human responses that invariably arise when nearly anything changes.
  • Transformations fail because leaders treat adaptive challenges like technical problems, applying technical solutions that do not work. Thus,
  • The best way to succeed at transformation is to grow as many leaders as possible able to sense, communicate, and act on this hidden dimension of change.

But How?

After many years of experimentation, I’ve evolved a simple mental model useful in growing the number of leaders able to

  • Visualize the problem; learning to ‘see’ the adaptive challenges present in their system
  • Communicate and partner with peers to catalyze solutions
  • Access their latent capacity to overcome these challenges using adaptive, rather than technical, moves

Leaders and coaches participating in this session will experience:

  1. What adaptive challenges are and why overcoming them is essential?
  2. Why do change models such as ADKAR and Kotter fail to overcome them?
  3. How to apply this simple mental model in their own practice to create shared awareness and capacity to lead change.
  4. The impact using this model has had on a real-world transformation.


Jay Packlick is an Agile Enterprise transformation coach and principal consultant with Improving Enterprises. He’s been partnering with teams and senior leaders for over fifteen years to overcome the formidable adaptive barriers to change. Jay’s found great success focusing on the people side of the equation, eschewing dogma, and putting into practice learning from diverse domains such as behavioral economics, Spiral Dynamics, Integral theory, adult stage development, complex adaptive systems, and the scientific application of cat videos. Prior to helping people transform and develop new capabilities, Jay spent over twenty years helping companies turn good ideas into working software.

Seth Greenwald

Owner, Creative Warrior Group

Improve Your Team’s Performance with Lessons from Bad Art

9:45 am


Honest communication, a collaborative mindset, and a strong sense of common purpose… are the critical characteristics that all high-performing teams share. No mindful manager would disagree that these items must be included on every shortlist for project success. However, there is much divergence on how to cultivate a culture where group excellence will thrive. It may surprise you that the key to understanding teamwork can be traced to the unlikeliest of places…ART. Join me as we explore what it means when managers act as servant artists to help their teams create masterpieces.

The attendees will learn:

  • What bad artwork can teach us about good teamwork.
  • How to cultivate a culture of synergy to improve their team’s performance.
  • What it means to be a servant artist within the context of management.


Seth B. Greenwald PMP, aka Sherpa Seth, is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and popular communication coach for managers, creatives, and technical professionals. Seth holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union and Industrial Design from Pratt Institute. He has served as technical project manager for more than two decades for several of the nation’s largest engineering and construction organizations including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Seth is the author of three books on creative problem solving and presentation skills. His most recent publication “An Engineer’s Formula for Public Speaking Excellence” is a unique field manual for discovering one’s authentic voice to lead a team with confidence, conviction, and clarity. Seth is a charter member of the PMI Westchester chapter and the founder of the PMI NYC Toastmasters club. He currently serves as President of an award-winning Toastmasters club in Westchester, NY. He lives with his wife, son, and Uno, his always hungry dog.

Matthew Philip

Sr.Director, Pfizer

The Eight Stances of the Transformational Leaders

10:30 am


Patterned after the popular “Eight Stances of a Scrum Master,” this session introduces the eight stances – “mental or emotional positions adopted with respect to something” – of leaders at all levels who want to enable high-performing people, teams, and organizations. To  improve organizational outcomes, the eight stances are aimed at:

    • Reducing friction to allow teams to do what they do best.
    • Fostering a learning environment to enable high performance, mastery, and innovation.
    • Building aligned autonomy to scalably connect strategy to action.


As a capability cultivator, organizational fitness coach, and workplace activist, Matt helps organizations and teams continuously become fit for their purpose. He is especially passionate about building learning organizations and creating humanizing and engaging work environments.

Stephanie Bryant

Agile Coach, Ritsuko Lifts, LLC

How Many Beautiful Hats You Wear! Coaching, Consulting, and Training Agile Teams

11:15 am


Experienced Agile practitioners are often called on at different times to be coaches, problem-solvers, and trainers for their teams, but you need different skills for each approach. What should you do if you’re a strong problem-solver, but you don’t even know what a coach does outside a sports field?

This talk covers each approach to team improvement and how an individual servant-leader can identify when a team benefits from coaching, problem-solving, or training for any particular scenario. In addition, I’ll cover how to identify how to switch your mindset to meet those needs, or to develop the skills you might require to be an effective coach, solver, or trainer to best help your team thrive.

During the live chat Q&A, we’ll workshop questions from the audience about whether a particular problem or team scenario calls for coaching, problem-solving, or training.


Stephanie Bryant helps remote teams reduce friction and increase satisfaction with their Agile processes. She is a coach and consultant specializing in both Agile processes and Atlassian tools like Jira and Confluence. She works as the Operations Manager at Roll20. In her free time, Stephanie writes tabletop RPGs, plays bass, and makes stuff. You can find her at www.ritsukolifts.com.

Adam Thomas

Lead Product Manager, SmartRecruiters

Scrum in the Trenches – 10 Power-Ups That Work!

1:00 pm


Do you know when you should pivot? What about your ideas, are they being listened to? In fact, even when you are proven right after a horrible launch, do you have that sinking feeling that everyone knew this was a bomb, but just didn’t know how to say it?

Being a change agent in an organization, especially one where a product is in flight is hard. While teams may be happy to talk about strategy and even know what it looks like, the idea of understanding when something fails and HOW to move forward when it does escapes teams. There isn’t a shared language that helps them figure this out.

This leaves teams holding their ideas close to the chest. Their fear: an unsure political environment and unclear data will make their insight useless. This leads to “business as usual,” where everyone smiles on Zoom even while initiatives are headed to disaster.

Enter Survival Metrics, a framework that helps teams use what’s important to the company (think – “values”) and operationalize them as metrics that make change much easier. In effect, teams get a dashboard-like artifact that is understandable to various teams inside of your organization. This helps clarify action steps, makes values very clear, and surfaces incentives that help teams pivot in a fast, politically safe, and data-informed way.


Adam Thomas has over ten years of experience working in product management, working in companies ranging from finance, AI, and e-commerce. He currently is the Lead Product Manager at SmartRecruiters, one of the latest unicorns in the tech space, helping them grow their Enterprise offering.

Ariel Simpson

Founder, Ariel Simpson Executive Coaching

Impact Change Through Deeper Conversations

1:45 pm


Change is scary. For leaders seeking positive change, their employees’ fear and mistrust can be a difficult obstacle to overcome. Join agility coach Matt Lasater and executive coach Ariel Simpson as they discuss how good communication can build the openness and trust your business needs to create impactful change. Learn how team members at all levels can advance the depth of communication from casual, surface-level interactions to the deeper conversation using tools like clean language and assumption challenging.


Ariel Simpson is an executive coach who loves combining the worlds of business and psychology, giving leaders a wider variety of tools. With a master’s degree in clinical psychology and eight years of experience in the corporate world, Ariel has a proven track record of helping executives increase their business efficiencies and emotional intelligence. She can equip you to breathe new life into stale processes, frustrated employees, and unclear goals and strategies.

Matt Lasater

Founder, Engaged Agility


Matt sees the opportunity for an agility mindset in much more than an IT environment and strives to help organizations find ways to sense and respond to market changes. He is an agile coach, trainer, and mentor with specific interests in business and organizational agility. He has been building high-performing teams for 20+ years. He has customized multiple methodologies including a methodology for teams of teams that was eventually adopted throughout the entire line of business. He has coached new teams, seasoned executives, and everyone in between. One of his greatest accomplishments is building a college hire pipeline to help recent college hires learn how to work in an agile enterprise.

Karl Monney

Sr. Agile Coach, USAA

Not Just a Work Management Tool – Kanban As a Critical Tool for Reducing Unhealthy Conflict and Improving Communications

2:30 pm


I have used Kanban for 25 years, both in manufacturing and IT. It was always an effective tool for visualizing work and facilitating the flow of value. A recent personal experience made it clear that Kanban’s greatest benefit can be its ability to reduce conflict and facilitate communication.

I will start with a brief personal introduction, including experience in logistics, manufacturing, business processes, and IT development
Personal experience using Kanban to organize the efforts of a team (my family) to deliver an Epic (a whole-house remodel):


    • Introduce the problem (conflict and poor communication)
    • Propose a solution (Kanban and Scrum roles/ceremonies)
    • Describe the implementation, execution, and effect of the solution Applicability to other disciplines, externalities, and unintended consequences


Karl is a servant leader with 25 years of experience leading and coaching teams. He has worked as an employee and a consultant to Fortune 100 companies and start-ups in the automotive, software development, telecom, network infrastructure, and financial services industries. Karl’s experience in the automotive industry was a study of Lean principles and practices in a manufacturing environment. These tools became indispensable when he led software development teams through multiple international ERP implementations. Most recently, he has served as an Agile coach, trainer, and subject matter expert for a large financial institution as they continue their enterprise-scale Agile transformation. In this role, he also developed and implemented the internal controls required to meet regulatory expectations, within an Agile solution development framework. He has worked across the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Karl is an MBA, SPC, and PMP, and is fluent in Spanish.

Derek Lane

Founder, Unlimited Agility

Master of Ceremonies


  • 8:45 am Welcome & Conference Updates
  • 3:00 pm Closing & Replay Info
  • 3:15 pm Facilitate Speaker’s Roundtable


After years of fumbling around with fire and smoke, Derek has in recent years found his calling as a BBQ Life Coach and a practitioner of all things BBQ. In a completely unrelated but parallel universe, Derek has also been known to successfully ply both the art and science of BBQ to the Lean/Agile Mindset, Software Craftsmanship and introducing Organizational Culture Change in ways scientists are just now beginning to contemplate the full impact of. Coincidence? We think not!

Striving to find efficient, productive, and fun ways to build successful software and highly functioning teams has taken Derek on a journey as a mentor, coach, consultant, strategist, visionary, architect, developer, trainer and methodologist, all while striving to harness the best technologies available for the job at hand. He is also a contributor to various books, projects and conferences as an author, presenter, committer, technical reviewer and organizer. Feel free to share your experiences with Derek about BBQ, Software Craftsmanship, BBQ, Lean/Agile, Virtual Reality, BBQ, your favorite technology, or BBQ. Oh, or perhaps even BBQ!

Register Now!

Pssst! Wanna make some new friends? Join us at UACon and meet folks you never dreamed of meeting,