Unique event for Agile managers/directors, transformation leads, project/program managers:

The Influential Agile Leader:
Make the Agile Promise Happen

Grow your influence and coaching skills, inspire and lead culture change, and bring Agile sanity to challenging situations.

This event will earn you 14 Category B PDUs / SEUs

Gil BrozaJohanna Rothman

From: Gil Broza and Johanna Rothman

Dear committed Agile leader,

Does the following describe your situation?

  • Your organization is going through the Agile motions, but it feels like business as usual with new lingo and tools.
  • The people around you are not receptive to your attempts to make things better.
  • You feel stuck trying to bring sanity — Agile sanity — to your organization.

If so, our intensive, two-day event the Influential Agile Leader is exactly for you. We lead it only once per year (maybe twice starting this year). Both times, a small group of committed leaders join us to develop two critical skills: influence and coaching. They immerse themselves in the necessary attitudes of Agile leaders. And they lay the foundation for sustainable Agility in their organizations.

As personal as a workshop, deeper than a class, and smaller than a conference, this is a unique, transformative event.

You’ll spend two packed, focused days with us and with your peers — all of whom are in similar situations. You’ll grow personally and professionally as you:

  • Understand how and when to influence others and effect culture change
  • Learn how and when to coach others — your team members, peers, and superiors
  • Tackle the system’s challenges with renewed confidence and see its dynamics with new eyes
  • Stay congruent, present, and centered as a leader in confusing, changing times
  • Gain strategies, tools, and insights relevant to the challenges and needs of an Agile leader when not everybody is moving in the same direction
  • Stop being alone, and connect with others who are rowing upstream against similar currents
  • Learn to manage the frustration of leading change


The Influential Agile Leader workshop helped me develop strategies to be more convincing in and out of the workplace. It opens the door to a series of secrets that help you deal with/drive change. A must!”

Meriem Debbabi
Programme Manager at Vungle, UK

The Influential Agile Leader is like no seminar that I have attended. It’s a collection of discussions and exercises that can help you become a more effective leader (Agile or otherwise). There are no slide decks or sleep-inducing lectures — it’s hands-on and interactive. I found it challenged me, and allowed me to explore some Agile issues concretely.”

Tom Golden
Owner and CTO, TruCode

Wondering whether you can afford to take the time for such training? Wondering whether a colleague can/should join you? In this video, Michael Stricklen and Steve Brudz, senior consultants at Cyrus Innovation, answer both questions:

This will directly improve value delivery and productivity.

Think about it. What greater value will your team deliver, and how much more productive will they be, if you make just one of the following a reality:

  • Turning one reluctant or unhelpful stakeholder into an ally
  • Getting the team’s resident cowboy to share responsibility with the rest of the team
  • Dedicating time for important-but-not-urgent undertakings such as refactoring and learning
  • Not starting or continuing to work on a project of questionable value
  • Increasing solution quality and simplicity through greater team member collaboration
  • Keeping one smart team member from jumping ship
  • Having the project sponsor engaged throughout the kick-off and/or retrospective (impossible, you say? We beg to differ.)

These improvements are hard to quantify, but you’ll know them when you see them. If you want to use hard numbers, consider this. If you can improve communication, collaboration, and alignment across the team such that they can abolish one 30-minute meeting per week, you’ll save at least $10,000 per year in labor cost alone.

Working on your PMP/PMI-ACP certification renewal? You’ll earn 14 Category B PDUs from this event.

Working on your CSP certification renewal? You’ll earn 14 Category B SEUs from this event.


“Having a primarily technical background, Gil and Johanna’s training course was great for strengthening my leadership and self-reflection skills. It’s been over two months since I attended, and I still find myself using my newly acquired techniques and concepts, and probably for many years to come. Things I’ve passed along to my colleagues were well adopted and understood, and I often even see people coaching each other. I would highly recommend this course not only for people new to Agile but also for people looking to reinforce their agile skills.”

John Cartwright
Software architect, Instaclick

We’ll cover the most important needs of an Agile leader in an organization where not everyone has the Agile mind-set.

We will co-lead the following three plenary sessions:

Mapping the dynamics of your organization

You know that your Agile leadership challenges can exist across the organization. It’s not clear where you should start coaching or influencing people for maximum leverage. One of our favorite tools is organizational mapping, which helps us see culture, forces, and intergroup dynamics.

On day 1, you’ll determine a desirable outcome for your organization, learn the mapping technique, and use it to map the part of your organization that’s related to the outcome. On day 2, you’ll use the tools and skills learned so far to analyze the map again and determine an action plan.


Developing Agility is a huge change, and coaching is one the most powerful forces of positive change we know. Yet, too few people have a solid reference experience for coaching, let alone a correct understanding of it. Both of us coach all the time as part of our consulting practices. You’ll learn how to get through to people and open their minds to receive your coaching. You’ll observe us coach and understand how we get results. And you’ll have many opportunities to practice and integrate the skills. (Even if you’ve studied coaching elsewhere, this session will be valuable to you, guaranteed.)


Dozens of people have told us, first hand, that one of their most prominent problems was the matter of influence, and how to do that effectively and with integrity. They want to lead sensible and meaningful change, but how?

We’ll spend all of the second morning on the matter of influence. You’ll learn how to bring your best self, and help the other people bring themselves to the problem, without blaming, without placating, while staying relevant to the problem. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Part of this segment will involve prerequisites and general practice, and the rest will be specific to you and your specific need and application of influence.

We will lead the following eight sessions, “the Gil track” and “the Johanna track”, in four parallel 60- or 50-minute slots. Pick a Johanna session or a Gil session, and if you like, move to the other one mid-session.

Being Agile: Having the mind-set that delivers

[with Gil] We’ll paint and contrast two pictures, “Doing Agile” (going through the motions) and “Being Agile” (having the mind-set). The former does not yield the promised Agile benefits; rather, it often yields unwanted consequences. We’ll discuss what pulls people toward merely doing Agile and keeps them from ever being Agile. Participants will learn to distinguish process-driven Agile from mindset-driven Agile, and how to have resistance-free and emotionally neutral conversations with folks who have unhelpful interpretations of Agile.

Scaling Agile strategically

[with Johanna] The buzzword these days around Agile is “scaling.” That means many things to people. Let’s unpack that to multiple projects with one business objective, which is a program. If you duplicate what one team does for several teams, you get bloat, not delivery. We'll explore how programs can collaborate around deliverables without large and long meetings, so teams can enjoy autonomy, collaboration and exploration while they deliver working product.

Reinventing yourself

[with Gil] How would you characterize your growth as a leader? Is it consistent progress through learning and practice, or is it more like fits and starts? If the latter, do you sometimes wish to go to the next level, but it’s eluding you? You might need some reinvention: see yourself, and be yourself, a little differently. We’ll share a powerful mental model for personal change, and demonstrate by coaching some of the participants!

The geographically distributed Agile team

[with Johanna] Do you have people working in more than one location, but trying to be one team? If you have team members separated by space and time, you can still do Agile. It’s not simple and there are many pitfalls. We’ll discuss what works and what doesn’t. We’ll keep in mind the one element that does make it work. No, not technology... the human element and your project culture.

Making Agile teamwork possible

[with Gil] In too many organizations, the understanding of Agile teams is backwards. Thinking that Agile is a process and a set of best practices, they put together cross-functional groups of “resources” to use them. But to bring Agile to life, they need teams of motivated, engaged individuals who communicate, collaborate, and respond effectively. We’ll explore what needs to happen for such a team to emerge, overcome common challenges, and remain great over time.

Partnering across the organization

[with Johanna] As you transition/transform to agile, you bump up against “other” people in the organization. How can you partner with Finance, Legal, HR, others? Explore the questions to ask and the measurements to take, to supply the necessary answers without increasing anyone’s waste.

Managing the frustration of leading change

[with Gil] Being a change agent is engaging and exhilarating, and sometimes it can be frustrating. We’ll share a useful model and perspective for identifying, coping with, and ultimately overcoming the frustration.

“Just one more thing, if you don’t mind”

[with Johanna] You are already committed to more work than you have time to do. Now, someone is asking you to do one more thing. What can you do? What should you do? What will you do?

Multi-tasking is a huge drain on all work. Multi-tasking can prevent an otherwise reasonably planned and executed project from completing. But in the face of too few people and not enough time, what can you do? You can say “no,” in a politically correct way. You can say “yes, and...” We will experience ways to say no, ways to say yes, how to show your managers what you are doing, and when you can commit to more work.

Agenda / Program

Day 1

Mapping the dynamics of your organization 1.5 hrs
Coaching 2.5 hrs
Gil: Being Agile: Having the mind-set that delivers Johanna: Scaling Agile strategically 1 hr
Gil: Reinventing yourself Johanna: The geographically distributed Agile team 1 hr


Day 2

Influence 2 hrs
Put your organizational map to work 1 hr
Helping hand (practice all previous topics with peers) 0.75 hrs
Gil: Making Agile teamwork possible Johanna: Partnering across the organization 1 hr
Gil: Managing the frustration of leading change Johanna: “Just one more thing, if you don’t mind” 1 hr
Closing 0.5 hrs


In this video Mark Veksler, former director of software development at VFA, talks about the topics we covered and the event’s flexible nature:



“Johanna is extremely knowledgeable in her field, pragmatic with her advice and also an engaging & entertaining speaker. Johanna is real with her advice and can apply her knowledge to real life situations which truly bring value to an organization.”

Jenny Saunders
Software Development Manager, Livestock Improvement Corp., Hamilton, New Zealand

“Gil, I really liked the fact that you accept challenging questions and you answer with multiple possibilities, leaving your audience to think and choose. You have true qualities of a teacher. And I also appreciated the fact that you can be trusted. You have helped our team as well as me individually grow and become well equipped for any challenge.”

Lidia Damian

There is no other Agile leadership workshop like this out there.

We’ve educated and coached thousands of leaders in the last decade alone. While everybody was busy standardizing Agile, we authored 8(!) books on pragmatic Agility. We want to make the world of work more effective, humane, and responsible, and Agile’s a great way to accomplish some of that. (And we mean Agile, not only Scrum.) This event is designed to help you become the sort of person who leads others toward Agile — an influential Agile leader. You cannot capture that in descriptive learning objectives or a standardized curriculum, and we think that certifying you as a leader is an oxymoron.

What to expect from the event?

We’ll work experientially, so you learn and practice. No slides, thick shelfware, bullet-point methodology, or branded models. You’ll develop new skills and attitudes, and gain new perspectives on familiar ones. You’ll practice them in a safe environment, with us. You’ll practice with your peers, and learn how to apply what we we teach, so you can use it when you return to your organization.

The event is set up so you can network with peers in similar situations: learn from them, bounce ideas around, collaborate with them, stay in touch with them for extra support. (We don’t just get anyone to attend, we attract attendees who fit a certain profile!)

Play this video to hear one of our attendees, Jeannine McConnell (Boston 2013), describe the experience she had there:


Upon registration, you will receive access to Gil’s self-study course, Individuals and Interactions: How to Put People Before Process for Outstanding Results. This course comprises 10 interviews that Gil conducted with world-renowned experts, all of whom have been successfully implementing the most elusive statement from the Agile Manifesto. The lineup includes Johanna, Christopher Avery, Ellen Gottesdiener, and Rick Ross, among others. For each interview, both mp3 recording and transcript are provided. You’ll be able to claim 10 PDUs from this course.


“You need to make use of these as soon as the course is done, both because they help keep you thinking along human lines for Agile development, and because they add so much more colour and richness to the ideas the course will have sparked off in your mind. More than that, if you’re anything like me, the units of this one are a great affirmation of the values you fight hard to hold on to in a world of ‘Agile by numbers’. If you’re feeling frustrated at Scrum being nothing more than ceremonies, and people not really engaging with each other openly as fellow human beings, then these units help you realise you’re not alone, and give you some things to start trying out right now to fix that.”

Gez Smith
University of Bristol, UK

When Russell Murray came to our May 2014 session in Edinburgh, Scotland, he already had deep knowledge and experience with Agile project delivery and organizational change. Nevertheless, the event was quite transformational for him:


Location and Dates

The 2017 session took place in May. The next session will probably be in April 2018.

guaranteeYou’re protected by our “Happy To Be Here” guarantee

We’re confident that when you dig in to the deep learnings in the Influential Agile Leader event, you’re going to be thrilled. We also know that if you truly participate and apply yourself, you will have a life-transforming experience.

Just to back that up, if you decide at the end of the first day that it’s not for you, tell us. Return all the materials you received, and we’ll refund your ticket less a 20% reversal fee. No questions asked.

Mickey Merritt, who participated in our 2013 session in Boston, had a lot to take back to her teams:



“Most of my learning prior to this has been reading books and blogs. Even though I’m potentially hearing some of the same things I’ve read, having the questions asked of me directly was eye opening. It was very helpful and informative. I recommend it to anyone who needs that extra little push.”

Rich Barlow
Manager of Software Development, Encoda

Do you need to know a bit more about us?

First off, we work as a pair. We pair-developed and we pair-teach this workshop and others. It still amazes us how much better the result is than if we’d developed it individually.

You get depth: We’ve both been technical contributors as developers and testers. We’ve both been managers at various levels. We’ve both introduced and facilitated change from the technical and management perspectives. In addition, we’re both students and teachers of human systems and organizational behavior. Here are some of the books we’ve written:

The Agile Mind-Set Manage It! The Human Side Of Agile Behind Closed Doors
Agile-Lean Program Management Manage Your Project Portfolio Hiring Geeks That Fit Predicting the Unpredictable

We are pragmatic: we neither parrot dogma nor focus on only parts of the solution. Between us we have several decades of agile experience. Johanna chaired the Agile 2009 Conference and Gil is a three-time track chair (Coaching in 2009-10, and Culture-Collaboration-Teams in 2016). Yet, we still know what it’s like to work in Waterfall...


“Johanna is a no nonsense, direct and factual based consultant. She can speak on the most technical of levels as well as a business level. She understands all the disciplines within the software development lifecycle and has been a practitioner of most of them. I will tell you what I was told: If you have a project that needs help, at whatever level be it team, corporate, program, call Johanna and then consider it done. I wish I had heard about her when I started doing such things back in the mid 90’s!

Marjie Carmen
Director, Health Dialog

“I recently attended Gil’s agile training session on the role of the Product Owner in successful agile teams... I was deeply impressed by Gil’s teaching style — his explanations, examples and simulations were engaging and clear. What impressed me most, however, was how attuned he was to our culture and practices. The conversations he seeded around working effectively across teams and stakeholder groups were invaluable in helping me understand my role in driving change both within my team and throughout our organization.”

Sandra Earl
Senior Usability Specialist, Desire2Learn, Kitchener, Canada

Ready to get started? Or do you still have a few questions?

Q: Can’t I just soak up the knowledge at a conference?
A: Conferences are great, and we often speak at them. But they are structured for knowledge transfer, and for the most part, you have little in common with other participants. They are not a means for solving your pressing problems. Moreover, conferences tend to be lean on the soft skills side. Our event is not about knowledge transfer or theory; it’s intended and structured to catalyze your personal growth as a leader among leaders.

Q: Can’t I just buy a book?
A: There are many helpful books (and we’ve written some of them). But a book won’t give you a straight, empathetic answer to a question you have in the moment. A book is not an active guide. And learning about influence and coaching from a book is quite different from practicing them, in a safe environment, with peers and experts.


“Both Gil and Johanna gave me tools and coaching to go to the next level in Agile and to master myself. The workshop gave me the push I could not get from books. I’m also glad I met several people in a similar situation as mine and we were able to connect during these two days and also after the event. Coaching from Gil and Johanna mixed with 30 committed people was definitively a high return on investment.

Dave Jacques
Now Agile Coach at Pyxis Technologies

Q: You’re promising a big leap in self-development. Do people really grow and transform so much in two days?
A: Attendees who are truly present, who keep an open mind and diligently apply themselves, do in fact undergo a deep shift. You won’t become a master influencer or coach overnight, but you will experience and practice the skills, and make the mental switch, to put the new abilities into action. You will also probably not reinvent yourself on the spot; but we’ll walk you through the necessary steps, get you started, and intrigue you just enough so you can complete the process at your own comfortable pace.

Sounds a bit fanciful? Gez Smith (London 2015) was rather skeptic too. And then he had this to say:

Q: Why are you including these particular topics, especially coaching and influence?
A: You can’t manage Agile into existence. We’ve seen it all: executives mandating some “minimum Agility”, teams following prescription, tool vendors and branded Agilists enforcing structure. You can’t win hearts and minds this way. Agile is a people-before-process culture, and establishing that culture takes people skills. For the two days we have, we’ve chosen topics that consistently improve success with Agile. Coaching and influence directly play into change in others; the rest of the topics are for change in you and in others.

Q: How does this differ from the Agile courses everybody else is offering, like Certified ScrumMaster?
A: All Agile training out there is about skills and mechanics. Most attendees leave these courses energized and full of hope, but their resultant implementation is not so picture-perfect. It’s easy to describe Agile. It’s a lot harder to implement it safely and effectively and to lead the particular people that you work with. In this event, you will learn how to reconcile the Agile ideas (and ideals) with your context.

Q: What about the Scrum Alliance’s Certified Agile Leadership course? How is yours different?
A: It’s wonderful that the Scrum Alliance finally has something to give leaders, after a decade of only attending to teams. That said, the CAL 1 learning objectives are rather basic, and mostly cover awareness of Agile leadership and many models. Certifying you as a leader won’t make you a leader in other people’s eyes. In our event, you will learn specific, practical, proven skills and attitudes, including the mindset behind them. We want you to become an influential Agile leader, which is a matter of your actions, behaviors, and communication — not book smarts.

Q: Is the guarantee for real? Nobody ever guarantees a conference or a workshop!
A: The guarantee is most definitely for real. We’ve guaranteed our work before, and nobody has ever made a claim on it. If the event is right for you, we want you to feel confident about attending, and we want you there, so we’re happy to back up our work. Also, this is neither a conference nor a workshop; since it’s a high-touch, intensive interaction with us, we know we can be agile enough to deliver the goods.

Q: Do you offer this event a few times a year?
A: We generally run this event only once a year in North America (in either Boston or Toronto). We might have a second session in 2017.

Q: How should I present this to my superiors to get their approval?
A: Your superiors expect certain results from you. They trust you enough to employ you, but they probably don’t expect perfection all the time. What’s on your personal development plan, or on your company’s plans for Agile? Which gaps in your performance do you need to close? Has closing them on your own been challenging? Is closing them worth the two days away from work, plus the admission fee? (Remember, you’re covered by our guarantee.) By becoming a better leader, your team will perform better, which directly impacts the bottom line even if it’s hard to quantify.

Our cancellation policy:

If you need to cancel more than 30 days before your event session starts, feel free to find someone to take your place. If you can’t find a substitute within this time frame, we’ll refund all but $400 to cover our costs.

If you cancel within 30 days before your session’s start, we can’t provide a refund. However, you may find a substitute.

No matter when you need to cancel, if you find a substitute, please let us know ASAP who that person is. It’s up to you to take care of payment arrangements with that person. Bonuses are not transferable between registrants.


What’s standing between you and saying “yes”?

If you’re really interested in joining, but you still have some doubts or open questions, feel free to reach out to either of us and ask us anything about the event. Our full contact info is at the bottom of the page.


To your success,

Johanna & Gil

P.S. Remember that our “Happy to be here” guarantee covers you, so we’re taking on most of the risk.

One more thing. Although some specialized skill training for Agile leaders does exist, there is hardly anything specific for the soft skills, and the mind-set, you need in your situation. Where else can you develop your influence and coaching, immerse yourself in Agile leadership attitudes, and receive concentrated help to overcome organizational and team inertia? This one is unique and there’s no knowing when we’d offer it again. Use this opportunity to invest in yourself.


“Johanna understands that one needs to understand the system in order to solve a problem, and not just focus on immediate issues. She has an excellent (and unique) ability to be direct while not putting people on the defensive. Johanna helped me to take technical leadership techniques I thought that I knew and learn how to apply them more effectively. Johanna brings a unique set of skills, an effective style, and an excellent base of experience to her writing, her presentations, and her coaching and consulting engagements. Johanna can help teams work better.”

Steve Berczuk
Agile Software Developer, Humedica

“As a coach and mentor Gil helped me solidify confidence in my own agile leadership and accelerated my team’s growth. While initially skeptical, I learned that Gil not only makes recommendations, but instead facilitates learning, works with existing pressures and cultivates future coaches from within an organization. He gradually replaces himself by building real, lasting change.”

Cam Turner
Director of Engineering, Desire2Learn, Kitchener


Legal Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to accurately represent our course and its potential. The testimonials and examples used are from previous clients relying on our service, not on this particular packaging of it. There is no guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results. Your organization’s, team’s and individual success depends on your situation, context, motivation, dedication and actual use of the material.

Rothman Consulting, Inc. (Johanna)
34 Bradley Rd.
Arlington, MA 02474
(781) 641-4046
E-mail: click here
  3P Vantage, Inc. (Gil)
572 Bedford Park Ave.
Toronto, ON M5M 1K3
(416) 302-8120
E-mail: click here