Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Agile, Continuous Delivery, DevOps, Technology Conferences

Over the past few years, Ancestry.com has been moving toward agile development methods. In fact, that’s the main reason I joined the company three years ago. Since starting at the company, I have worked at moving Ancestry.com into agile methods, including teaching Scrum. Over the years, agile has taken root in the company and the mindset of the teams and it has expanded to ultimately impact multiple areas of the business, particularly in operations. I’m proud that the team has received quite a bit of recognition in the industry for our significant adoption of the continuous delivery model.

I have seen the benefit first hand of how agile can impact a business. Which is why last year, I approached Thoughtworks and Continuous Delivery author Jez Humble about creating a conference around the theme of continuous delivery. I felt a conference that took a multidisciplinary approach to delivering business value would be beneficial to the community.

Many conferences tend to focus on a specific activity, group, or methodology.  We know that creating business value requires “flow” across many parts of the enterprise and I wanted a conference that would reflect that. Ultimately, ThoughtWorks and Trifork (creators of QCon and GOTO) joined to start FlowCon which will run for one day in San Francisco on November 1, 2013. As well as being co-founder, I am excited to be a member of the Program Committee, which includes Elisabeth Hendrickson (TestObsessed.com), Gene Kim (author The Phoenix Project and Visible Ops Handbook), Jez Humble and Lane Halley.

FlowCon’s focus is “flow” and, as mentioned, how to create and adopt mindset, methods, and practices that enable continuous, fluid delivery of value in the enterprise. It brings together technologists and industry leaders passionate about innovation through continuous delivery, continuous design, and lean product development. The conference will explore the role of culture, technology and design in building great products and services and will provide inspiring and actionable information for key decision makers responsible for products and services that depend on software.

The target audience is everyone involved in creating products and services that depend on software. You can see a list of our confirmed speakers here. You will notice that Ancestry.com’s CEO Tim Sullivan has graciously agreed to participate in this new conference and lend his perspective as well. We intend to have speakers across a wide variety of disciplines with the intent of expanding our understanding of flow.

I encourage folks to attend the day conference in San Francisco at the Mission Bay Conference Center (UCSF).

Hopefully, I’ll see you there.  Either way, let value flow!

About John Esser

John is currently the Director of Engineering Productivity and Agile Development at Ancestry.com. His team’s mission is to accelerate engineering’s ability to deliver value to the customer. He is the architect of Ancestry’s transformation to Agile development and continuous delivery. John has more than 25 years software development experience working for such companies as IBM, Corel, Callware Technologies, and Control4. His spare time is gobbled up by his beautiful wife, four teenage sons, reading lots of books, and fly-fishing for trout on the Provo River.


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