Category Archives: GOAT Sponsor Profile

Sponsor Profile – Neuland


For almost 50years, Neuland has been developing and manufacturing professional learning tools for all manner of training, workshop, and conference environments, in our own facilities located in Eichenzell, Germany. Creative concepts and inspiring furniture designs have made us a preferred meeting and conference interiors specialist for hotels and corporations.

We are dedicated to the philosophy of “active learning” that has pushed us to continually evolve to become one of Germany’s prominent leading suppliers of exclusive learning materials, and as a pioneer of innovative design concepts for meeting areas to host a variety of dialog spaces. “Made in Germany” is synonymous with high-quality, which is acknowledged around the world, and we endeavour to uphold that reputation as our products are designed and produced in German facilities.
As a family-owned company we are dedicated to provide you with everything you need to hold successful, meaningful meetings! Our goal is ensuring you have the most efficient and conducive materials, equipment, and furniture; that not only helps you accomplish your objectives, but that it is also fun, creative and innovative along the way.

Sponsor Profile – Halogen Software


At Halogen Software, our mission is to help our customers win with talent. Winning with talent means building an engaged workforce that delivers exceptional business outcomes. Through our TalentSpace™ solutions, we help our customers assess, develop and retain the best talent. And we do this by putting ongoing performance management at the heart of their talent strategy.

What services/products do you offer?

Halogen Software offers human resources software that is ranked no. 1 in customer satisfaction (Gartner, IDC, Forrester, Bersin by Deloitte). Halogen TalentSpace™ is powerful, configurable software that helps organizations win with their talent. Our software helps your organization drive exceptional business outcomes with award-winning talent management solutions covering the areas of performance management, succession and leadership, learning and development, compensation and recruiting.

In Agile/Scrum, how do we deal with people working across multiple projects in parallel?

At Halogen, we move work to people, not people to work.  It is becoming common for teams to work on shared initiatives, with each team taking their own part of the workload represented as stories in their backlog.  Continuous integration is used to tie everything together.

Role of wikis or collaboration tools in Scrum?

We use wikis to supplement the face to face work that we do.  Halogen uses Confluence as the wiki.  Each team uses it in a different fashion.  Confluence has a blogging feature that is used to share important information with other teams.  We also leverage the Confluence Questions plugin as a way to share solutions to common problems.  Project documentation, how-to articles, and other useful information are also hosted in the wiki.

What metrics are generally used to assess a ScrumMaster’s performance?

We use a number of techniques to gauge the performance of a ScrumMaster.

Team morale:  We use Halogen PulseCheck to help gauge team morale on an ongoing basis.  This is a short, 7 question survey delivered once per month.  We supplement this with a twice yearly survey from Gallup on engagement at the corporate level.

Team engagement:  We use a service from Gallup to run an engagement survey twice per year.  These results are discussed with the teams to develop strategies for improving engagement.

Say/Do ratio:  We recommend this to teams at the sprint and release level.

Impact on other teams:  Are they influencing the other teams’ practices?  Are they moving the process forward?

What Type of Estimation Methods Do You Teach?

We use a combination of expert-guessing and velocity for estimating work.  Expert-guess is used for high-level roadmap planning to be able to size large rock items and make decisions about release schedules.  At the scrum team level we use velocity for planning out the sprints.



Sponsor Profile – It’s Understood Communication

Born curious and stayed that way. As a journalist, helped people understand their world. As an employee communication specialist, helped people understand their work. As a communication coach, help people understand their interactions. As a trainer of agile coaches and facilitators, help people understand each other. I love my work.

What made you start your company?

It’s Understood started, 15 years ago, as a web site – a portal for ideas about communication and conversation. Over time, people who liked what I had to say asked me to do work for them. And, surprise, some of them paid me! I was an accidental entrepreneur and it grew more solid with time.

Was there a single moment that sparked the idea for your company?

In my days as a journalist, I went to a workshop where we looked at our work based on its outcomes. I discovered that what I wrote or said was less relevant than how the audience understood it. I was not in the words business; I was in the understanding business. I still am.

What services/products do you offer?

It’s Understood’s learning programs focus on the first value of the Agile Manifesto, “individuals and interactions.” Our ICAgile-accredited courses in coaching and facilitation focus on the people skills needed for the agile workplace. Our newest course, Agile Fundamentals: Real World Agility, examines the foundations and rationale for agile practices and the mindset shift required to add value in an agile organization.

What do you see as the role of management in agile transformations?

I think the role of managers in agile transformations is to create an environment for doing good work. To do this, they need to understand what’s involved in agile work and resist applying outdated and inappropriate management practices. They can use some help with this. They also can make the business needs come alive and provide meaningful context for the people doing the work. They need to be interested and show their interest without “micro-managing.” They need to be ambassadors for agility and supportive champions of the people they manage.

What type of estimation techniques do you teach?

My specialty is communication, not code. I teach people to be very clear about what they say. An estimate is an opinion, an approximate judgment. It is not a promise. It is not a contract. It is not a fact. It is not a commitment. It is not something anyone should bet on. It is more accurate than a wild ass guess because it is based on experience and observation. We need to find a way to up-level the conversations we have about dates and find a way to satisfy both those who want dates and those who don’t want to lie.

What do you think is the most important innovation in your life, thus far?

Mobile phones. And Post-It Notes.

What book are you reading now.

I’m re-reading “The Geek Leader’s Handbook: Essential Leadership Insights for People with Technical Backgrounds” by Paul Glen and Maria McManus. It’s the sequel to “Leading Geeks,” which may be my favourite book ever.

Sponsor Profile – Rebel


Rob Villeneuve is passionate about the Internet, its development, and its use. He’s an expert in Internet domains, hosting, infrastructure, and policy management. Before becoming the CEO of, Rob worked as a software engineer, a web developer, a small business owner, and a startup founder.
Rob actively contributes to global Internet policy through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and currently sits on the board of directors for the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, which manages the .ca domain space.

Where did the idea for start? isn’t new as much as it is a reimagining of something old. We had the name, and we liked it — but we didn’t have an identity, a culture, a brand, or really even a story behind what we were all about. We’d been running a successful business in our industry for 15 years, so it took some courage to make a change we knew could disrupt our customers. But taking our business to the next level meant we had to put more of ourselves into it, and we had to build something that we related to and that really drove us. We took a giant step back and looked at why we existed.

We wanted to reflect the bravery, thoughtfulness, humor, and audacious spirit of the people behind it. We wanted to make amazing, simple products and have a support team that left our customers smiling. We wanted to be in the business of inspiring people to contribute their ideas, knowledge, perspectives, creative pursuits, products, or services to what we see as the world’s bravest communication space — the Internet. We didn’t change the fact that we’re a domain registrar or much about our products and services, but we focused on a purpose and brand that motivated us to take everything to the next level.

And was (re)born.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

My degree is in computer science. In software, you’re trained to think about a problem from every angle, identify all of the variables, think through the use scenarios, and tease out exceptions. You analyze systems and simplify their function into models of layers and hierarchies. After a while, this becomes so natural that you can approach every problem this way.

It sounds like a lot of work, but it isn’t. Once you have a model, you can develop your hypothesis quickly and predict outcomes. My colleagues sometimes call this overthinking, but approaching problems from this hyper-logical space works for me.

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

I’ve never really had a “bad” job. I started my own software and web business at 18, so if work sucked, then I was to blame. In fact, if your job sucks, you should fix it. If you can’t fix it, then move on. Either way, take control.

I did have a few strange jobs along the way, though. I bagged groceries, paved sidewalks, cleaned ditches, and worked office demolition. These jobs showed me that I would rather write software, and each of them encouraged me to fully dedicate myself to the craft.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. There’s so much value in being yourself because you own it, and customers are drawn to that. Customers can feel it. If someone understands why you’re doing something, you’ll be surprised by how excited he is to support you.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Agile Estimating and Planning is a book that I give people who are new to managing a team. It teaches them how to think systematically about the workload and challenges in front of them, and it is a great way to learn agile.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Here are two people who have influenced me recently:

• Simon Sinek (, the author of “Start With Why” and the leader of the “Why Discovery” course that followed
• Dr. Balaji Krishnamurthy (, chairman and leader of Think Shift (


Sponsor Profile – Technologia


Since its creation in 1996, Technologia Training has earned its place as a leader among training providers in Québec. As the first ongoing-training centre aimed at professionals specializing in information technology, project management and human capital and management, Technologia offers a wide range of flexible training options including more than 300 courses delivered in public or private sessions, either in the classroom or online.

What was your mission at the outset?

Our mission is to contribute to the professionals success and to the economic growth of businesses by supporting, with our trainings, skills development. Stay a training reference with our 3 areas of expertise who provide a rich approach, still on page

What services/products do you offer?

Over 300 training courses in IT, human capital and management, project management

What is your favourite quote?

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Barack Obama

Sponsor Profile –


With offices in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, You.i TV is revolutionizing the media and entertainment space with their app experience platform, You.i Engine.

What made you start your company?

After the launch of the iPhone in 2007, You.i TV co-founders Jason Flick and Stuart Russell saw a future where every experience, on every screen could be as fluid and immersive as the iPhone.

Was there a single moment that sparked the idea for your company?

The fluid and immersive animations associated with the original iPhone’s features (apps flying in, swiping left and right, etc.)

What is most fun aspect about your business? What is the hardest aspect about your business?

Most fun: Being able to powers apps for some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Disney, TBS, TNT, CFL, and Sony Crackle
Hardest aspect: Constantly reimagining the TV space when it’s already in a high period of innovation and change.
What services/products do you offer?
You.i TV’s flagship product is You.i Engine, an app experience platform that lets TV and Media brands deploy video apps across mobile, tablet, game consoles, smart TVs, and OTT devices (Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, etc.).

Designers create the interface of the app in Adobe After Effects and then export their files into You.i Engine, which then converts the files into a single C++ codebase which developers use to integrate backend integrations and business logic. All front-end changes can be made directly within Adobe After Effects, and with the back-end integrations already in place, media companies can easily reskin the app for each one of the brands they own.

What do you wish you had known before you started?

How in-flux the TV space was. You.i TV didn’t see how fragmented the TV industry had become until 4 years into the start of the business. On the plus side, our technology is now seen as a game changer after media brands have had time to tamper with native development and static TV app templates. The former is too expensive and the latter doesn’t provide a stellar experience for users.

When did you open? Why at that particular time?

You.i TV started in 2008. After the launch of the iPhone, all eyes were on interface design and it was the perfect time to capitalize.

Sponsor profile –

Based on the principles of Scrum and the Agile Manifesto, provides comprehensive training, assessments and certifications to improve the profession of software development. Throughout the world, our solutions and community of Professional Scrum Trainers empower people and organizations to achieve agility through Scrum.  

Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum, founded in 2009 as a global organization, dedicating himself to improving the profession of software development by reducing the gaps so the work and work products are dependable.  

Follow us on Twitter @scrumdotorg, learn more about Scrum and read more from our community of experts on the blog and Forums.

Sponsor Profile – Ottawa Senators Foundation


The Ottawa Senators Foundation empowers children and youth to reach their full potential by investing in social recreation and education programs that promote both physical and mental wellness.
In partnership with the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, alumni association, corporate partners and fans, more than $100 million has been contributed to thousands of initiatives and charities in the National Capital Region. We are proud to make a direct impact in the lives of so many each year. During the 2016-17 hockey season we will provide more than $1 million of support to more than 50 charitable organizations in the National Capital Region.

What We Do

The Ottawa Senators Foundation believes that investing in programs and initiatives that promote both physical and mental wellness in our kids is a critical priority. We are committed to ensuring that kids are given the opportunity to be active, engaged and to feel good about themselves. This is how we help.


Social Recreation

Did you know that more than one in five local kids don’t have access to after-school sports, recreation or social programs? The Ottawa Senators Foundation has made a commitment to change this statistic by investing in facilities and programs designed to reach this group.



Did you know that at the Grade 6 level only 57% of students met the provincial standard in mathematics? The Ottawa Senators Foundation in partnership with the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club has invested in our community’s future through educational initiatives directed towards youth, teens and young adults.


Physical & Mental Wellness

Did you know that more than 3.2 million 12-19 year olds in Canada are at risk for developing depression. Since 2009, the Ottawa Senators Foundation has pledged more than $1.5 million of support with charitable organizations focused on meeting the needs of families with children and youth suffering from various forms of mental health illnesses.

Roger Neilson House

Roger Neilson House is a paediatric respite and palliative care home dedicated to enhancing the comfort and quality of life of children and families in a time of need.Located on the grounds of CHEO, Roger’s House provides a comprehensive paediatric palliative care program with elements of outreach, residential hospice, pain and symptom management, grief and bereavement counselling and research.

More information can be found on our website:

FREE e-book – Five Steps Towards Creating High-Performance Teams


Creating and enabling high-performance teams is critical to success in Agile.

Agile Pain Relief’s Certified Scrum Trainer Mark Levison offers
insight into the neuroscience of teams with five proven Agile methods
to create teams that sizzle not fizzle. Check out the High-performance
Team Tips infographic and get a FREE e-book copy of Five Steps Towards
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Sponsor Profile – Scrum Alliance

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Who is Manuel Gonzalez?

Manuel Gonzalez is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Scrum Alliance. He has more than 37 years of experience transforming organizations, Manuel “Manny” Gonzalez has proven himself to be a successful global strategic leader in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors in an international arena.

His strengths lie in transforming organizations into Agile performing environments. His experience in master planning and development includes the recreation of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium into the first and largest entertainment complex in the region — a $180 million project that attracts more than 2 million visitors per year.

Change management, mentoring others to excel, and scaling organizations are just a few of his passions. In order for any company to grow and be truly great, he believes the organization’s teams must demonstrate how they all work together to become one. Only when they are one can they strive for a common goal or purpose.

Scrum is the fastest growing, most popular Agile framework in the world. As CEO, Manny speaks around the globe to advocate for Scrum Alliance’s mission to transform the world of work by promoting widespread adoption and effective practices of Agile and Scrum.

Manny received his bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma and his master’s in Business Administration from Oklahoma Christian University. Currently he serves on the board of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and has served on numerous boards, including the Donald Woods Winnicott School in Mexico, the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Hawaiian Falls Water Parks.

He recently moved to Denver, Colorado, with his wife and two daughters.

How Agile Can Help Companies in the Changing World of Work?

The world of work is changing. The command-and-control management style is no longer effective. Employees want more workplace flexibility as well as more input into company decisions. At the same time, technological advances, economic challenges, and consumer expectations require companies to pivot more quickly.

These can be difficult days for today’s CEOs, but they also offer incredible opportunities — if you’re open to a different mindset about the workplace.

In the entertainment industry, where I spent many years as a CEO of theme parks and zoos, I’ve seen the world of work change firsthand. Many of the problems I faced then are likely the same ones you’re encountering today. For me, the best way to solve those problems was by engaging employees. I did that by following the essence of the Agile Manifesto before I even knew what Agile was.

How can Agile impact Employee Engagement?

Agile is a grass-roots ideology that emerged from the software development industry in 2001. Since then it has been adopted globally by industries as varied as finance and marketing. At its core, it emphasizes the following values, as I interpret them:

  1. Individuals and interactions. Focus on the human side of the workforce, rather than looking at people as resources.
  2. Valuable product or service. Have a working product as the only measure of value for the consumers.
  3. Collaboration. The more collaboratively we create the product, the better it will be in the end. Collaboration is not just with employees, but with departments, stakeholders, consumers, distributors, and others.
  4. Responding to change. This supersedes following a long drawn-out plan.

By adopting these values, a company can spur employee engagement, in which employees are motivated, productive, and customer-focused. Studies have shown that employee engagement has a positive impact on the bottom line. Yet a recent article published by Gallup indicates that employee engagement in U.S. companies is stagnant at 32 percent.

During my tenure as CEO of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs and more recently as CEO of Scrum Alliance®, I’ve talked to hundreds of CEOs, many of whom run Fortune 500 companies. They cited problems with recruiting, retaining the best employees, and providing relevant professional development — all symptoms of poor employee engagement.

I believe Agile is the missing link that can help organizations boost employee engagement and navigate the changing world of work. Let me offer you two examples from my own experience.

Case Studies

Theme Park in Mexico City

I once worked for a company in mergers and acquisitions that purchased a financially distressed theme park in Mexico City. The park had 1 million in attendance, $10 million in revenue, and a negative cash flow of $5 million a year. It also had a poor safety record.

One of the first things I did to turn things around was support self-organized teams, a key Agile principle. When you do this, you work for your employees, rather than them working for you. It’s what I call the inverted pyramid.

Theme parks were the perfect place to adopt this concept. They’re like small cities, with retail outlets, food courts, mechanical devices, and streets. With 250 acres and 4,000 employees spread out across this theme park, it was impossible to micromanage staff.

Instead, I divided the theme park into regions with different areas, and within those areas, different teams. I told my teams what the mission was — to create a safe and enjoyable environment for our guests — and they had complete autonomy and authority to decide how to carry out that mission. My responsibility was to give them the resources, the structure, and the budget to help them succeed.

One of the other things I did was listen to my employees and understand their wants and needs. They wanted flexibility, but not in the way you might think. They wanted department rotations and free days in the park for their families, which was easy enough to accommodate.

My point is that the deeper you know your employees and their challenges, the better you can create an environment that helps them succeed. That will improve employee engagement and ultimately the bottom line. In two years, we saw attendance increase to 4 million and we had $56 million in revenue. In three years we flipped the negative cash flow to 41 percent EBITDA. The safety ranking went up as well.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The situation at the Columbus Zoo was similar to the Mexican theme park. It had less than 1 million in annual attendance, $20 million in revenue, and a negative cash flow of $3.5 million. What was different was the mission — wildlife conservation.

When I joined the Columbus Zoo as COO, employees thought I was the enemy because I wanted to create an entertainment complex with a water park, a theme park, and a golf course. The only way for me to achieve success was to create a model of engagement with employees. I did that through Agile principles.

First, I had to know what motivated my employees. At the Columbus Zoo, it was their love of animals. For example, they wanted to grow a wildlife conservation fund managed by a committee of their peers. They also wanted to ensure that any commercialization wouldn’t negatively affect the animals.

So I invited employees to planning meetings with concessions, included them in the budgetary process, and asked them to attend feedback sessions with guests. At each meeting, they were able to hear one side of the equation and also provide feedback. This collaboration created transparency and eventually trust.

Within eight months, we grew the wildlife conservation fund from $150,000 to $500,000. And in less than two years, we boosted attendance to 1.2 million annually, increased revenue to $50 million, and turned that negative cash flow into a net fund balance of a million dollars.

What Can You Do in the Changing World of Work?

First, you have to let go of control, just a little bit. The more you give your employees the freedom to self-organize and improve your product or service, the more you have control over the outcome.

You also need to deal with fear. Middle managers, for example, are often tasked with having their teams adopt Agile, and they’re afraid there’s no place for them in this new world of work. But that’s not true. Instead, they can become coaches who support and guide teams, provide resources, and remove impediments. That’s a very different mindset, but it is critical to success.

And you can learn about more Agile so that you’re fully informed. I suggest you do the following:

  • Attend a Scrum Alliance conference, even a session or two if you’re pressed for time. This will help you build relationships with other CEOs who are thinking about adopting Agile or have already done so.
  • Participate as a speaker at a conference to share your challenges. At these informal discussions, you’ll not only receive recommendations from the Agile community, but you’ll also help Agile proponents better understand the needs of your industry.
  • Read the Scrum Alliance magazine, AgileVox, to learn about trends, case studies, challenges, and solutions.

As I’m sure you’re aware, some of the largest companies, from Boeing and American Express to PayPal and IBM, use Agile. But the Agile movement is bigger than that. Scrum Alliance has seen a surge of college students getting certified, and some corporations are demanding that candidates for open positions have these certifications. Scrum Alliance itself has grown by 30 percent over the past three years, with certifications up 30 percent year over year.

Agile isn’t just a way for companies to adapt to change. Agile itself has been changing the world of work since it was first introduced, and will continue to do so for years to come.