In May, Ryan Ripley and I will be giving a talk at Big Apple Scrum Day in New York City. (As of this writing, tickets are available and you get 10% off with that link!) Here’s the abstract:

Speaking at Big Apple Scrum Day 2017

The Care and Feeding of T-Shaped People

Do we value “T-shaped” people who combine breadth with one area of depth? Then we value “paint-drip” people who grow and change. Come hear stories of professional growth through the lens of Kent Beck’s powerful metaphor, learn ways to encourage others to broaden and deepen, and practice on yourself.

Maybe you’re a project manager who knows your tracking tool inside and out, but doesn’t totally understand what developers’ work is like. Maybe you’re a developer who glides gracefully through your IDE, but doesn’t grok how the PM stays busy all day. Probably neither of these reductive examples captures your unique self. Good! So how did you come to be in your current role, knowing what you know so far? What might you like to learn next?

Ryan and Amitai’s experience as developers, managers, and now coaches seems to agree with Kent Beck’s “Paint Drip Person” metaphor, which suggests that continued professional satisfaction and growth comes not only from seeking deeper understanding within our original specializations, but also by deliberately broadening our skills and following our curiosity (or heeding its absence).

We’ll draw on our experiences to kick-start your thinking about which brush you’re using, which color, and where your paint is picking up speed. You’ll leave with energy and clarity for the next step in your personal Agile journey.


Where else can we meet up over beverages in the coming months? See my upcoming speaking engagements and also other conferences I’m thinking about.

It’s not gonna work out? You’re welcome to buy me a fancy coffee, and I’ll look forward to reciprocating in person someday.