This is an archive of the 2009 Conference website.
Click here to go back to Agile Open California's home page.

Agile Open Northern California 2009: Hosts

Ainsley Nies has been an innovator, synthesizer and leader for more than two decades on the people side of information systems work.  As the principal of Acorn Consulting Enterprises, she works with groups and organizations who want to perform at their highest level. 

Ainsley facilitates retrospectives, trains retrospective facilitators and helps to develop environments for learning and continuous improvement.  She believes that a key factor in her success is acknowledging and addressing the influence of culture, values and individual perceptions on everything we do.  She thoroughly enjoys creating collaborations/community and helping to instill agility.  Ainsley facilitates Open Space and World Cafe events and provides coaching for individuals, one-to-one and through Personal Retrospective Workshops. 

Ainsley initiated the Agile and Retrospective SIGs at Hewlett Packard and led the groups until corporate life lost its appeal.  She is on the leadership team of the Bay Area Agile Project Leadership Network, is a co-founder of Agile Open California, Board President of the Computer Technologies Program in Berkeley and Convener of the AAUW Pacifica Branch.

David Chilcott David Chilcott has been designing and building custom business applications since 1989. He’s the lead systems analyst and designer for Outformations, Inc.

His ability to abstract and capture complex system requirements and application flow, combined with his relational database application development experience, ensures that every Outformations solution has a solid, lasting foundation. His technical skills include use case and UML modeling; Unified Process, scrum and other agile/xp development methodologies/practices; application architecture and design; web and desktop application development; and various DBMS systems.

In addition to his background as a system architect, David holds a degree in group dynamics, and has completed formal training in creative problem solving. Using this experience, he leads focused, task-oriented client design sessions. His collaboration and communication skills support effective Agile project management and team facilitation, training, and consulting.

David is the founder of Outformations and a principal. He is a past president of the Bay Area Association of Database Developers, the founder and a board member of the Bay Area Agile Project Leaders Network (BayAPLN) local chapter, and he co-leads the Bay Area Rational User Group (BayRUG), co-hosted by Outformations.

David is a husband, step-father, and grandfather, and is active in healing, diversity, & social justice work.


César IdrovoCésar Idrovo created his first hyper-productive team at JPMorgan London during 2000, in response to strong demand for his own work. He recruited a highly heterogeneous group and implemented “continuous collaboration” to achieve high team cohesion and tangible results. In several instances, his team’s tactical solutions were adopted as strategic implementations and are still in use today.

From 2003 he has focused on formal Agile methodologies and adaptability to high rates of change in requirements, creating further hyper-productive teams. As a project and program manager, he has applied Scrum for managing, tracking, and delivering working software in time-boxed iterations and introduced Extreme Programming including 100% pair programming. He has worked on practical complementary techniques to Agile practices for management and executive levels such as Project Patterns and Adaptive Roadmap.

He also blogs at Nonlinear Enterprise where he is starting to exploring creative ways for large companies to deal with nonlinear behavior - and at times potentially explosive behavior - without losing the required adaptability to rapidly changing market conditions.

In 2008 he has given over 50% of his time to nonprofit initiatives, focusing mainly on BayAPLN.org, chartered for community research and education. It creates, fosters and supports a learning community of Agile leaders in the Bay Area. He contributes as a Community Builder, Organizer and Connector.

He holds a Masters in Engineering from Imperial College London and a Masters in Finance from London Business School.

Steve BockmanSteve Bockman is an independent software developer who began his career in 1977 in a utility position, installing software packages for a manufacturer of business computers. Since then he has worked in the fields of speech recognition, terrain analysis, computer graphics, desktop publishing, industrial automation and web applications.

Steve’s first exposure to anything Agile occurred in 2000, but his involvement began in earnest in 2005 while participating in the development of a client/server application where changing requirements were part of the ground rules. Steve was responsible for introducing many Agile principles and practices to the project, and has been an Agile coach and innovator since that project’s inception.

As the founder of North Bay Agile, a special interest group dedicated to the pursuit and study of Agile software development in the San Francisco North Bay, Steve continually strives to communicate the essence of Agile development to novices and advanced practitioners. He has given presentations on estimation, test-driven development, pair programming and refactoring at North Bay Agile, BayXP, BayAPLN and BAADD, as well as at the Agile2007 and Agile2008 conferences.

Aaron Sanders: I focus on enabling organizations bearing high-value products to market in a continuously improving, sustaining flow and fast adaptability to changing conditions.

Utilizing my talents as an accomplished and passionate software developer, I became skilled in creating and maintaining enterprise-class network enabled, data-driven software applications on all types of teams. I’ve since established myself as a courageous, focused, energetic software coach with deep insight into the motivations behind Agile values and principles.

Looking for a better way to do business, I learned of Agile early in this decade, and incorporated the principles in to my place of work. We were empowered to change the development method completely, aligning to business goals and expectations. I continue to learn, share and implement ideas to shepard organizational transitions into this space. Recently, I was involved in pushing the definition of Agile to new levels at Yahoo!. At this time, I am collaborating with associates and organizations to steward the emergence of these Agile values and enable widespread adoption.

David Carlton is a programmer and manager who has been interested in Agile and Lean thinking and techniques since 2003.  Before that time, he was a mathematician, specializing in Number Theory and Category Theory.  He blogs at Malvasia Bianca and twitters as @davidcarlton.

Hillary Johnson I'm currently the Publications Editor at Agile Learning Labs.  I cut my editorial teeth in print media, first as a novelist and essayist (Physical Culture, Super Vixens’ Dymaxion Lounge), as a freelance journalist (Inc., LA Times, LA Weekly, Oprah, InStyle, RealSimple, etc.), and as editor-in-chief of a newspaper, The Ventura County Reporter. I've been founding editor of a lifestyle magazine, Arroyo Monthly, news editor for a blog network, Pajamas Media, and editor-in-chief of a social network, Building Green, and have recently begun designing and building websites.

Nate DelgadoI study computer science and work with Professor Hilary Holz in the AHAT lab on CSUEB's campus.  I've been in the lab for one year and this is where I was first exposed to agile philosophy and methodologies.  The concepts were so foreign to what I was learning in school, I couldn't fight the curiosity.  About a year ago I began seeking more information, which led me to volunteer for the Agile Open Conference 2008.  Attending the conference and being on the board for this year's event is edifying, and I'm grateful to all who help me as I continue to learn.

I volunteer for a few conferences a year and regularly attend the monthly BayPIGgies and BayCHI meetings. My biotech career consisted of doing research in gene therapy at Chiron and then Lynx Therapeutics where I operated/fixed high speed cell sorters (MoFlo).  I love the outdoors, eastern philosophy and art, wednesdays for the comics, the Mets, and Cuban jazz.

Richard Gierak is a results-oriented software professional with proven experience leading teams and managing commercial software projects from inception to delivery and implementation. Richard is a Certified Scrum Master, experienced project manager, architect, designer and developer in Microsoft and IBM technologies. Effectively leading people and project teams to deliver valuable business solutions to customers. Seven years of proven .NET experience developing ASP.NET applications and service components with C# and SQL Server. Twelve years of successful Z/OS experience developing and implementing custom and commercial software solutions in high-volume transaction processing environments. Excellent communications skills, team leadership, and disciplined methodology combine to deliver business technology objectives.

Joanna Zweig has been working with hyper-productivity in teams since she noticed, in 1983, that software development and theatrical production exhibited the same phenomenon, Group Coherence.  Her research on Group Coherence, evident in her recent writing collaborations with Cesar Idrovo, can be found on AgileJournal.com.  She consults in IT Project Management with groups who wish to explore ways to enhance Agility with coherence in complex environments to access hyperproductivity in teams.