Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Learnings from Ken France’s Personal Agility Journey

February 25, 2021 | 11:00 AM ET

In celebration of the 20th year of the signing of the Agile Manifesto, I thought I would share my professional journey which has been centered around application development and agility. I will explain how planes, trains, and automobiles are directly tied to the long and winding road I traveled from an application developer with a computer science degree to the Agility Practice Leader at Cprime and SAFe Fellow.

This session will highlight things I’ve learned and done along that way and share experiences and insights that may benefit others in their professional journey. My talk will feature some “cameo” appearances* from well-known industry icons who have influenced and supported me. Specifically, Grady Booch, Ivar Jacobson, and Dean Leffingwell. Grady and Ivar were 2 of the “Three Amigos” at Rational (Jim Rumbaugh was the 3rd, but was unavailable) and they worked with Dean Leffingwell at Rational. I believe the audience will find their inputs insightful and amusing.

We'll leave some time for comments and Q&A. My goal is to entertain as well as provide the attendees with some nuggets that might help each one in their own personal and professional journey. I hope you can join me!

Audience: This talk is for everyone, from beginners to experts. Knowledge of agility is not required to benefit from the talk. Experienced participants will likely be able to take away and apply more of the insights, ideas, and learnings.

This event is part of Agile 20 Reflect Festival, a global community-led agile event.

*Cameo appearances by Grady Booch, Ivar Jacobson, and Dean Leffingwell are pre-recorded from a separate interview, of which a full recording will be made available to session attendees after this event.
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Ken France
Agility Practice Leader & SAFe Fellow @Cprime
Ken France is an executive enterprise coach cultivating transformational organizations, a recognized and highly-rated trainer, and one of the first US minted SPCT. Ken France has worked with SAFe since its inception, contributing actively to the framework, including SAFe LSE/4.0. With 25+ years' experience in Information Technology, Ken has successfully supported multiple Fortune 100 enterprises tackling large and complex scaled agile transformations across numerous verticals, including Retail, Healthcare, Insurance, Government and Finance. Ken’s passion is to help empower all levels of the organization in their journey and drive sustainable improvements and meaningful change. He has taught and certified over 500 SPCs and continues to bring his expert hands-on experience as a legacy for the future.

Special Guest Appearances


Grady Booch
Chief Scientist for Software Engineering @IBM Research
Grady Booch is Chief Scientist for Software Engineering at IBM Research where he leads IBM’s research and development for embodied cognition. Having originated the term and the practice of object-oriented design, he is best known for his work in advancing the fields of software engineering and software architecture. A co-author of the Unified Modeling Language (UML), a founding member of the Agile Alliance, and a founding member of the Hillside Group, Grady has published six books and several hundred technical articles, including an ongoing column for IEEE Software. For over a decade, Grady was a trustee for the Computer History Museum. He is an IBM Fellow, an ACM Fellow, an IEEE Fellow, has been awarded the Lovelace Medal and has given the Turing Lecture for the BCS, and was recently named an IEEE Computer Pioneer. He is currently developing a major trans-media documentary for public broadcast on the intersection of computing and the human experience.


Dr. Ivar Jacobson
Founder @Ivar Jacobson International
Dr. Ivar Jacobson received his Ph.D. in computer science from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, was rewarded the Gustaf Dalén medal from Chalmers University in 2003, and got an honorary doctor at San Martin de Porres University, Peru, in 2009. His contributions span over 50 years starting from components and component architecture in 1968 to the essentials of modern software engineering (Essence) in 2019. In between he created Use Cases and what became the Unified Process in 1986 and he was the co-creator of UML in 1997. Ivar founded his current company, Ivar Jacobson International in 2004. He is a founder and a leader of a worldwide network, SEMAT, which has the mission to revolutionize software development based on a kernel of software engineering. The kernel was in 2014 adopted as a formal OMG standard Essence. Ivar is the principal author of eight books and co-author of another three.


Dean Leffingwell
Co-Founder & Chief Methodologist @Scaled Agile, inc.
Widely recognized as a leading authority on software development, Dean Leffingwell is an author, serial entrepreneur, and software development methodologist. He is the creator of the Scaled Agile Framework, and author of numerous books on software development. His most recent books SAFe Distilled, Agile Software Requirements, and Scaling Software Agility, form much of the basis of modern thinking on Lean-Agile software and systems development. He is currently Chief Methodologist at Scaled Agile, Inc., which he co-founded in 2011. Founder of five successful startups, including Scaled Agile, Inc., and Requisite, Inc., (acquired by Rational Software, now IBM), Mr. Leffingwell also served as Chief Methodologist to Rally Software, and prior to that, as a Sr. Vice President at Rational.