Online Virtual Conference
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
8:00 am - 4:00 pm (Central Time)
Virtual Doors Open at 7:45 am

Keynote  -  Schedule  -  Speaker Tracks  -  Endnote  -  Registration

PDD is a day which will provide you with many opportunities to grow in your professional development.  We’ve selected learning topics that will bring you new and innovative ideas, methodologies, and solutions to succeed as a BA: Performance Boosters, Pit Crew Teamwork, Racing with Agility, and Building Speed to Win.  Whether you practice agile, waterfall, or hybrid methodologies, this conference is for you!  In addition, you will receive 8 professional learning credits and an opportunity to learn from experts.  

PDD 2021 will feature Paula Bell, CBAP®, as your Keynote Speaker.  Paula will bring you a first-rate presentation on how BAs are very much like detectives: “Uncover the Mysteries - Investigate Like a Detective”.

Did you register for the 2020 PDD?
You will automatically be registered for the 2021 virtual event free of charge. 

$249.00 Member Rate    -     $279.00 Non-Member Rate
$269.00 Group Rate (5 or more)

Need an invoice? Email [email protected]



Paul Bell Keynote Speaker Uncover the Mysteries - Investigate Like a Detective
Paula Bell

I’m sure many can agree there’s nothing like a great mystery.  You may remember reading books, or watching television shows, like Sherlock Holmes, Clue, or even Murder She Wrote, where you were sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to see if you solved the mystery.  These sorts of experiences are quite gripping, as it takes you through an intricate story of many different emotional journeys.  The beginning of the book, or show, grabs your attention with some sort of drama occurring, which makes you eager to find out what happened.  Then, as the story unfolds you start to work through the process of solving the mystery, as though, you are the detective.  You begin to realize you are taken over by all sorts of emotions like frustration, suspense, anxiety, as each challenge or obstacles is presented.  Eventually the story comes to end, and you finally get the answer to the question you’ve been waiting for, “did I solve the mystery?”.  By this time you are either very excited and proud of yourself, stunned by a twist, or completely disappointed.  It’s over!!!!  However, have you ever thought about what makes a mystery so interesting, and frankly hard to figure out?  Why do we get pulled into the drama and want to figure it out?  It's not just the suspense of figuring out who done it?  But it’s the entire process you go through to uncover the mystery.  Business Analysts are very much like detectives and share some of the characteristics of a good detective to solve organizational problems.  Of course, I will have a martial arts twist to this, or I wouldn’t be the BA Martial Artist (😊).  So get ready to experience being a detective, and a ninja, to obtain skills in fact finding and solving problems!

Paula Bell is the CEO of Paula A Bell Consulting, LLC. She is a Business Analyst, Leadership and Career Development coach, consultant, speaker and author with 21+ years of experience in corporate America in project roles to include business analyst, requirements manager, business initiatives manager, business process quality manager, technical writer, project manager, developer, test lead and implementation lead.  Paula has experience in a variety of industries to include media, courts, manufacturing and financial.  Paula has led multiple highly visible multi-million-dollar technology and business projects to create solutions to transform businesses as either a consultant, senior business analyst or manager.  Currently she is a Business Support Manager leading a team of business process consultants to identify processes and process improvements.

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Speaker Tracks 

Select a speaker track or scroll down to view all tracks.

Performance Track  -  Teamwork Track  -  Agility Track  -  Speed Track


Performance Boosters Track


 How to Bravely Navigate a Business Problem toward a Better Destination
 Rebecca Scott

Is the status quo bringing you down? Are you feeling constrained by the old way of doing things, while dreaming of charting a course in a new (and better) direction?

Let's go on an adventure, shall we? The BA Explorers Camp accepts wayward and weary BAs who are tired of being constrained by the status quo and would rather chart a new course when solving their organization's greatest challenges. During camp, we'll demonstrate how to view and map your organization's challenges as adventures, charting a course toward success. We'll also discuss the difference between doing agile and being agile, and why agile methodologies are ripe for disruption today. So pack your bags and bug spray and jump on the bus to the BA Explorers Camp, where adventure is...well, wherever you choose it to be.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- Leverage the BA Explorers Camp adventure kit to find your way through your organization's biggest challenges
- How to escape the grasp of the status quo in order to chart a new course in a better direction
- How to find the courage to adjust your agile processes in a way that leads to better destinations



 5 Characteristics of a Great Leader
 Judy Alter

Leader is not a job title but can be someone at any level.  Today’s business environment is collaborative like a sports team.  A BA is in a better position to be a leader than even management.  Participants will learn that a leader must encourage:

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- Team attitude for success.

- Encourage Excellence over Perfection.
- Lead with Your Heart.


 Where do Business Analysts fit into the Scaled Agile Framework?
Michael Roberts

For many years, and the Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe has been a leading scaling methodology for large enterprises wanting to apply agile practices for large groups of individuals. Published by Dean Leffingwell, and his fellows at scaled agile Inc, they have had Fortune 1000 companies left and right adopting the framework as a way of working differently to adapt to market changes and implement a better way of working. In the SAFe model however, the term "Business Analyst" doesn't exist. In this informative talk, we will discuss the SAFe 5.0 framework and provide some context on how business analyst would survive and thrive in such an environment implementation of scaled agile framework.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- Organizational challenges that are addressed by SAFe 5.0
- An introduction to the SAFe framework "BIG Picture"
- How an Agile Release Train (ART) powers SAFe
- How business analysts fit into the Scaled Agile Framework as team members, Product Owners, or Project Managers


 Ugly Babies and What to Do With Them
Vince Mirabelli

Ugly babies are everywhere in your organization, and they are taking you down from the inside, causing you unknown (and unneeded) pain. Despite likely hiding in plain sight, these Ugly Babies may be negatively impacting your ability to deliver on important projects, improve organizational processes, which leads to a disengaging of your staff and team and worst of all, costing you a ton of money.

So what causes all of these rampant Ugly Babies? What is to be done about these Ugly Babies? What the heck IS an Ugly Baby?!? In this session, participants will be introduced to the concept of the Ugly Baby, identify the three biggest sources of those Ugly Babies (along with the all-important ‘why’), and what you can do to counteract their influence and impact.
Cause there’s nothing worse than an Ugly Baby. (Disclaimer: All babies are beautiful...I’m obviously not talking about REAL babies – VM)

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- First and foremost, we’ll answer the question, “What is an Ugly Baby?”
- Identify the largest sources of Ugly Babies in your organization, and the role they play in your organizational processes
- Learn what elements are needed and how to put them in place, to most effectively mitigate the impact and influence of all our Ugly Babies

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Pit Crew Teamwork Track


 Gaining Alignment Using Smart Power Techniques: Acing The 4th Principle of the Agile Manifesto
 Tom Esch

In this session learn about techniques for embracing and commanding the 4th principle of the Agile principles to gain smarter alignment with your Agile Teams and Organizations using effective powerful techniques.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- Define the difference between hard power, soft power and smart power.

- Gain working knowledge of how understanding rank power translates into better alignment.
- Identifying signs that alignment is breaking down and knowing how to restore it. 


 Visual Language - Doodles for Collaboration
Jen Battan

In this session learn about using visual communication to increase collaboration and get results faster. More information on this presentation is coming soon.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- No worries - the details are coming shortly.



 Becoming a Person of Influence
 Jason Hunt

There are only two ways to lead: through your title or your influence.  Influential leaders don't need a title - people follow because they want to.  Learn the three myths of leadership and insightful ways to make a difference through your influence.  Whatever your vocation or aspiration, as you grow your influence, you grow the positive impact you can have in the lives of others - at home, at work, and in every other area of life.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- Assist participants to understand both the meaning of leadership and the myths of leadership.
- Help participants learn the rules of leading through your influence.
- Get to know other people and have fun through engaging activities.


 CommonSensical Decision Making Using Facts, Data & Prioritization
Deena Chadwick

Do you second guess your decision or avoid making them because you fear to make the wrong choice? This session will help you be more confident and learn how to make decisions faster with no regrets.

Did you know that there are six barriers to decision making? No wonder we fall into analysis paralysis. This session will go into each barrier and how to overcome it using the six factors that make decision making easy.

Fact-based decision making is also known as evidence-based decision making. As product owners, project managers, and business analysts we are required to make many decisions. We can rely on hard data or facts, soft data, assumptions, similar experience, and even gut feelings or hunches. Clearly not all of these are equal. Fact-based decision making can help you learn how to recognize facts over feelings and how to spot and avoid bias. You will also learn the top 5 prioritization techniques that you can use to help others make better and faster decisions. Decision making and prioritization can help you better manage your backlog or project scope. It can help you organize your workload. It can even help you manage and avoid scope creep.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- Understand Fact Based Decision Making
- Learn 5 Best Prioritization Techniques
- Learn How To Avoid Common Mistakes

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Racing with Agility Track


 Agile Strategy Execution - Deliver Your Future
 Daniel Lambert

Business architecture can be very complementary to the success of agile programs and projects, increasing the odds of reaching your organization's targeted business outcomes. This presentation will discuss, among others, the 7 benefits of using architecture in large-scale digital transformation projects:

1. Better alignment of your agile projects to the firm’s strategies and tactics everywhere,
2. Easy identification of the value streams and capabilities that matter the most and require more funding,
3. Optimal planning and management of capacity and resources to deliver agile projects,
4. Increased understanding between agile teams to avoid duplicate projects,
5. Detailed enterprise view to define epics and user stories more accurately and quickly,
6. Superior employee engagement, and
7. Better real-time reporting and analytics to fine-tune decision making.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- Learn about the basics of business architecture,
- Learn how architects can be used in the different steps of portfolio and project planning,
- Learn how to use business architecture while planning and defining epics, features, and user stories, and
- Learn how to increase the odds of your agile projects hitting your organizational business targets.



 The Agile Requirement
 Fabrio Laguna

What comes in mind when you listen the term “Agile Requirement”?

Usually, it is not referring exactly to a concrete requirement, but rather to some requirements engineering related process. The title Agile Requirement usually refers to techniques as User Stories, Story Mapping, Acceptance Criteria, BDD, Prototyping, Backlog Management, Kanban… focused on software development projects using an agile approach.

The usual definition: “The development team must be able to change a requirement during the solution development project to maximize the value delivered by the project”. The new definition proposed bellow is more comprehensive, applicable to both agile and cascade approaches and oriented to business agility. And it is not about processes, but it is a real concrete requirement that must be added to all digital transformation initiatives.

The agile requirement new definition: “The business manager must be able to dynamically reconfigure business behavior to maximize customer value without the need for a new development project.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- Ignite business agility with dynamically configurable solutions
- Use the agile requirement to stimulate your team’s creativity
- Model business as configurable processes and rules


 Tango With a First Grader - Using Conflict to Innovate and Rethink
Paul Crosby

Why can't we just all get along? As human being that is a core driving force that allows us to thrive, but with everyone getting along some topics are avoided because we are afraid to bring conflict into a discussion. Sometimes we go to great lengths to avoid conflict that it is impossible to get consensus and we get stuck. So let's talk about east Berlin, picking a movie on family night, evangelists, litigators, politicians all are parts of the reason why can't innovate as fast as we want.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- Preference Falsification and Why it Harms Innovation
- Your gut instinct isn't an option
- Using conflict in a meaningful way



 The Business Analysis Plan:  A Post Mortem
 Mark Hunt

As you are probably aware the BABOK mentions the use of the Business Analysis Plan as a tool a Business Analyst should consider making use of. Some PMO’s also strongly request or recommend you create them and even provide handy dandy templates for you to complete for each and every project.

But is this just another silly template you fill out because you have to?  Do you really spend any time writing them getting blanket approvals? Do you feel it would be a better use of your time to grab that second caramel latte instead filling out another stupid PMO form?

Using the post mortem method (I live just down the street from the Medical Examiner, I can’t help it!) we’ll examine past project failures and stumbles to discover how the BA Plan Process should come into play in the life of a BA.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
How BA Plans could have prevented failures and why you should take them seriously
- How to create a BA Plan to actually get value out of them
- How to use a  BA Plan to better  understand your project team and sponsors and draw them in—for the entire analysis lifecycle

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Building Speed to Win TRACK


How to Future Proof Your BA Career with AI and ML skills 

Michael Roberts

We all know that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are two huge factors in the change in technology and business. But what is their impact on you? What will your job look like in five years from now? Will it even exist in five, 10, or 20 years? And what will happen to the organization and industry you work for? All of these questions and more can be answered in this talk about AI and ML. We will discuss the definitions of these two terms, how they impact business and workers, and what things business analyst can do today to prepare for the future.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- What is artificial intelligence (AI)?
- What is machine learning (ML) and how does it apply to AI?
- A review of some real world AI and ML projects being used today
- Roles and skills that BAs can look to in the future



 Gather Requirements Like an FBI Agent
 Deena Chadwick

In this presentation, learn key insights and techniques for eliciting requirements from witnesses.  Or maybe confessions. Wait – it’s stakeholder requirements.  Yeah that’s it – stakeholder requirements.  Understand and take advantage of natural human behaviors and instructs.  Get the tools and techniques you need to elicit comprehensive requirements. Learn 3 different approaches to overcoming resistance and build trust.  Grab your badge, notebook, and head on into this session.

Key Learning Points/Objectives
- Learn How to Elicit Requirements Like an FBI Agent.
- Learn How to Elicit Requirements Like a Mother of a Teenager.
- Learn How to Elicit Requirements Like a 2-Year-Old.


Cybersecurity - Best Development Practices
Terry Baresh

Problem statement: Agile development best practices have not identified best practices for incorporating cybersecurity to create cyber-resilient solutions. This presentation is a discussion about how bringing cyber sercurity requirements into user stories and acceptance criteria can be a business enabler and increase business value.

- Develop general knowledge about current trends in cybersecurity
- Gain an understanding about who’s responsible for securing applications and data
- Learn new cybersecurity terms and definitions
- Investigate where cybersecurity principles and controls can be incorporated in your Agile methods and practices
- Recognize how this knowledge to your current and future projects



 There are No Politics in Business
 Joe Perzel

You are faced with lots of data & must make lots of decisions; and there are lots of opinions about those decisions. If someone doesn’t support your project or strategy making it political it is because they have a different perspective based on their experiences and priorities.  Their lack of support for your idea is not politically based; it's because you do not understand their perspective.  It is up to you to listen better to appreciate an alternative view.

This presentation will discuss how to take out (or at least reduce) politics in your project, program or portfolio, leaning on effective, pro-active approaches by altering your view of “politics” and improving your understanding of other perspectives.

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 Innovative Agility: Your Practical Guide to a Modern Agile Mindset
Jennifer Battan, Paul Crosby

More information on this session coming soon.

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Need a little help convincing your boss to attend?  We gathered a few experts to help you out.

Directly State That You Want to Attend the Conference

Be direct when you ask to attend a conference.  AJ Agrawal has seen people dance around the subject and fail to get a clear answer because management doesn’t understand why the topic is important, or even what the employee wants.  Agrawal encourages employees to be direct, even if speaking in front of management is intimidating. 

“A winner will go right up to their boss and say exactly what they mean,” Agrawal writes.  “They want to go to the conference, and they are asking whether they can go and whether the company will foot the bill for it.  It does not always lead to a positive answer, but you get a firm answer, and you know exactly where you stand.”

It's OK to Show Excitement

When you present your request, make sure your excitement for the opportunity shows. Jeremy Goldman writes that excitement is contagious, and your manager could catch some of your enthusiasm as you make your presentation.  This also shows you care about your job and want to perform better.

Sometimes, employees try to appear too professional and hide their eagerness. This can be counterproductive: Your boss might actually read your professional detachment as apathy.

Return With Clear Objectives for Change

Once you get back, make sure you highlight exactly what you learned and include actionable steps your company can take to get better.  The team organizing the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference highlights three ways employees can share this knowledge:

- Use a staff meeting to review what you learned and any next steps that you recommend.
- Write a blog post about something you learned.
- Create a presentation for your manager and co-workers that you can give during a lunch-and-learn. 

If anything you learned has a significant impact on your company, make a note of what impact it had.  This will help you make a stronger case the next time you ask to attend a conference. 

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Did you register for the 2020 PDD?
You will automatically be registered for the 2021 virtual event free of charge. 

$249.00 Member Rate    -     $279.00 Non-Member Rate    -    $269.00 Group Rate (5 or more)

Need an invoice? Email [email protected]

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How does PDD work?

One day prior to the event registered attendees will get an email that will contain links to the keynote, every session, and endnote. Attendees can choose to view or attend any presentation of their choice. We use WebEx, Zoom, and GoToMeeting solutions for the session tracks. We recommend fully closing your browser and reopening it between sessions. For a better experience, we highly recommend closing as many applications as possible on your computer to avoid band width glitches and issues. Dial in phone numbers are limited and provided to select tracks only. Using your computer's audio is preferred. Questions are highly encouraged via the chat window. Presentation materials are provided after the event for registered attendees only.