John Krewson

John Krewson

Sketch Development

St. Louis, Missouri, United States

John Krewson is the founder and President of Sketch Development Services, a software development studio that provides Agile coaching, consulting and training. Sketch delivers software for its customers using Agile principles and practices, and helps customers through their Agile transformations. John has been an active member of the Agile community since 2003 as a developer, ScrumMaster, development leader, product leader, and coach. He was previously an agile coach with VersionOne, where he worked with dozens of companies from startups to the Fortune 50 to help them learn, adopt, and apply Agile, Scrum, and Lean/Kanban principles and practices.

John has been a software development leader for eighteen years; an actor and director for over twenty, having appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1997. Follow John's blog on the Sketch website at sketchdev.io, or on twitter at @johnkrewson.

Area of Expertise

  • Business & Management
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Media & Information


  • agile
  • Agile software development
  • Scrum & Agile
  • Agile Mindset
  • Agile Transformation
  • Agile Methodologies
  • Agile Coaching
  • Agile Management
  • Agile and Culture
  • Software
  • Software Development
  • Software Engineering
  • Software Consultants
  • Software Practices
  • Leadership
  • Technical Leadership
  • Change Leadership
  • Leadership development
  • Lean / Agile Leadership
  • Agile Leadership

How We're Killing Team Motivation, and How to Fix It

“Build projects around motivated individuals.” This is good advice from the Agile Manifesto. We rely on teams to build software, but if they are not driven to do so, we’re asking for trouble. So what makes an individual motivated? The entertainment industry seems to have figure this one out. In this talk, John Krewson will take a look at how motivation is used as a powerful tool in the creation of theatre and film. He’ll then walk us through an exercise in which we see first-hand what it feels like to be part of a motivated team. We’ll finish with a dive into the latest science and thinking on motivation, and how our ability to foster autonomy and connect team members to a cause influences motivation.

Developer Handcuffs: When Technical Problems Become People Problems

Developer handcuffs are policies, norms, or practices that restrict developers from delivering value at their personal optimal speed. Handcuffs have an adverse effect on employee engagement, and they are a primary reason that great developers leave companies.

Many companies have a tough time grasping esoteric concepts like autonomy and self-organization, let alone understand how to reimagine the culture to make room for Agile and DevOps. Developer handcuffs, however, is a tangible concept that allows managers and leaders to visualize a cost/benefit analysis, and take action. The end result is an implementation of DevOps that comes with executive buy-in.

We're going to cover the types of handcuffs commonly found in a large company, walk through a few examples, and outline strategies for unshackling software delivery.

The Power of Curiosity, the Limits of Expertise, and the Danger of Earned Dogmatism

Is cholesterol bad for you? Does flossing work? The answers to these questions seem to change with every new study. It can be frustrating to learn that what we once held to be true is now false, and vice versa. It's certainly better than the alternative; if we weren't curious enough to challenge our assumptions, we'd still be using leeches to suck the diseases out of our bodies. This is the perpetual cycle of the scientific community: challenge assumptions, retest, and learn. As much as we take this learning mindset to heart in the Agile community, sometimes we fall short in practice. As product owners, we put large batches of software into production without testing whether or not our customers want it. As coaches, we advise our customers to implement good practices that worked well a decade ago, without regard to better practices that have emerged in their place. Why do we do this? The answer might be found in the concept of Earned Dogmatism. The Earned Dogmatism Effect suggests that we become closed-minded and dogmatic in our thinking when we allow ourselves to be labeled as an expert in a field or domain. In this talk, John Krewson will offer several antidotes to Earned Dogmatism. Together, we'll challenge several closely held Agile assumptions, we'll investigate curiosity as an alternative to expertise, and we'll connect curiosity and a growth mindset to improving as agile coaches and product owners.

Improvisation Games

Get your afternoon started out right with a little learning and a lot of fun! Join your fellow conference attendees to learn some improv techniques and share even more laughs. Come and put that creative energy you have to use!

Learning Outcomes:
- Learn basic improv techniques
- Learn how darn funny your fellow IT professionals are

The Agility of Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live is one of the longest running Agile institutions in the world. For 5 decades, they have developed and delivered small batches of comedy in weekly intervals. Talk about sustainable development. But how do they do it? Turns out, the practices and principles they employ are quite agile. From welcoming changing requirements to maintaining technical excellence, there's a lot we can learn from how they deliver. Join us for a back stage and on stage view into the process SNL has developed over decades to get from concept to cash in one week. Along the way we'll gain a new understanding of empirical process control, continuous delivery, the care and feeding of high performing teams, dependency and deadline management, what it means to deliver value continuously, and how to understand customers. We'll see how their use of Scrum ensures that they deliver on time, and how their use of Kanban keeps work visible for the entire organization. And we’ll probably laugh a lot too.

John Krewson

Sketch Development

St. Louis, Missouri, United States