People and Teams

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SAFe Case Studies: Transformation Notes From the Field

In the final installment of Toptal’s Agile scaling series, the creator of SAFe, Dean Leffingwell, shares his expertise alongside three case studies from Toptal project managers who discuss the challenges and rewards of implementing an Agile scaling framework.

9 minute readContinue Reading
Daniel Carroll

Daniel Carroll

Daniel is a Senior Editor for the Toptal Projects and Product Blogs. He has more than 20 years of experience at publications of the University of Chicago Press, Cambridge University Press, and Elsevier.

Agile Scaling: SAFe Best Practices for Scrum Masters

This article is part of Toptal’s Agile scaling series, designed to guide project managers in their team expansion efforts. In this second installment, Toptal Scrum expert Ammar Raafat discusses how Scrum masters moving into the role of release train engineer can help their teams thrive.

11 minute readContinue Reading
Ammar Raafat Mohamed Bashandy

Ammar Raafat Mohamed Bashandy

Ammar is a SAFe release train engineer and Agile program manager at Vodafone Group, where he leads a multidisciplinary agile release train team of 43 engineers, designers, and product managers. He holds 10 current project management certifications—including Advanced Scrum Master, Scrum Product Owner, and SAFe Agilist—and has an MBA from ESLSCA Business School Paris.

What Is Agile? A Philosophy That Develops Through Practice

Agile’s flexibility is attractive, but its lack of specificity leads teams to misinterpret its applications. Agile expert Umar Ali explains how he helps teams prioritize values over practices.

10 minute readContinue Reading
Umar Ali

Umar Ali

Umar is a project manager, Agile coach, and Scrum master who specializes in leading Agile transformations for organizations and teams. He leverages Agile ways of working to improve software quality and push for process and cultural improvements that allow self-organizing teams—remote, on-site, and offshore—to flourish.

Is the Citizen Developer the New Face of Agility?

In an era of talent shortages and fast delivery, the low-code market is taking off. Citizen development on a low-code platform may be the solution your organization needs.

9 minute readContinue Reading
Bryan Bates

Bryan Bates

Bryan has more than 20 years of experience managing projects in Agile, Waterfall, and hybrid environments. He holds a PMP certification and the Microsoft Power Platform Functional Consultant credential. Bryan uses his low-code expertise to assist new users in the Microsoft Power Apps Community forum.

Remote Solutions for Effective Agile Retrospectives

Leading effective remote retrospectives can be challenging. These videoconferencing best practices will help you run successful retros whether your teams are remote or in-house.

7 minute readContinue Reading
Jim Stewart

Jim Stewart

Jim Stewart is a project expert and certified Agile coach with more than 25 years of experience consulting on and managing projects for companies, including JPMorgan Chase and Fidelity Investments. He has been a PMP and CAPM instructor for more than 12 years.

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Scrum Master vs. Agile Coach: Why Successful Transformations Need Both

During an Agile transformation, leaders often assume that the Agile coach role can be undertaken by a Scrum master. While they share similar traits, these roles have scopes that differ greatly.

6 minute readContinue Reading
Tony Amos

Tony Amos

Tony is a software engineer turned Agile professional who uses his development experience to guide organizations and teams to success.

What Is a Technical Project Manager?

Surging demand for Technical Project Managers has raised some important questions for PMs in software development. What are the responsibilities and expectations associated with this role? And just how technical is “technical”?

9 minute readContinue Reading
Adina Zoltan

Adina Zoltan

Adina has more than 15 years of experience leading editorial and product development teams in the publishing industry.

Toptal Project Management Expert

Marco De Stefano

Marco started out as a software developer but moved on to more suitable roles—scrum master and Agile project manager—which he’s been successfully occupying for over the past decade. His technical background and business-oriented mindset facilitate effective communication with development teams and with different business stakeholders. Recently in his latest projects, he also works as an Agile coach to foster scrum adoption.
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