Agile portfolio management and agile at scale are among the issues to be explored at the Agile2012 conference, which kicks off today at the Gaylord Texan Hotel & Convention Center in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

“Expect to hear people talking a lot this week about agile at scale, which just means, what are the trends in agile in terms of number of teams that are using agile? What size companies are adopting agile? What is the level of penetration within organizations?” Robert Holler, CEO of agile project management tools vendor VersionOne (and one of the title sponsors of the show), told SD Times. “We will hear a lot about the scope and scale of agile, and how it will be evolving through the years.”

Agile portfolio management is another developing trend that will be discussed at the show, Holler said. Agile portfolio management is the process of aligning your agile strategy with your software development efforts. “Agile portfolio management is taking the planning level of agile up to the business initiative,” Holler said. “Instead of saying these are the stories I’m going to work on in this iteration or release, agile portfolio management is saying, this is my strategy for the upcoming year. I’m going to, for example, focus on a cost-cutting initiative across this, or improve performance by this. It’s managing things at a high level, from a portfolio standpoint.”

Other topics expected to be discussed this week at Agile2012 are the challenges of agile that people are experiencing, some causal analysis of agile failures, the key drivers of agile success, the best practices that are currently being adopted, and the benefits organizations are experiencing using agile.

There will be three conference keynotes. The opening keynote will be delivered by Robert Sutton, professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University. He will discuss “scaling up excellence” and the mindsets, decisions and principles necessary to do so. Another keynote, from Joe Justice, a Seattle-area agile business process consultant and entrepreneur, will discuss how to manage a collaborative multi-national team in real time. Another keynote will be given by Dr. Sunita Maheshwari, a pediatric cardiologist-turned-healthcare entrepreneur. She will trace the journey of a one-person, one-room company in India to its present status as the top-ranked teleradiology company in the United States. Lessons learned along the way of this journey are lessons for all entrepreneurs and employees.

Tomorrow at the conference, VersionOne is expected to launch its seventh annual State of Agile Development Survey, which aims to provide insight into the latest agile development trends and practices. Some of the topics the survey will explore are the adoption and use of agile practices; agile methodologies and practices being used; reasons for adoption, cause of failed projects, benefits gleaned from agile, and trends in scaling agile to the enterprise. Online respondents can also participate in the survey through the end of September 2012.