Where I Work

Where I Work

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Being Agile vs. Doing Agile w/ Jessie Shternshus and Paul Hammond

In this podcast, Jessie Shternshus , Paul Hammond and I take a shot at addressing the question of whether organizations have become so focused by the need to “do” Agile that they may have lost the ability to actually “be” Agile. During the conversation we touch on a number of the key challenges organizations are facing and how these challenges are impacting individuals at the team level.

Show Notes 
00:45 Introduction to Jessie and Paul
02:00 The Topic(s): Do we need to return to a more simple version of it so that people can better understand/internalize the fundamental intent behind it and not simply get lost in dogma and going thru the motions? How do we help “them” figure out the “why”?
06:30 Does leadership need to deeply understand Agile to help support transition to Agile or can the organization succeed if they just want to “do Agile”?
08:48 Changing the conversation to help people approach Agile with a more open mindset?
10:48 Mapping organizational values to Agile Manifesto values
11:30 How to create hope (that things can improve) at an organization?
14:20 Taking the option to “Make a choice”
16:37 Advice for getting “Buy In”
18:03 How do we unfreeze the frozen middle?
20:08 Should leadership demonstrate vulnerability when trying to transition to Agile? (crickets)
20:46 How do I help my company become a place innovative, agile people will want to work?
22:47 You can’t put a band-aid on culture
23:56 What id you hire for the culture you want, and disappoint the new folks with what you have?
26:15 Has anyone’s Agile transformation ever gone fast enough? What is the pace of transition that you need?
27:17 Remember to acknowledge the positives
28:00 Advice for Senior Mgmt. on adopting Agile
32:36 Advice for Team Members who feel like Mgmt. doesn’t get it yet
36:30 How to reach Jessie and Paul
38:29 Close

Contacting Jessie and Paul
Jessie is the founder of The ImprovEffect. You can reach her at her site here: http://www.improveffect.com or via Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheImprovEffect. She also has a number of upcoming events which can be found here: http://www.improveffect.com/events/

Paul Hammond is is the Director European Product Development at eBay and can be reached via his website: http://phammond.com or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/phammond. Paul is also on the Board of the Agile Alliance. You can find more about the upcoming Agile Alliance Technical Conference here: https://www.agilealliance.org/agile-alliance-technical-conference-2017/

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Forecasting Tools Based on Team Performance with Troy Magennis

In this special video podcast, FocusedObjective’s Troy Magennis provides a walk through of two important tools that can help you in understanding the impact of trying to inject work into your team’s backlog and in forecasting how much work your teams can achieve within a certain time frame.
In the first part of the video, Troy presented the Multiple Feature Cut Line Forecaster. When people in your organization start trying to add work into a team’s workflow, this tool will help you understand the impact of the added work and help you assess the impact of reprioritizing the work to deal with the additional work. If you need a way of showing management how their new requests are going to negatively impact your team’s ability to deliver, or if you just want to help them make smarter choices about what work they are adding to your plate, the walk thru presents a simple explanation of how this tool can be used to help your organization make smarter choices.

In the second part of the video (12:30), Troy presents the Multiple Team Forecaster. This tool will allow you to use historical data from multiple teams in your organization to understand their throughput, even though they are sizing and estimating work in completely different ways. This is especially valuable if you are working in an organization where you have multiple teams and you are considering standardizing their estimation process so that you can get a better sense of how they are doing with delivering work across the portfolio. You do not have to standardize on a specific method of estimation - let the teams do what they do. Using this tool you can look at how each team is delivering, based on historical data, to get a better sense of their ability to deliver a certain amount of work within a given time frame. 

Troy makes these and a number of other incredibly valuable tools free to the public. You can find them by going to http://focusedobjective.com or http://bit.ly/SimResources.

If you’d like to learn more about the tools Troy has created, you can contact him via his website above, follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/t_magennis  or you can see him present them in person. He is going to be holding a workshop on Forecasting Using Data in Austin, TX on November 17. You can find information about this event here: http://forecastingusingdata.eventbrite.com

He will also be appearing at a few local user group events:

Lean Kanban Meetup  - November 17 - https://www.meetup.com/leankanbanaustin/events/235274658/

Agile at Scale User Group meet up - November 18 - http://www.meetup.com/AgileAustin/events/235207828/?gj=co2&rv=co2

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

2016 Scrum Gathering Munich - The Agilistocrats!

An update from the 2016 Scrum Gathering in Munich featuring Maria Matarelli, Richard Cheng and Karim Harbott (with special guest Howard Sublett).


Monday, October 31, 2016

Having Empathy for your Project - with Patrice Colancecco Embry

This summer Patrice Colancecco Embry posted an article on The Digital Project Manager suggesting that project managers needed to show empathy not just towards team members and stakeholders, but towards the project itself.

In this interview Patrice and I dig in a little deeper on the idea of showing empathy for your project, why and how you'd go about doing that. They also get into the how important it is for the PM to show empathy for him/herself and when it is okay to totally hate the project.

If you'd like to check out Patrice's original article, you can find it here: http://www.thedigitalprojectmanager.com/managing-project-empathy/

If you'd like to get in touch with Patrice, you can reach her via:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/patrice108
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patriceembry 
Her website http://www.patrice-embry.com

Friday, October 14, 2016

GET OFF MY LAWN! Getting better at working with Millennials!

Since entering the workforce, Millennials have gotten a bad rap. There is a long list of complaints levied against them… mostly by the crowd that falls into GenX and older. In this interview, Dave Prior and John Tanner from LeadingAgile are joined by Jenny Madursky, a Millennial who is a Project Manager at Huge. Dave is GenX and harbors a secret fear the internet will break and go away forever. John is in between the two (and would like you to get off his lawn) but self-identifies as being more on the Millennial side. During this podcast they explore the way Millennials approach working and collaboration. They dig into some of the stereotypes that crop up when people complain about Millennials and GenX, as well as how a Millennial’s view differs from the older crowd’s. In the final portion of the interview, the discussion turns towards what GenXers can do to be better prepared for working with Millennials in order to better support them.  

Show Notes
0:08 Interview Begins
00:42 Introductions
01:44 Jenny’s areas of focus in college are a secret weapon -  Mechanical Engineering & Theater Studies
03:18 Defining what we mean by Millennial
03:36 A Millennial explains Millennials (experience over stuff)
04:50 What is challenging about working with GenX
07:40 The changing relationship between employee and company
09:33 Get Mentors!
11:54 Building lasting relationships and networks though shared work experiences
12:34 Broad knowledge vs Deep knowledge
14:25 What can employers do to make the work place more enticing to Millennials?
17:17 Consumers of employers… who offers the best experience?
19:37 Do you need different skill sets to interact with different age groups?
21:42 How can older generations be better prepared to work with Millennials?
24:05 Sometimes the gift of feedback can be a tough thing to receive
26:27 Helping the other person be open to feedback (Shout out to Sally Elatta!)
30:10 Jenny asks John and Dave for their perception of working with Millennials
31:20 Curiosity perceived as arrogance “I’m still expecting the internet to just shut off one day..”
32:29 Positive dissonance in the workspace
34:04 Knowing when to contribute and when to listen
35:27 Why Jenny chose to make the switch from Program Manager to Project Manager
37:17 Applying Agile practices in a Digital Agency
40:27 Agile for the Millennial crowd… do we need a new Manifesto?
44:02 Closing

Reaching Jenny

Reaching John

Other Links from the Podcast

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Jukka Lindstrom - The Transformation Will Be Digitized

One of the great benefits I have had through volunteering for the Scrum Alliance has been the opportunity to work with a long list of inspiring and brilliant people. At the top of that list is Jukka Lindstrom. Jukka is someone who’s approach to exploring and solving problems is so different from my own that I felt like every time we collaborated on something, I got better at what I was doing just by working with him.  A few years ago Jukka left his job as an Agile Coach and Trainer and started working full time with traditional organizations. At the start of 2016 he joined Cargotec to head up their Digital Transformation effort. If you think Agile Transition is hard, consider that it is only a small part of the transformation of digitizing a global organization with 11,000 people who are used to working in an analog world. 

In the first part of the interview Jukka and I talk about the work he’s been doing since leaving Reaktor and what it’s like trying to transform a company of 11,000 people to not just Agile, but a digitized way of working as well. Leaving the Agile Consulting world to go back into a traditional environment is a brave choice, but for Jukka, it presented an opportunity to test out what he had learned and see if he could help.  While it has provided him with great learning experiences, it has also come with some tough moments. In the second part of the interview we focus on how what that career transition has been like and how he has avoided getting trapped in the doldrums when he is faced with working in a more traditional environment. 

Show Notes
00:09 Interview Begins
00:57 Jukka’s role at Cargotec and what the company does
02:37 The difference between Agile Transformation and Digital Transformation
07:36 The complexity of transformation at Cargotec
08:44 Why is this level of transformation so much harder than basic Agile transformation
10:10 The mindset shift
11:54 Placing a bet on technology when you don’t know exactly what you’ll be able to do with the result yet
13:00 transforming11,000 people … “that’s like 1,200-1,500 teams of people”
15:00 Where do you learn faster? Working in software or more traditional (manufacturing) companies
17:15 Becoming an Agile Bodhisattva
17:52 When you walk back into the waterfall, doesn’t it kinda suck? And how do you stay inspired?
19:45 Realizing that the reason you feel stuck is because you aren’t being true to yourself
22:37 How to avoid playing the victim and taking ownership of your own learning and joy
24:30 “I’m not having fun… why am I doing this?”
25:27 If you can’t find fun in what you’re doing, you’re doing the wrong thing
25:55 Things Jukka does outside of work that helps him stay engaged and learning while he is at work
27:00 MIT’s ULab

Some links from the interview 
Cargotec Website: http://www.cargotec.com
Singapore Cargo Port Timelapse Video https://youtu.be/HrZg96L8yaY
Leading from the Emerging Future by Otto Scharmer  http://amzn.to/2dJJ1TL

If you’d like to contact Jukka

Thursday, September 29, 2016

LeadingAgile Podcast - Working with Distributed Teams with Jann Thomas and Adam Asch

Whether you are separated by one floor in the same building or thousands of miles, working with distributed teams is never an easy. But for most of us, it’s the reality of how we work now. In this podcast, LeadingAgile’s Jann Thomas and Adam Asch share tips for how to get better results from your distributed teams and remote team members.

Show Notes

08:00 Introductions
01:21 Topic Intro
02:22 What are the common issue you see with Distributed Teams
02:37 Making people aware of your schedule the you are remote
05:51 Understanding your own best way of working and dealing with it when it is not in sync with your team
08:11 Working with people in different time zones
10:06 The time zone problem
11:14 - Sending team members to a physical location to build rapport and knowledge transfer
12:17 Helping remote team members see themselves as part of a team instead of adversaries
13:25 Cultural Training
14:05 When you’re in the same building but on different floors
15:08 Meeting up in the middle
16:22 The importance of meeting up for the Daily Standup
17:28 They’re home, but are they actually “working”?
18:20 Working for a virtual company
19:13 Making intentional choices to stay connected to your team
20:00 Suggestions for the team members who don’t want to participate
22:21 Better technology for better communication
23:22 The SM  and PO working together to create a communicative, collaborative culture
25:10 Getting in touch with Jann and Adam for more tips

If you’d like to reach out to Jann or Adam with follow up questions here is how to contact them:

Jann Thomas
Email: jann@leadingagile.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/agile_jann

Adam Asch
Email: adam@leadingagile.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/adamasch

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Alistair Cockburn - Designing Quality of Life

Writing the introduction to a podcast interview with Dr. Alistair Cockburn is not a simple thing. He is the co-author of the Agile Manifesto and the author of numerous books on Agile, Use Cases and Object Oriented Programming. There is also his work with Crystal and now with the Heart of Agile. He’s contributed a significant body of material around the topic of how we work. While this interview touches on most of the above, the primary focus of the interview is around a simple question with a complex answer: How can you design a lifestyle that is based on continually examining and enhancing the quality of your life.

The interview is a long one, but is filled with volumes of advice and wisdom on how to build a professional life that supports the level of quality you want to achieve in your personal life. The information will be especially valuable for anyone working on consulting. For those who are pressed for time, I’ve created detailed show notes below so you can jump to a specific portion if you need to and you can find them here: (because they exceed the text limit for a Soundcloud podcast).

If you would like to learn more about Alistair Cockburn, check out http://alistair.cockburn.us
If you’d like to follow Alistair on Twitter, you can find him at https://twitter.com/TotherAlistair
If you’d like to learn more about Heart of Agile, check out http://heartofagile.com
If you’d like to check out the Facebook Live conversation between Alistair and Nic Sementa, try http://bit.ly/2cESM57

Show Notes
00:08 Interview Starts
01:10 Topic Introduction - Designing your life with intention to create quality of life
02:27 Overview of the trajectory of Alistair’s professional life and consulting background
02:58 Alistair’s advice for maintaining quality of life as a consultant
03:44 The jobs you can’t take if you want to maintain quality of life (especially if your focus is family)
05:11 How do you become an old married consultant? If consulting is so great, why do people quit?
05:41 Rule #1 Limiting your travel / Manage your budget
06:40 Resigning from the full time travel gig and making sure they can’t make an example of you
09:10 The smart way to look for a new job
09:44 How much you need to have saved to look for a new consulting gig
10:56 Why you need to pace yourself during the job search
11:22 Getting published and planning to be in the rejection business
13:28 Coping with the ego blow of getting your soul rejected
14:24 Applying this advice to getting new clients
15:14 Landing the first consulting gig teaching about Object Oriented Design
16:08 How do you survive the first days as a consultant?
16:53 Driving for lifestyle
17:43 Consciously making choices for the lifestyle you want to achieve
18:22 Asking yourself “Does this enhance the quality of my life or not?” and applying it to all aspects of your life
19:27 Celebrating the things you do choose to do
19:50 The infinite potential workload vs. the finite number of plates you can juggle
21:22 The number of things you can’t get around to is infinite (no matter how much you do)
22:31 Do less to get more joy/quality/everything
22:45 Bookshelves, kids and divorce
23:10 18 years of being a married consultant
23:55 Do five things with job instead of 15 things with less joy - and learning to be conscious of your choices.
24:15 Going to the buffet
25:25 “The amount of food I did not touch was infinite”
25:48 Practicing “I would have everything, but if I just have this, I can have the best of the best
26:00 Budgets - Figuring out how much you need to put food on the table, how much for gravy and how much you need to declare greed and quit for the rest of the year.
28:15 Setting an upper limit for how much you want to make and staging work with financial goals
28:45 Knowing when “anything else in my life is more important than the next job”
29:25 What you need to live - take your base number, multiply by 2.5 and find your greed limit
30:10 When you hit the greed limit, do you actually have to stop (even if you don’t want to)?
31:05 Not operating from fear - if you are getting on the plane… why?
32:00 Teaching yourself to say no, limiting travel and limiting conferences
32:40 When they call, and they want ONLY you, and they offer gobs of money…
34:05 Saying “Yes” when you should say “No”
34:35 Establishing a writing practice
35:10 A question about maintaining routine while traveling
36:00 Alistair’s life/phase changes
36:50 More advice on how to maintain a healthy life/marriage when you are a traveling consultant - set up a rhythm
38:40 Self-care while traveling (Alistair and Nic Sementa on FB live)
39:10 Life in the hotel
39:50 Air BnB so you can cook and maintain a healthy diet while traveling
41:17 Recap on maintaining diet while traveling
41:40 Alistair’s phase change - moving to France to practice his French
42:45 A brand new life in Brisbane playing volleyball for Christmas
44:14 In case you are thinking “My life can’t do that…”
44:57 How to get a job working in Zurich at IBM Research… but taking a chance and applying
47:31 Writing the Agile Manifesto in Snowbird, why it worked and why it was different than many other attempts to try and write something that would change the world
48:43 What made the running of the workshop in Snowbird so good? Generous Listening
49:10 Seventeen Alpha-types who all chose to be quiet and listen
50:18 “I’m Steve Mellor, I’m a spy”
52:46 Recap of Alistair’s tips in the interview so far
  • 50% travel cap
  • 1/2 week travel every week
  • Set max and min income target
  • When you hit max target, anything is more important than the next gig
  • Write some books to fill up the home time
  • 2 conferences a year
  • Drip feed for the clients
  • The only thing that makes things impossible is not being willing to take a chance
  • Generous listening
  • Constantly pursue areas of interest that improve quality of life
55:16 living below the poverty line and being okay with your quality of life
55:43 The three income levels according to Alistair Cockburn and understanding how much you need to feel survive or feel wealthy
59:46 Radical Simplification
60:38 The Heart of Agile, Shu Ha Ri and Kokoro
62:20 Living an improvised lifestyle
62:55 Agile has become over decorated
63:05 Scrum has become Shu level and it was designed at Ri level
63:32 The Heart of Agile - Collaborate, Deliver, Reflect and Improve
64:40 Kokoro - Heart of Essence
65:20 The top of performance is Ri, transitioning to teaching is Kokoro or Radical Simplification
66:25 The new lifestyle - looking for radical simplification in everything
67:08 Maximizing your freedom through simplification
71:34 Do you need someone at Ri or Kokoro to be guided towards simplification?
72:30 Can you transform to Heart of Agile at the organizational level?
73:20 Questioning collaboration across the organization to set a baseline you can use for transformation to Heart of Agile
74:44 If you move the needle on the collaboration, everything improves
75:31 Going back to the basics of being able to deliver incrementally
76:28 You don’t need a specialist, just people who are open
76:42 The next Heart of Agile Conference - Pittsburgh in April 2017
77:47 Wrapping up

Friday, September 09, 2016

Agile 2016 - Lyssa Adkins - Agilists as Agents of Social Revolution

Agile 2016 - Lyssa Adkins - Agilists as Agents of Social Evolution from LeadingAgile on Vimeo.

Lyssa Adkins, Co-Founder and President at Agile Coaching Institute, led a two-part Audacious Salon session at Agile 2016 that focused on the idea of Agilists being Agents of Social Evolution. In this interview Lyssa shares the background work that led her to this great question and the work that she has been doing to explore it further, along with developing a deeper understanding of what mission we, as Agents of Social Evolution are called to, and what our responsibility is towards the people and systems we interact with.

If you’d like to learn more about Lyssa and the work she is doing at the Agile Coaching Institute, check out http://www.agilecoachinginstitute.com

And you can follow Lyssa on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lyssaadkins