Sunday, December 16, 2018

Scaling Product Development with Ellen Gottesdiener and Andy Repton

Earlier this fall at the 2018 Large Scale Scrum Conference in NYC, Ellen Gottesdiener and Andy Repton led a session called “What is Our Product” ( During the course of their presentation they showcased many of the tools they use with clients to determine what the product they are building actually is. In this interview Ellen and Andy explain why this question is not as easy to understand as it seems and why it is so critical to product success. During the course of our conversation they walk through some of the tools they use to help clients deepen their understanding of the product, how to make sure it is strategically aligned, and how this can even be done with massive organizations that are developing infrastructure products. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The Elusive Agile Enterprise - A Forbes Insight Report

The Scrum Alliance and Forbes Insights recently released a report called the “The Elusive Agile Enterprise”. The report presents the findings of a survey that involved over 1,000 C-level executives across the globe in a range of industries. 

In this interview, Scrum Alliance Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications, Renata Lerch  and I talk through the results of this survey and what they mean for organizations adopting Agile.  We also explore some of the more valuable insights that came out of the report including the 3 elements determined to be critical to a successful adoption of Agile and how the findings have helped the Scrum Alliance make a decision to target Human Resources as an area of growth in the future.

Download the Report

You can download a copy of the report at

Contact Renata Lerch

Friday, November 16, 2018

PMO Agility Canvas 3.0 - Redefining Your PMO for Agile

I had the chance to give a presentation last night at the NYC Scrum User Group Meetup. Despite the horrible weather, there was a really great turnout and I got to meet a lot of great folks.

Here are the slides I used during the presentation. It includes the brand new version of the PMO Agility Canvas tool I developed.

If you'd like to download a Tabloid size of the canvas, you can find it here:
PMO Agility Canvas

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

An Interview with Scrum Alliance Chief Product Owner Howard Sublett

The Scrum Alliance recently made a very significant change in how the organization is run. After years of running with a traditional leadership model, the Scrum Alliance, whose mission is “Change the World of Work” has decided to shift to a model with a Chief Product Owner and a Chief Scrum Master. As you’ll hear in this podcast, it is a model that is already inspiring leaders from other organizations to make a similar change. 

This podcast features an interview with the new Scrum Alliance Chief Product Owner Howard Sublett. Howard is a dynamic an inspiring servant leader who was involved with the Scrum Alliance early on before moving into Agile consulting. He joined the Scrum Alliance Board of Directors several months ago and will now be helping to shape and define the role of Chief Product Owner. During the conversation Howard and I talk about the significance of the role, what it involves, how it has inspired others, what the Scrum Alliance is looking for in a Chief Scrum Master and some of the recent changes to the SA Board of Directors that came about as a result of him taking on his new gig. 

Contacting Howard

Thursday, November 01, 2018

WTF is Post Agile?

In this episode of The Reluctant Agilist, Dhaval Panchal, Michael Tardiff and I try to figure out what "post-agile" actually means.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Abby Fretz - Your Clients Are Your Students

You go to conferences… and there are moments when you pick stuff up that can help you do your job. But, once and awhile, there are those special moments when people share things in sessions that permanently change how you look at the work you do. It’s rare… but it’s awesome.

That happened for me this September in Memphis at the 2018 Digital PM Summit. I attended a session led by Abby Fretz called "Sustaining the Project Honeymoon Phase: How to Build Effective Client Education.” In the session, Abby drew a connection between the relationship we have with our clients and the relationships students have with teachers. She reminded everyone that all of our clients are not just emotional humans, but they are also family members, friends, and experts, and that we need to care for them as a teacher would care for a student. Moreover, she reminded everyone that as much as we are the teachers of our clients, they are our teachers as well.

I wish someone had said this to me 20 years ago.

In this podcast, Abby and I discuss her session from the 2018 Digital PM Summit, what led her to her metaphor, and how it has impacted her work. There is some powerful stuff in this interview and I hope it will be as valuable for you as it was for me. I am very indebted to Abby for teaching me something that seems like such common sense— I’m a little ashamed I had not though of clients this way before.

Here are some of the links mentioned in the podcast:
Digital Pm Summit:
DPM Philly Meetup:
Louder Than 10:
Eastern Standard:

If you'd like to get in touch with Abby you can reach her at:

Friday, September 28, 2018

Suze Haworth at 2018 Digital PM Summit

Suzanna Haworth gave a talk at the 2018 Digital PM Summit called "Adapting Agile: How to Make a Blended Agile Approach Work For You". Agile and Digital can be an odd fit. In her talk Suze focused on how digital agencies can begin introducing agile practices into their workflow in order to realize some of the benefits that agility can provide.

The talk was very popular. So popular in fact, that I wasn't able to get in.
Fortunately Suze was kind enough to let me interview her about her session once she got back home to London. In this interview she shares some of the key points from her session and explains her take on hybrid approaches to bringing agile and a traditional (waterfall) approach together.

If you work at a digital agency and you're trying to figure out how to make agile fit, there are some great tips in here for you.

(Also, apologies for some of the background noise - they were doing construction in the apartment above mine and it could not be helped.)

If you'd like to get in touch with Suze to ask her some follow up questions, here is her contact info:


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Patrice Embry - Finessing Retrospective - 2018 Digital PM Summit

Patrice Embry gave a lightning talk called “Finessing a Retrospective to Get Results” at the 2018 Digital PM Summit. After her talk Patrice and I had a chance to sit down and talk through some of the ideas she shared that you can use to hep you get more value out of the moments where you and your team stop to inspect and adapt how things are working on your project. The tips Patrice shares in the interview (and in her talk) will work for you whether you are holding a more traditional review (like a Post-Mortem or a Project Review), or if you are working with Agile and holding a Retrospective Meeting. (Including how to hold these meetings if you are working remotely.)

If you’d like to get in touch with Patrice with follow up questions, here is how you can reach her via her website:

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

2018 Digital PM Summit - An Interview with Aaron Irizarry on Creating Personas

A few weeks ago the 2018 Digital PM Summit was held in Memphis. This is the 6th year the conference has been held and the Bureau of Digital put together another incredibly inspiring conference. The event focuses on helping PMs in who work in the Digital space amp up their ability to practice their craft. During the conference, Aaron Irizarry gave a presentation called “Laying the Groundwork: Building Foundations for High-Performing Teams”. Aaron is currently working as a Design Director at Capital One.

After Aaron’s session we had the chance to sit down and record a podcast on how to create Personas. During the interview we talk about why personas are so important how to go about creating archetypes, personas, how to conduct proxy interviews and keep your own bias from influencing your results, and how much detail you should include when you are putting them together.

If you’d like to get in touch with Aaron with additional questions or to hear more about his session at the Summit, you can reach him via Twitter at

Monday, September 17, 2018

Agile 2018 Video Podcast Interviews (ALL OF THEM!)

I was trying to post these one at a time, but it is taking me too long.

There is some really good stuff in here and I'm very grateful to everyone who was willing to sit with me and let me ask them questions. (And to the amazing crew at LeadingAgile for making it happen.)

I hope you find them helpful as well.

And if you want more, and you are a member of the Agile Alliance, you should be able to view many of the presentations from the conference here.

Agile 2018 Video Podcast Interviews

Day 1 Interviews - Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby, Mike Cottmeyer, Erika Lenz and Michele Sliger, Ron Jeffries & Chet Hendrickson, Paul Argiry, Linda Rising, Diana Larsen, Bob Tarne
Day 2 Interviews -  Jeff Patton, Cass Van Gelder, Lyssa Adkins, Joe Vallone, Sarah Klarich and Pam Corbin, Dom Price (Keynote), and David Bland
Day 3 Interviews - Troy Magennis (Keynote), Larry Maccherone, Dhaval Panchal, Dean Leffingwell, Dennis Stevens, Bernie Maloney, Becky Hartman, Peter Green, John Tanner
Day 4 Interviews - Cara Turner, John Miller, Esther Derby, Tricia Broderick, Laura Powers, Chris Sims, Scott Ambler, Olaf Lewitz, Natalie Warnert

Saturday, September 15, 2018

LeSS 2018 Conference - Karim Harbott, Dhaval Panchal, Richard Cheng

Karim Harbott led a session at the 2018 Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) Conference on Agility and Company Culture. In this episode, Karim shares some highlights from his session and then Dhaval Panchal, Richard Cheng and I talk through some of the challenges with trying to transform different aspects of company culture and the company value system in order to foster an environment that can support business agility.

Contacting Karim

Contacting Dhaval

Contacting Richard

Large Scale Scrum, LeSS, LeSS 2018, Culture, Agile, Scrum Agile Transformation, Karim Harbott, Dhaval Panchal, Richard Cheng, Dave Prior, DrunkenPM

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Bas Vodde at the 3rd Annual Large Scale Scrum Conference

This week in New York City the Lower East Side is host to the 3rd Annual LeSS Conference. I stopped by the conference today and had the chance to sit down with Bas Vodde to talk about Large Scale Scrum and the annual event they hold to bring the coaches, trainers and practitioners of LeSS together. 

The LeSS Conference is not like a standard IT Conference. During the interview Bas explains how their approach to setting up and running the event focuses on letting the on-site attendees drive the content and work together to develop new tools, games, and techniques to help  the growth, adoption and practice of Large Scale Scrum.

If you aren’t familiar with LeSS, this interview will help you get an understanding of how this approach to scaling has a philosophy that aims to simplify things as much as possible in order to create greater understanding of what is blocking an organization from being able to truly adopt an agile approach to work. During the conversation we dig into what happens to the traditional portfolio and program view when you adopt LeSS and take a more product focused approach to work. We also discuss the difference between LeSS and LeSS Huge, which is designed to help organizations running upwards of 8 teams create products using agile.

If you’d like to learn more about Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), including case studies, please check:

If you are having trouble finding someone to help you implement LeSS, send an email to

And if you’d like to reach out to Bas directly, send an email to

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Lessons from a Coach at Toyota w/ Bob Tarne from Agile 2018

When I was in the beginnings of my career in Project Management and started volunteering for PMI, Bob Tarne was my mentor. Bob taught me volumes about not just project management, but how to be on the Board of the IT & Telecommunications SIG.

This summer at Agile 2018, Bob led a session called "Agile Road Trip: Lessons from a Coach at Toyota" ( Bob's presentation focused on some of his recent work as an Agile coach working at Toyota. (If you didn't just do a spit take, yes... Toyota... the place that spawned Lean Manufacturing... which is what most of Agile is rooted in.)

This interview was streamed live on Facebook during the conference. During the conversation Bob and  walk through his experience of helping Toyota retune how it is implementing Agile. We also discuss what value having a PMP Certification can be to someone whose work is primarily focused in agile.

Contacting Bob:


Monday, September 03, 2018

Agile and Jazz - Peter Green at Agile 2018

For a few years now Peter Green has been doing a session at Agile events where he explains the similarities between the work we all do in Agile and playing Jazz. In San Diego I got a chance to sit down with Peter and dig into this topic a little more as he explained how there are different connection points between Agile and Jazz if you are talking about playing in a big band than there are if you are just in a small 4 piece group. This is an interview I had been wanting to do for a long time. Peter is a brilliant thought leader and his take on Agile and Jazz is eye opening.

Peter led Lightning Talks at Agile 2018 as well as
Overcoming Immunity to Change
The Surprising Links Between Agile and Jazz

If you'd like to reach Peter you can find him at :

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Product Innovation with Dhaval Panchal - from Agile 2018

Dhaval Panchal led a workshop at Agile 2018 called Worm Holes to Product Innovation: Fold your Edges

The workshop introduced a new way of uncovering product ideas by starting with edge cases and using that to guide you towards something that can be appealing to a larger audience. Dhaval has a very creative approach to problem solving and his metaphors are always entertaining and insightful.

To Contact Dhaval

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Agile in Education and Tips for CST candidates with John Miller at Agile 2018

John Miller is one of the leading voices in bringing Agile to education. His work impacts both students and educators and it is incredibly inspiring (check out the links below for more information).

In this Agile 2018 interview John gives an update on what's happening with Agile Schools and the effort to bring Scrum into education AND, as a new Certified Scrum Trainer, John offers some tips for those who are on their journey to becoming CSTs.

Here are two inspiring stories about how Scrum is impacting Education

To Contact John Miller

Creating an Environment for Successful Agile Teams from Agile 2018 w/ Esther Derby

In this interview, recorded at Agile 2018
, Esther Derby shares a story about the late Jerry Weinberg, what it takes to create an environment that can support a successful Agile Team, how conditions and constraints impact your teams and her new project to develop online versions of her trainings.

Creating an Environment for Successful Agile Teams

Clarity, Conditions, and Constraints: An Alternative to Top Down Control

To Contact Esther


Innovation in the Enterprise w/ SAFe from Agile 2018 w/ Dean Leffingwell

Dean Leffingwell led as session at Agile 2018 called Driving Enterprise-Scale Innovation with Scaled Agile Framework.

In this interview Dean and I discuss how Scaled Agile Framework can be used to support and enable innovation within the enterprise. We also talk about the upcoming SAFe Summit which is taking place in Washington D.C. on October 1-5.

You can learn more about the SAFe Summit

For more on Scaled Agile Framework

To Contact Dean



Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Agile 2018 Keynote Speaker: Troy Magennis

The Wednesday Keynote at Agile 2018 was provided by Troy Magennis. Always fun and deeply inspiring, Troy's keynote introduced some ideas that are sure to cause a lot of controversy in the Agile space: having teams twice the recommended size and comparing teams.

During this interview Troy and I discuss why data is a people problem and what was behind his suggestion that perhaps teams twice the recommended size would not be a bad thing to try and why comparing one team to another could actually be a good thing.

Troy is someone who works very hard at making math more accessible for normal humans. He has also created a repository of tools which are free to use and may help you figure out how to solve many of the issues your team/organization has been dealing with. You can find all of these at

And if you'd like to reach Troy directly:

Measuring the Impact of Agility and DevSecOps from Agile 2018 w/ Larry Maccherone

Larry Maccherone is well known in the Agile space for having conducted the largest study ever on the impact of agile practices in the workspace. While he was at Rally (now part of CA), Larry collected data from over 10,000 teams to determine things like, most effective team size, most effective Sprint length, etc.

At Agile 2018, Larry gave a talk called Agile Quantified (Measuring the Impact of Agility). During the talk he explained how the data was gathered, and some of the key learnings.

But, in addition to his work on Agile metrics, Larry also has a background with a deep focus on security and in this interview he explains how DevOps and Security work together, how the growth in DevSecOps is SO much bigger than what is happening in Agile and why we all need to be paying more attention to it. 

Larry's session at Agile 2018:
Agile Quantified (Measuring the Impact of Agility)

The current version of the research Larry did for Rally can be found here:

Contacting Larry:
Twitter: @LMaccherone

CodeX - from Agile 2018 w/ Cara Turner

Cara Turner came to Agile 2018 all the way from South Africa to help share the story of CodeX and how they are changing the shape of the workforce in South Africa. While it has been over 20 years since the end of Apartheid, there are a number of fields (including IT and Software), where the workforce is still lacking in diversity. A lot of this has to do with the fact that certain communities simply do not have access to the education they'd need to enter and compete in certain fields.

CodeX is changing that—and changing the shape of diversity in the workforce. By providing full stack training and career mentorship for those who might not otherwise have access to the training and education needed to get a job working in IT, CodeX is creating new opportunities, building a stronger community, and helping to bring the gift of diversity to the workspace in South Africa.

A lot of us build software and tech, but only a few of us actually change the world we live in. Cara Turner and CodeX are definitely doing that.

Cara's talk at Agile 2018
codex Story: Challenging the Metrics that limit Diversity in the Software Industry 

Contacting Cara
Twitter: @Cara_Faye

Monday, August 13, 2018

Communication Tips for Distributed Teams - from Agile 2018 w/ Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby

In this podcast interview, which was recorded live at Agile 2018, Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby offer some tips on how to improve communication in distributed teams.

Many of the tips were discovered while writing their new book "From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams" which they've co-written AS A DISTRIBUTED TEAM.

If you'd like to pick up the book you can find on LeanPub using the link below

If you'd like to get in touch with Johanna:
If you'd like to get in touch with Mark:

Friday, August 03, 2018

How can a Product Owner Develop Skill Negotiating with Exec Leadership? w/ Steve Martin

This is a frequent question in the CSPO classes I teach. Many organizations want the benefits of Agile. Sometimes they assign people to the role of Product Owner, and then continue with business as usual. For the role of PO to work effective, you need an individual filling the Product Owner role who is will and able to make decisions, even without all the information they would want to make the decisions. AND they need to be working in an organization that trust them to make those decisions.

If you don't have that, if you are in a PO role, but management is handing you products with deadlines and ever changing scope (cause it's agile #sarcasm), then you're in trouble.  So, how do you get started developing the skill and experience negotiating with stakeholders who may not view you as someone who has the gravitas to negotiate with them.

In this episode of drunkenPM radio, Steve Martin joins me to share his strategies and thoughts on how to cope with your need to develop negotiation skills.

Steve is the founder of Cottage Street Consulting and you can also find him on LinkedIn.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Emotional Science - The Key to Unlocking High Performance (with Audree and Micheal Sahota)

Emotional Science is a new book written by Audree and Michael Sahota that focuses on helping individuals discover and break through the blockers that are holding them back from becoming better leaders. It is often said that if you want to lead others, you first have to lead yourself. Many of us have the desire to be able to show up as better leaders, we read books, sign up for seminars and yet, when it comes down to doing the actual work, we struggle. The reason for this is often that, while we want the results, the work itself is often too daunting to take on. 

Emotional Science provides a set of tools you can begin to employ that will help you discover the blockers you have placed in your own path and work through how to remove those blockers. The book also explores how your own emotional history can impact your ability to gain clarity on how that history impacts your ability to lead yourself, and others. 

One of the most impactful things I have picked up from this book is the idea that emotions have no sense of time. Something from your past that is unresolved can sneak up and find it’s way into how you respond to something that is happening to you right now. This is true of humans, and, to an extent, to companies as well. 

In this interview Audree and Michael share what led them to writing this book and how their diverse backgrounds brought them together in a shared goal of helping us (and the organizations we work for) find a better way to show up and be clear about the work required to achieve the results we are looking for when it comes to transformation. 

If you’d like to learn more about Emotional Science, including the free exercises and downloads that are offered and links to where you can purchase the book, visit

You can also find Michael via the links below:

And if you’d like to find out more about Michael’s Certified upcoming Scrum and Certified Agile Leadership Classes, click here:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Business of Portfolio Management with PMI Fellow Iain Fraser

Iain Fraser is a PMI Fellow, a former Chair of the PMI Board of Directors and the author of The Business of Portfolio Management. The book focuses on helping businesses deepen their perception of business portfolio management, and how strengthening their practices in that area can help them thrive in a business world where the only constant is change. 

 In this episode of the podcast, I had the chance to speak with Iain about his book, how his experiences in working in Portfolio, Program and Project management have evolved over time. How business agility fits into the work he does and the great impact that volunteering has had on his career. 

When you are listening to this interview, one thing I hope you will take not of is how Iain talks about the various aspects of business agility. His use of traditional practices, Lean and agile practices are all aimed at helping organizations develop greater adaptability at the business portfolio level. These various practices are discussed (and employed) without a value judgement being placed on any of them. They are used as needed all in the service of helping organizations learn to cope with change.

The Business of Portfolio Management


Contacting Iain


PMI 2018 Global Congress Workshop

Business Change Management - Heading for the Future

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Growing Up Agile - 2nd Gen Agilists

We’ve reached a stage in the evolution of work where some of the folks now entering the workforce were raised by professional Agile practitioners. This might not seem like a big deal, but consider that this is a generation that will not have to go through the process of unlearning all the dysfunctional practices that most of us had to let go of. These are folks who have been working in an agile way their whole lives and, because it is native to them, they are free from the cognitive dissonance most of us face when we move to a more Agile state. 

In this interview I am joined by Bria Johnson and Blake Halvorson. Both of them were raised by seasoned Agile practitioners. Bria and Blake used Agile throughout their schooling and entered the workforce already deep with knowledge of how it works. During the interview, we explore how they came to Agile, how they employed it in school, and how they’ve used it since leaving school. 

For me, one of the most powerful parts of the interview was when Bria and Blake explained how they approached their schoolwork in college. Their seemingly simple approach is so massively different from the way I managed my work in school—it left me very envious.

Contacting Bria and Blake

If you’d like to reach out to Bria or Blake with follow up questions, here is how you can reach them:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What's New at the Scrum Alliance - from the 2018 North American Global Scrum Gathering

During the 2018 North American Global Scrum Gathering in Minneapolis, I had a chance to interview the Interim Co-CEOs of the Scrum Alliance: Shannon Carter, Renata Lerch, and Angie Stecovich. In addition to their new roles, they also serve as VP of Education, VP of Global Marketing and Communications, and Sr. Director of Finance, respectively. Shannon, Renata, and Angie explain how their roles have changed at the Scrum Alliance and how being part of an agile leadership team has prepared them for this. They also speak about all the new things happening at the Scrum Alliance.  

During the interview, they share details about a number of new initiatives at the Scrum Alliance (including how the certifications offered by the Scrum Alliance have changed over the last year and continue to evolve) as well as new benefits being offered to Certified Scrum Professionals (like free access to Comparative Agility, an online assessment tool that can be used to help organizations develop their agile capabilities).

By far, the biggest announcement the Scrum Alliance made during the 2018 North American Global Scrum Gathering was the partnership with Jeff Sutherland and Scrum Inc. to form a new organization called Scrum at Scale that is focused on helping large organizations transform to Agile. If you’d like to check out an interview with Jeff on the partnership, you can find it here: 

For more on the Scrum Alliance:

Monday, June 04, 2018

The Agile Heretic - An Interview with Jim Benson

Jim Benson has been involved with Agile since the very beginning. You may know him as creator of Personal Kanban,  as the co-creator of Lean Coffee, through his work as CEO of Modus Cooperandi, his books, or from the many awards he’s won for his work in applying Lean practices to knowledge work. 

After years watching Agile being misused, misunderstood, and seeing it “calcify and solidify because of commercialization”,  Jim’s new project The Agile Heretic is focused on calling attention to many of the things people are doing that are causing Agile to not work. In the videos and blog posts, Jim takes on a wide range of Agile related topics, he explores why things are off the rails and how to address them.

In this interview Jim and I talk through what led to him creating this series, his hopes for it and what he is looking forward to seeing in the future of Agile. We also touch on some specific topics (like why he doesn’t like Story Points) and he shares a bunch of great stories (like why a group of developers once passed the hat amongst themselves and smuggled him into their company after their organization deemed his ideas too dangerous to their way of working.

Note: During the podcast, Jim makes multiple references to the Kuhn Cycle, You can find some basic info on it here:  Kuhn Cycle:

Agile Heretic Links - here are two places to get started:

Jim at Agile 2018

Jim will be leading a Stalwarts session at Agile 2018 called “Ask the Agile Heretic Almost Anything” You can find more about that here:

For more in Jim and his work:

Monday, May 28, 2018

David Hawks at the 2018 North American Scrum Gathering

David Hawks led two sessions at the 2018 North American Scrum Gathering. During the conference we had the chance to sit down and talk through some of the key ideas he was presenting in Minneapolis.

David’s first session, “The Post Project Era: The Future of Agile,” looked at how a project-centric mindset can actually impede your ability to deliver value for your client.  In his second session, “Move Beyond User Stories: What’s Next,” David presented an approach to understanding requirements that goes beyond simply working with User Stories and involves forming hypotheses, designing and prioritizing experiments to test them, and then running the experiments to gain a deeper understanding of what the customer’s needs actually are and how to best solve them.

David is the founder and CEO of Agile Velocity, as well as a Certified Enterprise Coach and a Certified Scrum Trainer. If you’d like to learn more about David, check out
You can also find him on Twitter at

And if you’d like to learn more about the Keep Austin Agile Conference, which took place on May 24, 2018, or Agile Austin, check out

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Billy McLaughlin - 2018 Global Scrum Gathering Keynote

The 2018 North American Global Scrum Gathering kicked off with a keynote presentation that was incredibly unique and inspiring. Billy McLaughlin is a professional guitar player who spent his life working to reach a level of success most musicians only dream about. But just as he reached the top, the tools that got him there began working against him.

Billy suffers from focal dystonia. You may not be familiar with this condition, but for a professional guitar player, it is one of the the worst things that could possibly happen because it means you can’t do the one thing you have spent your life mastering.

While something like this might cause a lot of people to give up on their dreams and find something else to do, Billy found a different path. He learned to play the guitar left handed instead of right handed. (Just for frame of reference, imagine learning how to write again, using your opposite hand, but having to write everything backwards… what Billy had to do was harder than that.)

In this interview you’ll hear Billy explain what focal dystonia is, how it impacted him and how he worked through relearning to play guitar all over again.

The story is inspiring all on it’s own, but for me, there is something deeper in this story. In the interview you’ll hear Billy talk about the struggle of working through all the relearning and how he stayed motivated and kept at it. While it doesn’t touch the level of complexity that Billy had to work through, there are some parallels to what traditional PMs go through when they have to relearn how to do their jobs using Agile. For me, that journey felt like I was being forced to unlearn everything I had spent years trying to master, and then start over from scratch. Maintaining some level of motivation and not giving up hope was one of the hardest parts of the transformation. This is something Billy and I discuss in the interview, and for any of you who need inspiration from time to time, my hope is that his story will help.

There is contact info for Billy below, but if you’d like to check out his keynote presentations from other events, you can find them here.

Links from the Podcast 

Billy McLaughlin 

Focal Dystonia 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Christopher Avery and The Leadership Gift

Christopher Avery is the author of The Responsibility Process and Teamwork Is an Individual Skill. He’s also one of the most inspiring and impactful people I’ve ever had a chance to interview. The Responsibility Process is an approach to understanding how each of us takes ownership of our understanding, and response to the challenges we face. It includes techniques that provide clarity on how the internal narrative we all create shows the extent to which we are able to realize our role in, and the level of responsibility we are taking with the things we face.

In this interview Christopher and I talk about The Responsibility Process and how his online program The Leadership Gift, is designed to help people embrace the process and use it to ltransform themselves into more fully realized, present and engaged leaders.

Over the last 20 years, there are very few things I’ve read which have had as significant an impact on me as The Responsibility Process. I can’t recommend it enough. But, one word of caution… this book is very likely going to completely strip away your ability to stay in the mindset of someone who has been totally victimized by external forces.

In the next few weeks I am going to sign up to participate in The Leadership Gift and I’ll be posting periodically on how it is impacting me.

If you’d like to check out an additional video where Christopher explains the The Leadership Gift in greater detail, you can find it here:


To learn more about The Leadership Gift, go here:
To find Christoper’s books on Amazon, go here:
For more on Christopher:
To find Christopher on Twitter:

For more on Noel Tichy:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Jeff Sutherland at 2018 Global Scrum Gathering on the Scrum@Scale and Scrum Alliance partnership

Last week, at the 2018 North American Global Scrum Gathering, the Scrum Alliance and Scrum co-founder, Dr. Jeff Sutherland, announced the creation of a new joint venture to train, coach, and promote Scrum@Scale. Scrum@Scale is an extension of the Scrum Framework that is designed to deliver business Agility across an entire organization.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to to sit down with Jeff during the Scrum Gathering and ask some questions about his partnership with the Scrum Alliance, Scrum@Scale, and how it can help organizations achieve greater business Agility.

Links from the Podcast

If you’d like to read the press release on the joint venture, you can find it here:
Here is a link to the Scrum@Scale Guide
Here is a link to Jeff's latest book, "Scrum, The Art of Doing Twice The Work In Half The Time".

Contacting Dr. Jeff Sutherland

If you’d like to contact Jeff you can reach him at:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hacking Agile for Digital Agencies at Scrum Gathering 2018

Thanks to everyone who attended my Hacking Agile for Digital Agencies yesterday at the 2018 Global Scrum Gathering in Minneapolis.

If you'd like to check out the slides or the Digital Agility Canvas, they can both be found here:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Scrum Gathering 2018 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Rick Brinkman

During the 2018 Scrum Gathering in Minneapolis, Dr. Rick Brinkman will be giving a keynote presentation called "Conscious Communication to Bring out the Best in People and Others". The presentation will introduce the crowd to Dr. Brinkman’s techniques for developing greater awareness of how to interpret the messages others are sending us and how we are bringing noise to the signal of the messages we are trying to transmit to others.

I had the chance to interview Dr. Rick about his work helping people develop stronger communication skills. In this interview we discuss ways to become more aware of how we each jam up the messages we are trying to send by letting buried emotions effect our tone, how to slow down and communicate with sincerity and what folks will learn by attending the closing keynote at the 2018 Scrum Gathering. Dr. Rick also offered some tips from his latest book "Dealing with Meetings You Can't Stand: Meet Less and Do More". (

Dr. Rick Brinkman has presented over 4,000 programs in 18 countries and is the author of a number of books including the international best seller “Dealing with People You Can't Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst” ( which has been translated to 25 different languages.

The Scrum Gathering 2018 Closing Keynote: Conscious Communication to Bring out the Best in People and Others will take place on Wednesday, April 18 at 3:45 PM in the main auditorium at the conference center. You can learn more about the conference here:

For More Information on Rick Brinkman:

Friday, March 16, 2018

Agile in Supply Chain w/ Michael Tibbert and Dhaval Panchal

This podcast features Michael Tibbert and Dhaval Panchal helping me out with a question submitted by a student that focused on implementing Agile in a traditional supply chain organization. We also address the question of whether or not it is easier to implement Agile in a band new organization than it is in an existing one. 


If you’d like to reach Michael Tibbert, you can find him here:

If you’d like to reach out to Dhaval Panchal, he’s here:

And if you want to read more about the Parable of the Watermelon

(And in 2 weeks, when he gets his website sorted, that will be added here as well.)

If you have any questions about Agile or Scrum that you’d like addressed in a podcast, just send them to or DM them to @drunkenpm

Monday, March 05, 2018

Scott Ambler - Disciplined Agile Framework

For large scale organizations that need to scale Agile, one of the biggest challenges is selecting the option that will fit best. In this interview Scott Ambler, co-creator of the Disciplined Agile framework offers explains the origin of DisciplinedAgile, what makes it different than the other scaling options  and how to handle some of the more common issues facing traditional orgs that are trying to adopt Agile and handle governance.


00:07 Interview Begins
00:35 Background on the Disciplined Agile Framework
01:34 The Origin of Disciplined Agile and what it was designed to help with
05:01 What drives organizations to want one common way to practice Agile 
06:13 How Disciplined Agile responds to the desire for one process to rule them all
08:36 If you support multiple approaches to development, how do you bring it all together from a governance perspective and how do you communicate with management about process and progress?
11:10 If you are going to govern, what should you actually be governing?
12:30 Do we really want the PMO to be in charge of governing all aspects of the work?
13:20 How Disciplined Agile looks at the bigger picture with respect to governance
15:55 Making room for someone who can watch how things are being measured and keeping track of performance
16:39 We do not want to inflict the same process on 50 different teams. We need to up our game and look at the full enterprise picture
17:24 Everything in the complex adaptive system impact everything else in the system
17:56 The difference between Disciplined Agile and the other options for scaling Agile
20:55 There is no such thing as a best practice… EVER
21:08 If you want to be effective, pick and choose the techniques that work for you
22:50 Teaching them how to make decisions on their own, rather than just prescribing a solution
23:15 Getting qualified, experienced coaches to help you adopt Disciplined Agile
25:19 How Disciplined Agile makes sure the people teaching it are experienced it and know what they are doing
26:42 The first step is not to park your brain at the door. Hire someone who has experience and knows what they are doing.
27:25 The legions of Agile coaches … a 4 day class does not make you an experienced expert
28:55 Avoiding the trap of hiring “experts” who have merely completed few days of training
30:20 Making the case to senior leadership for taking a more mindful approach, despite the additional risk and effort
31:36 If it took your organization decades to get into the state they are in now, it is not going to go away overnight
32:50 The investment is more than just dollars
34:44 No matter how good we are, there is always something more we can tweak to get better
35:12 Organizations need to wake up, observe and have an honest discussion - make the bigger picture obvious
36:47 If you want to get in touch with Scott
37:44 Scott’s upcoming speaking events
38:22 Interview Ends