Episode 183: Let’s Not Waste A Crisis – Live at Agile Brisbane April 2020 Virtual Meetup

One of the strengths of the agile approach to delivery is flexibility in responding to changing circumstances, and there is no better example of this than the current lockdown. I’m sure you have heard the political adage: “Don’t waste a good crisis.” which allows us to reflect on how ways of working are currently being impacted. The Agile Brisbane community joined Tony, Craig and Renee for this online fireside chat to explore concepts around the state of agile now, and what we can carry over to the post-COVID world.

Thanks to John Stathakis, Dave Pryce, Andy van der Gugten, Michael Hunyh, Patrick Fernando, Wei Yin, Lawrence Noun, Gautami Shetty and everybody else who joined the conversation.

  • A lot of organisations are shifting their strategy and looking to digital in a stronger way than they did before
  • Remote amplifies everything you do when you interact with people
  • Once upon it was agile teams, now all teams are agile – they just struggle to operate in an agile mode
  • Conversations are more asynchronous now and single disruptions amplify a level of discomfort – we are not seeing the right level of tools
  • Need to think about the social styles of the people you are dealing with
  • You can work efficiently but not effectively
  • Working from home now is not the same as it was before – you are working AT home
  • “We need to be able to do the same with less”
  • This is the opportunity to look at the waste and focus on the value
  • This has allowed us to get access to people and places we had not been able to do this before
  • People put pressure on themselves to work harder as we lack the ability to sense the need that our teammates need help, but we have solved the amount of distractions we get during the day
  • The heart of agile is people, and if we can’t help people what are we doing?
  • This crisis is sending us a message to slow down and focus on what matters – as businesses and human beings
  • Reinventing Organizations and the fact some organisations have been forced to move up a level out of necessity
  • Are organisations responsible for providing a good workspace that meets workplace health and safety when we work from home?
  • With disruption comes opportunity – look for the collaboration, lean, tooling and continuous improvement opportunities

TheAgileRevolution-183 (58 minutes)

Episode 182: Unlearn-ing with Barry O’Reilly

Craig and Tony are at YOW! Conference in Brisbane and (despite a bin rolling by) sit down with Barry O’Reilly, co-author of “Lean Enterprise” and author of “Unlearn” and they talk about:

  • Reminiscing about Barry’s resume that includes CitySearch (and its competitor Zip2 owned by Elon Musk), Snake, Wireless Pets on Nokia and Lilo & Stitch using J2ME and eventually onto ThoughtWorks
  • Lean Enterprise was written after “The Lean Startup” was released but to explain how it works if you are not a startup and increase experimentation in organisations
  • When people can design good disciplined experiments, you have system to break down problems and grow your system and people
  • Fortune 15 executives and successful startup leaders don’t sit around and ask “if we are doing the framework correctly”- they have their own system, in the same way as Toyota created their own system
  • If you choose an off-the-shelf framework it is just a starting point – you need to evolve your system of work to your context to have a competitive advantage
  • ExecCamp – take execs out of their business for up to 8 weeks with the aim to disrupt themselves in a safe environment
  • Unlearn – we are in an industry where we need to learn but that is not the limiting behaviour, it is our inability to unlearn our existing behaviours that holds us back from getting breakthroughs of higher performance
  • YOW! talk “Why Great Leaders Must Unlearn to Succeed
  • Mean time to discovery – how quickly can you see that an assumption is invalid so that you can then make better decisions
  • How often are you spending time with customers, how are you getting customer feedback and how are you feeding that information back into your system of work to improve it
  • Think big but start small and learn fast – safe to fail experiments
  • Agility is hard…
  • Everybody has a need to unlearn

TheAgileRevolution-182 (37 minutes)

Episode 181: Change it with the BOSSAnova with Jutta Eckstein

Craig and Tony are at YOW! conference in Brisbane and chat with Jutta Eckstein, author of “Agile Software Development in the Large“, “Agile Software Development with Distributed Teams“, “Retrospectives for Organisational Change” “Diving for Hidden Treasures: Uncovering the Cost of Delay in Your Project Portfolio” with Johanna Rothman and “Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space & Sociocracy: Survive & Thrive on Disruption” with John Buck

  • Smalltalk and pattern languages was where a lot of the early work and a lot of the early players converged
  • Scrum had great marketing and certification over Extreme Programming
  • Agile Software Development in the Large came out in 2004 and was probably way before its time
  • Craig Larman and Bas Vodde book “Scaling Lean & Agile Development
  • IBM book “A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum
  • A framework is not really necessary, stick with the Agile values and principles regardless of your context
  • Heart of Agile (and Tony’s rant on scaling)
  • 40 Agile Methods in 40 Minutes
  • Retrospectives are great for any sort of change, not just software
  • There is no way of becoming Agile as a company without the CFO on board and moving from yearly budgeting – beyond budgeting assists from both the money side and the strategic side
  • Sociocracy looks at the organisation from the structure side – we need to build structures that allow us to make decisions more quickly through double linking and built in feedback loops
  • Open Space techniques are essential for facilitation and product liftoff and about using the passion of the people for innovation of your products
  • If you trust people maybe its cheaper than checking procedures
  • Need some background, come up with a hypothesis, design some experiments and measure
  • Experiments need to be safe to fail – either if the hypothesis is not true or the outcome is not valuable
  • Not “safe to fail” but “failing safely” or “safe to learn”
  • Publish your experiments so people can learn from each other (even if only internally)
  • agilebossanova.com – collecting stories
  • Agile Alliance Speaker Reimbursement initiative – support for Agile meetups and conferences to bring in external speakers and go towards cover travel reimbursements

TheAgileRevolution-181 (41 minutes)

Episode 180: Extreme Programming & 3X Explained with Kent Beck

Craig and Tony are at YOW! Conference in Brisbane and have a rockstar moment and catchup with Kent Beck, the creator of Extreme Programming, the pioneer of xUnit and author of numerous books including “Extreme Programming Explained” and “Test Driven Development“:

  • Extreme Programming (XP) was born at Chrysler by letting go of conventional wisdom and pushing practices to eleven
  • Software development is a social process, not a sum of individuals process
  • Nobody cares about certificates, we care about competence
  • It’s time for a renaissance and reboot of XP – this time it needs to be inclusive and no barriers to entry
  • We know how to make a difference – it starts with execution and continues to empathy
  • Big tent agility can become an excuse not to tackle hard problems
  • “Not thinking about all the legs on the stool leaves you sitting on the ground” – some of the legs of agility require a fundamental change in belief
  • As a programmer am I responsible for my code running – once you have that belief, unit testing falls out of that
  • TDD is a set of feedback loops and an incentive system to encourage confidence and certainty
  • Test, Commit, Revert takes TDD further – run the tests, if they pass you commit and if they fail you revert the changes – incentive to take small steps
  • “Silence is the sound of risk” – you need feedback (unless you are perfect)
  • XP was a better product, but it lost (round one)
  • Electric or blade?
  • If XP starts with the premise that we want a process that anyone with talent and skill can contribute and grow at maximum velocity, the rest will take care of itself
  • Agile as a name is so attractive, nobody doesn’t want to be agile – the brand of Extreme Programming means if you are not extreme you are not going to say that you are
  • The fundamental question to ask first is “what do we have to lose” – if you have nothing to lose you need to try short and crazy experiments to find things nobody else is doing
  • 3X model (explore, expand, extract) – YOW! keynote “3x Explore, Expand, Extract” – depends which part of the curve you are on as to which tools in your bag you should use, rules of the game change depend on whether you are looking for a new source of value (explore), growing fast and trying to keep up (expand) or continue growing to pay for new explorations (extract)
  • poker vs software development
  • we will win with community and inclusion

TheAgileRevolution-180 (45 minutes)

Episode 179: The Heart of Agile Distilled with Alistair Cockburn

Tony and guest host Phil Gadzinski talk to Alistair Cockburn for a brief overview and understanding about the Heart of Agile (and the link to how it all started in Australia):

  • Scrum training had turned into training wheels and consistency – wanted to get back to the essence of Agile
  • Progression from shu (follow techniques), ha (collect techniques) and ri (fluency) – wanted to move to a fourth stage – kokoro (heart or essence of being a samurai – master the basics)
  • Collaborate, Deliver, Reflect, Improve – simple and direct, just do this and you will get all the benefits out of Agile
  • Normally you start with collaborate (because it’s the easiest and most obvious place to start) but there is no real starting point
  • Deliver is misunderstood – forget software and product, we are delivering decisions, it is the molecule of our work, every decision needs to see the harsh light of day so we can find the bad decisions early
  • What is the smallest that we could expose to review to try and correct decisions early before we build too much (directional decisions)
  • Create a culture of listening

This interview was originally recorded as a video for the Agile Brisbane meetup.

TheAgileRevolution-179 (17 minutes)

Episode 178: YOW! Speaker Vox Pop with Randy Shoup, Dean Wampler, Mark Hibberd, Dave Thomas & Michele Playfair

Craig and Tony are at YOW! Conference in Brisbane and wander around the hallways talking to different speakers, hosts and attendees:

TheAgileRevolution-178 (33 minutes)

Episode 177: The Human Side of Agile for Non-Software Teams with Gil Broza

Renee and Craig are at Agile 2019 in Washington, DC and talk to Gil Broza, Agile Mindset and Leadership Coach / Trainer at 3P Vantage and author of “The Agile Mind-Set“, “The Human Side of Agile” and “Agile for Non-Software Teams” and they talk about:

  • Agile 2019 talk – “How to Help your Non-Software Colleagues Adopt Agile
  • Outside of software, they notice Agile and want what they have – a different team experience and doing things better
  • Focus on a principle based transformation rather than practices – have conversations early and often on how we want to be and how we want to operate
  • The Agile Manifesto principles are partial and software heavy, the values and beliefs are the root and leadership should keep these alive
  • 26 principles in “The Agile Mind-Set” book and includes transparency (which is harder in areas like HR and Finance)
  • Craig’s Agile 2010 talk “I’m The Business & Agile Was My Idea” (and we were before our time!)
  • The practices really don’t matter and there aren’t really equivalents outside of software
  • We are obsessed with the how in Agile (the implementation), Lean has always been about principles
  • We have crossed the chasm of Agile at team level but not at scale – or have we? Nail it before you scale it!
  • Ceremonies mean people turn up and go through the motions (The Scrum Guide says events), use workflow instead of process (which means I do work and send it in for approval), work item or task instead of user story (Scrum calls them backlog items)
  • The common denominator between software and the rest of the organisation is the principles
  • If you don’t think differently, doing differently won’t matter
  • Renee recommends “The Human Side of Agile” as well as “Coaching Agile Teams” for new Scrum Masters
  • Heart of Agile (Gil is not familiar with it so Renee and Craig channel their inner Tony to explain it!)
  • Oath of Non Allegiance
  • Are you coaching around values, principles and mindset or practices?

TheAgileRevolution-177 (57 minutes)

Episode 176: The Lost Tapes – Kanban For One with Sandy Mamoli

In this previously lost and unreleased podcast from 2012 (we found it on a SD card that was thought to be lost forever), Craig catches up with Sandy Mamoli at Agile 2012 in Dallas, Texas and chat about Personal Kanban and how everything is bigger in Texas. It’s amazing how much hasn’t changed in this time!

TheAgileRevolution-176 (14 minutes)

Episode 175: Self Selecting Teams & Olympic Lessons with Sandy Mamoli

Craig and Tony are at YOW! Conference in Brisbane and chat with Sandy Mamoli, Agile Advisor and Coach at Nomad8 and co-author of “Creating Great Teams” and they chat about:

  • Nomad8 is a managerless agile coaching collective in New Zealand, based on the Crisp model
  • The lost podcast
  • Kanbanfor1 (and Jim Benson – Personal Kanban)
  • “Creating Great Teams” book with David Mole – based on the journey at Trade Me, if people can organise themselves for a Ship It day it should work for everyday work
  • You do not need to change reporting structures to make self selection work nor does the size of the organisation matter
  • Original paper on Self Selection
  • Larger companies should probably split to tribes of no larger than 150-200 people
  • Heidi Helfand – “Dynamic Reteaming” book and podcast
  • Should do self selections again every 6-9 months
  • Team structures can change during a self selection as required
  • You usually need multiple rounds of self selection, rounds are usually about 10 minutes long
  • YOW! 2017 talk “How the Olympics Can Make You a Better Person” and Agile Australia talk
  • “Be the worst player on the best team that will take you” – allows you to amplify learning
  • AgileWelly
  • State of Agile in New Zealand – along with Australia are ahead of the USA due to smaller companies, age of companies, less fear and more innovation
  • Agile Principle and Modern Agile  and Liftoff cards
  • Holocracy – pushing decisions into circles has allowed fast and good decisions, this will continue to evolve
  • #JAFAC conference

TheAgileRevolution-175 (40 minutes)

Episode 174: Dynamic Reteaming with Heidi Helfand

Craig and Tony are at YOW! Conference in Brisbane and talk to Heidi Helfand, Director of Engineering Excellence at Procore Technologies and author of Dynamic Reteaming and they talk about:

  • YOW! 2017 talk “Dynamic Reteaming: The Art & Wisdom of Changing Teams
  • The general belief is the best teams are the ones that are stable and don’t change, but the opposite is often reality
  • Dynamic Reteaming is inevitable, you might as well get good at it
  • Tuckman added adjourning later, as an acknowledgment that things don’t stay the same
  • Teams by percentage gives dynamic reteaming a bad name – this is an antipattern
  • Good agile practices tend to help the ability to dynamically reteam
  • Ties nicely into Modern Agile, particularly experiment and learn rapidly as well as make people awesome
  • Dr. Spok – the “single point of knowledge”, may he live long and prosper!
  • Shared experiences and fun are great ways to break down the barriers and build community
  • Drexler/Sibbet model
  • GTKY – Getting to Know You Lunch – budget to encourage people to get to know each other, especially in companies that are growing fast
  • Innovation by Isolation Pattern – GoToMyPC was created this way
  • Dan Pink – “Drive
  • Sandy Mamoli – “Creating Great Teams” – “what would you if you weren’t afraid?”
  • Dan Mezick – “show a new idea and invite people to try it”
  • Craig Larman – “you need to own ideas and not rent them”
  • Episode 106: Turning the Agile Ship Around with David Marquet and intent based leadership
  • What is the sweet spot for freedom where the things I want to to do match with the goals of the company and freedom for learning

TheAgileRevolution-174 (38 minutes)