Episode 159: What Colour Agile Would You Like Today with Nigel Dalton

Craig is at YOW! Hong Kong and is sitting with Nigel Dalton, Chief Inventor at REA Group and the Australian “Godfather of Agile” and they reminisce about:

  • Anita Sengupta’s YOW! Hong Kong keynote “The Future of Mars Exploration
  • Akin’s Rules of Spacecraft Design – “don’t mess it up, there are people involved”
  • Nigel Dalton’s YOW! Hong Kong talk “Agile is the Last Thing You Need
  • The two early experiments of Agile in Australia – Lonely Planet and Suncorp
  • The success of the REA technology teams today was the move into multidisciplinary teams where the influence comes from product – it was a difficult decision and chaos at the time
  • John Sullivan’s YOW! Hong Kong talk “A Presentation to Myself on Organisational Agile Transformations
  • ANZ is disrupting the power base of senior management – Shayne Elliott video about their way of working and Bluenotes podcasts, inspired by ING
  • The wish for REA is for new hires turn up and say they came to work here “because I heard the managers are awesome”
  • Google Project Aristotle brought honour back to the role of manager
  • The Mythical Man Month” – Frederick P. Brooks
  • Love Spotify for their humility, honesty and contribution to the industry, their high impact video series, “if you had a music streaming startup that was well funded based in New York and Stockholm with 700 people, then the Spotify model is perfect… If you don’t, you need to think about that for yourself.”
  • Data debt is going to be a huge issue in the future
  • Mark Hibberd’s YOW! Hong Kong talk “Lake, Swamp or Puddle: Data Quality at Scale
  • REA solved scaled prioritisation across lines of business works via a product council that meets monthly, they prioritise the work and re-allocate teams
  • Guilds are an internal meetup, taking a senior level interest by turning up and sponsoring a small budget ($2,000) for pizza or to bring in speakers is essential for success
  • Building architecture is a hot topic – open plan versus the Fog Creek “office for every engineer” – have found that you need overhear the conversations as everything moves so rapidly, had to sacrifice flexible work spaces as the number of employees grew
  • It’s interesting to see how some of the early Agile success stories have declined – have a change in leadership and the organisation changes
  • “Change the habits and change the work process and you get culture change for free” – Deming
  • The REA culture is likely to survive a change in leadership because the ownership of the way of working has been spread to all areas of the business and people get tech
  • Transformation doesn’t happen overnight – REA is 5 years in and probably 20% of the way
  • The Machine That Changed The World” blew the lid on the Toyota culture – Jim Womack reflected recently that he really wanted work and workplaces to be better
  • Reflected on why it was so hard to get meetups happening in the new REA Melbourne building and realised that no other professions have meetups, it’s a differentiator of working in tech, a healthy community of free sharing
  • Extreme Programming Explained” – many of the early adopters were inspired by this book
  • Blend of Lean systems thinking and Agile is likely to come back around again – we need to cross the streams
  • The Agilista frameworks methodologies like Kanban, Scrum, SAFe will become LeSS important #dadjokes
  • Starting to get comfortable about having conversations about productivity – immense gain to be had across the whole flow
  • John Shook – “Learning to See: Value Stream Mapping” – need the technical brains to read that book
  • Diversity and Inclusion is the solution to the shortfall of people working in tech
  • Sir John Bagot Glubb – “The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival” – it explains everything!
  • It’s time for Australia to double down on science
  • How do we make our biggest companies be more innovative?

TheAgileRevolution-159 (49 minutes)

Episode 154: Agile Rocket Science with Dr. Anita Sengupta

Craig is at YOW! West in Perth and sits down with Dr. Anita Sengupta, a rocket scientist and aerospace engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (and since this interview was recorded now a Senior Vice President at Hyperloop One). They geek out talking about space exploration as well as the important topic of diversity:

  • YOW! West keynote “The Future of Mars Exploration” and AATC 2017 keynote “Engineering the Red Planet
  • 7 Minutes of Terror: The Challenges of Getting to Mars
  • When you are doing something for the first time, you have to come up with out of the box solutions – first you need to make it work, and then you need to make it last
  • The biggest issue is to get enough people into the pipeline from under-represented groups, one thing we can do is more public outreach at the school level
  • You come up with more interesting solutions when you work with diverse teams, and, when you intersect with other universes you learn so much

TheAgileRevolution-154 (20 minutes)

 

Episode 146: Agile, Architecture and Technology with Rebecca Parsons

Tony and Craig are at YOW! Conference in Brisbane and catch up with Rebecca Parsons, the Chief Technology Officer at ThoughtWorks and the co-author of “Building Evolutionary Architectures: Support Constant Change” and chat about the following:

  • Rebecca’s keynote talk at YOW! “The Past and Future of Evolutionary Architecture
  • Evolutionary Architecture is the next stage on applying Agile practices to software development at the systems level and be able to respond to changes in the environment that affect the architecture
  • Need to determine for your system what constitutes good, fitness functions are the documentation and tests to ensure your system meets those characteristics
  • Need to move the needle on architecture, need to develop tools and techniques to decompose the role
  • Agile Alliance is looking at what it means to truly be an international organisation (there are now affiliates in Brazil and New Zealand), expanding conferences from the large North American conference to OnAgile and Deliver:Agile and member initiatives to support local events such as Agile Open Space, Agile Conference Sponsorship, Community Group Support Initiative and Speaker Reimbursement
  • YOW! CTO Summit talk “The CTO is Dead: Long Live the CTO
  • CTO role is more now to set technical direction by setting up communication channels to mine insights that can be rolled out and presented to the market
  • ThoughtWorks Tech Radar started as a hot technology list of what ThoughtWorkers would love to work on, became a visual radar that is now released twice a year, starts with 250-300 items and they try to get it down to 100 items, something will fade after being in the adopt ring more than twice, the radar is also available as an open source tool or radar as a service
  • Women leave technology at double the rate as men leave technology, mostly because they are not treated well in the environment
  • Anita Borg Institute Top Company for Women Technologists award
  • What does it mean to be Agile in new technologies like machine learning and data science?

TheAgileRevolution-146 (34 minutes)

Episode 124: Talking Testing with Anne-Marie Charrett

16069825102_aa54010a22_zCraig is at YOW! Conference and catches up with Anne-Marie Charrett who is well known in the testing community as a trainer, coach and consultant but also for her support of the community:

  • Don Reinertsen talk “Thriving in a Stochastic World
  • Context-Driven Testing
  • Testing is a verb – it’s a doing thing and not an output, but the challenge is you cannot see doing
  • Anne-Marie’s class in Exploratory Testing
  • Where there is risk and failure, there is a job for testing
  • Exploratory testing – the key is feedback and using the learning to feedback into the next test
  • Agile testing – don’t try and test everything and don’t try and automate everything either, rather adopt a risk based approach
  • Unit testing – the usefulness depends on the programmer and the context and figuring out what you are trying to achieve
  • Sydney Testers Meetup
  • Speak Easy – Speak Easy is a voluntary program designed to increase diversity in tech conferences through dedicated conference spots, mentoring and events
  • YOW! WIT Program
  • WorkVentures – training marginalised youth
  • Testing challenges include microservices (the risk of bounded context and breaking things down and missing the whole) and working together as developers and testers
  • James Lewis podcast “Episode 120: Microservices & The Lean Enterprise with James Lewis

TheAgileRevolution-124 (39 minutes)

Episode 121: Diversity & Frugal Innovation in Africa with Betty Enyonam Kumahor

enyoCraig and Tony sit down for a conversation at YOW! Conference with Betty Enyonam Kumahor (stands for good for me, on the way there) who is a technology leader in Africa:

  • Tony and Enyo are mutual members of the Alistair Cockburn fan club
  • YOW! Conference talk “Frugal Innovation and Scaffolding Software
  • Software engineering uptake in Africa is very low, need more technologists because it is is not an industry it is an enabler
  • Lots of diversity challenges in Africa – lees than 1% of the South African IT industry is women, but also diversity in languages, education and belief systems
  • Diversity is a multi-pronged issue, need to be patient but not complacent to move the needle forward, give girls the confidence to be competent and to push the boundaries
  • Frugal innovation in Africa – building technology in a space of constraints such as inadequate power, everything happens by mobile feature phones, needs to be built fast and cheap
  • Agile in Africa – need to make communities more aware of Agile practices, share what developed world has learnt but also what needs to adjust for the context of the continent
  • Growth of techpreneurs, expensive to do business in Africa, focus on local market rather than off-shoring to Europe
  • Andela program – train to be a software engineer, become a fellow and work for offshore clients
  • Successful conversions from tech hubs to startups is below 5%
  • Biggest issue is lack of access to expertise in Agile / Lean practices as well as lack of people to adapt it for the continent
  • South Africa is a great landing point into Africa

TheAgileRevolution-121 (27 minutes)