Episode 166: A Trip Down Agile Memory Lane with Jeff Smith

Craig and Tony are at Agile Australia in Melbourne and talk to their former leader Jeff Smith, EVP and COO at World Fuel Services and former CEO of Suncorp Business Services:

  • Australian Agile journey took him from Telstra, to a small startup and then to Suncorp, and later IBM and World Fuel Services
  • Scale of thought is more important than scale of people
  • The Suncorp Agile Academy was born out of the fact that learning matters, but the idea was for other companies to create content that could be shared in the Agile community which did not happen
  • Suncorp Building Quality In program
  • It all comes down to great people and working through problem
  • It’s hard for companies to build great leaders that are interested in building great teams
  • Jeff Smith keynote “Leading an Agile Company
  • Availability is not a skillset
  • Thinking from a team point of view is important – at World Fuel for example, the MTR dropped 80% due to this approach
  • Don’t waste time on people who don’t want to follow what you want to do
  • Most companies surround themselves with the companies being disrupted, not the disruptors – need to work with people and companies who want to change the game
  • You learn a lot from being around better people
  • For ANZ, the key to their Agile journey has been that CEO Shayne Elliott was willing to spend time outside the organisation and learn
  • You need to be structured to support end to end cross functional teams formed around the work – the structure of the team matters
  • The next disruption is the physical versus virtual world, in particular what happens to things like networking appliances
  • It’s easy when something is new to find ways to shut it down, its harder to keep it going

TheAgileRevolution-166 (33 minutes)

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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 149: Continuous Delivery with Dave Farley

Craig, Tony and honorary Revolutionist Pete Sellars are at YOW! Conference and sit down with Dave Farley, co-author of “Continuous Delivery” and they chat about the following

  • There are anti-patterns with doing XP at scale, continuous delivery was born from the learnings from that
  • Continuous delivery is just extending continuous integration to more of the software development practice (and continuous integration requires test driven development)
  • Continuous delivery works because it is the application of the scientific method to software development
  • If you work in an iterative, imperative, experimental way and you take continuous learning seriously and take cycle time as a serious measurement you will naturally drive out agile, lean, systems theory and DevOps
  • YOW! 2016 presentation “The Rationale for Continuous Delivery
  • Most common two ways to introduce continuous delivery to your organisation – need to get cover from senior management to make change or you do it secretly at the grass roots – the fast feedback cycle is important (build feedback in about 5 minutes and ready and deployable in about an hour)
  • DevOps is a terrible name – we are talking about collaborative cross functional teams and it is more than just developers and operations
  • Continuous delivery is focused on shortening the feedback cycle from having an idea to getting the idea into the hands of users and figuring out what our users make of the idea – that’s software development, to do whatever it takes
  • Continuous delivery is working in a way so that my software is always in a releasable state, continuous deployment is if all my automation says my software is in a working state I can just automatically push it to production
  • We have data to show that continuous delivery makes high quality software faster, creates more money for the organisations that use it, reduces defect rates significantly and makes people working in that environment happier
  • It changes the way you design, approach databases and the way you test
  • Scott Ambler’s “Refactoring Databases” book
  • Continuous Delivery tools still aren’t mature enough
  • The deployment pipeline is a seriously strategic resource because it is your only route to Production – need to be able to version and test it like any other Production code
  • It’s as much about the culture of the team than it is about the technology, it frees teams up to do experimentation

TheAgileRevolution-149 (40 minutes)