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)

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Episode 139: Talking Agile Craft with Steve Elliott

Craig chats with Steve Elliott, the founder and CEO of Agile Craft and they discuss:

  • Dependencies are the number one thing that kills agility
  • Scaling agility across a large organisation is a 5 – 10 year journey
  • Scrum is often disconnected from the portfolio planning layer, the scaling methods are making the program level agile and predictable
  • If you want business agility you have to hinge the technology into the business
  • Sometimes it takes a few attempts for agile transformations, like tipping over a Coke machine (and unlike tipping a cow), you need to lead with results and then work on cultural change to be successful
  • If the leader of an Agile transformation left the organisation, would they go back to the old way or is Agile part of their DNA – if they would go back they have not been transformed
  • The scaling Agile frameworks are relatively new and evolving with major changes, without these though there is a lot of chaos and you need them to do Agile at Scale in a large company
  • The companies that win are the ones where the technology and the business are in sync, you need some process to do that
  • If we do more experimentation with the scaling methods and some of the lesser frameworks get traction, the community will be better for it
  • SAFe is the leader in the scaling space, but LeSS is very popular in Europe
  • Startups are all about business agility, because long feedback cycles are deadly, we need to be able to make decisions and react quickly
  • Amazon is a good technology company that through business agility threatens everyone
  • The technology curve is only going to accelerate; physical, digital and biological is going to come together and the application is going to disrupt many businesses very quickly
  • We still need more data to improve the software process using machine learning to do simulations to get better quality, predictability and value
  • Agile Craft brings together the product strategy, the team ALM tooling and the business strategy together from the top down, and is multi-modal (it works with all levels of Agile maturity) to nudge teams across to Agile practices faste. The tool has automated coaching built in (no, they have not built a robot coach, yet…!)

TheAgileRevolution-139 (45 minutes)

Episode 25: Cultural transformations with Agile

YoghurtCraig, Tony and Renee debate the role of an Agile Coach and how cultural transformations fit in.

Quotes:

“Management does not know what a system is” – Deming

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one” – Mark Twain

TheAgileRevolution-25 (46 minutes)