The Reluctant Agilist

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About this Blog


Recent Posts

Agile in Supply Chain w/ Michael Tibbert and Dhaval Panchal

Scott Ambler - Disciplined Agile Framework

How to Stop Treating People as Resources w/ Mika Trottier

Becoming a Certified Scrum Trainer w/ Anderson Hummel

Challenging the Sprint - An Interview with John Cutler

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. 

Oh - and also… The Parable of the Watermelon


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

Posted on: March 16, 2018 12:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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


Posted on: March 05, 2018 09:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

How to Stop Treating People as Resources w/ Mika Trottier

If you'd prefer an audio version of the podcast, you can find it here. 

In this interview, Mika Trottier and I talk through a subtle but significant shift that has to occur in the mindset of a traditional PM who is trying to adopt an Agile mindset. How do you flip that switch in your brain that thinks of the people who do work as resources and make them start thinking of them as people?

During the conversation, Mika and I also dig into some of the challenges facing introverts who become project managers and some of the coping mechanisms that have aided each of us.

If you’d like to get in touch with Mika, you can reach her via LinkedIn:

Posted on: February 17, 2018 12:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Becoming a Certified Scrum Trainer w/ Anderson Hummel

Last fall Anderson Diniz Hummel became a Certified Scrum Trainer. This means that he has been approved by the Scrum Alliance to teach Certified Scrum Master and Certified Scrum Product Owner classes. The journey to becoming a CST is never easy and never as quick as anyone would like and for Anderson, it was over three years from the time he first started working on it. (And this is after already having taught at the University level for a number of years.)

During the recent holidays Anderson and I had a conversation about what his journey to CST was like. We recorded this in hopes of helping offer some encouragement, advice and support for others who are headed down the path.



To help provide some background about the CST designation, according to the Scrum Alliance’s 2018 State of Scrum Report, there are over 500,000 certified practitioners of Scrum worldwide. Within that community, only 234 people are certified by the Scrum Alliance as being allowed to teach Certified Scrum Master and Certified Scrum Product Owner classes. So, it is a rare certification to have and many people who begin heading down the path do not have a great understanding of what to expect. Hopefully this interview will help with that.


  • 00:09 Podcast Begins - What’s up with Anderson
  • 01:56 Anderson’s background as a teacher and how that led to him applying for Certified Scrum Trainer
  • 03:10 How is teaching Certified Scrum classes different than teaching at the University level
  • 04:39 Anderson’s 3 year journey to become a Certified Scrum Trainer
  • 10:17 Being a CST is a lot more than just teaching Scrum correctly
  • 11:36 How Anderson went from failing art exams in school to excelling at creating art in his classes
  • 15:45 How big a role does experience working on Scrum teams play into teaching CSM and CSPO classes
  • 19:25 Anderson’s advice for coaches who want to become Certified Scrum Trainers
  • 25:20 Understanding how teaching all day impacts you as a human and planning recovery time
  • 27:32 A word of caution for new CSTs who try to book too many back to back classes
  • 29:32 Parting words of encouragement and advice for CST candidates
  • 32:25 Getting in touch with Anderson
  • 22:27 Interview Ends


A sample from the CSPO class we co-taught




Posted on: January 31, 2018 10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Challenging the Sprint - An Interview with John Cutler

John Cutler describes himself as a Product Development Nut. He’s deeply focused on Product Development with a Lean /Agile approach and finding ways to improve how we work. He posts his thoughts in Medium, and although he says he is not a professional blogger, he generates new content about twice a week. I really enjoy reading his posts because they always challenge me and push me into seeing things through a different perspective. 


A few weeks ago John posted an article called “Flow, Decoupling Cadences and Fixed Sprint Lengths” in which he challenged the idea of Sprint time boxes.  (There is a video version if you’d rather watch that). The article was thought provoking and left me with a number of questions. So I reached out to John and he was kind enough to let me pester him with my questions in a podcast.



Show Notes

  • 00:08 Interview Begins
  • 00:50 Some background on John
  • 04:31 Lessons John learned as a touring musician that help him work with teams and build new products
  • 07:46 Intentionally disrupting your flow in order to grow and learn
  • 08:47 Introduction of the main topic - Flow, Decoupling Cadences and Fixed Length Sprints
  • 11:48 Understand they why behind the practices you are applying and figuring out how to make them work for you
  • 13:30 What job do we hire the Sprint for? If you don’t know why you are using these time boxes, they may not be helping
  • 19:47 If you are failing Sprints, is it about the length of the Sprint or the size of the work? Get ridiculously uncomfortable.
  • 22:09 When you can’t get through it, go slower and do less. Blazing away at tempo is not going to help anyone
  • 23:29 Why brand new teams should start by going slower and doing less
  • 25:17 Is it that Scrum doesn’t work, or that people aren’t doing it right?
  • 30:02 Be intentional and understand why you are employing practices, and then figure out how you’ll know if they work
  • 32:27 What is your company hiring Agile to do?
  • 33:42 Know your audience
  • 38:00 Filling your Product Backlog with goals instead of features
  • 41:18 Visualizing dependencies in your backlog - WITH STRING!
  • 51:55 How to reach John
  • 52:36 John’s upcoming events and deliverables
  • 54:31 John’s writing process
  • 55:40 Podcast Ends


Links from the Podcast


Contacting John

Posted on: January 18, 2018 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Love can sweep you off your feet and carry you along in a way you've never known before. But the ride always ends, and you end up feeling lonely and bitter. Wait. It's not love I'm describing. I'm thinking of a monorail.

- Jack Handey