During the 2018 North American Global Scrum Gathering in Minneapolis, I had a chance to interview the Interim Co-CEOs of the Scrum Alliance: Shannon Carter, Renata Lerch, and Angie Stecovich. In addition to their new roles, they also serve as VP of Education, VP of Global Marketing and Communications, and Sr. Director of Finance, respectively. Shannon, Renata, and Angie explain how their roles have changed at the Scrum Alliance and how being part of an agile leadership team has prepared them for this. They also speak about all the new things happening at the Scrum Alliance.
During the interview, they share details about a number of new initiatives at the Scrum Alliance (including how the certifications offered by the Scrum Alliance have changed over the last year and continue to evolve) as well as new benefits being offered to Certified Scrum Professionals (like free access to Comparative Agility, an online assessment tool that can be used to help organizations develop their agile capabilities).
By far, the biggest announcement the Scrum Alliance made during the 2018 North American Global Scrum Gathering was the partnership with Jeff Sutherland and Scrum Inc. to form a new organization called Scrum at Scale that is focused on helping large organizations transform to Agile. If you’d like to check out an interview with Jeff on the partnership, you can find it here: https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/41206/Jeff-Sutherland----The-Scrum-Scale---Scrum-Alliance-Partnership
For more on the Scrum Alliance: https://www.scrumalliance.org
Jim Benson has been involved with Agile since the very beginning. You may know him as creator of Personal Kanban, as the co-creator of Lean Coffee, through his work as CEO of Modus Cooperandi, his books, or from the many awards he’s won for his work in applying Lean practices to knowledge work.
After years watching Agile being misused, misunderstood, and seeing it “calcify and solidify because of commercialization”, Jim’s new project The Agile Heretic is focused on calling attention to many of the things people are doing that are causing Agile to not work. In the videos and blog posts, Jim takes on a wide range of Agile related topics, he explores why things are off the rails and how to address them.
In this interview Jim and I talk through what led to him creating this series, his hopes for it and what he is looking forward to seeing in the future of Agile. We also touch on some specific topics (like why he doesn’t like Story Points) and he shares a bunch of great stories (like why a group of developers once passed the hat amongst themselves and smuggled him into their company after their organization deemed his ideas too dangerous to their way of working.
Note: During the podcast, Jim makes multiple references to the Kuhn Cycle, You can find some basic info on it here: Kuhn Cycle: http://www.thwink.org/sustain/glossary/KuhnCycle.htm
Agile Heretic Links - here are two places to get started:
Jim at Agile 2018
Jim will be leading a Stalwarts session at Agile 2018 called “Ask the Agile Heretic Almost Anything” You can find more about that here: https://agile2018.sched.com/event/EUEU/ask-the-agile-heretic-almost-anything-jim-benson-jim-benson
For more in Jim and his work:
David Hawks led two sessions at the 2018 North American Scrum Gathering. During the conference we had the chance to sit down and talk through some of the key ideas he was presenting in Minneapolis.
David’s first session, “The Post Project Era: The Future of Agile,” looked at how a project-centric mindset can actually impede your ability to deliver value for your client. In his second session, “Move Beyond User Stories: What’s Next,” David presented an approach to understanding requirements that goes beyond simply working with User Stories and involves forming hypotheses, designing and prioritizing experiments to test them, and then running the experiments to gain a deeper understanding of what the customer’s needs actually are and how to best solve them.
David is the founder and CEO of Agile Velocity, as well as a Certified Enterprise Coach and a Certified Scrum Trainer. If you’d like to learn more about David, check out AgileVelocity.com.
You can also find him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/austinagile
And if you’d like to learn more about the Keep Austin Agile Conference, which took place on May 24, 2018, or Agile Austin, check out http://www.meetup.com/agileaustin/.
The 2018 North American Global Scrum Gathering kicked off with a keynote presentation that was incredibly unique and inspiring. Billy McLaughlin is a professional guitar player who spent his life working to reach a level of success most musicians only dream about. But just as he reached the top, the tools that got him there began working against him.
Billy suffers from focal dystonia. You may not be familiar with this condition, but for a professional guitar player, it is one of the the worst things that could possibly happen because it means you can’t do the one thing you have spent your life mastering.
While something like this might cause a lot of people to give up on their dreams and find something else to do, Billy found a different path. He learned to play the guitar left handed instead of right handed. (Just for frame of reference, imagine learning how to write again, using your opposite hand, but having to write everything backwards… what Billy had to do was harder than that.)
In this interview you’ll hear Billy explain what focal dystonia is, how it impacted him and how he worked through relearning to play guitar all over again.
The story is inspiring all on it’s own, but for me, there is something deeper in this story. In the interview you’ll hear Billy talk about the struggle of working through all the relearning and how he stayed motivated and kept at it. While it doesn’t touch the level of complexity that Billy had to work through, there are some parallels to what traditional PMs go through when they have to relearn how to do their jobs using Agile. For me, that journey felt like I was being forced to unlearn everything I had spent years trying to master, and then start over from scratch. Maintaining some level of motivation and not giving up hope was one of the hardest parts of the transformation. This is something Billy and I discuss in the interview, and for any of you who need inspiration from time to time, my hope is that his story will help.
There is contact info for Billy below, but if you’d like to check out his keynote presentations from other events, you can find them here.
Links from the Podcast
Christopher Avery is the author of The Responsibility Process and Teamwork Is an Individual Skill. He’s also one of the most inspiring and impactful people I’ve ever had a chance to interview. The Responsibility Process is an approach to understanding how each of us takes ownership of our understanding, and response to the challenges we face. It includes techniques that provide clarity on how the internal narrative we all create shows the extent to which we are able to realize our role in, and the level of responsibility we are taking with the things we face.
In this interview Christopher and I talk about The Responsibility Process and how his online program The Leadership Gift, is designed to help people embrace the process and use it to ltransform themselves into more fully realized, present and engaged leaders.
Over the last 20 years, there are very few things I’ve read which have had as significant an impact on me as The Responsibility Process. I can’t recommend it enough. But, one word of caution… this book is very likely going to completely strip away your ability to stay in the mindset of someone who has been totally victimized by external forces.
In the next few weeks I am going to sign up to participate in The Leadership Gift and I’ll be posting periodically on how it is impacting me.
If you’d like to check out an additional video where Christopher explains the The Leadership Gift in greater detail, you can find it here: https://www.projectmanagement.com/videos/286574/Your-Agile-Leadership-Gift
To learn more about The Leadership Gift, go here: http://www.the.leadershipgift.com
For more on Noel Tichy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noel_Tichy