The Reluctant Agilist

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About this Blog


Recent Posts

Developing a PMO that is Actually Agile - Hearst Digital Media

Comparative Agility with Jorgen Hesselberg

Scaling Product Development with Ellen Gottesdiener and Andy Repton

The Elusive Agile Enterprise - A Forbes Insight Report

PMO Agility Canvas 3.0 - Redefining Your PMO for Agile

Developing a PMO that is Actually Agile - Hearst Digital Media

Agile is not easy. Many organizations struggle with trying to break free of their traditional work culture and finding their path to a different way of working. Along the way, many organizations give up, or slowly slide back into the old ways of working because making the transition is just too hard.

If you happen to work at one of those organizations, this episode should offer you something special to start off the new year. This episode offers HOPE.

Hearst Digital Media has been working on making the transition to Agile for the past few years. As you’ll hear in the interview, what they’ve achieved is a group that has adopted and adapted a variety of Agile practices and found a way of working that is not just a great example of how to make Agile work for your organization, but how you can establish a group in lieu of a traditional PMO that exists to support, nurture and continuously improve their approach in order to deliver value for their organization and their customers. 

This episode of The Reluctant Agilist features Michelle Dennis, Director of Product Management, and Jacquelyn Talpalar, Director of Agile Operations for Hearst Digital Media. During the conversation we talk through how they’ve evolved the approach Hearst Digital Media has taken in transitioning to Agile and how that approach has helped them scale from 3 Scrum-ish teams to 24 teams in four years. The group is serving over 1 billion customers a year and on-boarding new products at the rate of almost one a week. Their path was not an easy one and Jacquelyn and Michelle share some of the challenges they faced along the way and offer advice for those who are currently working on making the switch. If you are in need of a good example of how Agile can help you succeed and grow, this podcast should give you a nice boost. 

For me, this was a truly inspiring interview.  I hope you will enjoy it. 

Oh - and if you are looking for a gig at a place that has figured all this out… they’re hiring.

You can click on the images above to see a larger version or, if you’d like to download larger versions, you can find them all here.

If you’d like to contact Michelle Dennis:

If you’d like to contact Jacquelyn Talpalar:


Posted on: January 14, 2019 10:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Comparative Agility with Jorgen Hesselberg

“Agile is not something you become, Agile is something you become more of.”

For organizations that are engaged in Agile Transformation, it is often very challenging to get a sense of where you are with respect to successfully adopting a new way of working. Comparative Agility is a tool that has been designed to help Agile coaches and organizations get a deeper understanding of their progress towards Agile transformation. 

In this interview, Jorgen Hesselberg, co-founder of Comparative Agility, and I discuss how the tool has evolved since it was created in 2008 and how it is now being used by coaches and organizations to not only understand how their transformation is going, but how they are doing compared to others within their vertical, as well. We also talk about the work that Comparative Agility has been doing with the Scrum Alliance and how the tool has been extended to include things like Security and DevOps, in addition to discussing Jorgen’s book “Unlocking Agility.” 

Links from the Podcast

If you’d like to check out Comparative Agility, you can find it here:

If you’d like to read “Unlocking Agility”, you can find it here:

Contacting Jorgen

Send Email



Posted on: January 07, 2019 12:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Scaling Product Development with Ellen Gottesdiener and Andy Repton

Earlier this fall at the 2018 Large Scale Scrum Conference in NYC, Ellen Gottesdiener and Andy Repton led a session called “What is Our Product”. During the course of their presentation they showcased many of the tools they use with clients to determine what the product they are building actually is. In this interview Ellen and Andy explain why this question is not as easy to understand as it seems and why it is so critical to product success. During the course of our conversation they walk through some of the tools they use to help clients deepen their understanding of the product, how to make sure it is strategically aligned, and how this can even be done with massive organizations that are developing infrastructure products. 



What is Our Product

Andy and Ellen’s “What is Our Product” session from the 2018 LeSS Conference

The session description is here:

As soon as the recording of the session is available, the link will be posted here. In the meantime, you can find their slides here:

Contacting Andy

Contacting Ellen

Ellen is working on a post on the Product Canvas and I will update the link when it is available, in the meantime, you might want to check out “Am I a Product Manager or a Product Owner” 

Discover to Deliver

As soon as the downloadable PDF is available, the link will be posted here. In the meantime, for ore on Discover to Deliver, check out:



Posted on: December 16, 2018 09:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Elusive Agile Enterprise - A Forbes Insight Report

The Scrum Alliance and Forbes Insights recently released a report called the “The Elusive Agile Enterprise”. The report presents the findings of a survey that involved over 1,000 C-level executives across the globe in a range of industries. 

In this interview, Scrum Alliance Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications, Renata Lerch and I talk through the results of this survey and what they mean for organizations adopting Agile.  We also explore some of the more valuable insights that came out of the report including the 3 elements determined to be critical to a successful adoption of Agile and how the findings have helped the Scrum Alliance make a decision to target Human Resources as an area of growth in the future.


Download the Report

You can download a copy of the report at


Contact Renata Lerch

Scrum Alliance site:



Posted on: December 04, 2018 04:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

PMO Agility Canvas 3.0 - Redefining Your PMO for Agile

I had the chance to give a presentation last night at the NYC Scrum User Group Meetup. Despite the horrible weather, there was a really great turnout and I got to meet a lot of great folks.

Here are the slides I used during the presentation. It includes the brand new version of the PMO Agility Canvas tool I developed.

PMO Agility Canvas v 3.0 - NYC Scrum User Group - Nov 2018 from Dave Prior

If you'd like to download a Tabloid size of the canvas, you can find it here:

PMO Agility Canvas

Posted on: November 16, 2018 12:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

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