Project Management

The Reluctant Agilist

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About this Blog


Recent Posts

When Sprint Planning Is Like Hunger Games with Meghan McInerny

Practicing Agile at Home with Yvonne Marcus

Using Outcome Based Planning at Home to Effect Social Change

Product Ownership and Online Education with Braden Cundiff

The Business Agility Canvas with Karim Harbott

Working in Quarantine - What We Learned - Week 1

This is not part of the regular blog/podcast, but it might be interesting, so I'm sharing the link... Jessica Wolfe, Derek Huether and I recorded a Zoom call discussing what we'd learned from our first week of working in quarantine. We each experienced things that week that caught us by surprise. In some cases, those surprises were pretty awesome. In other cases, not so much.

We're going to try and make this an ongoing thing. 

You can find the video here.

Posted on: April 09, 2020 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Scrum Labs - Howard Sublett at the 2019 NAGS

Recorded live at the 2019 North American Global Scrum Gathering, this episode of The Reluctant Agilist features a conversation with Scrum Alliance Chief Product Owner Howard Sublett. During the course of the interview, Dave and Howard discuss Dan Pink’s opening keynote at the Scrum Gathering; the Scrum Alliance Labs and volunteer work that have been done to create a free library of material aimed at helping to develop a more mature and more highly-skilled agile coaching community; an update on how things are going with the recent shift in Scrum Alliance leadership moving to a Chief Scrum Master and Chief Scrum Product Owner instead of a traditional leadership model; and the video series Unscripted, which features updates from Howard and Melissa Boggs, the Scrum Alliance Chief Scrum Master. 

Note from Dave: at 15:38, something really important in this interview happens. Howard refers to a question he asked Melissa during the first episode of Unscripted. The question was “How are WE doing as a LEADER?” It is a subtle thing, but language is a virus and words matter… “WE” is plural, while “LEADER” is singular. The way the question is encoded demonstrates a very subtle, but important aspect of an Agile mindset. Howard and Melissa have complimentary but different roles in the Scrum Alliance and the two of them together function as a single Leader.

Failure Bow: I got The Wonder Twins (Zan and Jana) a little confused during the interview. I have brought shame upon my family and apologize to any comic geeks who were listening. If you are not clear on who the Wonder Twins are:

Links from the Podcast

Contacting Howard Sublett


Posted on: May 29, 2019 08:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Agile Coaching: Wisdom from Practitioners

In this podcast Michael de la Maza and Dhaval Panchal talk about their new book “Agile Coaching: Wisdom from Practitioners”. Michael and Dhaval are the co-editors of the book which is full of stories, tips, and advice from experienced, Agile coaches and trainers. In addition to talking about the book, Michael and Dhaval also share their own thoughts on topics around coaching and they offer advice for those who are headed down the coaching path.




  • 01:28 Podcast Begins
  • 02:01 Who is the book for
  • 02:26 What misconceptions do clients have
    when an Agile coach walks in the door 
  • 03:52 How do you provide coaching in an organization that is not ready for it
  • 05:04 How do you (as a coach) coach yourself when you are trying to work with
    individuals that do not want your help
  • 07:12 Some tips for getting started with a coaching engagement
  • 10:27 What does it take to become an Agile coach
  • 13:17 What is the job of an Agile coach
  • 13:53 When the client wants to pay large sums for you to MAKE them agile
  • 19:06 When will we evolve past waterfall?
  • 23:41 Do you have to be an expert in Agile to be a good coach? What do you need to do before you can be qualified to be a coach?
  • 29:01 Are there people who should not be coaches?
  • 32:05 Getting in touch with Michael and Dhaval


Agile Coaching:  Wisdom From Practitioners



Michael Email:

Michael Twitter:





Posted on: September 29, 2017 03:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Podcast: How to Deal with Coaching Burnout - Lyssa Adkins

Lyssa Adkins is one of the leading voices in Agile coaching. A founder of the Agile Coaching Institute, her book “Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition”  set the bar for what it means to be an Agile Coach. In this interview Lyssa and I talk about what’s happening with the Agile Institute, coaching middle management and how to deal with coaching burnout.


Show Notes

The Super Nervous Interview Begins 2:10
Focused Listening 4:05
Four essential skill sets of coaching 6:00
The difference between “coaching” and being a professional coach 6:30
Big things going on at Agile Coaching Institute 7:45
Coaching Middle Management 8:40
The impact of the cultural change Agile brings 11:40
Is there a limit to how much change we can handle and where are the boundaries 12:30
Background on the burnt out coach14:30
Burn out is on the rise with Agile Coaches 15:00
Finding a path you can be on with heart 15:45
Finding the heart in letting the org become what it wants to become 16:40
Checking your own ambition 18:20 
Goal setting and knowing when to walk away 19:00
What to do with the organizations on Life Support 19:15
Hospicing the death of old systems 20:20
Trying to reach people who don’t want to take your hand 21:30
Meeting confusion with curiosity 22:20
Agile coaches are agents of human evolution 24:00
How Agile Coaching Institute helps organizations 24:30
Developing a coaching capability that is in sync with where the organization’s goals 25:45
How to find and develop the coaches in an organization 27:45
How to help a burnt out coach/change agent 31:25
The importance of self-care if you want to be present and help others 32:50
Exposing why people avoid self-care35:00
Ways Lyssa practices self-care 35:30
The job is to “allow” 37:05
You can’t let go because it’s the tension that holds it together 38:18
What happens when you do let go 38:50
Lyssa Reads Poetry 40:25
All of us in the Agile community are part of evolving our capacity for complexity 41:45
We are in the time of organizations being living thing 43:05
How to contact Lyssa 43:25
Lyssa’s advice for the coaches who are feeling burned out 43:55
Lyssa’s Coaching Agile Teams book is 6 years old 44:45
Thanking Lyssa for making me uncomfortable (in a good way) 45:50
Upcoming Events for Lyssa 46:00

Links Mentioned in the Podcast

Lyssa in Twitter

The Agile Coaching Institute

2016 Scrum Gathering Agenda

Perseverance - Meg Wheatley

Little Guide to Empathetic Technical Leadership - Alex Harms

Agile Base Patterns, a Cross-Quadrant Conversation - a conversation between Lyssa Adkins and Dan Greening

The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America - David Whyte


Posted on: April 15, 2016 05:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Agile 2013 - Lyssa Adkins and Michael Spayd

At Agile 2013, Lyssa Adkins and Michael Spayd co-presented a session focused on helping coaches develop conflict facilitation skills. In this interview they discuss what makes agile coaches different than other types of coaches and some key ideas from their presentation.

Lyssa Adkins and Michael Spayd from BigVisible Solutions on Vimeo.

Posted on: August 12, 2013 08:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I have made good judgements in the past. I have made good judgements in the future.

- Dan Quayle