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
In preparing for my How to Hack Agile for Digital Agencies at the 2017 Digital PM Summit I did a lot of research and conducted a lot of interview. This conversation, with Lance Hammond and Robert Sfeir from HUGE Atlanta was the last one I did before the Summit. During this discussion Lance and Robert share many of the lessons they’ve learned in bringing Agile to HUGE and they provide clarity on what it takes to make Agile work in a Digital Agency.
LINKS FROM THE PODCAST
Agile in Digital Agencies - Dave and Lance from the Atlanta Scrum User Group Meeting
(there is some static that persists until the interview begins at about 1 minute in)
During the 2017 Heart of Agile Conference in Pittsburgh, Savannah Rayat gave a presentation called “Enhancing your life with Personal Agility”. During the session she explained how she has applied some basic Agile practices from Scrum and Kanban to refine and focus her approach to life, deciding what is most important to her, and managing teams. Savannah has also applied Agile in other non-IT areas. During the interview, we talk about some of the Scrum practices she has applied in working with her team of Realtors.
00:10 - Interview Begins
on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/savannah-rayat-8942b8120/
Lisa Hershman At SG2017 - Scaling, Certification Changes and Top Initiatives at the Scrum Alliance
Scrum Alliance Interim CEO Lisa Hershman shared some time at the 2017 Scrum Gathering in San Diego to talk about the top initiatives being worked on at the Scrum Alliance, including their partnership with Large Scale Scrum, changes to the certification programs and more.
Making the transition to Agile is never easy for PMP’s. Once you re-wire your brain to think like a PM, letting go of all of that you have learned, and accepting a completely different way of working presents a lot of challenges. A big part of what I try to do with these podcasts is to share stories of those who have successfully made the switch and what that transformation was like.
At the Scrum Gathering in San Diego a few weeks ago I got the chance to sit down with someone I’ve been hoping to interview about this topic for a long time. Gene Bounds is the Chair of the Scrum Alliance Board of Directors. He is ALSO the former Chair of PMI. He comes from a background that is deeply steeped in the traditional space working on government projects, to someone who is now deeply invested in helping to grow the Agile community and change the world of work.
Because Gene has dedicated so much of his life to being in the service of others, first in the United States Air Force, then volunteering for PMI for many years, and now working with the Scrum Alliance, we also took some time in the interview to talk about the benefits that come from investing all that time volunteering.
You can find Gene here:
Scrum Alliance: https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/profile/ebounds