The Reluctant Agilist

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Recent Posts

What's New at the Scrum Alliance - from the 2018 North American Global Scrum Gathering

The Agile Heretic - An Interview with Jim Benson

David Hawks at the 2018 North American Global Scrum Gathering

Billy McLaughlin - 2018 Global Scrum Gathering Keynote

Christopher Avery and The Leadership Gift

Billy McLaughlin - 2018 Global Scrum Gathering Keynote

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 

Billy McLaughlin 

Focal Dystonia 

Posted on: May 17, 2018 05:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Making Agile Work at HUGE Inc. w/ Lance Hammond and Robert Sfeir

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.

 

 

SHOW NOTES

  • 00:08 Podcast Begins
  • 01:42 Some background on Robert and Lance
  • 03:17 How long HUGE has been working on introducing Agile
  • 04:40 Resistance from Design when switching to an Agile approach
  • 06:08 Why Kanban may be a better approach for Design
  • 07:39 How the Designers at HUGE approach their work without having all the requirements up front
  • 09:30 Establishing Vision up front with the client and prioritizing options with them
  • 10:33 The client needs to own the delivery from the very beginning and become part of the process
  • 11:50 Making the client your partner in the workflow and decision making process
  • 14:17 Why teaching the client how to work in Agile has to be an accepted cost 
  • 16:07 Why those with experience in Agile transformation can be so beneficial for Digital Agencies and what you need to watch out for
  • 17:52 Changing how the work gets funded 
  • 20:22 How to change your Statement of Work to support Agile practices
  • 21:47 Tips for convincing your client to want to use Agile to manage the work
  • 24:11 Caring and feeding of the client during an Agile project at a Digital Agency
  • 27:53 Should you include the client in the retrospective?
  • 28:46 Do you need to have cross-functional, stable teams that are each working on only one project?
  • 32:04 How long did it take HUGE to get to stable teams
  • 34:02 Use Lean metrics to find and remove waste
  • 34:20 How critical is it to move to a retainer (fund the team) model
  • 35:30 You have to know why you want Agile, which approach you’ll take, and what you want from it
  • 37:05 Scrum may have you thrashing for a bit before you switch to Kanban… and there is value in that
  • 37:49 Why you need to switch the entire Digital Agency over to an Agile approach (including sales)
  • 39:22: What is the hardest part about implementing/working with Agile in a Digital Agency
  • 42:32 Defining what you are willing (and not willing) to try changing, when you switch to an Agile approach
  • 44:30 How HUGE approaches estimating work
  • 48:40 Why it is so important to watch and learn (inspect) before you start trying to change things (adapt)
  • 50:45 Why Robert and Lance do not believe Scrum can work in a Digital Agency that wants Agile,  but why you need to try it first to unlock the value of Kanban
  • 53:00 Contacting Lance and Robert
  • 54:06 Podcast Ends

 

LINKS FROM THE PODCAST

 

HUGE

http://www.hugeinc.com/

Agile in Digital Agencies - Dave and Lance from the Atlanta Scrum User Group Meeting

https://www.pscp.tv/leadingagile/1YqxomWqrwMGv

(there is some static that persists until the interview begins at about 1 minute in)

 

CONTACTING LANCE

 

CONTACTING ROBERT

Posted on: November 01, 2017 08:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Savannah Rayat - Enhancing your life with Personal Agility

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. 

Show Notes

00:10 - Interview Begins
00:52 - Background on Savannah
01:42 - How Day-Trading fits in with being a Realtor/IT Professional
02:15 - How Savannah defines Personal Agility
04:44 - Savannah’s approach to Personal Kanban and her issue with deadlines
05:31 - The important of setting and maintaining WIP Limits
07:06 - Reducing your WIP to 3-4 
10:00 - Preventing the backlash of cutting stuff our of your life
12:15 - Having affection for your interests
12:42 - Deciding what you can live without
14:29 - Long term and short term road mapping
15:48 - Savannah’s  Day to Day practice of Agile
18:50 - The need for slack
21:35 - The benefits of self-reflection and coping with the guilt of doing unplanned stuff
23:16 - Making the time for Personal Kanban
24:19  - Accountability Partners
25:33 - How to get started with using Personal Agility
27:44 - How Savannah uses Scrum to support collaboration on her Real Estate team
32:38 - Getting in touch with Savannah
34:39  - Interview Ends

Contacting Savannah 

on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/savannah-rayat-8942b8120/
on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SavannahRayat
Savannah’s Realty site: http://rayatrealtygroup.com
Savannah’s Heart of Agile 2017 http://heartofagile.com/Session/enhancing-your-life-with-personal-agility/


 

Posted on: June 06, 2017 11:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Scaling, Certification Changes & Top Scrum Alliance Initiatives

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.

 


 

Posted on: May 05, 2017 02:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Gene Bounds at Scrum Gathering San Diego 2017

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:

LinkedIn: " target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/eugene-bounds-82b70754/

Scrum Alliance: https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/profile/ebounds

Posted on: May 03, 2017 02:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
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