Project Management

The Reluctant Agilist

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About this Blog


Recent Posts

In Defense of Frederick Taylor with Christine Li

Story Points are Good AND Evil with Ryan Ripley

Value Stream Management with Derek Huether

Improving Value Delivery In Your Organization with Gil Broza

Getting Your First Scrum Master Job with Richard Cheng

In Defense of Frederick Taylor with Christine Li

In this episode, I am joined by a very special guest, Christine Li, for a conversation I have been waiting to record for quite a while now. 


I am closing in on 30 years of work in Project Management and for most of that time, I, like many of you, have been talking smack about Frederick Taylor. My opinions were based on the things I learned from others along the way and were (obviously) deeply informed by moving from traditional PM over to Agile. As far as I was concerned, this guy was the birth of work misery.

But over the past few years, I’ve started to develop this weird compulsion to stick up for the good bits that came out of his work. I mean, literally, no one working in project management or agile would have a job without this guy. You can also make an argument that without him the United States never would have made it through WWII. 

Even though I was willing to have Taylor’s back in an argument, there was one thing missing… 

I had never actually read his work. 


So I did. I read The Principles of Scientific Management. And, to my shock, not only was it easy to read, but it was fun to read how this guy figured out the things he figured out. Yes, there are a few critical issues with his approach (and they are big issues), but there is a TON of good stuff in there that we all ignore because he’s such an easy target.

(And I really want to go back in time and get hired as SPEED BOSS)

After reading it, I was at a lunch and happened to mention my newfound Taylor Fanboy-ness and Christine Li showed up like Yoda, deep with the PM history geek. She took me to school and that is where this conversation starts. 

My hope is that even if you think Frederick Taylor is the Sauron of Project Management, you’ll give this a listen. Maybe it will challenge your understanding of him and his work. Maybe it will (I hope) entice you to read his work. And even if you’ve read his work and can see the good in it, the things Christine shares will level up your understanding as well. 

I am very grateful to her for making time for this. It was a really fun conversation. 

drunkenpmradio · In Defense of Frederick Taylor w Christine Li

For Further Reading
The Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick Taylor
Scientific Management; a History and Criticism by Horace Drury

Contacting Christine

Posted on: January 17, 2023 10:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Getting Your First Scrum Master Job with Richard Cheng

So you’ve made the decision that you want to get a job as a Scrum Master. Maybe you’re working on an agile team and want to switch roles, or maybe you’re moving from a field where agile has no presence. If you don’t already have experience working in an environment that has adopted Scrum, then the big question is… how do you land the gig.

In this episode, I am joined by my good friend Richard Cheng to talk about how to get started working as a Scrum Master. We both run across a lot of people in our classes that are trying to find a way to transition into the Scrum Master role. We also meet a lot of people who have decided they want to make a career change and feel like being the Scrum Master for a Scrum Team might be a good fit. During the interview Richard and discuss what the role actually entails, some common misconceptions about it, key differences between being a Project Manager and being a Scrum Master, the pros and cons of the job, and ways you can how you get started on the path towards getting your first official job as Scrum Master.

There have been a lot of dramatic changes in the technology space lately, and a lot of people have been making a decision to leave their company job and become an independent consultant working in Agile. Richard is a Certified Scrum Trainer and Agile Coach and he recently made this choice and has gone out on his own. Toward the end of the interview, he also shares what led him to make this choice to become an independent consultant and the steps he's taking to establish himself. If you are considering a similar move, his experience working through this transition could provide some valuable insights for you.


drunkenpmradio · Getting your first Scrum Master Gig w Richard Cheng


Contacting Richard

Posted on: December 14, 2022 12:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Growth Mindset: Success of Others w/ Mary Kaufmann

In Carol Dwek’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she explains the difference between a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset. Earlier this year, a colleague of mine, Mary Kaufman and I began recording a series of podcasts on the five stages of growth outlined in the book. Unfortunately, Mary moved on to a new gig before we got the fifth stage posted. So, we re-recorded the conversation and it’s going up live here at drunkenpm to help complete the stages. 

In this conversation, we cover “Success of Others” and explore those with a Fixed mindset tend to view the success of others as a threat and those with a Growth mindset find inspiration from others' success. During the podcast, we both share examples of times when we’ve each reacted to the success of others from the different viewpoints, how we are able to catch ourselves when we end up in a Fixed mindset and what steps we take to move beyond that. 

drunkenpmradio · Growth Mindset - Success of Others w Mary Kaufmann

Other Episodes in our Growth Mindset Series


Contacting Mary

Posted on: November 15, 2022 12:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Kanban Metrics with Troy Lightfoot

This episode features Troy Lightfoot who is a Business Agility Coach and Consultant as well as a Professional Kanban Trainer. The interview starts with a discussion about the basic differences between Scrum and Kanban and then digs into four of the metrics recommended in the Kanban Guide. We cover WIP, Throughput, Work Item Age, and Cycle Time, talking through what each of these is, the value these metrics provide, why they are so much more valuable than simply looking at something like velocity, and what these metrics can do to help you develop a better level of predicting when work is likely to finish and how they can show you and your team ways to identify and address the things that are holding you back from delivering value for your client.

Troy also has a few ProKanban Certification classes coming up. In the back half of the interview, he explains what to expect if you sign up for a Professional Kanban 1 (PK1) Certification class or his Applying Metrics for Predictability (AMP) Certification class. 


drunkenpmradio · Kanban Metrics with Troy Lightfoot

Troy’s Upcoming Classes

Links from the Podcast

Contacting Troy

Posted on: June 14, 2022 11:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Agile Coaching Income Report with Jessica Katz

Jessica Katz is an Agile Coach and Trainer who is on a mission to help the community of Agile Coaches "...empower ourselves with better rates and more appropriate rates." When she became a freelance Agile Coach Jessica became aware of how difficult it was to understand how much an Agile Coach could expect to make as a full-time employee, how much they could charge as freelance, and how much those freelance coaches were paying themselves for the work they do. 

The first edition of The Agile Coaching Report came out last year and she recently finished collecting data for the second version. Since then she's been hard at work sorting through the details she has collected. During the interview, she shares some of the key learnings she has had in working with the data. This includes things like which segments of the coaching demographic get paid more, how do race and gender impact your pay, who is better at negotiating salary, and factors that can influence the amount you can earn as a coach. She also shares stories about how individuals have been able to use this data to successfully negotiate being paid at a rate equal to their peers within the organization. 

The audience for the report is anyone working in a coaching capacity within Agile Teams, on an Agile Transformation or Change Management project and it includes a variety of related information like how much people are getting paid for public speaking, as well as common attributes of those paid the most.  

If you are trying to figure out whether the amount you are earning is in step with the rest of the coaching field, if you need help figuring out how to negotiate for a higher rate of pay, or if you want to know if you are paying your coaches enough, this interview with Jessica Katz on her Agile Coaching Income Report has the details you are looking for. 

drunkenpmradio · The Agile Coaching Income Report with Jessica Katz

The Agile Coaching Income Report

You can download a copy of the 2021 Agile Coaching Income Report here:

Keep an eye out for the 2022 Agile Coaching Income Report on Jessica's website

Ladies Get Paid

During the interview Jessica mentions Ladies Get Paid (, which can be a very valuable resource for anyone (not just women) who needs to get better at negotiating salary.

Contacting Jessica

if you'd like to reach out to Jessica directly

Posted on: April 07, 2022 11:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs."

- Henry Ford