Times are weird in the land of Agile. More and more big companies are letting go of the people they’ve brought on to help them adopt agile practices, or replacing their Scrum Masters with Technical Program Managers, or creating a homegrown version of Agile by taking an established framework and bailing on the practices they don’t like. Is this just business accepting that what they’ve been trying to do for the past 10+ years was just too hard, have they achieved a level of agility that they are happy with, or have they decided to place different bets on what it will take to carry them into the future?
In this episode of the podcast, Jesse Fewell joins me to explore different ideas about what is happening, why it is happening, and what this means for people who’ve spent years trying to establish a career in agile. The conversation came about as a result of a post that Jesse made on LinkedIn. He’s doing research on the topic and I asked him to join me to talk through some of the ideas. If you have stories to share, he’d love to hear from you. You can find his original LinkedIn post here: https://bit.ly/3EjRUf9
Towards the end of the podcast we also discuss a question that came up in one of my CSM/CSPO Lean Coffees: If you are hired as a Scrum Master into a mostly waterfall organization that still has traditional project managers, and the engineers are trying to treat you like a secretary, how do you establish your role and the value you can provide?
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.
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.
Troy’s Upcoming Classes
Links from the Podcast
Adam Weisbart is back and this time we’re taking on a tragically common problem. Teams who do not have clarity on how the organization defines value. This can happen for a variety of reasons. In some organizations it is simply an oversight… management has achieved clarity and alignment around what is valuable to the organization, but they have not communicated it to the team. In other organizations, there may be an individual or a small group of the leadership team who likes to “go with their gut”, or maybe there are just a lot of assumptions and no one has checked to see if there is agreement across different levels of the org. Whatever the reason, if you have teams that do not have clarity around how leadership defines value for the company, how can they be expected to make choices that align with that definition of value?
In this episode of the podcast Adam Weisbart and I take on the topic of how you can get clarity on value, how can you make sure your backlog reflects that understanding of value and how can you ensure the team has awareness of what “value” means to the organization.
During the interview, Adam also shares some details about his upcoming Agile Virtual Summit (Bite Size) which is taking place on October 14, 2021. The event is free and there are going to be some great speakers, including people like Jim Benson, Richard Cheng, and Melissa Boggs who have all been guests on the podcast. You can learn more about the Agile Virtual Summit (Bite-Size!) and sign up using the link below.
Agile Virtual Summit (Bite-Size)
If you’d like to contact Adam:
From 2019 to 2021 Melissa Boggs served as Co-CEO and Chief ScrumMaster for the Scrum Alliance. Earlier this year she stepped down from her Chief SM role and took on the position of Vice President of Business Agility at Sauce Labs. AFAIK, Melissa was the Chief ScrumMaster ever so I wanted to check in with her and see what she learned during her time in the role, what advice she could share for those headed down that path, and what new challenges she’s taken on since she started her new gig.
What is truly powerful about this interview is how open Melissa is about the things she learned about herself on this journey. She offers a great example of brave vulnerability and shows how, if you are in the business of helping others transform, you have to be willing to develop an inner sense of personal agility as well.
Links from the Podcast