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Agile and Beyond

Author: Dan Feldman

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The world falls into chaos. Everyone freaks out. These events are all connected. They arise from a systemic shift. This podcast explores this precarious new “normal” and imagines potential solutions.This relaunch focuses on the Great Transformation. Tipping points in natural ecosystems. Systemic changes in political economies. Older episodes explored the future of work and the economy.
22 Episodes
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Only a radical systemic shift can delay climate catastrophe and save humanity from the collapse of ecosystems within just 9 years.
Last year Dawna Jones, host of the Evolutionary Provocateur and Insight to Action podcasts, attended Agile Games New England and the Mob Programming Conference that followed. She sat down with a group of ‘Moberators’ to learn why the team approach to coding creates faster and better quality, with the added benefit of skill development, learning, and communication.
In part 3 of this 3 part conversation we discussed the importance of EQ in managing change, the openness of organizations to operate in new ways, the importance of vanguards, improving compensation systems, work-life balance, parental leave policies in different cultures, measuring employment engagement, and what gets Rose and Molly excited about the future.
Several weeks ago I interviewed Rose Fan and Molly Dishman of Thoughtworks. Thoughtworks is a global IT consultancy firm, “a community of passionate individuals whose purpose it is to revolutionize software design, creation and delivery, while advocating for positive social change”. In part 2 of this 3 part conversation we discussed Molly's biggest influence, the interview process at Thoughtworks, Lean Enterprises and post-agility, tech's fixation on labels, continuous deployment and a me-too culture, determining how to help the client, journey mapping, Conway's Law, collaboration and breaking down barriers, disruption and the threat of startups, and ways to build inspiration and excitement.
Several weeks ago I interviewed Rose Fan and Molly Dishman of Thoughtworks. Thoughtworks is a global IT consultancy firm, “a community of passionate individuals whose purpose it is to revolutionize software design, creation and delivery, while advocating for positive social change”. In part 1 of this 3 part conversation we discussed team-building and the airing of diverse perspectives, the importance of autonomy and clear goals, and the celebration of wins.
Several weeks ago I interviewed Rose Fan and Molly Dishman of Thoughtworks. What started as a pre-call in order to get a better understanding of their work resulted in this episode. Thoughtworks is a global IT consultancy firm, “a community of passionate individuals whose purpose it is to revolutionize software design, creation and delivery, while advocating for positive social change”. In this conversation we cover some of the challenges and successes in transforming large Fortune 100 firms into Agile and Lean Enterprises.
The 2nd Millennial call was not only engaging but also quite unpredictable. With 4 Millennials, including one in India, and my co-host Gert Penne in Belgium, we explored what the next generation seeks in Workplace Cultures and Organizations.
I was very fortunate to have spoken with John Spence. John is one of the top 100 business thought leaders and one of the top 500 leadership development experts in the world. He is an international keynote speaker and management consultant, and has written seven books on business and life success. Along with Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Jeff Bezos, John was listed as one of American Management Association’s Leaders to Watch in 2015. In a free-form conversation, we covered a myriad of topics, including the following: the biggest problem that companies face, the components of great cultures, the evolution of leadership in business, and potential responses to the massive technological disruption which we are now undergoing. We had a blast. John's infectious laughter made the interview an absolute joy. The Agile and Beyond website, agileandbeyond.co, is now live. To see the show notes for this interview, please visit the site. And without further ado please welcome to my conversation with John Spence.
In the final episode of a 3 part conversation with Chuck Durfee, Scrum Master, and Agile Denver Board Member Emeritus, recent MBA graduate, recovering developer, and friend of neon tapirs everywhere, we discuss the following. Why he got his MBA. How he moved from a fascination with computers and software to process and people. Leadership Styles. Agile, ethics and the making of morally just decisions. Power distribution in Agile organizations. Incurring technical debt ethically. Political correctness, and the stunting of healthy conversations with the other. Lowering thresholds of pain and sensitivity. How the Political Correctness movement went to far. Avoiding Cargo Cult Agile, and why the process needs the mindset. The failure to teach Millennials good skills for handling conflict. The creative process, and the need to explore failure. The way Agile is transforming the world of work. The problems with matrix management. Allowing Agile to flourish, by eliminating constraints around teams. Chuck's workplace Nirvana, the kind of organization Chuck would like to build, his Dream Team, and his role. How diverse ideas and even conflict help a team to make a better product or service. NANO WRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), and his often humorous experiences in writing fiction... including a romantic drama. How early design choices shape the final product. And now welcome to the final episode of a 3 part conversation with Chuck Durfee. If you wish to learn more about Agile Denver. You can connect with the organization on LinkedIn, and follow Agile Denver on Twitter at @agiledenver. To learn about future meetings, search for Agile Denver on meetup.com at Meetup.com/AgileDenver.
In the final episode of a 4 part conversation with Erika Lenz, Scrum Master, former poet, evolutionary biologist, and tutor, we discuss what makes Erika unique, comfort with the creative process, the prevalence of mental illness in the arts, grounding others in difficult situations, the power of divergent thinking, building bridges, social dancing, choreography, and floorcraft, helping others to pivot in order to change the behavior of a team, the benefits of adding emotional content in tech environments, the benefits in valuing everyone, and kinesthetic intelligence.
In episode 2 of a 3 part conversation with Chuck Durfee, Agile Coach, Development Manager, Agile Denver Board Member Emeritus, recent MBA graduate, recovering developer, and friend of neon tapirs everywhere we enjoyed a far-ranging conversation. We discussed the following: the spreading of ideas, developmentally driven organizations, people innovation, the agile mindset, Montessori education, language learning, design patterns, Conway's Law, organization designs, the scarcity mindset, the limits of the industrial model, exploratory play, and how structure relates to creativity. And now welcome to the second episode of a 3 part conversation with Chuck Durfee.
Some weeks ago I met with Todd Galloway, Scrum Master with Square Two Financial. Todd has a passion for helping teams to improve, assessing their health, and helping them get where they need to be. For Todd a lot of fundamentals go into helping teams to deliver value sustainably. In our discussion we addressed the following: The Agile Denver Scrum Master Guild. Spotify's Squad Health Check (also known as a Team Health Check). Todd's experience with the Team Health Check. Coaching questions, lively discussions, and learning. His recommended frequency for doing Squad Health Checks. The Health Check questions with which his teams struggled most. The challenge in motivating teams when a compelling mission is absent. How powerful questions can help your teams to improve their creativity and collaboration. End of Sprint pressure and problems with Scrum. Scrum, Kanban, and Scrumban. Bottlenecks and the need for greater flow. The power in making commitments and setting clear and unifying goals. Trust and information biases. The importance in discussing the results of the Team Health Check during the same session. Assessing team health in low trust environments. And much more. And now welcome to my discussion with Todd Galloway.
In a wide-ranging 3 way conversation with Jesse Pearlman, Agilist and Customer Success Manager at CA Technologies and former U.S. Marine, and my business partner Michael Rocharde, a Business Transformation Consultant and former intelligence officer in the British Army, we discussed leadership, leadership style comparisons, servant leadership, leadership crises, raising and supporting servant leaders in a corporate world, and leadership in government. While recognizing that positive change (even if revolutionary) is on the horizon, we examined some of the most persistent and destructive problems of our time. We covered the following: The deficit in visionary leadership. Unchecked capitalism, economic disparity and avarice behavior. The rupture in the American political economy. True change and grassroots leadership. Visionary leadership vs. a management and survival mindset. The legalization of corruption and the absence of leadership. The prioritization of shareholders over customers, employees, and citizens. Prospects for the current system. Collaborative social enterprises. Soulless greed, the rapaciousness of unregulated capitalism. and the coming revolution. Benefitting everyone. The resiliency of collaboratively made decisions. Responsive startups and slow-moving behemoths. People vs. profit. Transparency, clearing interference and enabling teams. Leading, inspiring, and motivating. Worker empowerment and Michael Moore's latest film “Where to Invade Next.” Exhaustion with corporate governance. Technological expansion. Tackling the biggest problems. 7th Generation and the Iroquois Nation Principles. High-performing teams. America's lack of a clear and unifying goal. Technology and its negative effects on culture. America's broken institutions. The Coming Change. Corporations and their destructive effects on families and community. Millennials and the restoration of collaboration and communal living. The end of meritocracy. Corporate welfare and artificial life support. Corporate predation. The benefit of staying small. Thoughtless Economic Disruption. AI and Automation -- producing more with less people. Creating realities and intrinsic motivation. Experimenting, inspecting and adapting. Innovation and Breaking Things. Liberating People from Institutional Abuse. Aligning the needs of people and enterprises. Brainstorming and Masterminds. The Screwed-up American Education System. Critical Thinking and Self-Knowledge. Classic corporate governance and Subordination. Freedom, entrepreneurship, and the risk of failure. Winning with style and negative leadership styles. Strength, submission, and vulnerability. Elevating others and paying if forward. The only things that matter - our planet and our human connections. Life under state-capitalism: atomization, isolation, and distrust. The American Cultural Myth – you too can become a billionaire! The End of Retirement, Millennials, and Student Debt. The Death of Corporate Loyalty. Critical thinking skills, leadership, and the importance of chess. Socrates and change. Questioning habitual thought patterns. America's most persistent boxes: Fear, Uncertainty, and the Military-industrial Complex. State supported capitalism and violence. Innovation, government subsidies, and the war machine. Fear and xenophobia.
In episode 1 of a 3 part conversation with Chuck Durfee, Scrum Master, Agile Denver Board Member Emeritus, recent MBA graduate, recovering developer, and friend of neon tapirs everywhere, we discuss the following. His 6 year history with Agile Denver, and the evolution of the Mile High Agile conference. His experience as a Scrum Master, and his first experiment with Agile Scrum. His early revelations with Agile. Startup like experiences and the evolutionary path of backlog refinement. War Rooms, Kanban style boards, tracking, and flow optimization. The invaluable practice of asking questions. Grassroots idea generation and dispersion. His intuitive way of uncovering motivations. Enticing people to apply their interests in new ways. Developing cross-functional teams and organizations. Leveraging transferrable skill sets, and cross-training. Enhancing empathy by getting developers to think from a customer's point of view. Developing a vocabulary from patterns, and how doing things empirically makes it difficult to name what you are doing. Collaboration, Paul Raynor, and the need to develop a ubiquitous (shared) language. Design Thinking. Domain Driven Design. Cross-training, and the development of multidisciplinary teams and organizations. Experimentation, Innovation, Managing Risk. And now welcome to the first episode of a 3 part conversation with Chuck Durfee.
In episode 3 of a 4 part conversation with Erika Lenz, Scrum Master, and former poet, evolutionary biologist, and tutor, we discuss where management happens on a self-organized team, accountability, good leadership, team empowerment, aligning the team and the organization to the consumer, observation, clearly stated goals, a clear compelling vision, Dual-Track Scrum, the magic of bringing the customer into the room, team motivation, identifying motivators/de-motivators, nasty politics, the surfacing of dysfunction, and dealing with bullies.
This episode is a little different. A joint experiment. A nebulous mission. In this inspiring international discussion, I was honored to be joined by two co-hosts: Dawna Jones of Vancouver and Gert Penne of Belgium. And three guests: Willow Bumby and Lindsey Henwood of Vancouver, and Josh Shaffer of Tampa. With 6+ participants, spanning 3+ countries, 3 continents, and 3 generations we explored not only the future of work, but also the future of education. Dawna Jones is the AUTHOR of DECISION-MAKING for DUMMIES. Her book appears on Steve Denning's (Forbes) list of 8 Noteworthy Books for 2014. Dawna is also the host of the “Evolutionary Provocateur” podcast. Gert Penne, an account executive in the tech industry, is a an Empathic Problem Solver, who takes a principle-centered approach to teaming across cultures, disciplines, and generations. At the end of a 2-continent, 3-country Skype call, Dawna, Gert, and I found ourselves talking about generational differences globally. With the goal to learn how the next generation sees the Future of Work, we decided to invite 3 Millennials to a follow-up call. This show is that call. Millennials fall just after the Gen-Xers. They were born between 1982 and 2004. We were fortunate to have 3 Millennials join us. Josh Shaffer is an early Millennial, and works for Accenture in Talent Acquisition in Tampa. Willow Bumby is an iOS Engineer, designer, and writer, as well as a teacher at Lighthouse Labs in Vancouver. Lindsay Henwood is a User Experience Design Instructor at Red Academy, a rapidly growing Tech School startup in Vancouver. Two other Millennials joined us virtually. Lauren Kirmil is a Marketing and Media Specialist and a former technical recruiter in the San Francisco Bay Area. During her extensive travels throughout Southeast Asia she worked as a freelance travel writer. Grace Liu is a former Outreach Support Officer at the British Consulate in Guangzhou, China. She recently received funding to start a venture in Shenzhen. With the assistance of her NYU professor she also plans to start an NGO incorporating ancient contemplative practices, including meditation. In this discussion we covered a wide range of topics. Distributed workforces and workplace flexibility and the big American offensive to change the workplace. Self-responsibility, self-awareness, self-perception. Cultural fit: the “techie” mold and the pressure to fit in. The dying days of the industrial model, the irrelevant university degree and the rise of bootcamp style education. The need to understand the next generation, and the companies which will die. The rise of the robots and the growing fear of job loss. Capitalism and its schizophrenic booms and busts: do we want an economy based on self-interest or creativity and collaboration? Tribalism and the need to belong: do we become global citizens or nationalists? Surviving the industrial model and designing the new workplace. The need to shift easily into different industries and the costly risk in over-specialization. The silliness of our current system and people's inability to work with power. And the power coming from the “Millennial values”.
In episode 2 of a 4 part conversation with Erika Lenz, Scrum Master, and former poet, evolutionary biologist, and tutor, we discuss the difficulty in collaborating naturally, our similarity to “crazy monkeys”, being a Scrum Master in traditional environments, the great challenge in rewiring the brain at the enterprise level, the battle of the operational patterns – patterns and anti-patterns, artful redirection and Scrum Purists, the fine balance of people and process, temperaments and approaches, the benefits of collective, collaborative thinking, the tendency to keep the people stuff behind the curtain, helping the team to surface their own problems, and managing the work vs. managing the people.
In episode 1 of a 4 part conversation with Erika Lenz, Scrum Master, and former poet, evolutionary biologist, and tutor, we discuss Amy C. Edmondson's term “psychological safety”, the need for logical explanations when dealing with engineers and the C-suite, employing an intuitive approach to team building, apolitical engineers, difficulties encountered by first time Scrum Masters, the primacy of trust in social situations, overcoming rejection, Jane Goodall and primatology, superorganisms and E.O.Wilson, interpreting body language and the risk in over-projecting, the benefits of honesty, the kinesthetic experience of working on well-functioning teams, and the skills learned through tutoring. [Note: Re-posted due to technical issues with iTunes]
In the 3rd and final episode of a conversation with Jesse Pearlman, Agilist and Customer Success Expert at CA Technologies (formerly Rally Software), we discuss what it takes to be a Scrum Master and Agile Coach, the needed soft skills, the ability to find value in conflict, the resistance of executives, iterative waterfall, conscious evolution, taking snapshots and the overcoming of habituation, being objective, the beginner's mind, learning, adapting, and sharing, and the benefits gained in helping others.
In episode 2 of a 3 part conversation with Jesse Pearlman, Agilist and Customer Success Expert at CA Technologies (formerly Rally Software), we discuss the Colorado Community of Agile Practice, the alignment of vision and environment, surviving vs. thriving, infinite scalability and the optimum end state, Agile failures, discipline and alignment, dating Agile, institutional narcissism, and listening to the customer.
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