A podcast about Agile and Project Management
The Future of AI with Mark Kilby
On Friday, December 8, The Agile Alliance is hosting a MiniCon on the Future of Artificial Intelligence. During the event, Mark Kilby will be hosting a roundtable discussion with the speakers to explore the ways AI is poised to impact how we work and what it will take to utilize it in an ethical and responsible way.
Mark joins me in this episode of the podcast to discuss why he made a conscious decision to get schooled up on AI, how he’s going about doing it, some of the key learnings he has had along the way, and his take on what the future of AI has to offer those of us work in the agile space and project management.
The Future of AI MiniCon
If you’d like to learn more about the Agile Alliance’s Future of AI MiniCon: https://tinyurl.com/mw5ww3w2
If you’d like to contact Mark: https://www.markkilby.com/
And if you need some help with distributed teams, you should pick up a copy of From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams which Mark co-authored with Johanna Rothman. I cannot recommend this book highly enough! https://tinyurl.com/22vvnyjx
Letting Go of Pure Agile w Andy Jordan
Agile is going through a lot of changes right now. The changes aren’t so much in what it is and how it works - that seems to be a bit stable at the moment. The changes stem more from how adopters feel about it, their ideas about much agile they need, what they need to achieve it, and what kind of support they want getting there. As the space works through these growing pains, many Agilists respond to discomfort they way they (unfortunately) have since the very beginning, by pointing figures at each other and saying “OM%G! CAN YOU BELIEVE THOSE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE AGILE?” It is a sad but true thing that baked deep into the culture of the agile community is this idea that the best way to prove that you are good enough, smart enough and doggone it, people like you is by calling out the people who you think are not good enough, smart enough and doggone it… you get the idea.
In response to one of these incidents that showed up in his LinkedIn Feed, Andy Jordan posted an article called “Letting Go of Pure Agile” (https://www.projectmanagement.com/articles/893794/letting-go-of--pure--agile), making the case that whether or not you are truly Lean, or doing Scrum “right”, or whatever, doesn’t matter because the business cares about results and that is what we should all be focused on.
I reached out to Andy to ask for an interview with the hope that we could dig a little deeper into his concerns over the purists, finding the right tools for the job, the current state of agile and project management, and, of course, how AI is impacting us. (It was also just great getting to catch up with him.)
Andy, Mark Price-Perry, and I used to do workshops for PMI on Redefining your PMO. If you are curious about that you can learn more here: https://www.projectmanagement.com/videos/294895/pmxpo-2015--why-you-need-to-consider-redefining-the-pmo
Letting Go of Pure Agile: https://www.projectmanagement.com/articles/893794/letting-go-of--pure--agile
The Agile Coach's Dilemma with Alan Dayley
With each new round of layoffs, the existential crisis facing the agile coaching community deepens. Alan Dayley joins me to discuss how the community is retrospecting on this moment and whether or not it is asking the right questions.
Over the past year, a number of high-profile organizations have made a decision to let go of their agile coaches. The impact of that choice on those organizations will become apparent in time. The impact on the coaches, however, has been more immediate. In this episode of the podcast, I am joined by Alan Dayley for a conversation about how the agile coaching community has responded to this existential crisis. With all the current conversations about whether or not Agile is dying, or how coaches could make the value they add more obvious to the organization, but there is very little discussion about the systems and environment that led to the decision to get rid of the coaches I'm the first place. What were these organizations trying to achieve and did they actually get it? Have they reached a level of agility that no longer requires the help of a coach? Is it just change fatigue? Alan and I dig into these topics throughout the conversation.
This interview is also available in video. You can find that version here: https://youtu.be/TZ2KoSzkEB8
X (formerly Twitter): https://twitter.com/DayleyAgile
Louder Than Ten Goes Full CoOp w Rachel and Travis Gertz
Louder Than Ten is a Vancouver-based Project Management Training and Consulting company. L>10 was founded by Rachel and Travis Gertz, and for the past 14 years, everything they have done has been centered around fostering healthy and humane ways of working together and managing projects. There aren’t many organizations in the digital agency space that have taken the time to develop their own project management manifesto. It is truly a unique place and now, as they do, Rachel and Travis have cranked up the volume just a scosche higher by converting their company into a Worker Owned Cooperative. This means that folks who have been working with them for a long time (like Abby Fretz: https://on.soundcloud.com/H6TJq) as well as new employees who join Louder than Ten will have an option to purchase a stake in the company and become an equal partner. This is a far cry from the sweatshop grind-it-out approach that many agencies take and it is definitely unique in the context of what is happening in the field of project management today.
In this episode of the podcast, Rachel and Travis join me to talk about what led to this decision, why they made it, and what it means for the future of Louder Than Ten.
This podcast was originally recorded with video. You can find that version here: https://youtu.be/mFLfeDYhgE0
If you’d like to learn more about how to turn a business into a worker owned coop, here are some links:
Worker Cooperative - Wikipedia Entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worker_cooperative
Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation: https://canadianworker.coop/
United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives: https://www.usworker.coop/en/
Democracy at Work: https://institute.coop/
Contacting Rachel and Travis
Rachel LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/rachel-gertz-trainer
Travis LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/travisgertz
Using Personal Kanban to Start Agile Transformation with Michael Grill
As long as there have been agile teams there has been the challenge of putting people together and getting them to actually be agile. You can send them off to a class and teach them Scrum or Kanban, or bring in team coaches, and that helps, but it doesn’t address one fundamental issue. Most people have not taken (or been given) the time they need to learn how to be agile in how they manage themselves as individuals.
Michael Grill is a Product Owner and Head of Process and Methods in the Agile Practice at Knorr-Bremse, and they have taken steps to address this challenge of helping individuals adopt an agile mindset and practices in managing their day-to-day work by adopting Personal Kanban before they put them together on agile teams. In this interview Michael joins me to share how Knorr-Bremse came to make this choice and how it is deeply impacting their agile practice. First, you begin working with Personal Kanban, then you and your team members begin working together using PK, and then you adopt practices from Scrum, Kanban or other forms of agile, to get the work done.
When Michael told me about the approach they had taken I was really excited to do the interview, because it just makes so much sense I was stunned that it had never occurred to me before.
To add a little to the complexity, the work that Michael and his teams use agile to develop hardware like breaking systems for trains, and that adds a whole other dimension to how they incorporate agile. If you’d like to hear more about that, we covered it in a previous interview and there is link to it below as well as links to where you can learn more about Personal Kanban and even take a course in how to get started with it.
Using Agile to Develop Hardware with Michael Grill https://tinyurl.com/yc32jdc8
Personal Kanban site: https://www.personalkanban.com
Personal Kanban Training at Modus Institute: https://modusinstitute.com
Lean Agile Visual Management Certification: https://tinyurl.com/2m8pzaa7
My blog on Personal Kanban: https://tinyurl.com/33vb3rua
Contacting Michael LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/michael-grill Twitter: twitter.com/actualMG
Creating Connections with Together To Gather w LIa James and Jessie Shternshus
Getting people to open up to one another and connect at work is not an easy thing. It wasn’t easy before the world went remote, and now that many of us are somewhere in the middle of being half remote and half in-person, it’s not getting any easier. But if we can get to know each other a little better and a little deeper, we will foster stronger connections. As we become more invested in one another, the work we do together will improve as a result.
Together To Gather is a card game developed by Lia James from &Human and Jessie Shternshus from the Improv Effect to help leverage the power of great questions to inspire meaningful conversations. If you are looking for a really fun way to build deeper relationships with your team members or any group of people you interact with, you should definitely check out this interview. During our conversation, Jessie, Lia, and I talk about how and why the game works and discuss different use cases for it. You can even watch us play a few rounds and learn one of the reasons I was so bad at working in a recording studio.
This interview was originally recorded using video. If you'd prefer to watch the video version, you can find it here: https://youtu.be/YvfqASg2EhI
You can find more about Together To Gather Here:
Connecting with Lia
Connecting with Jessie