A podcast about Agile and Project Management
Agile Practices in the Org and Home with Lee Lis
Despite the fact that Agile practices have been applied to just about every type of work you can imagine, there is still a pervasive assumption that it is just for software. In the CSM and CSPO classes I teach, people often ask for “real life examples” of how people not working directly on software teams are able to use agile and to what end.
This week, Lee Lis, Chief of Staff at OnPay, joins me to talk about exactly that. During the conversation, we discuss ways she has applied agile practices in her role at OnPay to create an environment that fosters an agile mindset and self-managing teams that are empowered to take ownership of their work. We also explore different ways in which Lee has been able to take an empirical approach as a parent of small humans who may not fully grok the idea of self-managing yet.
If you are someone who has been struggling to find ways to begin using agile and you don’t have a software project to work on, you should get some great ideas by listening to this episode.
Growth Mindset - Success of Others w Mary Kaufmann
In Carol Dwek’s book Mindset, 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.
Other Episodes in our Growth Mindset Series
• Episode 1: Embracing Challenges https://on.soundcloud.com/YrhgJ
• Episode 2: Obstacles https://on.soundcloud.com/mz4L6
• Episode 3: Effort https://on.soundcloud.com/iGTDe
• Episode 4: Criticism https://on.soundcloud.com/kTL3P
• Mindset: The New Psychology of Success - by Carol Dweck https://amzn.to/3yYpyn3
• Fixed vs Growth Mindset graphic referenced in the interview (created by Nigel Holmes) https://bit.ly/3vWO1Hh
• The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman https://amzn.to/3sv5qY6
• Tim Kight - Focus 3 (E+R=O) https://focus3.com/the-r-factor/
• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-kaufmann-305b844/
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leading Teams in Crisis w Zach Stone
During this interview Zach Stone shares stories about what it has been like to be a remote Scrum Master working with a team based in Ukraine while it was being invaded by Russia. How do you engage with and support a team that is trying to build software in the middle of a war zone? What do you say to management when they want to know if you’ll make the release and you are just trying to figure out if your team members are alive?
We also explore other ways that the job of being a Scrum Master has changed as a result of the pandemic. Zach has had to find completely new ways to show up for his teams and he shares some of them during our conversation. This interview is rich with ideas about what it means to be a Scrum Master in a very volatile world. I’m deeply honored that Zach was willing to let me interview him about this topic.
The Rise of the The Rise of the Technical Program Manager w Jeff Howey
So much has been changing in how we work over the past few years that it can be tough to keep track of everything. There has been an increased focus on product management as companies move from a project-based approach to a product-based approach. Some organizations are still trying to get their feet with agile, while others have decided that their teams no longer need a Scrum Master (very bad idea - IMHO). And more recently, there has been an increased focus on the role of Technical Program Manager.
When you check out the job postings for these gigs, you’ll see a bit of variety, but some things they often have in common are that this person should have experience managing projects, programs, and portfolios in a traditional approach; experience working, leading, and coaching Agile teams; experience working as a software developer; and sometimes also experience working in product management. If project managers were superheroes, this would be all of the Avengers in one person. It’s a big ask.
In this episode of the podcast, my friend Jeff Howey joins me to talk about what he’s been seeing in market as companies are listing jobs for a Technical Program Manager. We dig into why this has become a thing, whether it is even possible to find all this in one person, how it might impact organizations, and how you can get started filling whatever gaps you may have so that you can maintain the ability to be competitive in the job market.
If you’d like to contact Jeff Howey.
Obeyas and Agile In Film Making with Dan Eberle
NOTE: This podcast was originally recorded in video. You can find the video version here: https://youtu.be/h6hvltUPGHs
Dan Eberle is a film maker AND and Agile Coach. He's been a guest of this podcast a few times in the past, but we've always centered the conversation around his work as an Agile Coach at the New York Times.
This time, we're switching things up and Dan has joined me to discuss how agile and lean practices have influenced his practice of filmmaking. Specifically, we focus on the Obeya that Dan and his team utilize as they create films.
If the term "Obeya" seems unfamiliar...
"Conceptually akin to traditional “war rooms,” an Obeya will contain visually engaging charts and graphs depicting such information as program timing, milestones and progress-to-date and countermeasures to existing technical or scheduling issues." (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obeya)
Whether you are making films, building software, or just trying to help your team get better organized, you'll get a lot of great ideas from this conversation on how to work with your team to design an obeya that will foster greater transparency and collaboration in the work you do.
Production Obeya Slideshow - Dan created a slideshow with screen grabs of his Production Obeya and examples of how he and his team visualize their production work. You can access it here: https://bit.ly/InsurgentObeya
An Abundance Of Opportunity W Chris Li
(A video version of this interview can be found here: https://youtu.be/t86MzxadU_k)
When a long-standing, traditional organization embarks on Agile Transformation, there can be a lot of things that impede the change. When a lot of those things are happening at once, it can seem even more daunting. The good news is that when that happens, some of the things blocking the change can be addressed fairly easily, but some things will be much harder to change.
In this episode of the podcast, I am joined by my good friend and fellow CST, Chris Li and we talk through some challenges that were sent in by a student of mine. As we walk through the issues we discuss how severe each situation is and how we would each respond to it.
Here are some of the challenges:
• PO can’t or won’t prioritize the backlog
• Team members are always taking on special side projects in the company
• The team is 35 people spread across several time zones - both on and off-shore
• Everyone is working on new products and also supporting up to 30 applications
• Everyone is expected to be at 100% utilization at all times.
• The Sprints are 4-5 weeks long (the size varies depending on the work to be done)
• One hour is allocated for Sprint Planning
There is obviously a lot to work through here. Chris and I did our best to hit all the points.
If you’d like to reach out to Chris directly: