A podcast about Agile and Project Management
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:
Using Agile to Develop Hardware with Michael Grill
Many people who are new to an agile way of working struggle to understand how practices like Scrum can be used if you are doing Research and Development. It can also be difficult to see how an agile approach can be applied if you are developing hardware. If you fall into either of those categories, this podcast should help get you sorted on how agile can be used in both R&D and the development of hardware.
Michael Grill plays a dual role at Knorr-Bremse in Austria where he serves as both the Product Owner of Agile Practices and as a Product Owner for the research and development of brake magnets. In this interview, Michael shares what led his team to want to try agile, some of the experiences they have had, and things they learned in adopting agile practices for their work developing brake magnets. If you are trying to find your way with implementing Scrum on a team that focuses on hardware, this is an episode you’ll definitely want to check out
Scrum Field Book by J.J. Sutherland: https://amzn.to/3pASEoU
eXtreme Manufacturing: https://bit.ly/3ClNwMT
Remote Pairing On The Path To CST - Audio Only
This podcast was originally recorded in video. You can find that version here: https://bit.ly/3p8YDB8
This episode of the podcast features an interview that I’m hoping will serve as an example of how collaborating in a distributed model can lead to great things. Malene Jacobsen and Mario Melo both became Certified Scrum Trainers during the 2022 Scrum Gathering in Denver this past spring. The story of how they became Certified Scrum Trainers is the focus of our conversation. During the interview, you’ll hear how they worked together and supported one another while preparing for their in-person TAC panels. They were also part of a larger team of people who committed to work together until each of them had become a Certified Scrum Trainer. Their teamwork demonstrates how being separated by multiple time zones does not have to be a hindrance.
If you are working as part of a distributed team or you are working towards becoming a Certified Scrum Trainer, this podcast offers an inspiring story that is chock full of tips to help you succeed with your geographically distributed team.
Links from the Podcast:
Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Trainer Info: https://bit.ly/3p9qNfc
PODCAST TEAM UP! A Couple of Coaches and DrunkenPM on Metrics
Christine Converse and Ross Beurmann (who host the podcast A Couple of Coaches) join me for a conversation/debate about metrics. During the podcast, we discuss what metrics help create clarity for the team on how well they are performing and what metrics help highlight areas that could be improved. We weigh the pros and cons of standard Scrum metrics, Kanban metrics, and share the ones we each find most valuable.
If you are tracking certain metrics simply because Jira (or whatever tool you are using) tracks them, or someone else told you "THIS IS THE WAY," the question to answer is, if you were going to hire a metrics for your team, what job are we hiring the metrics to do?
Christine and Ross also interviewed me for their podcast A Couple of Coaches about serving on the Scrum Alliance TAC and what it takes to become a Certified Scrum Trainer. You can check that interview out here: https://soundcloud.com/coupleofcoaches/episode-7-drunkenpm-crossover
Apologies Sam Moore and Stax/Volt fans everywhere for using Sam as the underperforming team member in this discussion. Please listen to more Sam and Dave… it will be good for your soul.
Contacting Christine Converse
Contacting Ross Beurmann
Managing Multiple Project with Elizabeth Harrin
In Elizabeth Harrin’s latest book Managing Multiple Projects: How project managers can balance priorities, manage expectations and increase productivity, she draws on her 20+ years providing training, education, and mentoring in the project management field to take on a problem all of us face. When you have too many projects on your plate, and all of them are high priority, how do you find you get the most important work done without losing yourself in the process? While the book is project management-centric, the tools and skills Harrin offers are applicable not just for career project managers, but anyone who finds themself juggling more projects (work or otherwise) than the hours in the day will accommodate.
In this interview, Elizabeth shares a few of the key ideas from the book and we dig into some of the techniques she employs to manage her own workload in a way that still allows her to be present and show up for the rest of her life as well.
While many of the interviews I get to do focus on particular aspects of project management or agile, this interview has valuable ideas and techniques for everyone - not just those on a project management career path.
Managing Multiple Projects
Project Management Rebels
Amazon Page: https://amzn.to/3cbWykH
Creating Outcome Focused User Stories with Scott Sehlhorst
When I have questions about product-related topics Scott Sehlhorst is always the first person I reach out to. He is a product management and strategy consultant that makes my head explode every time I talk to him and this interview is no exception. Scott joined me for this interview that builds on his recent blog post “How to Make Your Product Special” (https://bit.ly/3AciBBK). We dig into product positioning, why understanding the desired outcome the product is supposed to provide is often the thing fail to understand, and how to start creating User Stories that are focused on those outcomes instead of the output-driven stories most people write.
This interview covers a lot of ground as we talk through the challenges we all face when we’re trying to understand the problems we are trying to solve, who we are solving them for, and how to capture a user-centric explanation of what we need to create in a way that genuinely addresses the goal of the end-user.
This podcast will make more sense if you first check out Scott’s blog post “How to Make Your Product Special” (https://bit.ly/3AciBBK)
Scott’s Blog at Tyner Blain: https://tynerblain.com/blog/