All Things Agile podcast is dedicated to the Agile software development methodologies such as Scrum and Kanban and helping you be successful in their implementation.
All Things Agile - Episode 011 - Ken Rubin Interview
Please checkout out this exciting interview with author of Essential Scrum, Ken Rubin. Ken is a distinguished author, speaker, and Agile instructor. He has worked with many of the nation's top companies, and he joins us in this episode to tackle some of the tough questions facing teams as they adopt Agile. If you haven't already read Ken's great book, please pick up a copy of Essential Scrum on Amazon today! You can also read Ken's blog and learn more about his services through his website innolution.com. I hope you enjoy this episode and please remember to subscribe in iTunes. Do you have a question that you would like answered in an upcoming podcast? Please send your question to: email@example.com. All Things Agile - Episode 011 - Ken Rubin Interview Transcript: Welcome to the All Things Agile Podcast – your destination for tips and interviews with the leaders in the world of Agile. Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, and please check out our sponsor: TeamXcelerator.com. And now, here’s your host: Ronnie Andrews Jr. Ronnie: Hello everyone and welcome to All Things Agile. I’m very excited to announce that Ken Rubin is our guest today on the show. Ken is a noted author of Essential Scrum as well as being a public speaker and Agile instructor. Before we begin, a quick reminder that this podcast is for informational purposes only and we accept no legal liability. So let’s get started! First off, Ken, thank you so much for joining us on this episode. I am really glad to have you on this show. I’ve given the audience just a quick introduction, but can you please take a few minutes and explain a little bit more about yourself, both personally and professionally? We really want to get a chance to know you. Ken: Sure! So my background is software engineering. My degrees are all in computer science and I’ve had a typical path through most software companies. I’ve been a developer, project manager, VP of Engineering at a number of companies both large and small. I’ve done 10 startup companies in my career, and I’ve taken two of those public on the NASDAQ. I did my 2 year stint with IBM in the mid-1990s. I’ve helped companies and I worked with 130 people; we ran around North America building large distributed object systems and if anybody’s old enough to remember, I came out of the Small Talk world. Back in the late-1980s, I helped bring Small Talk out of the research labs at Xerox PARC, and I worked with a startup company that was a spin-off of Xerox PARC called Barclay System. We were the early market object technology folks. So we brought Small Talk and object technology to the market. I’ve been doing Agile since the early-1990s. Scrum, formally, since 2000. In those days, I worked for a startup company in Colorado called Genomica. It was a 90 person engineering team, and they let the VP of engineering go. I ended up inheriting the engineering team which wasn’t functioning all that well and we transitioned everybody over to Scrum. And that ended up working out much better for us. And I’ve been using Scrum ever since, about 14 years. These days, I spend my time out either doing Scrum training classes and Kanban training classes or doing coaching. And, I hope that in our discussion today I can go over a number of examples that I had the benefit of seeing a lot of different companies and what’s working and what isn’t working. Ronnie: Thank you for the introduction Ken. I’m really looking forward to the insights you can provide us based on your considerable experience. The first question I’d liked to ask you, regarding your book Essential Scrum, is in regards to the dedication and introduction. It really got me thinking about the importance of relationships and software. I also started thinking about how relationships or soft-skills play into the success of Scrum.
All Things Agile - Episode 010 - Resolving Team Conflict
Welcome to another episode of All Things Agile. In this episode, we discuss the tough subject of team conflict. Whether your Agile or not, every organization is bound to encounter team conflict. We'll discuss how to resolve existing conflict as well as preventing it from even occurring. I am also very excited to announce that the next episode will feature an interview with notable Agile author, Ken Rubin. Ken is the great mind behind Essential Scrum. I hope you enjoy this episode and make sure you subscribe to catch the upcoming interview using this link: iTunes. Reviews on iTunes are also always appreciated. Do you have a question that you would like answered in an upcoming podcast? Please send your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org. All Things Agile - Episode 010 - Resolving Team Conflict Transcript: Welcome to the All Things Agile Podcast! Your destination for tips and interviews with the leaders in the world of Agile. Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, and please check out our sponsor: TeamXcelerator.com. And now, here’s your host: Ronnie Andrews Jr. Hello everyone and welcome to the All Things Agile Podcast! First off, I want to get started by issuing an apology for the delay in getting a new episode out. The reason why is because I have an upcoming guest and unfortunately, we are not able to get the scheduling worked out in time for this episode. But, I am pleased to announce that Ken Ruben, author of Essential Scrum, will be the honored guest in our next episode. That said, I want to go ahead and issue another episode. I don’t want to keep you waiting too long – and with that, I hope you accept my apologies for the delay in getting this episode out to you. Now, before we begin, a quick reminder that this podcast is for informational purposes only and accepts no legal liability. So the topic for today will be ‘Resolving Team Conflict’. Virtually any team you will be working on is going to have some degree of conflict. It’s just part of human nature. You can’t all agree 100% of the time, even though Agile encourages more of a democratic approach to what the team is working on and the approaches that they use, there’s bound to be some degree of conflict on any team that you work on. Now, before we dive into solutions to resolving team conflict, let’s first identify the different types of conflict. One type I think is just general healthy conflict and what really we’re referring to is debate. Using the word ‘conflict’ is probably inappropriate in this particular case. An example of debate, you may have people that share different ideas and solutions and what type of technologies should be used, or different coding practices, whatever. That’s fine. Having those healthy debates, discussing ideas, is actually a good thing. In this case, it allows you to have differing points of opinion which can be discussed, evaluated and reach an ultimate decision on. And that’s fine. That’s a healthy form of debate or conflict, if you will. And, if you have a little bit of that on your team, that’s fine and I wouldn’t worry about it. What we’re really going to be focusing on in this particular episode, is unhealthy debate. And I would describe unhealthy conflict or debate as a case where it’s really impacting the team. Where it’s creating what I like to call a toxic environment. You can definitely tell it when you’re part of a team that’s having this because it just brings everybody down. It brings the morale down, and it just feels like the team has been poisoned, if you will. And you’re going to see evidence of that not only in the morale, but the conversation, the level of communication and collaboration are going to go down. You are going to see people that are going to be engaging in using a lot of inappropriate language. You’re going to have a lot of people
All Things Agile - Episode 009 - Scrum of Scrums
Welcome to another great episode of All Things Agile. This blog and podcast is dedicated not only to interviews with Agile leaders but also to actionable and practical advice. In this episode, we tackle Scrum of Scrums. Well cover what it is, mechanics, benefits, and things to watch out for. If you have multiple Agile teams, this is an episode you must checkout. As always, please take a moment to subscribe using this link: iTunes. Reviews on iTunes are also always appreciated. Do you have a question that you would like answered in an upcoming podcast, please send your question to: email@example.com. All Things Agile - Episode 009 - Scrum of Scrums Transcript: Welcome to the All Things Agile Podcast! Your destination for tips and interviews with the leaders in the world of Agile. Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, and please check out our sponsor: TeamXcelerator.com. And now, here’s your host: Ronnie Andrews Jr. Ronnie: Hello everyone and welcome to the All Things Agile Podcast. Today’s topic will be: Scrum of Scrums. What are they and how do you implement them successfully? But before we begin – a quick reminder that this podcast is for informational purposes only and accepts no legal liability. So let’s get started. As part of the AgileInstructor.com blog and this podcast, All Things Agile, I like to alternate between interviews and informational content. I think it’s important to help listeners with direct, actionable advice based on hands-on experience. Interviews are great and I certainly look forward to conducting more interviews, including in the next episode – however, I definitely want to include direct content. Things that I’ve learned from my experience that I hope can help you.One of those topics that is often overlooked is Scrum of Scrums. Now, many people have heard of this, but are not really quite sure how to pull it off or perhaps they’re kind of winging it right now and perhaps haven’t seen what has worked at other organizations and are maybe looking for some additional advice. So I’d like to focus today on, again, Scrum of Scrums. So in this case, let’s start with ‘What is it?’ For those who haven’t heard that term – Scrum of Scrums – basically, when you have the individual Scrum teams, maybe in a smaller company or at a team that’s focused on a product –that team might work well and be able to take care of all the needs and that’s great. However, you may have cases when one team is just not enough to fulfill the needs of a product. Or perhaps there are multiple products being worked on and perhaps each team is working on one particular product or component, but those teams then have dependencies on each other. So just to recap: you may have cases where you have to have multiple teams working in order to get the job done on a particular product because there’s just so much work to do; or perhaps you still have multiple teams, not because multiple teams are required for a particular product or component, but just because maybe there is a dependency between the teams. You may have a product A and a product B, and you may have a case where the products are supposed to act like a suite. For example, a lot of Apple and Microsoft products are designed to work together with each other. And so, in that case, even though the teams may be working on separate products, they still may have dependencies on each other in which case there are pieces of the puzzle that still need to align with each other. With any of our project managers in the listening audience, they’ll immediately start to think ‘Well, you got to keep these teams in sync’ because if the teams are working on the same product or multiple products with dependencies, then there’s definitely the risk that the teams can end up stepping on each other. And, you run into other issues w
All Things Agile - Episode 008 - Nupura Kolwalkar Interview
I am thrilled to bring you a true business leader to the show. This episode features an interview with HealthPort CTO, Nupura Kolwalkar. Learn how she championed the transition to Agile in her organization. We will discuss challenges, tips, and most importantly, results. I hope you are enjoying the great targeted content on this podcast. Please take a moment to subscribe in iTunes using this link: iTunes. Also, please send me your thoughts and questions using firstname.lastname@example.org. All Things Agile - Episode 008 - Nupura Kolwalkar Interview Transcript: Welcome to the All Things Agile Podcast - your destination for tips and interviews with the leaders in the world of Agile. Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and please check out our sponsor: TeamXcelerator.com. And now, here’s your host – Ronnie Andrews Jr. Ronnie: Hello everyone and thank you for joining me for another exciting episode of All Things Agile. Today I’m joined by a special guest: Nupura Kolwalkar. She’s a long-time friend and former colleague of mine. Nupura is a business leader who is utilizing Agile to accelerate her organization. So first off, thank you Nupura for joining us today – it is definitely an honor. Nupura: Thank you for having me on the show. Ronnie: Can you please take a moment to tell our audience more about your background, maybe both personally and professionally? Nupura: Sure! So I have been in the healthcare IT space for about 9 years now. I have been exposed to all aspects or most aspects to approach IT from a revenue cycle, clinical, HR and analytics perspective. So a good, broad understanding of this day’s American healthcare industry. It’s been an interesting journey – as much as everybody focuses on the actual industry and the domain expertise, through 9 years, more of my learning has been on the talent management and process simplification side, although the domain expertise is always a great plus. What I enjoy most about my role, where I’m at now, is that I get to see folks learn something from simple processes and direct conversation that helps them to be better professionals at their workplace and find joy in working with their teammates. Currently, I am working at HealthPort Technologies as the Chief Technology Officer. I have worked in the past with companies like McKesson, Pfizer, NextGen – so I have a wide variety or background, but I’ve definitely found my groove where I am. That’s professionally. Personally, I have two young kids, a husband, a house, a typical family with a dog as well. So, standard young family, mom role at home. So my goal always is, if I take on a new challenge, how do I rely on the talent that I hire and work with to achieve my personal work-life balance; which is usually measured by how many times in a week do I have to take my laptop back home. And currently I take my laptop home only in the weekends, which I think speaks to my theories and my co-workers and the folks that work in our organization. So that’s probably more on the personal side. I love to travel, love to interact and learn these things; I love change, so change is probably the most constant thing in my life. Ronnie: That’s a great introduction – thank you so much! First off, I really wanted to thank you for coming on the show because you’re really our first guest that’s coming on as a business leader. We’ve had some other guests before that were sort of with the Agile gurus and more like instructors and so forth; but I’m really excited to have an actual person who is putting this in place in the field as a business leader and implementing Agile in their organization and being able to testify to the impact. So with that, I’d probably like to dive into our first question which is: As a business leader, how has the use of Agile impacted your teams? Nupura: When I think about
All Things Agile - Episode 007 - Tips for Startups
In this episode, I tackle some common challenges faced by young start-ups trying to implement Agile. If you are a solo entrepreneur or have a few cofounders trying to launch a successful tech startup, then I certainly suggest you checkout today's episode. As mentioned in the episode, I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes. Of course, I hope that you will leave a 5-star review. I will try to mention reviewers in upcoming episodes. Here is a link to subscribe and post a review: itms://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/all-things-agile/id640441739 All Things Agile - Episode 007 - Tips for Startups Transcript: Welcome to the All Things Agile Podcast! Your destination for tips and interviews with the leaders in the world of Agile. Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, and please check out our sponsor: TeamXcelerator.com. And now, here’s your host: Ronnie Andrews Jr. Hello everyone and welcome to the All Things Agile Podcast! We have another great show lined up for you today. In this episode, we’ll be covering tips for startup companies. But before we begin, a friendly reminder to please submit an iTunes review. The reviews are very helpful and a way to acknowledge the great free content presented on this show. I also look forward to giving you a shout out in an upcoming episode. So let’s dive into today’s topic. How to implement an Agile solution in a young company? A quick reminder that this podcast is for informational purposes only and accepts no legal liability. So, in the case of this episode, I will be defining a young company as 1-3 co-founders. A company certainly less than 10 members in total. Agile is often considered the cool thing to do. So many people try to start using it! A common mistake is to start Agile methodologies before having the critical mass to do so. Let me take a moment to better explain. Methodologies such as Scrum are often designed for larger organizations and not 2 co-founders. For example, a typical Scrum practice is to have 7, plus or minus 2 team members. Having many team members provides resiliency. If a team member isn’t feeling well, goes on vacation or is otherwise unavailable, the team can still function. There are other team members available to absorb bumps in the road. Also, don’t forget the roles of Product Owner and Scrum Master. A fresh startup doesn’t likely have the resources to staff a team this large. Chances are a startup has 2-3 people, working long hours and performing virtually every role, including taking out the trash. Literally. So what other Agile approaches, such as Kanban? What about those? Well, I definitely believe that Kanban is a bit more sexy at the moment and it certainly has its advantages. It’s a great tool for teams that are more queue based in the work, such as product support teams. It’s a lightweight approach with minimal formalities and that said, based on my personal experience though, I still believe that Kanban needs at least a minimal level of critical mass to be successful. I would recommend a team size of at least 5 to successfully implement Kanban. It can be a daunting challenge to build a Kanban team with only 2 or 3 founders who are wearing numerous hats. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but that it simply may not be wise. So what can I recommend for a young startup? I would advise not worrying about trying to follow a structured methodology. If you are in the early stages of 1-5 company members, it’s great if you can adopt a full methodology, but you may find yourself focused more on following ceremonies, rather than the urgent needs of building a company. The key is to not worry about having an efficient team when you’re just starting. Instead, I challenge you to become an effective team. Simply put, if you are efficient, but not effective, it won’t matter because you’ll be o
All Things Agile - Episode 006 - Jeff Sutherland Interview
I am pleased to share an interview with Agile pioneer, Jeff Sutherland. Jeff is a founding father of Scrum and Agile. He is a noted author and speaker. Jeff provides insight to many of the largest organizations in the world. In this episode, Jeff addresses some of the tough issues facing today's organizations. Please take a moment to listen using the link below or subscribe to the podcast using this link. Please visit Jeff's website: scruminc.com to learn more and check out available courses. During the episode, Jeff mentioned several great books which are linked below for your convenience. Please take a moment to pick up a few copies for your Agile teams. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time All Things Agile - Episode 006 - Jeff Sutherland Interview Transcript: Welcome to the All Things Agile Podcast – your destination for tips and interviews with the leaders in the world of Agile. Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and please check out our sponsor: TeamXcelerator.com. And now, here’s your host: Ronnie Andrews Jr. Ronnie: Hello everyone and welcome to the All Things Agile Podcast. I’m very excited to announce that today’s guest is Jeff Sutherland. He’s a true legend in the world of Agile, especially Scrum. He’s a founding father of Scrum and also an original participant in the Agile Manifesto. I’m very excited to have him on today’s show and I’m hoping that he can shed some insight into how implement Agile teams in larger organizations. So let’s go ahead and get started. First off, thank you Jeff for joining us today! Regarding my first question, I’d like to know what is your input or advice on how to implement Agile successfully in today’s global workforce where we often have teams that are spread across the globe: India, China, etc. How can we implement Agile successfully even if our teams are globally distributed? Jeff: Well, first of all, Scrum simplifies their already complex Waterfall implementations. So Scrum is easier to implement globally than traditional approaches. I’ve worked with many skilled firms over many years – the first one was actually IDX, now GE Healthcare, which was a competitor to McKesson and in fact, the head of marketing – Pam, at IDX who worked with me, implementing Agile there, went on to become the CEO of McKesson; she might still be there, I don’t know, I haven’t checked recently. But she was probably there when you were doing your Agile transformation. But IDX, at the time, had 8 business units. Each business unit had a minimum of 3 products. Many of them were acquired technologies, acquired companies, mainly in the United States, but some teams that I’ve worked with were in Europe; but scattered all over the place. So we scaled Scrum in a big way. One of the best teams was actually in 3 locations across the continent. So I’ve written about at least a half a dozen papers on good distributed implementations of Scrum, and Scrum is the only way of doing software that allows you to actually scale up without losing productivity per developer. As soon as you start to scale Waterfall, the productivity per developer goes down. It starts to drop radically once you get more than 6 people, which is why we keep Scrum teams small. But by keeping Scrum teams small and then using the scalability mechanism that we do, we actually have several case studies now which are the only ones every published showing that you can scale globally and when you scale, you can get linear scalability by adding teams. Of course, you have to do Scrum well. Now, one of the problems with any kind of distribution – Microsoft did a study on this a few years ago in a process group – and they found that in every case, in 10 years of doing Microsoft distributed development, in every case, it delayed the project, it increased the project risk