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Apply proven strategies, approaches, and actions to make the Agile promise happen
In this unique self-study course presented by Gil Broza, 11 world-renowned experts reveal how exactly they guide teams to be the best they can be — and how you can too
The set of interviews approach the subject of “Individuals and Interactions over Process and Tools” from many angles, with some theoretical discussion, but with the majority of the conversation concentrating on practical aspects of working in and with Agile teams. There are so many takeaways — stories, ideas and practical information that you are likely to discover new gems of valuable information even after listening many times over. This important resource is essential listening for any organisation looking to embark on an Agile journey, as well as for team members and Agile Coaches who want to learn how to be better at their job.
— Lynn Shrewsbury, Agile Coach at Solnet Solutions, Brisbane, Australia
These are issues that I am trying to advance in myself and others, and I felt these sessions were a good mix of “things that help convince yourself and others that this is the right way to go”, “real life examples”, “tips and tools” and exposure to people or bodies of knowledge that contain even more tools.
— O. G., Director of Software Development, Israel
Master the tricky side of Agile
Despite Agile’s 15-year track record and wildfire-like spread, its human dimension still proves tricky. The results are showing, as too many teams and leaders accomplish far less than their potential. Most are aware of the challenges but not how to overcome them (which explains the best-selling reception of Gil’s book on leading Agile teams, The Human Side of Agile: How to Help Your Team Deliver).
This course consists of 10 hours of interviews Gil has had with 11 outstanding authors, mentors, executives, leaders, facilitators, innovators, coaches, and practitioners. Every one of them has been putting people before process in software development and other knowledge work for over 20 years.
You know many of these experts from books, conferences, and webinars — they are the real deal. When you hear them speak, you sense their empathy. Other guests are dedicated leaders who seldom speak publicly about their work. All have accepted Gil’s invitation to this platform to share their learning, and you have the special opportunity to meet them.
You’ll be happy you listened to these folks, because you’ll …
- Identify and solve problems better, since every problem is a people problem
- Be able to increase productivity (process improvements will only get you so far)
- Shorten the journey to success with Agile, which is neither short nor easy
- Discover ways to reduce your stress and workload (for real)
An excellent set of explorations of the all-too-neglected first value of Agile.
— Susan Thompson, Business Analyst, Scrum Master and Product Owner
Gil assembled a who’s who of speakers to focus on “Individuals and Interactions” in agile software development and what a series it was!!! Many individuals and teams focus on the tools used in agile development but forget the critical interactions that need to happen to be successful. The recordings and transcripts are irreplaceable and I will refer to them as much as I do with my books and other online tools. My favorite session was David Spann’s talk on “Being a Collaborative Leader”, worth the price right there.
— Derek Mahlitz, Agile Coach and ScrumMaster at Tyler Technologies, Albany, NY
This training includes:
We open with a brief introduction to the training modules, the reasoning behind their selection, and how the content is organized. Having helped more than 50 companies worldwide succeed with Agile, Gil then gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how he puts people before process. What does he pay attention to during assessments? How does he structure training to stick? What’s his coaching style? How does he help people integrate new habits?
1. People are not “resources”
A bona-fide leader who has built his innovative business by putting people first, Rick shares his experience and insights on successful product development and service delivery. We examine how to go past “getting it done” and being truly exceptional with your clients. We explore respect for staff and peers, and what it means to treat people as people in the business world. We discuss why a sustainable pace matters, how to encourage and back self-organization, and ways to motivate effectively.
Rick is the CEO of a people-centric business and technology company, Ross Innovation Inc. His background includes architecting the turnarounds of multiple businesses and the conception and development of many commercial and enterprise software systems. He writes about leadership and innovation and his thoughts have appeared in the Harvard Business Review. Rick regularly coaches executives, technologists and their teams.
2. Focus keeps you going
Software development and other brain-work professionals pride themselves on their ability to multi-task. Sometimes, that ability is useful. More often, individuals as well as teams can be more productive by just focusing on something and finishing it. But productivity and delivering value are just one side of this coin; the ability and permission to focus are critical to our long-term sanity and enjoyment. They are vital for the quality of our thought processes and of our deliverables. We examine the disservice of multi-tasking, and delve into ways to stop the madness.
Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” helps organizational leaders see problems and risks in their product development. She helps them recognize potential “gotchas,” seize opportunities, and remove impediments. She is the author of 6 books, including Hiring Geeks That Fit, Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects, and the 2008 Jolt Productivity award-winning Manage It!. In addition to working on her next book (on Agile program management), she writes columns for Stickyminds.com and projectmanagment.com, maintains three blogs, and is the technical editor at Agile Connection.
Listen to an excerpt (duration: 4m 38s)
|Ellen GottesdienerMary Gorman||
3. Nurture the joy of delivering value
Nowadays, especially in Agile environments, many folks self-identify as “people who deliver value to delight customers.” People who speak this way are typically more motivated, energized and productive. Ellen and Mary, the authors of Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis share their perspective on value delivery and its connection to joy and meaning in work. You will learn useful practices that foster the joy of delivering value.
Ellen Gottesdiener, Founder and Principal with EBG Consulting, is an internationally recognized facilitator, coach, trainer, and speaker. She is an expert in Agile product and project management practices, product envisioning and roadmapping, business analysis and requirements, retrospectives, and collaboration. Ellen works with global clients and speaks at numerous industry conferences. She is a Certified Professional Facilitator and a Certified ScrumMaster. Ellen is the author of two acclaimed books: Requirements by Collaboration and The Software Requirements Memory Jogger.
Mary Gorman is an expert in business analysis, facilitation, coaching and training with deep expertise in business systems and product development. She is Vice President of Quality & Delivery at EBG Consulting, Inc. Mary works with global clients, speaks at industry conferences, and writes on requirements and planning topics for the Agile, business analysis and project management communities. She is a Certified Business Analysis Professional™ and Certified Scrum Master. Mary was instrumental in developing the IIBA® Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® and the IIBA® certification exam. She is a contributor to the PMI® Requirements Management Community of Practice.
Ellen and Mary recently released their new book, Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis.
Listen to an excerpt (duration: 5m 11s)
4. Always take small, safe, feedback-rich steps
Traditional development processes involve a lot of early decision-making, big-bang efforts, and late feedback; this approach often breeds anxiety and frustration. Instead, Agile practitioners work in short cycles punctuated by reviews and daily check-ins. Test-Driven Development brings in even faster micro-cycles. The underlying principle of both practices is simple: Every step ought to be safe, small, and feedback-rich. This principle is good for people, so team members are likely to apply it, and to apply it well. We explore the other applications and implications of this principle — there’s so much more to it than meets the eye — and how it contributes to success.
Ken got excited about Agile development in 2003 and was one of the first to start combining agile methods with data warehousing, business intelligence, and analytics. Ken’s book, Agile Analytics: A Value-driven Approach to Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing describes the successful adaptation of agile techniques to the nuances of data warehousing and BI.
As the Director of Agile Analytics for ThoughtWorks, Ken extends his Agile BI techniques to “Big Data” analytics initiatives. This focus includes NoSQL technologies, social analytics techniques, unstructured data analysis, data science, predictive and quantitative analytics, and others. Ken was previously the Data Insight and Social BI Practice Director at the Cutter Consortium. Ken writes extensively about Agile Data Warehousing and BI on his blog theagilist.com. Follow his musings on Twitter @theagilist.
5. A standardized environment is for standard people
Agile methods favor co-location and open spaces. For many teams, however, that’s not in the cards. We discuss how Agile teams set up their space, various aspects of communication and collaboration, refactoring the space, dealing with the furniture police, getting over workspace inertia, etc.
Doc List has been working in the software profession for over thirty years. During that time, Doc has filled just about every role in a software organization, from junior programmer to CEO. In the 1980’s, Doc owned and ran a Silicon Valley consultancy at which he experimented with iterative development and customer collaboration. In the last several years, he has brought his unique engaging style to coaching, training, and facilitating Agile software development teams.
6. Collaboration requires a suitable social environment
For a collaborative, self-organizing team to ever grow, it’s not enough to put people in proximity. An important catalyst is their social experience: their daily nonwork interactions, the bonds that may form, and the values they share. We explore the social side of teams and how to nurture it for great results.
Caren is the Vice President, Human Resources at Intelliware, a pioneer of Agile-minded custom software development. Having been with Intelliware since 1997, she has contributed to the creation of a sustainable company culture and her influence is evident in all aspects of the organization. Caren holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia and has been a registered Professional Engineer since 1989.
7. High performance teams require investment
High performance is voluntary. You cannot incentivize it. Yes, team members will go above and beyond the call of duty — but it’s not enough to just give them a helpful process framework, send them off to training, and back off. Many teams can work their way through forming and storming, achieving some level of cooperation and an acceptable level of performance. But to make the team truly exceed the sum of its members, you need to invest (surprisingly, you don’t necessarily need to invest a lot!) We discuss what research and experience consistently show that you can and can’t do to guide your team to high performance.
Christopher is a sought-after, international speaker, author, and business advisor on responsible leadership, teamwork, and change for companies like GAP, Wells Fargo, and Ebay. He is known for his cutting-edge work to demystify and then develop practical team leadership skills for engineers and other technical professionals. Christopher wrote the popular classic Teamwork Is An Individual Skill for everyone who is fed up with working in bad teams. Fortune magazine called it the only book on teamwork you need to read.
As the visionary force behind the worldwide Leadership Gift community, Christopher applies groundbreaking discoveries about personal responsibility and performance to support leaders intent on rapidly building highly reliable, agile, sustainable, and accelerating teams and cultures.
Listen to an excerpt (duration: 4m 05s)
8. Manage less, lead more
In well-run Agile environments managers spend less time managing work and more time leading people. Doing so supports their teams’ agility while freeing the managers up to do bigger things. What are those bigger things? What do Agile managers do on a daily basis? Must they be “people people” to succeed? When do they step in, and when do they step back? How do they handle tough leadership situations? Eugene Kiel shows us how it’s done — as far up as the executive level.
Eugene Kiel is Vice President, Research Platform Services at Cengage Learning. Over the past four years, Eugene and his agile development teams have revitalized Cengage Learning’s library research product portfolio. They have delivered numerous award-winning products, which are used by 50 million students monthly in over 30,000 libraries worldwide.
Cengage Learning’s development teams under Eugene’s leadership are committed to the continuous pursuit of business value, self-organizing team principles, continuous improvement, and test-first development techniques, ensuring that 80-90% of all software dollars invested are value-add with only 10-20% used for quality assurance and product break/fix. In the 16 years prior to joining Cengage Learning, Eugene was instrumental in growing CText from a five person company in 1984 to a world-class product development organization, delivering advertising and editorial content management solutions to the largest and most prestigious newspaper publishers in the world.
Listen to an excerpt (duration: 4m 43s)
9. Being a Collaborative Leader
Being a collaborative leader requires a clear set of beliefs, as well as disciplined practices to back up those beliefs. Do you want people to work together better, deliver results faster, and exceed basic customer satisfaction? Then you will need to look in the mirror and see how your behaviors match the collaborative leader role expectations. We explore helpful attitudes and behaviors that you can immediately apply to create an environment in which others succeed.
Sneak peek: If you’re a senior manager/executive and you’re considering Vistage, David has a gift that will shock you. Listen for it at the end of his interview!
David Spann is the Chair of Vistage – Idaho: a highly confidential group of Chief Executives interested in growing their firms through leadership, productivity and bottom line results. His roots in the Agile movement stretch back to 2002, when he started organizing conferences and executive tracks. Since then, the Cutter IT Journal has published many of David’s works on the managerial and leadership expectations of Agile organizations. He has also consulted with diverse firms such as Backcountry.com, Fidelity, Aquent, Virgin Money, and Pitney Bowes
In a prior life – David was a District Ranger in the US Forest Service, managing a quarter million acres, several hundred employees and one or two wildfires every year.
10. Human conduct trumps “best practices”
There are established methodologies, traditional approaches, and accepted wisdom. These are implemented – and imitated – as “best practices.” But best practices are not only meaningless without context, they may well produce unreliable or undesirable outcomes, and people will find ways around them. We examine when, where, and how human behavior trumps best practices — and how to turn this phenomenon from foe to friend.
Bob Schatz is a 30-year veteran in the field of enterprise software & systems development and leadership. He has held leadership positions at GE/Lockheed-Martin, Liquent, Primavera Systems, and Solstice Software. Currently, Bob is the Owner of Agile Infusion, a training/consulting practice that helps large enterprises successfully adopt agile development practices. He began his practice as a result of leading the much-publicized agile transition at Primavera beginning in 2002, and then helping many other companies around the world do the same. His clients include NASA, SAP, HP, Scripps Networks, Turner Broadcasting, Intuit, H&R Block, Jewelry TV, Disney, Accenture, Symantec and many others.
Bob is a leader driving culture changes in organizations. He and his team have been featured in a number of industry articles. Bob often speaks at industry events talking about the benefits and challenges of bringing agile techniques into an organization.
Gil assembled a remarkable group of experts, in a highly accessible format, to talk about Agile Leadership. Listening to the secrets of executive leadership was a rare opportunity. There were valuable insights applicable to anyone, at any level. Superb work, Gil.
— Maradene Wills, Innovative Catalyst @ Change Angel @ Technology Solver, Toronto, Canada
Prefer to read the material, or listen to it? You can do both!
We know people have different learning styles. One thing all our students have in common is packed daily schedules with little free time. Therefore, we have made available both the recordings and transcripts of these interviews. Listen to the 10-hours of mp3 interviews on your own schedule and from anywhere: work, in the car, at the gym, or on walks. You can also read their PDF transcripts on your computer, on a mobile device, or on paper; highlight interesting passages, and quickly refer back to specific stories and advice. Use both recordings and transcripts to soak up the guests’ wisdom faster, compress your learning curve, and help you remember more of the tactics, strategies, and mind-set they share.
This series of interviews was broadcast live between May 15 and 23, 2013.
Having downloaded the recordings, I can listen to them again anytime I want. I already picked up on a few nuggets I missed the first time.
— Troy Billings, Technology Project Manager
A rare concentration of practical, proven, people-focused content
Gil used an innovative approach to produce a virtual conference over two weeks on the topic of “Individuals and Interactions.” He assembled a stellar lineup of contributors and interviewed them for us. I’m very impressed with both the quality and the quantity of practical take-aways, which I’m applying daily. Several points came up in multiple interviews, such as “people over process” and “safety”, and there was a definite energy and flow to the sequence, from “People are not ‘Resources’”, through “Human Conduct Trumps ‘Best Practices’”. Thanks again Gil!
— Kelly Arrey, Development Manager at BlueCat Networks, Toronto, Canada
About your host, Gil Broza
Organizing this training to help you put people before process is yet another step in Gil’s mission: to make the software development world effective, humane, and responsible. The previous step was publishing the definitive practical guide to leading Agile teams to greatness, the book The Human Side of Agile. Through coaching, consulting, training, speaking, and writing, Gil has helped thousands of software development professionals address the human characteristics that prevent positive outcomes in teams. These include limiting habits, fear of change, outdated beliefs, and blind spots. In helping teams overcome these factors, he supports them in reaching ever-higher levels of performance, confidence, and accomplishment.