Working on your PMP/ACP certification renewal? Earn 10 Category B PDUs from this self-study course.
Starting an Agile transition, or going through one? Set yourself up for success:
In this unique self-study course led by Gil Broza, 10 industry leaders share the key concepts they consider for an organization’s Agile journey
This training awards 10 Category B PDUs.
The Agile Journey series was well worth my time. I wrote over 35 pages of hand written notes… What I liked best was the real life experiences and observations about the ongoing challenges of implementing organizational Agile. I appreciated Gil’s calm and cool demeanor in probing questions to break complexities into digestible issues. Gil’s questions encouraged the guests to think deeply about some of the ongoing issues of adopting Agile practices.
— Frank Mangini, Agile/Lean Project Management Instructor, UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley, California
There is a lot more to Agile (and becoming Agile) than meets the eye
You know that Agile is more than meetings, artifacts, and process. You know that an Agile journey bears more resemblance to Columbus’s voyage than to a drive around town. But what is actually involved in becoming Agile? Which aspects matter a lot more than others? And why is it that most organizations adopt Agile, but only a few seem to get the amazing results that were promised?
In this training, Gil Broza interviews 10 outstanding authors, mentors, executives, innovators, and practitioners. Every one of them has played a leading role in several successful Agile journeys.
You know some of these experts from books, conferences, and webinars. Other guests are accomplished practitioners who seldom speak publicly about their work. All of them are the real deal. And they have accepted Gil’s invitation to this platform to share their knowledge and experience with you. You will receive real, unbiased education.
You’ll be happy you listened to these folks, because you’ll …
- Receive tons of information and advice, which will be useful and applicable wherever you are on your Agile journey
- Explore both principles and practices – both what successful teams and organizations do and why they succeed
- Understand just how deep/extreme Agile gets, and the corresponding risks and rewards
- Shorten the journey to success with Agile, which is neither short nor easy
Thank you Gil for putting this on! I really enjoyed it and you did a great job hosting! All the interviews helped me and were interesting. From each one, I learned something new, confirmed what I have experienced, and extended my knowledge.
— Steven Adams, Fremont, California
This training includes:
1. Organizational Support: Actions Speak Louder than Words
Gone are the days of “guerrilla Agile,” when development teams would just pick an iterative life cycle regardless of their organizational process. Also gone are the days when a single manager in a traditionally minded organization would run ahead with an isolated Agile implementation in their team. Nowadays, the highest managerial levels speak the Agile language, and include it in corporate initiatives. Talking about it, however, doesn’t always result in effective change. Out first guest, an executive who has spearheaded large transformations, shares his lessons and philosophy in bridging this gap.
Nick is VP, Enterprise Product Engineering at Desire2Learn in Kitchener, Ontario. Before leading their Agile journey, Nick managed more than 1,000 professionals in 40 offices as senior VP of R&D at OpenText. In addition to supporting local startups as part of Communitech’s Hyperdrive incubator, Nick has also mentored young entrepreneurs through the University of Waterloo’s VeloCity program. With a strong background in engineering, he continues to look for research and learning outside of computer science that can help influence how software is built.
2. A Team-Friendly Environment: Making Collaboration Possible
You cannot expect to realize meaningful gains from the Agile approach if you don’t grow solid teams. This is especially true for complex and changing knowledge work, such as software development. Solid teams leverage collective wisdom and ability, creating outstanding results that individual members just can’t pull off on their own. To do that, your organizational environment must explicitly help – and be careful not to hinder – the growth of collaborative teams. What does that mean in practice? Which conditions are necessary? What should you watch out for? Tricia Broderick has many stories and insights to share.
Passionately focused on the facilitation of high-performance software development environments, Tricia brings sixteen years of experience including the last six years of focus with an Agile mindset. She leverages and openly shares work experience stories and examples to inspire people, especially managers and leaders to reach new heights through continuous reflection, both as individuals and as members of innovative teams. Tricia is a highly experienced leader, coach, mentor, presenter, trainer, and speaker, recently joining the Santeon Group’s Learning team.
Listen to an excerpt (duration: 5m 18s)
3. Stop Sprinting, Start Iterating: Embracing Uncertainty and Learning
The Agile approach is all about using feedback to learn and adapt, which is necessary in complex and fast changing environments where there can be many unknowns. Our next guest unpacks the abstractions of “feedback loops” and “iterating” for us. He shows us how to replace our traditional response to uncertainty, which is to put rules and controls in place, with solutions that drive better results and organizational health.
Ted’s a coder, speaker, author, coach, and systems thinker. He’s been doing the Agile “thing” in software development since 2000, after seeing Martin Fowler give a talk on eXtreme Programming. Since then, Ted’s worked for eBay and Google, learning and discovering what happens when Agile meets Large Companies and finding that the road to Agile isn’t always obvious. For over seven years, Ted’s worked at Guidewire Software, as a developer, a manager, and unofficial Agile Coach, helping them develop software better using ideas from the Agile and Lean software communities, along with raising awareness of cognitive biases and why we’re not always as rational as we think we are.
4. Whole Product Thinking: More than a Backlog of Features
Agile methods bring development and customers (“the business”) closer together. Most notably, they encourage a common currency by having both roles work directly with items of value – stories, use cases, or features. That’s great in theory, but as many Agile teams have discovered, a stream of features is not enough to make a viable product. Andrew McGlinchey, who has managed multiple products at both Google and Microsoft, shares his views and practical experience with Agile product management.
Andrew’s job is to make Googley things happen in Southeast Asia. He joined Google in 2008 and is now the Head of Product Management for Southeast Asia, bringing Google’s wide range of products and services to the region. Prior to Google, Andrew worked on such diverse domains as developing conversational agents and automatic video editing at startups, improving voicemail at Nortel and building the user interface of Windows Vista at Microsoft.
5. A Quality Mind-set: Beyond Defects and Automated Tests
Ah, quality. You know it when you see it. Or more likely, you notice (and groan) when it’s absent. Agile teams take it quite seriously: they don’t “assure quality” only at the end of a project, instead they fix most defects as soon as they are found, and automate many unit and functional tests. But even that is not enough. Our next guest lives and breathes quality, particularly in Agile environments; he brings up many questions for you to consider as you contemplate your approach to quality.
Paul has devoted 20 years to learning and applying testing approaches, models, methods, techniques and tools for uncovering quality. He’s now passing on that knowledge to individuals and organizations through coaching, consulting, training, writing and speaking internationally. Paul is passionate about understanding human ecosystems for delivering great products that satisfy and delight customers.
6. Technical Excellence: Changing the Rules of the Development Game
The standards for professional software development have changed, but not just because the world has had more time to practice. If we are to build software in an Agile framework – where being right trumps being fast, change is welcome, and teams share responsibility for their product – we must change the rules of the development game. Most Agile organizations don’t expect technical excellence from their teams, or don’t know what it takes and how to make it happen. Arlo Belshee, a trailbrazer in the Agile community, has a lot to share about turning this situation around; after all, he’s doing that right now at Microsoft.
Arlo is famous in the Agile community for two mold-breaking works: Promiscuous Pairing and Naked Planning. His style is quite probably like no one else’s. In his words: “I make teams. I make code. I make awesome. I enjoy fixing legacy cultures and legacy code, without introducing bugs in either case. Sometimes I write compilers. Other times I teach people about emotional intelligence or how to learn. I transition teams of between 5 and 1200 to tech-first Agile software dev. I don’t just get teams to go Agile, I get them to awesome.”
7. The Get-to-Done Mentality: Finish What You Start
Before Agile came along, we used to start big projects and do our best to finish them. Those projects included hundreds of tasks, few of which had direct value to the customer; for instance, programming tasks were done when the “Works on my machine” bell rang. Agile turns this world-view upside down. Projects are never really over, because we constantly negotiate the value to deliver; but the building blocks from which structure our projects – we do want to finish those. Johanna Rothman sheds ample light on this item for your Agile journey, informally known as “Getting to Done.”
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, and the 2008 Jolt Productivity award-winning Manage It!. She co-hosts with Gil the annual transformational event The Influential Agile Leader. 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.
8. Cultural Fit: Can You Handle the Truth?
Culture, not process, drives everything in an organization. Culture predicts how people behave, what they will communicate, and what gets rewarded or punished. Some organizations find the transparency, feedback, self-organization, and responsibility-taking of Agile an excellent fit for their culture. Other organizations get nervous just from introducing the meetings and artifacts. The author of “The Culture Game” expands your insight into your organization, how Agile might fit it over time, and what you can do to change painful areas.
Dan Mezick is a management consultant, author and keynote speaker. He is the formulator of Open Agile Adoption, a technique for creating rapid and lasting enterprise agility. He is the author of The Culture Game, a book describing sixteen patterns of group behavior that help make any team smarter. The book is based on five years of experience coaching 119 Agile teams across 25 different organizations. Dan’s client list includes Zappos Insights, CIGNA, Siemens Healthcare, Harvard University and many smaller enterprises.
Listen to an excerpt (duration: 4m 10s)
9. Embracing Change: Turning the One Constant from Foe to Friend
Change is a reality of business, and poignantly so in today’s complex knowledge work environments. In many organizations, “change management” approaches — whether applied to work structure or project content — usually amount to “change avoidance.” Even though there’s value in up-front planning, the Agile mind-set recognizes that change (voluntary or otherwise) is not only inevitable, it can be a blessing and an advantage. Our next guest, Guy Nachimson, shares his experiences from years of operating with this world-view. We explore such matters as buy-in and the safety to push back; continuous improvement both top-down and bottom-up; and approaching change from a responsibility standpoint.
Guy has been working in various roles in the software development industry since 1998. In the past years he’s been working for Software AG, leading its Israeli R&D lab. As part of a lean and agile transformation in the past years, he’s taken a role as a change agent and agile coach, participating in various process improvement initiatives. Guy is a father of three. He blogs at www.thoughtsOfALeanGuy.com. Studied art and philosophy alongside math and computer science. This February, he will run his first half marathon.
10. The Agile Principles and Values: Doing What Really Matters
Most unsuccessful Agile “implementations” can be explained by over-adherence to a rigid, prescribed process. But using the artifacts and meetings without accepting the underlying philosophy won’t do you any good. In fact, it’s more likely to cause anxiety and disengagement. In our closing interview, the author of one of this decade’s best-selling Agile books explains how you can make Agile work for you.
Ken Rubin is Managing Principal at Innolution, a company that provides Scrum and agile training and coaching to help companies develop products in an effective and economically sensible way. A Certified Scrum Trainer, Ken has trained over 20,000 people on agile and Scrum, Kanban, Smalltalk development, managing object-oriented projects, and transition management. He has coached over 200 companies, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 10. Ken was the first managing director of the worldwide Scrum Alliance. He is particularly known these days for writing Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. He is also the creator of the Visual AGILExicon®, a freely available set of vibrant, four-color icons for composing graphically rich and visually appealing three dimensional representations of agile and Scrum concepts.
Listen to an excerpt (duration: 4m 59s)
The conversational interview nature of this training is much more engaging than just about any classroom training I’ve attended. It makes it really easy to pay attention and get good value.
— Adam Myhr, Software Developer
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 mp3 interviews on your own schedule and from anywhere: at 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 March 17 and 21, 2014.
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
commenting on Gil’s earlier virtual training, Individuals and Interactions
This concentration of practical, proven, unbiased content is rare.
About your host, Gil Broza
Organizing this virtual training to help you on your Agile journey 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.