Monday, February 12, 2018

Radio Show Transcript - Disciplined Agile Delivery - Scott Ambler - Recorded February 2, 2018

Disciplined Agile Delivery - Scott Ambler - Recorded February 2, 2018

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FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)

00:00:29;19 - 00:02:28;02
Rick Morris: It's been a crazy week as always here at R Squared Consulting. We've been in Nashville Tennessee or actually Columbia Tennessee closing up to Nashville over the last week working with a client through their Agile transformation. So you know it's going to be a timely discussion today because of that as always. Coming up we're going to be in Memphis next week for a couple of days doing some training and then the big event will be the week after that the 16th through the 22nd will be in Orlando at the John Maxwell Team international Maxwell certification event. So have a lot of people that are looking forward to that. Can't wait to see you guys there the 25th and 26. We'll be back in Birmingham doing some training there. And then of course March 10th. through the 16th is when we're headed out to Costa Rica with John looking at the transformation of that country. So we we're super super excited and very excited to have you guys along for the ride. So let's get into today's show and based on the Twitter traffic and Facebook traffic and all the e-mails that have been getting so many people are super excited to hear from this gentleman. As am I. Because he is a senior consulting partner of his organization and he's been working with organizations around the world to help them improve their software processes. It provides training coaching and mentoring and disciplined Agile in lean strategies at both the project and organizational level. He's a cocreator of the Agile modeling and Agile data methodologies and the discipline Agile framework. He's also the co author of several books including an executive's guide to discipline Agile framework disciplined Agile delivery refactoring databases Agile modeling Agile databased techniques and the object primary Third Edition. He blogs regularly at and his company's home page is the same as his name Scott how are you sir.

00:02:28;02 - 00:02:28;29
Scott Ambler: I'm fantastic.

00:02:29;29 - 00:03:10;03
Rick Morris: And we are ready to go. We're so excited to have you on The Work/Life Balance. And quite frankly we've been talking a lot about Agile lately and certainly with the Agile Almanac book that came out and I know that you provided some advanced readings and worked with one of the authors on the chapters specifically around discipline as well. So since the launch of that book we've had a few of our other authors on here and I've just been in this Agile mood so I couldn't be more excited to have you on the phone and start to dive into some of these questions. But if you would just introduce yourself again and just talk a little bit about what does that mean. You know discipline Agile framework and in what is really business agility.

00:03:11;02 - 00:04:42;16
Scott Ambler: Yeah. So I myself my organization we work with companies around the world to help them understand this Agile and lean stuff and frankly the two groups are. So it's not just about Agile lean what we do. But you know 95 percent of it is and we're all about helping organizations get better become more effective serve the customers better. So the framework actually captures our observations of what works in practice and basically we're with that framework. We're trying to answer the question how does it help all these Agile techniques and lean techniques and strategies and even some more traditional ones fit together. What are the tradeoffs that you're making. So when when you do each technique when don't you have it together. To what extent should you do. So we just pitched disciplined Agile as what we call a process decision framework. We're providing lightweight guidance to help organizations and teams understand the process decisions and the organization starts some cases that they're making and to make better decisions. We're unique in this respect. There's a lot of other you know there's a lot of other methods out there that are prescriptive and they say this is the best way of doing things. Whereas our approach is more along the lines of Well it depends on and here's what it depends on and you need to decide for yourself. I think it's a very robust and mature way of looking at the world. And we focus on IT a lot want to write to you of course as you know every business is a software business days.

00:04:42;16 - 00:05:17;19
Scott Ambler: But we also realized that there is the rest of the organization also needs to be effective. So you know we we have advice on portfolio management and finance legal and security and all those other things. We're really trying to help organizations become Agile businesses and to support business agility and the way we define business agility is the ability to react to the marketplace and to serve your customers effectively and to react to these changing needs and and sometimes even predict their needs and their lives and to serve them better.

00:05:17;29 - 00:05:24;09
Scott Ambler: Because if you don't if you don't like your customers somebody else will. And they'll eat your lunch. And you know this is not what you want.

00:05:25;29 - 00:05:49;27
Rick Morris: So talk to me for second about it. I find a lot of people that catch what I consider the age bug. You know they seem very resistant to Agile and then they finally start to open up to it. And then once they fully get it they're all in right and they catch that Agile bug. They're running through what caused you to catch that. That Agile bug What made you just start looking at Agile as a whole in the beginning.

00:05:50;22 - 00:08:21;15
Scott Ambler: Yeah. So I think it was disillusionment with these more heavyweight traditional approaches. So in the 90s I was pretty big on a CMMI ally. And you know trying to understand the bigger picture and I was actively working to organizations to adopt these heavier techniques and I drank that kool aid and I saw it and in many cases I saw just scale and fail and fail and it was all wonderful theory and it really shows you know in an ideal world it all would have worked. But the world's not ideal and the end it just these heavyweight techniques just didn't work out. So I was in the late 90s. I was fairly disillusioned. And you know I speak at conferences so I get to hang out with a bunch of really smart people and sort of all the conference years ago and I guess was it was probably 1999. And I went to a talk by Kent Beck about extreme programming and he it nailed it. He it just it just spoke to this that you know what the stuff that became what we now know is Agile. It spoke to me and he had this me a very pragmatic and lightweight and realistic approach to software development and I realized that it just tweaked right there and said wow he's onto something. This is it. And in earlier years I also had the pleasure of working with Geoff Sutherland who's one of the fathers of the scrum and he had tried to sell me on scrum. And at the time I didn't quite get it. And it seemed like some good ideas but it didn't play well with me and it wasn't until I really started you know I got this training from Kent Beck that I really sort of understood Oh this is where these guys are coming from. And then it just took off from there and my focus at the time was that I was big on modeling still am and also big on data database stuff. And I led the development of the Agile modeling methodology. We focused on modeling and occupation and how do you address the database and data stop using as well as well as little as the development that in the early days of Agile and really for the you know cracked a few hard nuts I guess you would say. And it really spoke to me and was applying this in practice and it worked well and it worked phenomenally well and a lot better than the some of the more traditional techniques that we're all used to at the time.

00:08:23;04 - 00:09:24;28
Rick Morris: I appreciate that description. And what I'm going to be doing you know throughout today just just for fun and I think or even pre-warned you that when you and I first met each other and talked to each other. But you know I love to throw out things that I hear as I'm leading transformations or working with clients or have run into other Agilists that say these things that we just love to get your gut reaction to that. If I could. So we haven't set any this up I'm going to hit you cold with it. So if you need a second I'm good with it as well. But you know you mentioned scrum. I thought that was a great introduction there as well. And so you know I'm working with an organization currently that that has chosen a Agilist trainer that that's pushing them through scrum and today and over the last couple of days really I keep hearing will Agile is not going to work for COBOL for COBOL development because COBOL just takes so long and we are essentially reengineering code every time that we see it. And some of that code can be 10 years old. What would you say to an organization like that.

00:09:25;25 - 00:11:32;29
Scott Ambler: Yeah I heard this all the time and it's complete and utter B.S.. So the reality is you know to be fair you know there are some COBOL development tools aren't quite as good as you know in a Java and in .net world you know but to be fair with that but they are pretty good. And I think the and I start with tools because you know that thought as an excuse. But the real issue is one of culture and you know duty's COBOL developers didn't want to work in is more Agile manner. Do they do that get it. Have they been pushed. And I think the the I'm an old COBOL guy I did a couple years ago and the last one of my speakers here is that. We haven’t been pushing the COBOL developers of the world at all for several decades now. You know they were pushing a little bit for the Y2K stuff but for the most part it's just sort of cruising along. Everybody's happy with them. And now we're running into this in this spot where these guys really are about to retire and while they are retiring and it's not looking good for a lot of organizations because there is a huge investment of COBOL which is not going to go away anytime soon probably never will. And yet we need to we need to evolve this code. We need to certainly to maintain it and we need to do something about that. I think as the younger you are the younger generation you know the Java and the dot net programmers of the world and you know many others as they are motivated to move into COBOL they're going to bring their Agile techniques along with them. And I think right now you take the average Java programmer the .net programmer you drop them into the COBOL world and they'll be horrified by some of the practices that are still common there. So I don't believe at all my experience is that you can do quite you know very Agile development in the COBOL world. But it does take time and you need to train the people you need to go to them all up. But it is possible. So I wouldn't accept as an excuse at all.

00:11:33;16 - 00:12:10;15
Rick Morris: and that's fantastic because we did not either. So the pushing is is exactly right. And making them understand that you know regardless of its six or seven week development theory then that doesn't mean we still can't craft user stories or things that can be done in sprints so that we can see progress and make sure that there's change and so we started to walk through that as well. But I appreciate you allow me to hit you cold with that. We're going to go ahead and take our first break right here. You are on the line with Scott Ambler. And in fact if you like to dial in and ask the question this guy directly as well listen for the number on the break right after these commercials you're listening into The Work/Life Balance with Rick Morris.

00:15:06;09 - 00:15:16;16
Rick Morris: And we're back to The Work/Life Balance here on another Friday on the Voice America business network. And we are lucky lucky to have Mr. Scott Ambler here with us.

00:15:16;16 - 00:15:47;05
Rick Morris: And you know Scott I'm first of all I can't thank you enough for appearing on the show. And you know hopefully we can monopolize your time a lot more in the future. But you know as Agile is really starting to take hold here a lot of companies are you know trying to do and trying to do it poorly. And so what I'd love for them to understand directly from you know one of the cofounders of this is where did this disciplined Agile framework come from and how did you guys really develop this.

00:15:48;08 - 00:17:50;25
Scott Ambler: Yeah definitely. So it came out of IBM. Actually I was the chief methodologist for I.T. at IBM rational for six years and myself my team including business partners such as Mark Lyons who's now my business partner. We were we work with organizations around the world to understand this Agile lean stuff. And we started seeing common patterns and we started seeing that new organizations that had pretty much figured it out were still struggling with some basic issues and the ones that have figured it out or were on the way were spending a lot of time in a lot of effort doing so. And they're all basicly coming up with the same same sort of thing. And we also noticed that everybody is doing it differently and which is a very important observation that every person every team everywhere and organization is unique and they will have unique structures they will have unique ways of working unique processes. Although there's still commonality between them. So anyway so we were sort of noticing this and it became pretty clear to us that there was a need for a framework and Agile framework that reflected these observations. So we started developing what eventually became we originally dismasted delivery and analysis evolved into into just been Agile as we moved beyond sort of ? but basically all this was happening in 2009 2010 and then in 2012 we published the first book. So you could say that from a public facing point of view that was just an Agile 1.0 and a couple of years later in 2015 that is Agile to came out when we started expanding that and officially started addressing I.T. and then in 2017 that few months ago we released 3.0 with where we look at enterprise issues as well as sort of a full business agility gambit. And yeah I can give a call of IBM. They were very kind and they donated their rights to the consortium in 2013 in order to make this public.

00:17:50;26 - 00:18:30;29
Scott Ambler: So they were very generous in a lot in the way they supported us and this was just it was very good very good thing for them to give

Rick Morris: that is very cool and something that doesn't happen as often as I think it should especially because innovation comes from you know teamwork team sharing and such large organizations like that I mean they're facing huge issues especially with the market demand and everything else that's coming out with that. I appreciate that as well. I was a former IBM are back in the day as well. So in the book which is very interesting you describe a racing metaphor though can you tell me what that is.

00:18:32;13 - 00:21:29;09
Scott Ambler: Yes. So what the racing metaphor it is a basic observation that the actual software community has really gotten good at building great Agile software development teams. So this to me is like an engine engine of a car a racing car and we're good at tuning it getting better you know better productivity out of them you know better quality we really are good at building the racing car engines. But then what we do is because we're focused so focused on software development we kick this awesome racing car engine and we plug it into our organizational tractor and it's a big surprise that we're not winning the race. And what we really need is a racing car so the racing car in the metaphor is what we call discipline dev ops. So when you look at the full picture of solution delivery to operations of it and you know full round trip. And by bringing all enterprise issues such as security and data management and all that it's your stuff. So it's a little more than what we typically hear in the the developer or dev ops picture but having a great racing car isn't sufficient either because anybody can go buy a racing car but that doesn't mean you've got the skills to drive it. So in order to be successful you not only do you need a car but you need a team you need a great race car driver you need a pit crew. We all need to be working together effectively to get the job done in this with this one as we like to is all of us. So we need to look at the and we need to go beyond software development and go beyond dev ops which we're starting to see now in the dev ops community. I think they're starting to realize oh wait a minute this is not the full picture is only part of the overall picture and we really need to tune the rest of I.T. and then. But that's still not sufficient either because if you've got a great race car and a great race car team you often need a race you need you need somewhere or some opportunity to make money with this great I.T. department. And that's what the rest of the enterprise is all about. So how can the how can the business leverage I.T. in order to be successful in the marketplace to make money to have these value streams that they offer to their customers and to be able to react and be effective. So the metaphor really goes to the four layers of the of the framework and basic argues that you even look at the whole picture. If you want to be successful and I think a lot of Agile a lot of Agile coaches and consultants are really because their focus is on software development. They're really sort of selling themselves short on the organization's short because if you know if you don't deal with the entire range of challenges that we face in these organizations and it's always a moving target you know these are complex adaptive systems we're dealing with then your transformation efforts your improvement efforts will probably run aground and this is why we see so many challenges right now in the Agile space is that I think we're learning the hard way that it really is more about. It's about more than just software development.

00:21:29;16 - 00:21:48;29
Rick Morris: And I appreciate that very much. We actually coined the term or heard a term called Agile Theater which was are you. Are you doing Agile theater in Agile theaters where you've done one of these four areas but you haven't focused on the other three and so you're practicing Agile but you're really not Agile yet.

00:21:49;02 - 00:22:40;23
Scott Ambler: Exactly. I even see that even within just the software development space where you'll see a team that you had gotten there through Two day's scrum certification training and they're great at running meetings now but they still don't have the skills or even the understanding of how it all fits together. How do you approach testing and data and documentation and how do you address regulatory stop and architecture. All these all these other great things. And I think it's and I think it's a serious challenge as well is that we in some ways and the Agile world we've dumbed things down so much that we don't know. We've handed ended up with these really commodity trading and these commodity consultants now that. Don't have a lot to offer and I think it's a shame when we need to look at the picture that even the bigger picture the development is pretty complex let alone you know the organizational picture.

00:22:40;25 - 00:23:20;05
Rick Morris: So when I'm speaking at a conference I do a slide where I talk about you know it's not just as much as going Agile it's picking the right Agilest. So by comparison I'm a pretty big dude and I said so if I want to be an Olympic athlete I can’t hire this guy as my personal trainer which is the picture of a goofy dude. And I say I can’t hire this guy is my nutritionist which was Ronald McDonald. And I said you're just going to end up with another clown who's telling you stuff they read but they don't know how to implement it so how do organizations really test their Agilest to know that they're you know that they're not going to come in and be a clown essentially.

00:23:21;03 - 00:26:21;02
Scott Ambler: Yeah that's a really hard problem. Oh we run into that as well with our customers and to the challenge is that the organization is new to Agile. Then how do you know how do you how do you detect who a clown is. I'm sure Ron McDonald has some great stories to tell about how big macs are very nutritious and fried. And you know you know we're using the good fat now. We'll said it's healthy for you. I'm sure the guy has got a wonderful story around that which sounds good. And so how do you how do you do. How do you know. And I think that's my answer. Quick answer that is you've got to you've got to stop parking your brain at the door and you when you hear somebody claiming to be a certified master because they've taken two entire days they stayed awake in a two day training course in their check didn't bounce. You've got to say wait a minute are you really a certified master after two days of training. No. Or you've taken four days of training and now you're now you're a certified consultant. No you've taken four days of training. Like when I say I'm you know I'm in my 50s and I know back in the day we had to go to school for several years just to become a junior programmer. And now here we are. And when things are way more complicated than they used to be. And now in four days we can go off and become a certified consultant and make lots of money doing it and get hired get hired for that. So I think you know I got it's harsh but I think these organizations you've got to step back and you got to do a reality check. And I think you've also got to start saying Wait a minute you know I just hired this guy looks like a clown. Sounds like a clown. Maybe he is a clown. And you know and he's pitching one way of doing things. I think it's pretty obvious that if you walk into an organization it's pretty clear that you can start looking at different teams and they're working in different ways and they're the different people in different situations so they get to work in different ways. So when you've got these consultants that only know one way of doing things the official way of you know method X that you get to say wait a minute maybe method X doesn't apply to me or doesn't apply to all my teams or maybe I need method X but I also need some parts of why some parts of Zed and a few others. And we we thought we really mean to me we really need to think for ourselves and not get taken for this by the you know get you know get the problem fixed quick schemes and because you know I think you've also got to step back and realize Well it took my organization decades to to get to where we are now. We're not going to we're not going to change this this ship overnight and turn this ship overnight and we're not going to fix all these problems in a few weeks or a few months. It's going to be a multiyear journey and I think we need to do a reality check on that one.

00:26:21;03 - 00:27:17;25
Rick Morris: I think that's well said and I appreciate that insight. Is it difficult. So many people can talk. Great game. So many people can you know read quotes of yours and pass them off as theirs but that experience and I think the most poignant point I completely agree with you is knowing more than one way to do it knowing that there's multiple Agile delivery systems. And sometimes you've got to pick and choose the best things that fit that process. And we're just not seeing that out there. So we're going to take another break here in just a moment. But I do want to urge everybody to go visit  And that's how you can get in touch with Scott. That's how you can see what's going on. I'm sure they can get your books there on that site as well is that correct. Yeah. Absolutely. Or some books. Well we're paying some paying some bills with our sponsor and we'll be right back here and The Work/Life Balance with Rick Morris.

00:30:22;07 - 00:30:25;15
Rick Morris: And welcome back to The Work/Life Balance on this Friday afternoon.

00:30:25;15 - 00:30:48;04
Rick Morris: We're visiting with Scott Ambler a cocreator of the discipline Agile framework and Scott was going hit you on this. Before break. But now that we're back from break what do you say especially as you're looking at Agile over the enterprise where organizations all say we do not need project managers at all anymore because we're going Agile.

00:30:49;14 - 00:30:55;00
Scott Ambler: Yes. So I approached projects are not going to go away anytime soon.

00:30:55;00 - 00:31:29;19
Scott Ambler: I think there's a couple of points. Projects are not going to go away anytime soon. At the same time management certainly isn't. So in the Agile world we certainly need management governance you know lightweight and effective of course. But you assume that that's not going to go away. But also to be fair we are seeing a movement away from the concept of projects particularly the I.T. world. And for a bunch of reasons the you know there's overhead associated and risk associated with projects projects are also a in many ways an artificial funding mechanism.

00:31:38;10 - 00:34:09;27
Scott Ambler: So we've got this stuff going on. But there's also this issue that you know particularly in the Agile world we recognize that these systems the solutions that we produce these these lines of business that we support are long running sometimes in many years if not decades and evolve over time. Stuff like that. So this artificial project idea where there's a start to finish and you get it done and you move on simply doesn't fit that that that sort of a paradigm now. So I think we need that. He said that you know  project managers needed to manage the interaction with customers and you know for you sold a big thing to a customer then you've probably got them from a relationship manager or a project manager are organizing all of that. Certainly that's a valid application for project managers but for us solution development in the I.T. world and the bulk of the work that we do we need management we need guidance we need leadership do we need project managers. Maybe not. And I think this is this is a challenge in a lot of organizations because it's not what the project managers want to hear and rightfully so and so our approach is always you know you can add value and you can probably add more value and have a more interesting position in the Agile world than in the project management world. So if you want to redefine your your career and hopefully do something better more interesting than the opportunity is certainly there is if you want to remain a project manager that's fine that's a valid career decision and because there isn't any project managers but not as many. So Darwinism starts to kick in in those situations. So if you've got more people than positions for project managers then you know we'll do the math but we try and we do our best to help people help move people into into better and more effective positions because know existing project managers have one heck of a lot of value to add. Maybe not in the role of project manager but certainly in other roles so I constantly invite them to maybe rethink their and reposition themselves and rethink the direction their careers are going in

Rick Morris: and to comment on that being a project manager for 20 years somebody who is afraid of Agile at first and I think a lot of project managers are when they first hear about it because of things like that.

00:34:09;27 - 00:35:09;08
Rick Morris: But there's also a very negative connotation of project managers in the Agile world such as you know project management is command and control whereas you know Agile is not me. In fact when you go through training it sounds like project managers are a bunch of Godzilla's that are just destroying towns and you have this beautiful communal butterfly community where everybody just gets along and hugs. But the point being is I think those ones that really were command and control and were not following processes properly were checking that box just to check a box and I bring value. Those are the ones that are Darwinism should push out the ones that really can see the value of communication and communicating upwards. Those are the ones that are going to exceed and excel into the strategic organization to help manage the Agile practices and so I think you know I concur with you. But a knee jerk reaction for an organization is say let's fire all of our project managers who are going Agile is not you know is not a good tact either.

00:35:09;08 - 00:35:35;15
Scott Ambler: No though that would be a fundamental mistake I find to a lot of existing project managers particularly ones who've been with an organization for years. They're often very good candidates for being a product owner which is an incredibly valuable role and it's a hard role to fill. So you know yeah firing all your project managers because you're Agile would not be a good idea helping them move and other roles would be a phenomenally good idea as any.

00:35:35;28 - 00:35:43;03
Rick Morris: So why should organizations even look at a framework like discipline Agile. I mean why even go adopt a framework like that.

00:35:43;22 - 00:42:33;24
Scott Ambler: Yeah so there's several reasons. So a few a few fundamental ones are pretty easy to observe now. Every business is a software business these days you'd be hard pressed to find an organization where software was not absolutely critical to their success whether management currently recognizes that might be the story but certainly it seems to be the case. And so that's one point. We're also seeing pretty much every industry is being disrupted now and new competitors are moving into your market spaces. You may or may not also recognize that you know this is blatant in some industries like financial for example is being very clearly threatened by fintech and we're seeing the retail industry being very clearly threatened by organizations such as Amazon and others. We're also seeing in industries these Agile these lean organizations that dominate. And you know if you if you were to put together a list of the you know the 20 most the best companies that you admire. They're all very Agile and they have often been doing as well for so long. They don't even talk about Agile anymore. It's just they are Agile and they are they are lean they are Agile this is the way they think this is the way they operate. So they say that's not your position though is that the majority organizations are not yet Agile and they'll get that many years before they get there. The DA framework provides a roadmap and to help you get there and it recognizes that you know like I said before it depends. Context counts and gradations different. Like if you look at all the big apple life that the car manufacturers like new cars are a commodity you know you know the automobile industry might not recognize that but you know everybody owns a car and you can just sit in a car and you can you can drive it and you know a few buttons might be in different places. But for the most part cars are a commodity. You know many people own them sometimes they own several cars on the road now I've got four wheels and a driver in the driver's seat and all sorts of good stuff. So this commodity product. And the but these organizations are all very different like Ford is very different than GM which is very different than Toyota which is very different than Tesla and so on. So here we have these companies that are basically commodity you know companies producing commodity products and yet they're all very very different. And this is as you can see I see the same thing about banking and insurance and retail in many many other organizations right. You know a grocery store does it does it really matter what brand of grocery store it is. You know you might have different products than that. But for the most part a grocery store is a grocery store and I'm going to go and buy food. It's all goodness. So but anyway so the these organizations are being you know are being disrupted and they're all they're all very different so one sought one process size does not fit all. So it is an the observation earlier like we we we were talking about how organizations are in some ways are panicking right now. They have to change. And at the same time they don't really understand this process. They might not really understand this Agile stuff and yet they're being asked to make some important decisions. And as a result they hire clowns as opposed to other people. But at the same point. So are profits that you get the exact same issue on the profit side of things. One process does not fit all the processes that would work well for Ford. I would probably be the kiss of death for Tesla and vice versa. And we see this with the Toyota production system for example. There's many examples where companies have gone into Toyota I understand all this lean stuff and all these really interesting stuff that they do and then they try to apply it in their own environments and it doesn't work out and because there's no easy answer. And I think one of the reasons why Toyota is so generous with allowing companies to come in and walk around and observe what they're doing like even their competitors. There's a famous story that GM went into Toyota years ago to see how they're working because Toyota fundamentally knows it takes years to get to that level of productivity that they're asked and that you just can't you know plug and play these processes. And these these ways of working. And this is absolutely true the Agile world that you know your your transformations are a journey that they're not they're not this quick project that you can get done. And it takes many many years to improve. And it varies every single time. So if you don't if you don't appreciate this and if you don't then you need to hire coaches and people that have more than one tool in their toolkit. If you're a one trick pony then you know yeah he's going to put on a great pony show. But if you don't really need a great pony show and it's not that good of a thing so we just want Agile we give people options and we we walk you through decisions that you need to make we do in a lightweight manner. But we walk you through these decision. And we give you choices and we we say here's the tradeoff that you're making. So make the right choices for the situation you find yourself in. And it's OK if you know team a makes a different set of choices than team b because they're different people in different situations yet having said that we provide a consistent governance framework across all these teams. So now you know these organizations do not have to inflict the same process on everybody which would be a fundamentally bad idea. But instead they can say hey you know the teams each team does do the right thing for the situation that you're in. He is effectively will possibly be but is this consistent lightweight governance that that that we can do that makes sense in different situations. So that way we can still you know guide you and keep an eye on you and guide you and help you be successful. And that's what good governance is all about. So I think there's a lot of very interesting thinking and value in that it's an Agile framework. We do. We do the heavy lifting on the process side of things. But it is for organizations that have accepted this fundamental fact that you know it depends and you really do need to know what you're doing and make good choices. And once you once you realize that there's no easy answer that you you really need to think for yourself and to learn and to improve over time. Once you accept that then that is when the discipline Agile frame will really speak to you and will give you a significant advantage in this overall approval process. Because it does spell a lot of your a lot of the thinking that you're going to have to do at some point anyway.

00:42:35;09 - 00:43:03;15
Rick Morris: Absolutely. So we're going to take our final break here we get one more segment left with Mr. Scott Ambler he's going to be with us one more segment here on The Work/Life Balance. But while we are away please visit and check out his Web site. And also you can find him on Twitter. Scott W. Ambler on Twitter correct. That's right. We have Scott W. Ambler on Twitter. And of course you can always follow me at @RickAMorris and we'll be right back after this break.

00:46:02;02 - 00:46:06;22
Rick Morris: Back to our final segment of The Work/Life Balance with Scott Ambler and Scott. You know we were talking on the break there.

00:46:06;22 - 00:46:17;05
Rick Morris: There's a new emergence of a theory which is being dubbed as hybrid project management or hybrid Agile management which is a blending of the two practices how does discipline Agile fit into that. Or do you recognize that at this point

00:46:17;05 - 00:47:26;05
Scott Ambler: yeah actually just went with always been a hybrid. Our approach is we look for what stuff that works and we we adopt ideas from a lot of Agile lean sources. Of course I've been focusing a lot of that but there are still some great ideas in the traditional world and in other spaces and we leverage those as well. Now sometimes they don't quite work in some of those techniques don't quite work as well with the Agile ones. But our approaches do you know have choices make their make the best choices for you and the situation that you face and you recognize there might be better ways that you can make but just not right now. So. The so and it's valid to to adopt these techniques from yesteryear because we need to recognize that a lot of the world still runs on systems built using these older older strategies and I think you know you can't do a financial transaction for example without hitting multiple systems that you know were built using ancient techniques and technologies. So I think that you know take an airplane or or things like that.

00:47:26;05 - 00:47:39;14
Scott Ambler: So I think we need to you know be respectful of you know perhaps in the 60s and 70s and 80s that we we sort of knew what we were doing to0 Yeah.

00:47:39;29 - 00:48:09;23
Rick Morris: And I think really for us you know hybrid is where it's coming out with people are struggling you know should this be waterfall should this be Agile of course Agile components in a waterfall project. There's a lot of people still struggling with the thought pattern that I've got to be 100 percent completely Agile and I believe you've said it best is that there's not one size fits all in. There's got to be processes which you can you can dip and dab into other methodologies to fit whatever it is the initiative that you're trying to do.

00:48:10;23 - 00:48:20;21
Scott Ambler: Yeah I think the best you can situation your face and try to get better. I think that's the that's what you've got to really be focused on.

00:48:21;29 - 00:48:28;13
Rick Morris: And so finally we ask everybody that joins us here in The Work/Life Balance what is some of the best advice you've ever received.

00:48:29;20 - 00:50:11;27
Scott Ambler: Yes I think the best advice I ever got was to read widely read and read widely and the goal is to be challenging. You know we think that my challenge what you what you believe in and and also just open your mind up to go to New to new worlds. I was very lucky early in my career that I had worked for a bank and had a vice president to take me under his wing and mentor me along and that was pretty much the first thing you told me was to read widely and I've been doing doing my best on that ever since. And also I think to hang out with smart people and people that will will challenge you and they're outside the scope of your comfort zone. So I am I'm really lucky I got some friends in the in the film industry and some friends in the physical architecture and landscape architecture world and others in other spaces and it's really interesting to hear some of the challenges they face but also because there's great similarities but there's also differences. And it's just fascinating to me to hear you hear about things that you know are probably fairly boring to them because you're dealing with it day in day out but it's actually fascinating to hear some of the things that go on in the film industry. Positive thing not so much what we're hearing but lately certainly some very cool stuff. Based in Toronto and I get to it there's a lot of filming going on here so there's a lot of really cool stuff going on. But yeah reading widely hanging out with smart people that will challenge challenge your beliefsI think those are the best advice I've ever gone.

00:50:11;27 - 00:50:13;29
Rick Morris: Do you have any closing comments for the audience.

00:50:15;10 - 00:51:21;11
Scott Ambler: Yeah I think you know they'd like to thank everybody for taking time to listen. That's what I always advise people to just observe. Step back and observe what's going on and really sort of you know think for yourself and if there's an easy answer it's probably the wrong one for you. And it really is a hard hard hard world that we're in. And there are no easy solutions anymore. We’re in a complex world dealing with hard heart problems and a changing environment and we need to be flexible we need to always be sharpening our saw you know that quote Stephen Covey and do do the best you can to learn experiment learn help others learn share your knowledge try to get as much knowledge from others as you can. So be collaborative. Be very sharing. Be very respectful and be humble. We can't possibly know everything. I've got a young daughter and she's at that age right now where she she believes she knows everything and you know so it's fun to watch. But yeah. Interesting learning lessons coming our way.

00:51:21;12 - 00:51:30;20
Rick Morris: But fun to watch so I'm going to go on the complete side note tangent here but I play that game with my kids when they start to do that.

00:51:30;20 - 00:51:42;08
Rick Morris: Now you say well you know dad knows everything. Just ask him though say Do you know you know how many times you have to travel across the earth to do this. And I go yep I know that one.

00:51:42;08 - 00:52:06;21
Rick Morris: What's next. Every time. Give me the next question. We got it. Scott I certainly appreciate you spending some time with us on this Friday afternoon and sharing with our audience all about discipline Agile. And again you can visit Scott at or you can hit them up on Twitter. @ScottWAmbler says Scott thank you so much for being a part of the show today.

00:52:06;21 - 00:52:09;25
Scott Ambler: I think it was great time. I'm looking forward to coming back.

00:52:10;15 - 00:53:25;20
Rick Morris: Absolutely. We'll have you back Anytime Scott. Open invitation for sure. So next week we've got Todd Nesloney coming back on the show and if you guys didn't hear his first interview that we did with him I mean he's an incredible educator somebody we're so excited to have back. They just released a book called Stories from web which he talks about and teased when he was on the show before. But we can't wait to have Todd back on the 16th. I'll be doing the show live from the John Maxwell certification and then on February 23 we'll have to Coopersmith who's going to be on the show with us as well. And then a big announcement for me. We just locked this one down. It's going to be in March but March 23rd we're going to have Rob Tomset on the line and for those of you that have heard me speak or have watched me ever do any kind of presentation I've quoted a book that goes all the way back to 2002 I believe called Radical project management where it says projects fail because of context. Not content. in that one line changed a lot of my career and how I focused on what I was doing. So we cannot wait to have Rob on the show as well. So we hope that you will hang out with us for future episodes right here on the Voice America business network you've been listening to Rick Morris and The Work/Life Balance.

00:53:25;20 - 00:53:30;22
Rick Morris: We'll talk to you next Friday.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Radio Show Transcript - Agile Almanac Vol. 2 - Nichole Tubiolo - Recorded January, 26, 2018

Agile Almanac Vol. 2 - Nichole Tubiolo - Recorded January, 26, 2018

To get to the web page of the radio show, click here.

To download the mp3 file, click here.

To subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, click here.

FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)

00:00:05;00 - 00:00:27;01

00:00:27;03 - 00:00:38;26
Rick Morris: And welcome to another Friday edition of The Work/Life Balance we're so excited to have you guys along with us as we've got a very special show planned for you today. Very excited about our guests that we have with us. It's been another crazy week.

00:00:38;28 - 00:02:18;13
Rick Morris: As always, we started actually Sunday this week with a couple of keynote presentations to Civitan International. They had a group of governors coming in that is a service organization. We were the keynote speaker to their planning sessions as they are planning some fantastic service projects for their different organizations in their communities. We had a great time being able to spend some time with them Sunday doing some fellowship and some leadership training and with them we are their keynote speaker Monday night. So they were a fantastic organization. We had a great time with them and we value their patronage and was very happy that we had an opportunity to spend some time with them. We were in Memphis on Tuesday spending some time with some clients and some community leader organizations there and finally back home for a short time before we spend all week next week in Nashville. So for our listeners in Nashville, reach out to us because we're going to be there in Nashville Tennessee all week next week before we head out back to Memphis the following week and then leading right into the big international Maxwell certification in Orlando Florida which is happening the 16th through the 22nd. We will be there. We'll be excited. We'll be welcoming all of our new people into the John Maxwell team as we always do. And then right after that, we alluded to this a little bit, but for those of you that have been following the show, John Maxwell's passion has been transforming countries and we have accepted an invitation as part of the John Maxwell team from the president of Costa Rica.

00:02:18;28 - 00:02:37;12
Rick Morris: And I have accepted invitation from John to participate in some Leadership Roundtable trainings in Costa Rica which is happening in March as we go to transform that country through leadership and leadership training. So there will be a lot more to come about that. But let's get into today's show.

00:02:37;24 - 00:03:04;22
Rick Morris: We have an incredible guest, fast friend of mine, somebody who I was introduced through a project that we were working on which was the almanac book too as you guys know I've been talking about that my great friend John Steinbeck. He runs and he and I have talked quite a bit about Agile, Agile transformations hybrid project management.

00:03:04;22 - 00:05:39;29
Rick Morris: He's a great friend to the show's been on the show many times and he had spearheaded this project to bring out Agile Almanac book to which I had accepted an opportunity to collaborate. And so it became what we called the Dirty Dozen, that was kind of our inside joke, of 12 different authors who collaborated in producing that book and really trying to you know try to take Agile and really scale that to the program an enterprise level. And so it was a great collaboration of 12 incredible people to really lend next level thinking into this into this book. And so when I went out to Las Vegas as part of CAWorld, we did a large book signing and for those of you that follow me on Twitter we posted a video about the book signing in about the speech that John and I did out there and this person was in that video with us and she's currently a project manager for Willis Towers Watson in Buffalo New York. She leads an operational support team with the main focus on CRM customer relationship management and Confluence data management and previously she was a project manager for MNC Bank in Buffalo New York leading a digital banking program team with a main focus on mobile application development. She has led enterprise level projects for over eight years that spanned from back end upgrades to customer facing applications and she started working as a freelance writer trainer and Agile coach in her spare time. She's a member of the PMI Buffalo chapter in New York and previously held the director of community outreach position within the chapter. And as a director of community outreach she was responsible for running a project management for nonprofits program which was a program of training mentoring and in each toolbox of forums and templates designed to bring project management best practices to western New York charitable organizations. She's a member of the buffalo Junior League which is a philanthropic organization committed to volunteerism developing the potential of women and of course improving the community through effective action and leadership. She's certified by PMI as a project management professional which is PMP and Agile Certified Practitioner which is the PMI ACP and she also holds the certified Scrum Master designation from the scrum alliance. She graduated from Empire State College with a B.A. in administration economics and she now also holds the distinction of being an Amazon number one best seller along with the rest of us. Let's welcome to the show Nichole Tubiolo. How are you?

00:05:40;02 - 00:05:51;15
Nichole Tubiolo: OK read Rick thank you. I'm doing well. I'm extremely grateful to be a guest on your show today and to be reconnecting. So thank you very much for having me.

00:05:51;16 - 00:06:03;29
Rick Morris: It has been a little while since we've seen each other in Vegas and again that was a video that we posted out on Twitter or what. What a fantastic time that was. The book signing the excitement around the launch of the book talked to the audience a little bit about that.

00:06:04;22 - 00:06:06;13
Nichole Tubiolo: Yes they were an excellent experience.

00:06:06;14 - 00:06:29;13
Nichole Tubiolo: And you know being at CA World were all than having so much interaction with everyone there. The book signing the launch itself it was really just a great weekend. A couple of days there CA World for you when John had a great talk there and we also had the book signing which was excellent.

00:06:30;05 - 00:06:45;03
Rick Morris: And so you know this has been a culmination of a lot of work. And of course John spearheaded that. But you took a couple of these chapters within the book and made them your own. Why didn't you tell the audience which chapters you wrote. Just describe those for a little bit.

00:06:45;25 - 00:06:47;03
Nichole Tubiolo: Absolutely. Yes I did.

00:06:47;03 - 00:07:59;26
Nichole Tubiolo: I had the extreme fortune of working with this brilliant team of coauthors led by John and I did contribute to two of the 17 chapters one being risk management said the main focus there is talking about various risk management approaches used by Agile program teams ranging from the do nothing and let it become an issue approach to you know various tools and techniques to identify and mitigate risk. So a lot went into that that risk management chapter and the other chapter that I wrote was around budget management and exploring various thoughts and tools and different methodologies used to manage Agile program budgets. Certainly there's the traditional earned value management used for the traditional waterfall project and you know certain to seed teams and talk about having teams leverage more of an incremental cost management or looking at lean budgets and empowering teams with decision making and already. So there's a there's a lot there and there was a quick summary of both of those chapters but I was very fortunate to work with everyone and make those contributions to the Agile Almanac.

00:07:59;17 - 00:08:34;06
Rick Morris: And so we're going to deep dive on a couple of those topics but I always like to start broad with you know anybody that I have on in Agile. I'll hit them with a couple of things that I always got to hear and kind of the reason why I jumped into Agile in the first place. So when Agile started really hitting the marketplace I was running into Agile analysts that were saying things to me like, we can't tell you where we're going to be done because we're Agile and then specifically to your chapter. We can't tell you how much it's going to cost because we're Agile. What would you say to somebody who's trying to lead an Agile transformation and saying things like that?

00:08:34;20 - 00:08:43;14
Nichole Tubiolo: Those are great points and are actually right. I've heard those as well. And I think that there are there those sound to me to be Agile myths.

00:08:43;14 - 00:10:22;20
Nichole Tubiolo: That a project manager is not needed as a leader of a group but not be needed or that you don't necessarily know how much it costs because you're running Agile. It sounds to me that there are definitely practices and tools to be used to work with teams and really if you think about Agile and you think about this scrum master and that scrum master is really just another way of saying project manager. So maybe it's that you don't need the term project manager but you're replacing that with a scrum master who's more taking on that role of servant leader as opposed to perhaps you know in a traditional perspective on project management would be commanding control versus servant leaders. There might be some subtle differences there but there's still leadership in a leadership role from a project management perspective. Just taking a slight different view on that and then from the funding perspective you had made mention of we don't know how much it's going to cost. You know if you fund an Agile team you can determine how much a period of time would cost and then determine the value that would be brought forth in that period of time. And so you may not define how much a feature function or capability would cost in a certain period of time but you would be able to directionally provide that information or an estimate to that..

00:10:22;23 - 00:11:43;02
Rick Morris: I think that that really makes Agile what it is. If we look at what we've done traditionally as project managers that thought pattern that we actually could you know take an initiative and then we would try to plan out over the next two years. Everything that we were going to do up front and then turn around say it was going to cost this the fact that we were bold enough to think that we actually could plan that well. Of course you know we always get in to scope change like crazy and we always miss her budgets and time frames and that and that's what happened that's why people get frustrated. The other thing is by looking at it but an initiative by initiative by initiative we were overloading our teams and that is you know I think the issue that every company has in America is that you have too many initiatives not enough people and so therefore you have no idea what they're working on. And so they just keep approving new initiatives without understanding what is doing to their team. Thus I have a radio show called The Work/Life Balance. And so when we really start to look at Agile and you start looking at funding teams that really becomes a point that is not only a point of struggle but then you are starting to reverse that flow. You're basically saying here's a group of people we're going to fund them for a certain period of time and then we're going to start looking at the maximum they can produce. And I think it's reversing that funnel. Would you agree with that?

00:11:44;29 - 00:12:00;13
Nichole Tubiolo: Absolutely yes. I I would agree with that because that makes it such that the cost of the team is fairly consistent over time and the variable there is the amount of features functions or capabilities that that team can produce.

00:12:00;29 - 00:13:10;25
Nichole Tubiolo: And you know that team will in some sprints or some months or some quarters that team may produce a higher output or higher quality based on the team members and where they are in their cycle of being a team and it allows the organization to know how much that team will cost and the unknown then becomes the deliverable and how many how much you know the quantity of the delivery that will be produced in that time period. So it is it’s taking that thought and kind of flipping it on its side upside down as opposed to saying this is how much money this will cost. And then you know taking those change requests as you said you know how would we possibly know over the period of two years how much it will cost us to produce a feature or a function over time. So instead we would take that and baseline the cost at a flat rate if you will assuming you have the same number of dedicated individuals on a team and you change the amount that's produced each sprint or in any given time box.

00:13:11;12 - 00:13:13;09
Rick Morris: And I think that that's the biggest struggle.

00:13:13;09 - 00:13:37;16
Rick Morris: So we're actually going to dive into that right after we take our first break here and start talking about the concept of funding value versus and teams versus funding initiative. So we're going to talk about that right here when we come back. You're listening to The Work/Life Balance with Rick Morris..

00:16:26;16 - 00:16:41;29
Rick Morris: Now back to The Work/Life Balance. And we're back to The Work/Life Balance and you did hear the dial in number, we do welcome phone calls and questions and I actually have an over under bet going with how long it might actually take John Steinbech to dial in.

00:16:42;02 - 00:17:31;12
Rick Morris: So we're coming back with Nichole and talking the Agile Almanac right. Before break we were talking about funding of Agile teams. And this is something I'm actually going to Nashville next week and we're taking a client live in Agile and you know they're still struggling to cope with this whole thought pattern of yeah but don't we have to track time don't we have to allocate you know percentages to support projects and all of this other stuff? And you know really still they say they want to be Agile but they just can't pull themselves out of the hamster wheel and you know you have to really start walking them through truly funding Agile teams. So what really is a benefit of funding Agile teams over projects?

00:17:31;19 - 00:17:46;19
Nichole Tubiolo: Well Rick I would say that funding Agile teams at the team level provides the team some stability so that they can continue forward movement in providing value and producing those features and functions and capabilities.

00:17:46;20 - 00:18:14;16
Nichole Tubiolo: And really leave their focus there. I've seen teams that have not had that and you know the backlog then becomes anytime something that comes up new to go on the back lot of features functions and capabilities. Is there's a pause or there's you know take some time to put together a thought process around putting in and change your quest in order to receive funding for that particular feature.

00:18:14;17 - 00:18:29;29
Nichole Tubiolo: And really the value there is that we want our teams to be focused on producing value and focused on really just moving forward on what's the next best function.

00:18:29;29 - 00:19:51;26
Nichole Tubiolo: So let's empower our teams to make decisions on what feature function or what capability is the best next item on that backlog or next set of items on that backlog to pick up and put into the sprint and fund those teams and they can move forward accordingly. It allows for that team to feel empowered and to feel more ownership around what they're producing. But it also allows for less overhead. And my perspective and opinion there's less overhead there if a team is given say you know a quarter's worth of funding or even a month to test it out or two months to test it out and determine that it it's working well so the organizations that are having are challenged and really focused on that need to check time or the need to track the percent allocation. You know they can go hand and check time and present allocation. But it should be pretty flat. Assuming you have teams that are 100 percent dedicated efforts that you know you kind of move I would move one step at a time towards towards making that transition. You know by by saying you can you can check time but it will be the same flat lined across all of these months because we're going to dedicate you know X amount of dollars to fund this team and allow them to move forward.

00:19:53;21 - 00:19:55;10
Rick Morris: And that's exactly right.

00:19:55;12 - 00:20:38;16
Rick Morris: And I mean when you when you look at that and start to look at when we're talking about funding there's it's still a different mindset right because what you have to start to walk through with an organization is if you look at it the way they do things now is initiatives pop up you're pulling teams away from work. You're making him attend meetings you're making him do all these planning all this stuff. And you know I've laughed with several people but you know I want to make t shirts that you say don't touch my sprint right now because that's really what it comes down to. Don't touch my sprint and then really quickly I'm going to go ahead and say that I took the under bed and won a because we've got John Stenbeck on the phone. And let's welcome John to The Work/Life Balance. John how are you doing brother.

00:20:39;00 - 00:20:43;04
John Stenbeck: Hey Rick are you did you guys hear me. Oh great. Just fine.

00:20:43;06 - 00:20:50;21
John Stenbeck: So I heard the last word to call me out with the over/under bet because you know I always listen to your show and especially Nihcole.

00:20:50;21 - 00:22:06;10
John Stenbeck: So glad you're on the show. Good. Couldn't resist giving her a shout out there.

Nichole Tubiolo: Hi how are you?

 John Stenbeck: I'm good. So if I can interrupt the flow of the conversation there's two things I think that you guys really should talk about with the audience that are really important. One is that the common Agile myth now that I've said the word miss our co-author Joe Montalbano who's our myth mastro might be able to resist calling in too. But one of the myths is that a company is either you know needs to or wants to or must become 100 percent Agile or not. And yet our experience with most our Fortune 2000 and larger clients and agencies and military commands and stuff suggest that only about a third maybe 30 percent of what they're doing has the required amount of complexity and uncertainty right and very ability to justify the overhead that Agile causes. Whereas the other 70 percent is stable enough to not need it. And I think that was really you know Nichole and Rick when we all started talking about if you're scaling Agile how do you do budgeting and how does the whole factor in that was really a big breakthrough.

00:22:07;29 - 00:22:55;24
Rick Morris: That's a huge breakthrough. And so coming you know coming to that point you're not completely Agile you're not completely waterfall so the hybrid approach is where it's at. But I think that still changes the focus with introduction of Agile and the biggest shift I think I've made certainly in my consulting and my career over the last two years is still the shift of funding value and stop funding initiatives and started looking at things as in terms of the output of value that we're going to bring versus the amount of money we're going to spend. And I think that that Agile level of thinking also applying Agile principles across the board is something that's really been exciting for us to watch.

00:22:56;24 - 00:23:31;15
John Stenbeck:  And Rick I know in one of our conversations you'll probably remember you completely rocked my world when we started talking about them. I'm not sure if I'm going to get that name exactly correct. So help me out on the non-project investment objectives that you can do in the CAPPM app and how much flexibility that saves how much overhead it reduces how gives the AGilel folks the ability to be Agile and the management to get the reporting they need to do that without drive a lot of overhead. Have you shared that much with your audience?

00:23:31;22 - 00:26:27;29
Rick Morris:  Yeah we we've definitely done some shows on that. But I do want to give you an update and since we're going to take this topic for just a second. We actually applied this thinking just recently to pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical development and so we're very very excited. We won’t say the client but we've got a client that deals in wet labs and testing in pharmaceutical development. So what they do is receive samples and those samples come in and they do daily runs those daily runs are essentially basically sprints there daily. And you know every day we're going to do. We're going to run these instruments and these instruments are going to output. And however the lab are getting samples that can be generated by 10 or 15 maybe even 20 different projects. So the management and billing and invoicing and all that stuff is very difficult for them to track and there's a lot of you know potentially lost revenue and everything else. So by applying the same thinking where you have waterfall style projects that are generating the tasks or features which are being then fired into an Agile methodology where they can do their runs. So from a lab it just they have work. It doesn't matter which project is generating it. It's just a queue. And so now we have a whole queue and a combine style board that's generating the lab work. And as it completes its automatically updating the appropriate project so invoicing can be done. It's kind of revolutionizing that business and it's being done in the very same way. So it's very exciting to see that. So it's the same style. When you're looking at that from an I.T. perspective it is even if you're not 100 percent Agile you can still allow your teams to stay in and Agile methodology while multiple waterfall projects are just simply generating work multiple defects are coming in from your support staff and it's just generating work. They just complete their work and it's updating the appropriate systems. That's essentially the same theory but we're applying that same level of thinking across industries and outside of I.T. using the tool sets which is why when we've gone through writing the book we all thought that it was possible that Mikkola taking on two of the hardest chapters in the whole book because how do you come back then and budget still at that level. And that NPR show that you talked about the Nahm project investment objects was the ability for us to shave a slice of our budget to Agile teams. Right so I can say 60 percent of the budget is going to be to funding teams 40 percent of the budgets to funding initiatives or strategic projects and then still be able to report and roll that out because at the end of the day the CFO doesn't care that we're doing story points. They want to know we paid X amount of dollars and we generated x amount of revenue. Fair yeah right.

00:26:27;29 - 00:26:51;11
John Stenbeck: That just makes so much sense because you know the other myth I was going to bring up is this idea that somehow an internal or external either one other customer can give you imperfect specifications and somehow expect perfect schedules or budget kinds of forecasts. I mean who could actually believe that that's possible.

00:26:52;23 - 00:27:00;26
Rick Morris: And there's no way for us to do that. So coming back to the other other than Agile.

00:27:00;28 - 00:27:11;18
Rick Morris: And I think the two favorite words I ever saw come out in the PMBOK was progressive collaboration which is that so Nichole coming back to that.

00:27:12;04 - 00:27:26;19
Rick Morris: You know when we start talking about funding and you know how we're funding in that portion if funding is provided to teams and not to projects or scope then how do people then measure value.

00:27:28;02 - 00:28:53;02
Nichole Tubiolo: That's a great question. There are variables here when teams are funded it is what's being produced. So we have teams that have a backlog and that backlog story pointed and you can see the trends of how much is produced in any given sprint. And from there you can determine the value of that time period. As for what's been delivered. See you had measured almost in reverse as opposed to measuring how much money you're spending you're measuring the value of what is being produced from a feature function capability perspective. So again just kind of taking that traditional model and thinking of it a little differently and thinking of the variable there being what we know from a story you can use a story point perspective to roll that into what the value is. And Rick you made a great point that you know the CFO doesn't necessarily care about story points right and having the ability to measure and show the value versus the cost for that value is still there because you do know how much your team costs when you fund it from a team perspective. And then once the value is produced you know how what what's been produced for that money so it's just that you are showing the value after those features functions and capabilities are produced.

00:28:54;08 - 00:30:11;23
Rick Morris: Yeah and I think the biggest point in that too is a course correction. And so I think in the book and I believe it's John's graphic that does it when we start talking about going through the cone of uncertainty. And John just alluded to this as well is when we get imperfect requirements expect perfect results when we go through that cone of uncertainty in a standard project where at the end of the project already expended all of our funds before we've actually realized that we've missed the mark and that's generally you know 60 percent of the development projects that go that go on in a development world or is in an Agile methodology that when you're starting to release every two weeks and trying to release value and features and capabilities every two weeks then that feedback loop is so important where you can course correct. And so you're hopefully developing and coming out of that cone of uncertainty a lot faster and that's why that methodology seems to be taking off so well. We've got to take a break right here we're going to do that. We're going to let CA pay some of our bills in one of those checks should go to John Stenbeck for mentioning them first on the show this this week and we'll be right back on The Work/Life Balance here with Rick Morris.

00:33:21;04 - 00:33:24;24
Rick Morris: And we're back to The Work/Life Balance on this Friday afternoon.

00:33:24;24 - 00:33:39;20
Rick Morris: I hope everybody's doing well and wanted to say hello to John Watson who's also a longtime listener our great friend and shout out to him. Thank you for the text brother love you always. So coming back I to again.

00:33:39;24 - 00:34:38;20
Rick Morris: You we're still diving into this whole funding thing and since Nichole wrote the chapter on scaling Agile in as you know into budget management wanted to keep going down that topic and so what I see a lot of clients struggle with Nichole is again coming out still with that traditional we've got X amount of money to spend and we want to pick other projects that we're going to do and I think one of the biggest issues that most companies run into is that they pick projects based on what they can spend but now what they can reasonably accomplish and in this in this aspect if they are going to be switching to an Agile methodology as John just pointed out you know only 30 percent of their their budget could be going to Agile teams. So what is your suggestion or how do how do we start to look at teaching portfolio management program management and an Agile methodology to be able to divide those budgets.

00:34:38;20 - 00:35:56;02
Nichole Tubiolo: That's a great question. You know and and how are we dividing those budgets. Really it depends how many of those projects in the portfolio really require the Agile methodology. And you know John's made a good point that maybe 30 percent will go with an example 30 percent for the company. So you know that 30 percent of the budget is set aside and lets you know continue on with the theory that this 30 percent would go to funding Agile teams and not initiatives the Agile teams would then have a roadmap of features and capabilities that they're looking to produce that they would be focused on it wouldn't be that the funding will go directly to their functions but they would directionally be towards those functions that 30 percent of the budget for Agile and then the remainder of the budget towards those traditional projects that are really based on the scope and funding scope and funding you know what they have detailed in their requirements plans so that 30 percent goes towards Agile would would be managed a little differently in that.

00:35:56;03 - 00:36:25;22
Nichole Tubiolo: You know they would that the dollar amount would be net steady 30 percent. They've broken up into the four quarters and provided the funding to a team for the first quarter and they would take their roadmap and work towards achieving the functions on that road map. And then you would would certainly need to measure how much that was spent. And then you know roll that out to reporting on a regular basis be it weekly or monthly depending on what the governance structure required of the company required.

00:36:26;23 - 00:37:02;15
Rick Morris: Yeah I like to say you don't what I'm working with clients I kind of go let's just cut let's just cut through the red tape where he lead. Let's cut the jargon and crud and describe how it's being done today. And so how it gets done today is you define you know Project X and you say these are all the things that I want I want you know 150 things to be developed. So we say Great we sit down and estimate how long it's going to take to do those 150 things and we come back when we say it's going to take us two and a half years to do this and it's going to cost X amount of money they're going to come back and go we don't have that amount of money. You got six months right.

00:37:02;15 - 00:38:17;06
Rick Morris: So then the discussion is what do you want to cut and generally the answer. And again I'm being a bit facetious here but they're like well we're not cutting anything. You got six months. And so then we become the people that covertly degrade quality or whatever else. But that's general project management right. Right. Impossible timeframes impossible budgets that kind of stuff. What is what I keep telling everybody Agile is is just a better Covenant's a better contract. What we're saying here is we're giving an expectation upfront of what can be produced. Here's the team. You make your wish list and every two weeks you get to adjust your wish list and at the end of the quarter we'll know that we spent X amount of dollars and we'll show you what we delivered and will adjust from there. What I love about that is people get uneasy but at the same time I also said we also just now cut out the two months of haggling that we would have done if we approach this as a huge project. We just got to work and we just started doing it which saved you two months of non-productive time trying to figure out if we could do this in the first place in which you would have just told us to do it in the way. Is that fair. I mean is that a fair representation.

00:38:17;29 - 00:39:13;27
Nichole Tubiolo: Absolutely. And not only that saved the two months are you know planning an initiation where there isn't anything produced. It's also saved you know in that third or fourth month where execution is going on. And then the initial delivery takes place maybe six months out before a product owner or a business manager is seeing anything functional and providing feedback on it at which point it may not their requirement provided may not actually be what needed to solve the problem. The problem the business problem could have changed given that it's taken so long or you know maybe there you know once you see it once you see what's been built sometimes you have a different thought or a different way of building it. So it's saving so much more than those two months. By using that methodology you’re  getting producing value and putting it in your customers hands within potentially two weeks for feedback.

00:39:15;07 - 00:39:30;27
Rick Morris: Yeah. If you do it right you're tackling the hardest parts first. And we're finding out maybe six weeks into it we can't even do this thing so we scrap it after six weeks versus finding that out a year and a half into it and you save so much by finding out in six weeks.

00:39:30;28 - 00:39:35;27
Rick Morris: You say that that year and a half of maybe year and four months of work.

00:39:37;05 - 00:39:56;28
Rick Morris: So I want to I want to hire Jon Gruden just to follow me around with clients just so they can go. Come on man. Every time you know you have these conversations with clients are you just he just go. Come on man. Because I mean I don't like to oversimplify but that's somewhat of an oversimplification but that is the contract.

00:39:56;28 - 00:40:07;04
Rick Morris: That is what we're talking about. So right so when we start talking about funding teams we keep saying two weeks.

00:40:07;04 - 00:40:36;08
Rick Morris: But does it have to be two weeks

Nichole Tubiolo: no no it doesn't have to be two weeks and you know it's whatever the team has agreed upon as far as how frequently they're going to release it can be it could be a week it could be a day. I think that you earlier in the show you had an example of a company that has daily rounds that could be a daily sprint if you're producing something daily. So it really depends on what it is you're building and what your team makeup is and how quickly you can put something out.

00:40:36;15 - 00:40:44;18
Nichole Tubiolo: Could be weekly

Rick Morris: Now is Agile something that is something you're doing at your organization right now.

00:40:44;18 - 00:41:10;05
Nichole2: I'm not personally doing that.
And in my current role my previous role I did manage an Agile program. And we had a number of different teams that were working on various parts of producing an application. And so we've run into a lot of a lot of the challenges that we talk about in the book and had the ability to experience a lot of different things firsthand.

00:41:11;05 - 00:41:15;03
Rick Morris: Yeah. I mean again it's it's an incredible run.

00:41:15;03 - 00:41:37;29
Rick Morris: If you see it done properly but when you start to see people use that as the excuse and you know John I think as the person said it to me that you're used for cowboy coding or used to say that we don't need to document because we're Agile or things of that sort. It just becomes another methodology you can blame for things going wrong.

00:41:38;03 - 00:43:18;06
Nichole Tubiolo: Absolutely. And it's just it's unfortunate that in some instances it has been used as the excuse or the reason not to do things I think you never even take a look at. You know some of the some of the things that Agile is really kind of trying to draw forth it's not necessarily that you wouldn't document. It's just that we're we're saying we're favoring right. The Agile methodology favors working technology working features over documentation. So there really to me what that says is let let's get it working and then let's get it working right. And then let's document it where nothing the documentation is something that the documentation isn't important. Really more about you know getting your hands dirty getting in there making making some changes seeing what this changes look like and then providing the documentation and it's really and how the spirit of some of the Agile methodology is interpreted. And unfortunately in some cases I have heard that to be an excuse but it's really you know the spirit of that is let's produce some work and then and then we'll worry about documenting and that's really just taking that traditional methodology and really looking at it in a different way as opposed to let's write every every requirement and let's write every specification down and get all the documentation perfectly written to a team before we even write one line of code. You know it's just taking that and going and writing the code first and then documenting it.

00:43:19;05 - 00:43:52;25
Rick Morris: Yeah I think that stems from you know poor PMO practices where you know you've got these thousands of documents that you fill out that nobody ever reads. Nobody ever goes back and then they get under change control and you've got to change document first and you sit there and you go you're documenting for the sake of documenting because it's a checkbox on a process somewhere but is not providing any value to the business you know. So I think that that spirit of that you know we value working software over documentation comes from that. But he didn't say we value working software over it no documentation.

00:43:53;02 - 00:44:17;22
Nichole Tubiolo: So it really probably stems from those projects that are really documentation projects re the documentation itself becomes the project and that's unfortunate as well that's the that's the other extreme right but full agreement with you there Rick

Rick Morris: to me is always lessons learned as like we are we don't know what we learns these lessons and it's only going to go on SharePoint.

00:44:17;22 - 00:44:28;21
Rick Morris: Nobody's ever going to read it again. So why are we doing this being dead. That was mine as a project manager. Like am I the only one learning this lesson. Why am I having this meeting. All right.

00:44:28;25 - 00:44:34;15
Nichole Tubiolo: So we got an archive it, soo we can archive it and have it available.

00:44:34;18 - 00:45:00;11
Rick Morris: Sure nobody will ever open it again. I used to put all kinds of fun stuff in my lessons learned just to see if anybody would ever date me. And there are some doozies out there past organizations that's just why companies ever for. Go back there some nice nice tidbits of information in there. We're going to take our final break here on this Friday afternoon. The Work/Life Balance will be right back with the goal after this break us in The Work/Life Balance with Rick Morris.

00:48:02;06 - 00:48:37;27
Rick Morris: And we're back to The Work/Life Balance as you guys know that that music lead in music lead out music comes from The Party; it's a group that I've been involved with and managed over the last 20 years or so and got the sweetest call a couple of days ago from Damon Pampeluna. Part of that group I know heedlessness and the shows I wanted to shout out Damon tell him thank you for the call. Lifted my spirits as always brother and you'll always be a brother to me man. So coming back to the show. Nichole do you have anything you know website anything like that that you're participating in or that you'd like to promote.

00:48:38;13 - 00:48:45;29
Nichole Yes. Thanks Rick the part of the Agile Almanac book too we've also put together an Agile integration forum.

00:48:46;09 - 00:49:25;23
Nichole Tubiolo: You can get to that at great PM G.R. are the number 8 p.m. dot com. And really what that is. The forum provides in-depth discussion points on all of the chapters within the book. And so it's really a great tool if you're working through starting working with moving into Agile programs within your organization or if you're reading through the book and really just have some points that you want to discuss or just want to read what's out there on the forum. It's really a great tool and support for for anyone that that's working in Agile program management.

00:49:25;23 - 00:49:25;22
Rick Morris: That's fantastic.

00:49:25;22 - 00:49:48;09
Rick In fact I moderate the tools chapter are the tools portion of that. You're doing a budget risk and of course there's the other 16 chapters that are out there that are being moderated by those coauthors. And then you guys are doing a lot of exciting stuff too in terms of training and video development things like that would John talk a little bit about that.

00:49:48;28 - 00:50:34;26
Nichole Tubiolo: Absolutely yes. I'm actually coming up in February will be involved in coach teaching with John and ECP PMI ACP class and so that that's something that's provided by a great PM and then also we will be recording and have PD use available for each of the chapters starting with the first several chapters of the book. So there's a lot of recording going on of training related to each of those topics so if you're interested in some additional information after having read the book or have to having read some of the different chapters of the book those will be forthcoming we don't have a timeline quite yet but that those items are being recorded over the next couple of months here.

00:50:35;10 - 00:50:37;13
Rick Morris: And then how do people get in touch with you.

00:50:38;15 - 00:50:57;19
Nichole Tubiolo: You can reach me at my email address I don't know maybe correctly can have that spelled out somewhere but it's nichole.tubiolo @ gr8pm dot come are the number 8 p.m. dot com.

00:50:58;05 - 00:51:40;19
Rick Morris: And of course as a new service we announced this last week we did our first posting we're going to be a little bit behind so we caught up but as a new service to our listeners we are posting transcriptions of the show at my blog now So when we do announce websites or do announce contact information like that you'll be able to find it there at the transcription. Just look for the person on the show we also link to back to the podcast and we timecode it. So if there is something that you wanted to hear within the podcast you'll be able to advance directly to that and hear that portion of the show. Nichole we always ask all of our guests what is some of the best advice you've ever been given.

00:51:40;19 - 00:51:59;23
Nichole Tubiolo: First Beth that's a good question. I would say some of the best advice I've been giving is to really be outside of my comfort zone right. I've been you know just taught that if there's something that is uncomfortable it's probably where you need to be to grow.

00:51:59;29 - 00:52:20;19
Nichole Tubiolo: And so growing and learning and change even and a lot of the topics that we talked about today were around change and change management moving from traditional to Agile. That that's very outside of the comfort zone. And so I think that a lot of success can be found if you move outside of your comfort zone and just kind of kind of get used to being uncomfortable.

00:52:20;19 - 00:52:23;06
Rick Morris: I think that's great advice.

00:52:23;06 - 00:53:52;03
Rick Morris: One of the pieces of advice I'd like to give the listening audience as well something that I completed today but they brought me a lot of joy was volunteering with Junior Achievement so you can contact your local Junior Achievement wherever you guys are. But I taught I taught my sons class over the last several years I decided to teach a senior class here at Hoover High School in the entrepreneurial program and it was fantastic. Now you get all the materials. There's guided lessons but then you can infuse whatever you want to infuse with those lessons. And it literally just is one hour per week for six weeks. And so you actually work out the schedule with the teachers. It wasn't six consecutive weeks for me because of my schedule but I had a fantastic time. I learned a ton about those students have actually scheduled some follow on sessions because I want to stay involved with that class and just really you know got to know these kids. And it was a great way to give back. And so I challenge the audience to get involved. It's a great way to involve their community and you'll learn just as much as you give those kids and they need it. They need to hear from business leaders in our community. They need to hear from leaders in our community. And at the same time it was just it was a blast it was a ton of fun. I wanted to shout out my Hoover High Finance Academy students that I have had and a great opportunity to spend some time with.

00:53:52;03 - 00:53:56;05
Rick Morris: So Nichole thank you so much for being on the show. We loved having you.

00:53:56;25 - 00:54:00;27
Rick Morris: And I'm sure our paths are going across again here real soon.

00:54:00;27 - 00:54:09;22
Nichole Tubiolo: Excellent thank you so much. I really appreciate and extremely grateful for being a part of this show today and having a great discussion with you and John.

00:54:09;29 - 00:54:27;29
Rick Morris: Any time we may do a show where we get a bunch of us a bunch of the Agile Almanac and just have a free for all. So we'll see how that goes. Mainly just to drive Matt crazy but that will be fun just to see what happens. But be great. So next week gaing we have got Scott Ambler he's going to be joining us.

00:54:28;02 - 00:55:50;05
Rick Morris: If you guys don't know who Scott Ambler is he actually is a co-founder of the Disciplined Agile Delivery system and was really instrumental in helping IBM go down that Agile delivery path and is just an incredible person in the Agile world. We're so excited that he's going to take an hour of his very busy schedule to spend his time with us and The Work/Life Balance. The week after that we're going to have a revisit from Todd Nesloney. And if you guys haven't heard the first show with Todd Nesloney the need you need go back and listen to that because if we had more educators like Todd nestle in our in our environment everywhere we would be just fine. But Todd's going to be coming back he just released a new book called Stories from the Web. And he's going to be sharing those stories with us in just talking about what's been happening with him since he was on our show the last time he was on our show. Hurricane Harvey had just happened in Houston and he was sharing a lot of those stories with us but he's fantastic. You're not going to want to miss that show either. So please join us in the next coming weeks here on The Work/Life Balance as always we love spending our Fridays with you. Please stay tuned right here to the voice of America business channel. You can reach me at The Work/Live Balance. Find me on LinkedIn Facebook or anywhere else or at; we'll talk to you next Friday right here in The Work/Life Balance. We'll talk to you next Friday.