Showing posts with label safe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label safe. Show all posts

Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Inevitable Collapse of Agile - David Stackleather

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.

This transcription was completed through an automated service.  Please excuse any typos or misrepresented words.

VoiceAmerica  0:04  
One problem facing people at many levels of business is how to make time for a work life and a personal life. Do you find that one seems to keep getting in the way of the other? This is the work life balance with Rick Morris. Even if you're not involved in the business world, you'll have a lot to gain by tuning into today's show. Now, here's your host, Rick Morris.

Rick A. Morris  0:26  
And welcome to another edition of the work life balance. Very excited to have everybody along. You know, I think it's still just really, really crazy times. I know a lot of the states in the United States are starting to kind of think about reopening and reintegration and you know, it's it's just been a crazy moment, but I had a moment of reflection this morning. I had a chance to join a mastermind with several of the john Maxwell team members. And really, you know, I think the the entire part of us being quarantine for that matter is that we really It's allowed me to focus more on connection versus distraction. Right, this is kind of the key thing that came out, I think, because I was traveling so much and because I was going all over the world and, and literally would lose two days a week to travel, there was just tons of distraction that I wouldn't allow that connection piece to always go and now that I'm kind of forced to stay in one spot, it's really been something to focus more on connection with people and so I challenge you to reach out and connect call three or four people today and just you know, maybe past clients or people that you haven't gotten, gotten in touch with recently and just have an opportunity to reach out to them. You know, I've got some some very special people in my life that that provides that connection that really just amplifies my energy and so I urge you to find the same. We also want to announce if you haven't had a chance to come join us at the pm tribe calm please do as for my project managers that are listening out there my agile lists that are listening out there. We wanted to create a community that did more than just deliver content, we wanted to deliver direct mentorship. So it's led by six of the brightest minds that we know in project management and agile and each one of us have lanes in which we have calls every week, the calls are recorded, but you have the ability to call into to the mentor and ask anything you want to ask and deal with any issue that you want to deal with. And we've got some phenomenal mentors, john Steinbeck, Colin Ellis, Peter Taylor, Elizabeth Heron, Elena Hill, and myself. And so it's just a great community of people that are really driven to watch you grow in and master your influence to be able to really do the job that we were intended to do. So that's at the pm tribe calm come join us over there. So we're going to get to our guests today. Our guest is is I'm really excited about this. He's an independent management consultant. And he's focused on unraveling track troubled large scale projects and helping organizations transformation into high performing and adaptable companies. In short, his mission is to help teams and organizations become better, better in the sense of increased teamwork, increased flow, increased learning and increased passion about their mission. Most companies today are run based on flawed and outdated assumptions about how people work their best. These assumptions around the structure work methods and management got us far during the Industrial Revolution. But those same approaches no longer work. The good news is we know what works now. And the challenge is that it's not easy or intuitive to get there and so we're going to talk to this gentleman who brings us this this great knowledge His name's David stack leather, David, how you doing, sir?

David Stackleather  3:37  
I'm good. Rick, how are you doing?

Rick A. Morris  3:38  
Doing fantastic. And you know, when I asked for a topic for the show, you know, the inevitable collapse of agile and so boy already I can feel the Agile is just, you know, just breathing heavy. Like, don't don't mess with my method. Don't you touch my standup right. Don't mess with my sprint. But let's talk about that. Right agile is is such a big buzzword and It's It's, you know something I looking at you on the screen here. I'm not going to guess age or judge age. But we've been through the ITIL. We've been through the Six Sigma craze. We've been through all the latest fads and things and, and so when when I first heard of agile, I thought it was a fad. I was like, man, they may even be around in two years, but right, it's hanging on. So talk to me. But why did you come up with that as a title? Why do you see it as an inevitable collapse of Agile?

David Stackleather  4:25  
Well, I, my early career, my first professional job was in when TQM was coming into the

Rick A. Morris  4:34  
TQM I'm certified baby.

David Stackleather  4:36  
Yeah, and process reengineering. And Mike hammer. And there was an executive at the company I worked for who was big into process reengineering. And I was kind of picked from the bowels of the organization as maybe I had an interest in that skill there. And so those things I was really passionate about that did a lot of work within the company I worked for with our clients, kind of an internal consulting company learned a lot traveled the world. And I still believe in all that stuff. I still believe in TPM. And I still believe in process reengineering in the in the right context. But it became clearer and clearer to me that there's a more fundamental issue that even if you have the recipe, even if you have the quote unquote, solution, there's a bigger issue and trying to accomplish that in larger organizations. And my most recent experience in a large scale agile transformation, were a very old school organization in the insurance space, which is famous for not wanting to change for some good reasons and some bad and looking at even an organization that wanted to go through the transformation and needed to go through a transformation. How much kind of nonsense there was within that structure and nonsense internally generated but a lot of nonsense externally generated from consulting firms. A lot of people who really had no idea really what they were talking about, but they had a certification over weekend and suddenly they felt they could suggest how an organization that is a multi billion dollar, billion dollar organization is going to operate and appreciating the complexities of that, you know, because it's not a machine that we're dealing with. And I've dealt in manufacturing environments, and those are also extremely complicated. But when you get humans involved in the situation, it's really complicated and the context is key. And so the more that I look at specifically agile, which I'm a big believer in the foundational principles of agile, I think this is the right direction, but the industry around it and what's being sold is is doesn't kind of hue to those standards. I don't believe and just like frankly, if we're speaking, you know, honestly, the T QM days, the process reengineering days, the Six Sigma days, whatever fad, you can mention the outcomes, I think we're generally disappointing to the various Businesses that implemented them not that there weren't successes. And I think we're seeing that now in the Agile space as well.

Rick A. Morris  7:06  
Well, so let's back that up and deconstruct it a little bit first, whether it's t qm ITIL, agile, Six Sigma, it's all plan, do check act. I mean, Pim Bach is doing that, is doing that. I mean, it's, it's all we're gonna plan, we're going to do it, then we've got a measure, and then we're going to act upon those measurements and deviations right there. Right? Plan, do check act. So that's why I always considered a fad. But I think my biggest determining factor of whether or not I really believe in what's going on, is whether is the first step that suggested and if the first step is suggested is we got to train everybody in the organization in new in new words and a new lingo. Right, then you're selling training, you're not selling a product because honestly, if you do it well, you don't really have to put anybody through training. It's just you just change the underlying structure and say, This is the way it's going to be done here.

David Stackleather  7:53  
Is that fair to say? No, I think the way that I I look at these I question, especially with the Large scale frameworks and I use safe as an example not because I have any particular issue with safe, but that's the most popular one. And I asked myself, what's being sold there? What's the business model and the business model is a certification business model. And it's a consulting, business model implementation business model, but really from the the large scale frameworks being sold. It's really the revenue stream is certification, which is why you pick just about any of the frameworks, or any of the organizations providing certification. And when I first got involved in the Agile space, there were a couple you know, you had your product owner and your Scrum Master certification, you know, there was a handful. Now, there's a dozen or more for most of these. Yeah, I mean, it's just it which is is kind of crazy in a lot of ways. And so just like any other business, they're coming out with new models all the time because they want to create new features and new models they can sell and that's really exciting. It's not fundamentally about improving an organization, it's about selling the training and all the kind of add on processes. And I think you're right in the executive or a leader will see that as you know, I call it installing the agile, you know, I want to buy the agile and install the Agile as if they're buying a printer or something. Right. And because of the way it's structured and sold, it kind of looks like that. And it seems very scientific, and it seems very official, and it's very expensive, and very time consuming. And by the time you get through all this certification and relabeling and all this process, a couple of things happen either it fizzles out, and people just still use the same terms but they're not really acting in that way. or an organization will try to fool itself because once you've spent millions of dollars implementing something, you can't really admit that it didn't. It didn't work. And so now you're you're, you're kind of forced to set to say that it did work or move on and Forget about it because you don't want to admit that you spent a huge amount of money doing something that didn't work.

Rick A. Morris  10:04  
Now Dean leffingwell is is a friend of the show and he's endorsed books that we've done. We wrote a book called agile Almanac, which was scaling all the different types of agile methodologies to the to the bigger scale. he endorsed that book, wonderful person, but the certifications coming out too fast. I mean, I was certified I think in four Dotto, and it's already up to five. And that was just a few years right and your certifications no longer valid because I decided I wanted to change the model. And the reason why I changed the model is because I'm getting feedback that it doesn't work right. So it's it's, it's this constant thing, but to be fair, one of the things that you said was was Tiki and and all these things were six sigma t qm, although they seem not to work in what I think happens is I think they do work I think, I think in their purest form when when, you know, the Toyota way, right, that was the big thing. Everybody wouldn't read that book and try to implement it like Toyota did. But it did work for Toyota. It was it was amazing what they did, but I love the way that you said the install methodology. So just go get me that no, that was a whole culture built and we've got a top down and everybody was no knowing what was happening. And so I want to get some of your feedback we're about to go to break here and I want to start talking about what you call the Agile industrial complex but to leave the listeners with something here as well as one of the biggest things that I see in failures of Agile is that we don't change the methodology the executives and I see this I have a lot of coaches on the line as well that a lot of john Maxwell team coaches and when when you approach an executive they go Okay, yeah, my team needs coaching. They're like no, no, we're starting with you. Oh, no, I'm fine. I'm good. I'd you know that my team needs that I'm you don't have to talk to me. And so I'm watching you know, a team base agile get started, but still being requested waterfall reports. So when is it going to be done? how much it's going to cost, which means the organization hasn't bought in, right? And so now you've spent all this money on training, you've got this agile team running and now when you're trying to then quantify it back up to the executives They don't, they don't that coach has never done it in a large scale like that insurance company there's the person that got sort of certification hasn't led anything on a large scale where the less transform a business right So, lots to talk about lots to unpack we'll get into the Agile industrial complex you're listening to David stack leather and Rick Moore's and the work life balance.

VoiceAmerica  12:27  
Are you frustrated with the overall productivity of your project management processes? Do you lack consistency and project delivery? Our squared consulting provides end to end services to assist companies of all sizes in realizing and improving the value of project management. Whether you want to build a project management office, train project managers or learn how to bring the oversight and governance to your project processes. r squared has tailored best practices to help you in all areas of project management, visit r squared Are you getting the most out of your project management software. In many cases, it is not the software that is failing, but the implementation limitations or processes surrounding the use of that software. r squared can analyze your current use and help improve your return on investment. r squared can also suggest the best software for your organization and goals and assist in the selection implementation and training. Allow r squared to ensure that you are getting the value of your investment visit r squared today from the boardroom to you, voice America business network.

You are tuned in to the work life balance to reach Rick A. Morris or his guest today we'd love to have you call into the program at 1-866-472-5790. Again, that's 1866 For 725790 if you'd rather send an email, Rick can be reached at our Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  14:12  
And we're back to the work life balance on this Friday afternoon visiting with David stack leather. David is talking about the inevitable collapse of agile. So that obviously piqued my interest. And I'm excited to have you aboard the show. One of the things that you brought up in in some of the pre interviews is you talked about the Agile industrial complex, can you can you describe what that is and what you're talking about there.

David Stackleather  14:33  
So this is the most visible aspect of this are the certification organizations, you know, the and the scrum Alliance, and then some of the framework vendors safe and less than those kind of things. And that's even in the past couple of years that's kind of exploded. Even from a framework perspective. We have Nexus and others that have popped up and you know, I think as we talked about Before the break, a lot of this stuff is based on the same set of principles. It's just kind of a re mixing of it doesn't really bring anything new. And so this creates this process where there's an industry that's selling something to people. And there are multiple customers in the industry, which is kind of the complexity of it. The certification is one component of it. And those customers are employees, and folks who want to get into a job or a career. And the certification is just like in you know, the project management space, you had PMP certification, this is like that, but just worse than that, there's so many more. And the employees and the workers feel they have to become certified so you have a ready made audience. Hiring managers are part of this as a customer of this complex because hiring managers are looking to hire a fairly complicated skill set and a lot of these roles are Scrum masters and amazingly complicated skill set to hire for. And so as a hiring manager, it's much easier for me to simply Do you have a CSM and then I'll hire a CSM. And then, you know, just like in the old days where nobody got fired for buying IBM, you could say, well, nobody gets fired because you hired a CSM, they were certified, but nobody knows really what that means being certified. And you have executives who are for various reasons, some of them real, the performance of their organization isn't where it should be. And they're looking to change or they just want to be in on the latest fad to tell their friends that, hey, I'm an agile organization now. And so they want something to buy and install. And a lot of these large frameworks that come along with the certifications is something they can buy and feel that they can install. And what's what's fascinating, you said something before the break about, you know, it does work in certain contexts and stuff. And you mentioned Toyota and I totally agree. Now, the interesting thing is there's only one Toyota in the universe, right? And so the you know, the context is key there and in Toyota the, you know, executives were really bought in and continue to be really bought into the concepts and the philosophy behind it and the culture and that organization has built up over time. But you can't simply say to a, you know, a financial services firm be like Toyota, that just doesn't really work. And so a lot of this, this industrial complex is really about selling pieces of this to different customers. But it's not about fundamental transformation, because you can't, you can't just buy that in a box and install it.

Rick A. Morris  17:29  
Now, they, but they're sold it, that they're sold, what they they're sold a bill of goods, you write this, you will get this

David Stackleather  17:36  
there sold this as a bot and the more you know, kind of the more complicated it looks, the more pieces the more titles, all that stuff, the more it kind of makes sense to the existing narrative, which is really a false narrative, but they you know, they think there's just some tweak and it from an executive standpoint, they're really saying I want somebody else to change, I'm not going to change so give me something that I can install that will have these other people change. I think there's also something that's happened recently, a couple things that's happened recently. And by recently, maybe in the last decade. One is that you have a lot of executives and organizations that have found themselves in a position where they have to understand technology. Because their business, everybody relies on technology. You know, when I was in the financial services space, you would have executives talk about, I don't really care what happens in the technology department. And you know, I tried to tell them, if the technology stops working, this organization dies in 24 hours, right. And so there's no distinction between the business and the technology nowadays, but you have a lot of executives who this is new for them, and a lot of them don't really want to be involved in to the degree that they need to be. And so this this kind of scratches an itch to say I can, instead of understanding really what's going on there and be a part of that solution in the context of my organization and change myself and change how my my leadership team operates. I'll just buy this box of gizmos and have you guys install it. And it'll just it'll change the organization. But it fundamentally is an impossible ask. The other thing that's happened, you know, in the past maybe three or four years, I would guess is the very large consulting houses have come into this, they see this, the buzz generate, and large organizations, you know, on the kind of late adopters. And so that's an opportunity for them to just kind of, here's all the people, we're going to sell you thousands of hours of very expensive consulting folks to go in and transform your organization. And all they're doing is implementing the box of gizmos that you buy from the framework, implementing it without context within the organization. And they'll spend several years doing that. But fundamentally, your organization won't change because the culture didn't change the way the leadership operated, didn't change. And unfortunately, eventually all the employees will figure that out much quicker than the leadership And they'll become kind of upset that this is another fake change, which is probably one in a long series of fake changes within most organizations not all I mean, I want to be careful that there are there are definitely organizations out there that are trying to change and leaders that are trying to change but if you look at a percentage of organizations, I think that's a pretty small percentage.

Rick A. Morris  20:21  
And so so it's some it's important for us then to focus on the why of the change the one of the big things and misconceptions of Agile is if I install it will be faster. It's just it's it's, it's no different than saying I'm going to hire a personal trainers so that I can run faster, or that the day that you hire the trainer, you're running faster, right? That's Yeah, months of hard work and months of transformation in changing. And so I think the other thing is, is if if you're going to agile because you're having delivery problems and a lack of trust in the team and a lack of leadership, agile is only going to exacerbate that it's only going to make it worse because It requires more trust and more cohesive team units and stuff to be really effective. Right. But I recently had a client that that was sold the safe bill of goods essentially they wouldn't say but almost every single one of their projects is commercial off the shelf installations. Hmm. So now you're at the mercy of the vendor, and they're trying to be agile, and they're trying to do pies and it wasn't working for them. And I always said, so just don't do that ceremony. Right? Oh, well, you know, it's prescribed is what moves. But we have to recognize that these are just like the Pim Bock if you look at PMI in the pen back then that was a methodology but that doesn't mean I do every single one of those processes for every single project methodology. This isn't a doctor prescribing a treatment. If you don't do the treatment, you're gonna die. Right? This is this is somebody going you know, you may want to eat a couple less potatoes a rake, just gotta lay off the potatoes like a little bit there. Right? That's more of what it is. So So why, why is that difficult though for executive To just comprehend why we see it because we've been through it all. Yeah. Why? Why are these executives just buying it?

David Stackleather  22:08  
Well, I think part of it is that, especially in large organizations with a big hierarchy, most executives don't interact with the people who are at the interface to their customers. So I read somewhere, I wish I knew who had written it. But they said, there's a developer, a programmer has more in common with this with the CEO than any kind of mid manager does, right? Because they both just want to get something done at the end of the day. But most CEOs don't talk with the developers who are writing the software for their customers. And don't sit down and listen to what their problems are. And therefore, they have all this middle layer, this information that's being kind of squeezed the value before it gets into a PowerPoint and it gets into the boardroom. And the middle layers that are squeezing that information out are not doing it maliciously. They're been trained through the culture to do that. To what to expect, how to communicate. The one that I always kind of laugh at is I'm always admonished for providing too much detail to executives. You know, they don't want to go into that detail and say, Well, I understand they don't want to have a five hour long, you know, speech about something. But these are smart people. I mean, these are these are not dummies, why are we dumbing down everything? Why don't we have real conversations about real problems at the interface of the customers, which is the only relevant interface in an organization. And so I think that, because the executives and leaders have separated themselves, they don't go and sit down with developers and customer service people and the guy at the dock, unloading the boxes. All these folks know exactly where the problems are. And they'll tell you now, they may not tell you in the you know, most flowery language, they may not be polite about it, but they'll tell you what the issue is and you should be thankful if that's the case, but too many executive Don't do that. And I've seen in my career, a couple who are really good at that, and would know what was going on and could could interface with the organization at all levels in a way that made sense. But most are just kind of trapped in their daily meeting structure and PowerPoint decks, which there's no info. There's no valid information coming from that process.

Rick A. Morris  24:21  
yet. Carly Fiorina actually attributes a lot of her success, who first female CEO of a tech giant HP, to the fact that she would, she talked to everybody, she'd sit down with anybody and hear them out and got her best ideas from the lower level. There's the thing that I've done, I've dubbed it the fuzzy middle layer, you're talking about the middle layers, I call them fuzzy because that's where stuff just gets fuzzy. Right? But it's interesting, I was part of a project at at CAA, where we were developing an application on top of clarity ppm. So your total project portfolio management's got all of your statuses. And we built an app for an iPad, where you could do your strategy, but then you could tie your Strategy directly to the project. So you could see in a dashboard, how it was beautiful, but it bombed because it bypassed the middle layer, because it was getting the project managers were inputting data directly into the system. And that was feeding right up to the strategic plan, right. And there was no context being given by the fuzzy middle layer. And so it caused a lot of concern. Right. And so the project managers loved it. The executives loved it. The fuzzy middle layer, hated it. Really interesting to watch. Yeah, but why do we Why do we think executives stay so far removed? I've met with CIOs that literally just they're like, they like us. They like us, these consultants who will give them that level of data because we're the only people giving them real actionable data in the system. How do you How can they not see that culture getting for?

David Stackleather  25:52  
Well, they, you know, a part of it and happens over time. And so it's it's the old boiling frog problem. It's not a quick thing these cultures are generated over time. And it makes sense. It's logical that as, especially as an organization grows, you're like, Well, when I have, you know, 10 people in a room, and we're a little 10 person company, we don't have a lot of hierarchy. We're just in a room, we're talking, everything's flowing. If we have 1000 people in the organization, as the leader of the organization, I think, well, just mathematically, I can't deal with 2000 people. So it makes sense for me to create a hierarchy, rather than creating kind of a network process, which is a structure that you might want to look at, rather than a hierarchy. But the default is, well, I have a problem. So I need to hire a role. I need to have somebody to manage these people. And before long, you have all these structures. And there are a couple of things that happen, I think, to most executives, one is they get into a cadence, it's the you know, the old maker versus manager proc process where you know, managers can split their time in half hour increments, but if you actually build anything for a living, that's not possible you need to have long periods of time, financially. interrupted, you know, programmers don't develop software and half hour increments, right. And so they get into this cadence where it kind of makes sense you're having these meetings, you're think you're getting the information, it's very quick to fool yourself, that you have some line on what's really happening because that data is all being translated based on what the middle layer thinks you want to hear. And that middle layer is watching the executives reaction really, really closely. And so I think what a lot of executives don't realize is when they have a reaction, that's maybe a poor reaction, or they push back against something or they complain about something that that almost has a 10 x effect on the reaction of the middle layer, and it just makes the situation worse. And I've seen that time and time again, with like executive reaction in a meeting where somebody's presenting some data, which is valid and it's not good data. It's not good information. We'd rather not to be that way. And the executive reacts and I don't like this And the reaction is kind of a 10 x effect to the middle managers, and therefore the next meeting is even more watered down. For sure. And, you know, one of the things that has amazed me, especially in large, very large, like financial services organizations is the disconnect in, in opinion between the executives on what they think the worker level in the organization is, how good they are, versus how good they really are. And so they have an opinion that will our programmers aren't very good. That's why our software kind of goes down or whatever. And if you sit down and talk to the developers, you know, you're like, these are really smart people. These guys know what's going on. And you're lucky to have this kind of staff but the executives have never really talked to them and interacted with them and understand how many of their decisions which they don't even understand the impact of their decisions, kind of causes problems within the systems of the organization. They kind of they kind of lay the groundwork for their own torture in the future, but they just don't realize it. Because fundamentally, they're talking to people because they think that as an executive, my job is to sit in meetings and listen to PowerPoints and issue directives and that sort of thing rather than get lazy, right? You get lazy and you get used to that process. You know, we're all human. We get used to that this is kind of nice coming into the office, having my coffee, having somebody come and you know, give me a PowerPoint deck me making some kind of pontificating on it. The other thing that's dangerous let's let's pause right there because what I'd like to do is give some tips and tricks around kind of preventing this happen, but we do need to get to a break really quickly and we'll get it right on the other side of these commercials listening to Rick Morrison the work life balance.

VoiceAmerica  29:44  
Are you frustrated with the overall productivity of your project management processes? Do you lack consistency and project delivery? Our squared consulting provides end to end services to assist companies of all sizes in realizing and improving the value You have project management. Whether you want to build a project management office, train project managers, or learn how to bring the oversight and governance to your project processes. r squared has tailored best practices to help you in all areas of project management, visit r squared Are you getting the most out of your project management software? In many cases, it is not the software that is failing, but the implementation limitations or processes surrounding the use of that software. r squared can analyze your current use and help improve your return on investment. r squared can also suggest the best software for your organization and goals and assist in the selection implementation and training. Allow r squared to ensure that you are getting the value of your investment visit r squared today it comes to business you'll find the experts here voice America Business Network.

You are tuned in to the work life balance to reach Rick A. Morris or his guest today, we'd love to have you call into the program at 1-866-472-5790. Again, that's 1-866-472-5790 if you'd rather send an email Rick can be reached at our Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  31:31  
And we're back to the work life balance on this Friday afternoon. Afternoon. We're visiting with David stack leather and talking about agile and how you what we may see as the inevitable collapse of agile and right before break. We were talking about 10 executives being removed. And you made a really good point, Dave, in talking saying that. There's opinions that are that are different in the opinion of the developers, the executives are is really based on that fuzzy middle layer that we're talking about. I always like that as executives when I go When I say well, who's who do you think makes the strategic decisions of this company? And you know, of course, well, I do, you know, this is what I get paid for, and I go, so do you have a prioritized list of projects? And are you resourced against those? And they go, No, I go, well, then you're not making the strategic, you may make the strategic direction, you're not making the strategic decisions, because the person that is that DBA in the corner that just got asked for things to do. And because there's no clear direction on what I should do, first, they're making the strategic decisions of what they're doing. And I've got 884 different strategic decisions being made a day. So that's, that's, it's an interesting concept, but how do we what are some tips and tricks to kind of help that or how do you deal with those opinions?

David Stackleather  32:44  
So So one, and you know, agile really helps in this way, which if if executives and leaders would accept this is the idea that if you operate off a prioritized backlog of things that you're working and whatever the granularity of the backlog is, you know, But certainly at a higher level about what the outcomes are you need for your business. And the idea of forcing that prioritization. So you don't have 10 number ones, which is usually in large enterprise, everything is important, we need to have 10 number ones. And, you know, the way that I describe it to them is Look, when you when you come into work in the morning, you have to get dressed, and you have to get your your set appearance to show up at work. All that stuff's important, your pants are important, your shirts important, everything's important, but you have to have a priority to get it done. You can't do it all at the same time. And so that's fundamentally the same way that we have to operate in these these projects on these efforts. One is to to the one decision is what is the most important thing at this moment in time and if you can, as a leader make that decision, then you need to figure out what information who do I need to talk to, because I think a lot of organizations kind of outsource that work just like you're describing to the to the layers the programmers and the DBAs in the to mid level managers to make those decisions, and there's 1000 decisions happening. And probably with most organizations 60% of the work is not really relevant to the success of the organization. It's kind of busy work, it'll be thrown away, or it doesn't really matter at the end of the day, but leaders are not making those decisions, because they're not having a hard discussion about prioritization, which is hard. I mean, I admit it, you have to make decisions about what you won't do, and what you will do. And that list should be fairly small, and it can change over time. But too many love to pass that

Rick A. Morris  34:33  
it's there.

David Stackleather  34:34  
Right? But that's the you know, as you just described, that somebody is making a decision. And they're making that decision for you. And you've just outsourced that decision to somebody you don't know. And you don't know why they're making that decision. And most likely, the decisions are not going to be consistent for delivery of some value that the organization needs, which is why you have so many organizations spending what seems like more and more money. Especially on technology efforts, but they see what they get more or less and less value out of the other end. And there's lots of reasons for that. But one, I think, is because of this lack of really, if you're an executive, the one thing you need to do is prioritize what's important to the organization, what what really needs to happen? And what are the goals of the organization and have a feedback loop to understand if you've if you need to change your decision, and very, very few leaders have that process. But the Agile kind of guides the way if you if you just take the kind of baseline agile of a prioritized backlog that concept and approach can help quite a bit, but too many don't want to have those difficult discussions because it is difficult. But let's Yeah,

Rick A. Morris  35:42  
let's talk about that first and prioritize backlog and I'll give you an example working with an executive recently. It first of all, the term agile coach, I hate that it's so why because I am an agile coach. But I don't, I don't install teams and I don't do whatever do is I work with executives to teach them how to think in an agile format? So for instance, you build me a data warehouse. Okay, well, that's fine. But what are we going to do with it? Well, you know, I don't know, I just need all my data in one place. And I'll tell you, no, that's not what we're going to build. And so I was doing this with an organization. And it's like, so what are we trying to get at? Well, we feel like we need to do local market plans. Okay, great. So how's the local market plan work? Well, we get our 50 accounts, and we get information. So great, let's, let's take six people, we'll do 300 accounts, we'll clean them up. We'll do this all manually to see if we're going to get a benefit. Before we go by Big Data Warehouse. I just kept asking questions. So I was like, so why can't we just take the 50 accounts and finally got the executive to go, Well, how do I know those are the best 50 accounts? And I was like, there's your first agile question, right? How do we know? And what are we going to use? So what are we going to use to determine it comes back? I don't know. That's why I needed their data warehouse to give me all the data and I was like, even if you have all the data, you're not going to know so Let's start here. And that's what an agile coach should really do is really force you to the value conversation and asking really good questions to be answered versus, well, I want to build a data warehouse and we're agile, so I should get it in six months instead of a year.

David Stackleather  37:14  
Right? Yeah. And I think it's, it's interesting, because as you're describing that, you know, if you take, take it out of the Agile coach or an external party, like yourself having that conversation and put an employee in that chair, they wouldn't get past the third question, right? What you know, they would just kind of be like, Okay, I'm done talking about this, just do what I told you to do. I have another meeting to go to. And so, you know, I think too many. I give you an example, a personal example, I've had somebody who's worked for me three companies over my career. And this individual will tell me when he thinks I'm going loopy, in a nanosecond, a very straightforward and sometimes it can be a frustrating conversation. You know, it's like he keeps pushing, pushing, pushing I've always valued that you have to have have to have people in the organization or people that you trust to be able to push back on the process or ask the 20 questions until you get to something that makes sense. And too often, executives or even mid level managers don't want to allow that. They have a very short fuse for that. And I think because it's part of it is because of the internal PR machine in your head that a lot of managers have when they're not involved in the day to day, and occasionally they'll come up on a situation. And they'll say, they'll make a comment, oh, you should do it this way. Or have you thought about that? And they're right, and the employee says, Oh, we didn't think about that. Sorry. And what people don't realize is the manager or the executive in their head, the PR machine in their head is saying, oh, you're a genius. Look, you just figured something out. You're a genius. You're a genius. And it plays in their head continuously and then they they end up believing their own internal PR when it's not just because you don't not involved and you just showed up and you saw it from a different angle and you made it statement and it seemed like you're a genius, but it's just the context of where you're coming from. It's not that you have any greater knowledge than your employees. And so I think they train, you know, and we all do this get trained over time, if we're not actively pushing back against this process, where we're shutting down the conversation that is so critical. But But oddly enough, we'll let an external party do it. If you bring in an external consultant, you'll let them get away with all kinds of stuff. Not always. There's always Oh,

Rick A. Morris  39:29  
yeah, I've been I've been escorted out a building. Yeah.

David Stackleather  39:32  
I mean, you have to kind of judge the context. But you can get away with a lot more as an external party and ask more uncomfortable questions and just about any employee in the organization, and that shouldn't be that way. Right? I mean, from because there's a lot of good knowledge in organizations that they're missing.

Rick A. Morris  39:50  
So we've got a couple of minutes left about two to three minutes left in this segment, what should executives really be focused on if agile is not going to work? What What should work what should they be? focused on.

David Stackleather  40:00  
So I think they shouldn't be focused on, you know, implementing a framework or having everybody get certified. They need to not that these things are not useful. These components of what we call agile are very useful. But executives to understand what's the context of their organization? What's the culture of their organization? What is the the goal, the optimizing goal of the structure of the organization? What do they need? What problem do they need to solve in the next several years, five years, and look at maybe tactics or structures that they can implement and test and have a feedback process but not to buy something that they're going to install? A large framework, starting to change titles, get people certified, really until you as a leader say, what are we trying to accomplish? And how should we change our work and there's a lot in Agile that'll inform on that and it's very valuable, but you shouldn't be your first step should not be to call up a consulting firm and say I want to buy the agile and to install the agile, because that's all that's inevitably going to fail. And most organizations, that's what they're doing. But the hard work is to understand your organization, go talk to the developers, figure out really what you really want to accomplish as an organization, maybe you don't have a problem as an organization, frankly, you might be working just fine. And agile is not the right thing to implement. And so that's the real process is to have those discussions and questions at all levels, not just in the boardroom.

Rick A. Morris  41:33  
I think I think one of my biggest suggestions I gave when we start talking about agile as if we're going to deploy agile, you need to start deploying agile yourself as an executive even in the way that you're bringing in people. So what's the value that you're going to negotiate in versus, you know, and that's my frustration with some of the big firms and in Look, they some of the big firms do a lot of great work. They do, to be fair, but then, you know, we have our run ins as consultants. I you know, I was an expert of this software for 20 years I was there when it was built. And I'm working with the lady that actually wrote the financial calculation portion. We're trying to solve something for a client and it's not working the way we want. And this guy comes in, sits down with the software for two minutes, and it gets a meeting with the CIO. And now I'm having to sit with the CIO, because this guy thinks he solved the problem. It's taking a Nic. Again, this is not I wouldn't suggest this. But again, I was an external consultant was frustrated. Plus, I'm Italian. I said, Look, I read all about your business on Wikipedia last night, I know how to solve all your problems. And the guy goes, What are you talking about? I said, that's what this joker just did here. I mean, you've got the people who wrote the software in the building. Let us finish this out. Right. He has no idea what he's talking about. But unfortunately, that's what we deal with in the consultant game. Right?

Unknown Speaker  42:44  
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Rick A. Morris  42:47  
So we're going to go ahead and take our final break right here. We're going to come back with David's deck later, we're going to find out how to get in touch with them, as well as what are some of the best advice he's ever received. Stay tuned right here. You're listening to Rick Morris and the work life balance.

VoiceAmerica  43:04  
When it comes to business, you'll find the experts here, voice America business network. Are you getting the most out of your project management software? In many cases, it is not the software that is failing, but the implementation limitations or processes surrounding the use of that software. r squared can analyze your current use and help improve your return on investment. r squared can also suggest the best software for your organization and goals and assist in the selection implementation and training. Allow r squared to ensure that you are getting the value of your investment visit r squared today. Are you frustrated with the overall productivity of your project management processes? Do you lack consistency and project delivery? r squared consulting provides end to end services to assist companies of all sizes in realizing and improving the value of project management. Whether you want to build a project management office, train project managers, or learn how to bring the oversight and governance to your project processes, r squared has tailored best practices to help you in all areas of project management, visit r squared

You are tuned in to the work life balance to reach Rick A. Morris or his guest today we'd love to have you call into the program at 1-866-472-5790. Again, that's 1-866-472-5790 if you'd rather send an email Rick can be reached at our Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  44:50  
And we're back to the work life balance our final segment this Friday afternoon still visiting with David stack leather David what company did your own consultant you have your own firm Yeah, I have my own, you know, one man operation called scale frameworks kind of as a joke about the Agile frameworks. Well done. I like that.

Unknown Speaker  45:11  
I was I was available

Rick A. Morris  45:14  
right out of people get in touch with you, how do they find you?

David Stackleather  45:18  
So the easiest way to get in touch with me is either at David at scaled framework comm if you want to shoot me an email or I'm on LinkedIn, at LinkedIn slash stack leather slash stack leather. I'm only one of two David stack leather so you'll quickly find out which one it is the other ones my dad, he works for the federal government, that's not me.

Rick A. Morris  45:39  
Well, what would you say is your your ideal client?

David Stackleather  45:42  
My ideal client is someone, a leader in an organization who really wants to make change. Who sees that the situation is changing maybe in their industry, they're not delivering as they they used to. They're not satisfying their customers. They don't really know What the what the gears are how the thing needs to change, but are open to anything and open to dealing directly with people who do the work open to changing hope and open to being in very uncomfortable situations. And those are the best, like if we can just have a real conversation and maybe it gets a little heated but we're okay at the end of the day, we're moving forward and trying to do the best thing for the organization and and the folks that rely on that organization, both employees and customers. That's the best situation I really get energized by those kind of situations. I'm not really big on politics and hierarchy and let's talk about the org charts and that sort of thing. That's, that's not really something that I was interested in.

Rick A. Morris  46:46  
So what some of the best advice you've ever received.

David Stackleather  46:48  
So probably the you know, as similar to the kind of the internal PR machine I as I mentioned before the break I had an executive that I worked for for quite some time and he Told me during a dinner or something, always remember, you're not a genius, which is shocking to have somebody about seven rungs above you on the org chart. And we talked quite a bit about that. And what he had said was that there's so much information there's the world is so complicated in a lot of ways you can't possibly know everything, you have to rely on other people. You have to be open to new information. And no matter how smart you are, how smart you think you are, you have to know and believe that you're not a genius. And you're not always going to have the answer. And for two reasons, one is because you're not always going to have the answer. The second is even if you have the answer, other people have an ability to kind of mess that up for you. And so you have to make sure that everybody's on board and nobody likes to work or deal with somebody who thinks they're a genius. It's annoying. And so I think I'm very smart. I have an ego like anyone else, but I try to actively tamp that down. I think it's important especially the highest You are up in a hierarchy, the more kind of good luck you've had in your life about moving into a position, having the right education, having the right parents, whatever the situation is, is having a little humility and understanding that the world is very complex. And you don't have all the answers. But if you get enough people together and have a good conversation, you can probably find a good solution. And that's the best advice. And I've tried to increasingly improve on that over the years, this probably was 20 years ago when I heard this message. And that's, you know, led me down a good path. I think over time, where I can I can at least be proud of what I've done. And I'm not ashamed of anything that I've done in my my career.

Rick A. Morris  48:46  
Do you have any final thoughts or things that you'd like to share with the audience?

David Stackleather  48:50  
Well, I would just say that especially if you're involved in an agile transformation, if you've got your CSM, if you're in an organization that uses is kind of struggling is to kind of throw away the idea about the certifications and go back to the the actual underlying data. And what I mean by the underlying data or the underlying information is the the old stuff like Deming, the number of times that I'm in a room of executives and ask them if anybody know who Edwards Deming is. And I get maybe one hand at a 40 cola. You know, it makes me really sad. And this is what I mean about this. We know what to do in these organizations. We know how people work we know how leaders and people on the factory floor or the call center floor ideas that really operate but we need to go back to this information so kind of throw away the new website stuff and go back to the lemmings and McGregor it's not hard to find all these people. And and you'll be surprised when you read the kind of the old knowledge that we've known about this for quite some time. We have a lot of ideas, but I think focus needs to really go back and read that stuff and understand it the intent behind it, rather than kind of taking a, you know, pre written, pre installed framework or set of tactics, and try to shove them in the context of your organization, because it's just, it's just going to be frustrating. All the way around.

Rick A. Morris  50:18  
Yeah, and, again, there's gonna be something else that comes behind agile, it's gonna be the, in fact, I already heard of one friend of mine just went to Rome to get certified in this thing. And but essentially, when he described it to me, I was like, so tell me how that's different from my toe. Right? Well, this one's different because you're, there's chargebacks they're really trying to use a cost center. And I was like, right, that's exactly what I was doing. And everybody, everybody froze at the time that you were trying to do that configuration to the CMDB. Right. There was always the, the one piece of thing and there always seems to be one piece of thing and in this case, it's it's agile is the right level development of when you throw something into poi. That's always the one thing that people seem to miss. That's And strategy over versus functionality or requests or business questions, right? In this one, right, it was a CMDB. So now they've tried to figure out how to do it without a CMDB. And therefore, it's Yeah, it's it's frustrating.

David Stackleather  51:14  
Yeah, well, that goes to it's, it's a business model, and they're not realize this, they're constructing a product to sell, which means you have to change something, and you've got to have something to sell. And now you're just re, for the most part, you're rehashing old stuff in a new format with new fonts and, you know, fancy website, but fundamentally, you're not really selling anything new. And fundamentally, people can't buy something and install it and change their organizations and that that deep giveaway just is not really possible.

Rick A. Morris  51:45  
So I've had to I've had to learn how to develop analogies that I do a lot of stuff on resource management, understanding the utilization of our people and it doesn't have to be hard takes five minutes a week per person, you know, per manager really to do. But I always love We don't have time to do resource management. I'm like, well, that's like saying you're too fat to diet. It just there's nothing there. That makes sense. It's Yeah, it is what it is. Right? Well, David, I've appreciated your time partner, I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing your expertise with us. And we wish you luck in the future. Thank you very much. I've enjoyed it. And so for everybody else hanging on, we're going to have West bush on the show next week. Wes is a best selling author of product lead growth, these renowned product lead growth pioneer, it says in his bio, he's ridiculously tall, so we're gonna have to figure out what that means. But looking forward to have Wes on the show. We've got some great guests lined up. We're actually I think, booked out into July now for the show. So we've got a lot of great information coming up. We'd love for you guys to give us feedback. You can do so at Rick A. Morris on Twitter. You can find me on LinkedIn and Facebook at Rick A. Morris, and you can always send an email to our Morris at r squared consulting comm or Rick at Rick A. Morris calm and until next Friday. We hope that you live your own work life balance and stay tuned right here to voice them. America business for our next fantastic show.

VoiceAmerica  53:06  
Thank you for joining us this week. The work life balance with Rick Morris can be heard live every Friday at 2pm pacific time and 5pm eastern time on The Voice America business channel. Now that the weekend is here, it's time to rethink your priorities and enjoy it. We'll see you on our next show.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Radio Show Transcript - Agile - Trends and What Does It All Mean?

As a new service, our listeners have been requesting transcripts of the radio show / podcast.  We will be releasing these now every week with a link to the podcast and timecoded transcripts that will announce where we were in the podcast when we said it!  This will start with this one and go forward as well as we will produce transcripts of our most popular shows from the past!  Enjoy!

Agile - Trends and What Does It All Mean? - Recorded January 5th, 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.

00:01:06;00 - 00:01:30;10
Welcome to 2018. Welcome to another year of The Work/Life Balance. And we're hitting this year in stride. A lot of people are very cold in the United States as we have single digit temperatures across the United States. Several of my friends that I've talked to are digging out of snow. So we hope it's warm and toasty where you are. But we're glad that you've joined us for another episode of The Work/Life Balance.

00:01:30;10 - 00:02:10;20
We've got a lot of exciting things planned for 2018, and we already running are already starting to fill up our speaking calendar, so we will let you guys know about how that is coming along and keep you guys posted on that. We've got some exciting guests that are going to be coming up in the future shows here. We've got John Gates that is going to be on the show. Paul Cumming's. Nicole Tubiolo is going to be on. We've got Scott Ambler scheduled to be on the show. We've got a repeat performance from Todd Nesloney. If you've heard that one in the past we're going to be doing another live show from John Maxwell got Kupe Koopersmith that’s going to be on the show. So we've got a lot of fantastic guests lined up.

00:02:10;25 - 00:02:45;20
A lot of cool things coming but I thought I would start 2018 with just me in just kind of back to the way the show originally started. And I wanted to share just some thoughts and journeys as I had time to reflect at the end of 2017. I always take the last week of the year off. There are some special days in there for my family. It's my daughter's birthday. Of course, we have the Christmas and New Year. But I always like to take that last week off and just really reflect on what the year meant to me, as well as, what did I learn and what I see for the upcoming year.

00:02:45;22 - 00:04:00;28
And as I was doing that, I would say the overwhelming trend for me in 2017, professionally, was my journey through Agile. You know we've done a few shows on our job but wanted to kind of give you definition of Agile. If you guys are already starting to roll your eyes, please stay with me because I promise this is going to be a lot more fun than that. But, you know I see things in life cycles and I see a lot of cycles in it. I see a lot of cycles in business and we're in the midst of a cycle right now with Agile and Agile transformations. So, my journey through Agile began in a few years ago. I bumped into a couple of people that were on the forefront of this new methodology and they were saying things like you know we can't tell you when we're going to be done because we're Agile. I can't tell you how much it's going to cost because we're adj out in the biggest one that I ran into was hey we don't need project management anymore because we're Agile and obviously as a project manager for 20 some odd years that was very scary to me and a lot of things that they were saying didn't seem right to me.

00:04:01;12 - 00:04:10;13
It didn't sound right to me. And so, what I decided to do is start a certification journey in really understand this methodology.

00:04:10;28 - 00:04:28;23
And so, in this past year I went and got my ACP as sort of a practitioner through PMI. I became what's known as a certified Scrum Agile master which is a deep dive into 17 different methodologies. I got my safe certification.

00:04:28;29 - 00:05:23;11
And so really just did a deep dive and all these different methodologies so that I can understand what was happening and then right at the end of the year in, I won't say the company, but what was interesting is one of the companies that came up to us and said hey we're Agile now, we don't need project management. That was, literally I want to say four years ago, that they told us that I got a news article from a friend of how poorly they're doing. Several of the stores are closed. A lot of people are being laid off and it looks like a brand that's been around for quite some time is now going away and that gave me pause because you know again this whole adaptation of you know we're going all in on this one methodology. The only way to go and the end result is that that wasn't a problem with Agile.

00:05:23;13 - 00:07:19;01
It was a problem with the Agile list, and it was a problem with the way that they did the implementation. So, I wanted to start to dive in a little bit further on some of the details, and this speech and these thoughts started to bubble up for me when I started to do some reflection and really, what that is that you know…look, change is hard, but you can't simply change the words in and all of a sudden behavior changes. And so that's what I'm seeing. First and foremost, any in some of these large scale Agile transformations, they think that if they adopt new words or new terminology that all of a sudden, they're going to get different results. But the biggest thing is that you have to change behavior. Like, for instance, if I want to lose weight I can't simply say well I'm going to now deem sugar as a vegetable and therefore I'm going to lose weight. It doesn't work that way. I can't keep doing the same thing I'm doing. Change the terminology and then expect different results. You have to change behavior with it. When I started to do that reflection, I was journaling, and something popped in my head and it's actually an old comedy routine. And it was done by George Carlin. It was done several years ago. But it is always stuck in my head. And he did this comedy routine which was beautifully done. Of course, I had a lot of social commentary around it about euphemisms and, you know, a euphemism is simply substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something, and he went through this whole tirade. So, for instance he brings up and this is George Carlin, this isn't me but, he brings up the fact in the Bible it says that Jesus healed the cripples yet that that's a term that's seen offensive.

00:07:19;01 - 00:07:53;26
Now that we can't say the word cripple you don't use the word cripple. We now call them physically challenged. And it's not handicapped, it's handy capable, and he goes through all of these. Even says you know one of my favorite ones he used to use that he brings up is how airlines talk and the fact that they say pre-board. He goes, “What does that boarding before you get? You know before you board news that boarding before you board”. Why do we use pre-board. But the point still made. You know he says it at some point in our lives. Toilet paper became bathroom tissue and none of us were consulted.

00:07:53;26 - 00:09:09;16
It just became a nicer term and easier term and I feel like Agile can be somewhat of a euphemism for a lot of the things that are happening. And I get that, and I am deriving it that based on how things were perceived and presented to me when I went through training. When I went through training, I was told that project management is very command and control, and that Agile is very open in that you know in Agile the teams make all the decisions and you know it's very light and fluffy. And I started to get this picture in my brain, as I was going through training, that all project managers are just huge Godzilla lizards that are just walking through and crushing it, killing cities and doing stuff like that in everybody that's working in Agile or just simply, you know, butterflies living in these communal farms. Everybody smiles all day at each other and it's always sunny out. It's always perfect weather when you're working an Agile job but if you're working on a standard project management you're in this industrial factory and there's smokestacks coming out.

00:09:09;28 - 00:11:28;16
And life is horrible. It's command and control and the big boss comes out with a cigar and stomps on you. And I'm sitting there listening through these training classes going,.” That's not what I know”.  But that's the way they're training people, and I'm sitting there going, “Man, if I was a brand-new developer or brand new person, this is is my introduction into I.T. That's not what I know. That's not how I know these things.”. So, the whole euphemism thing came up. You know for me the way people were trained, the way people are using things, and so I found a few euphemisms of my own. So, if you guys know Agile or if you know project management, what's funny is, as I was going through all of these, Agile discussions. It was interesting to see what was happening in Agile. So, for instance they were training, and they said you know one of the first steps that you do is groom planning and begin planning is where we all get together and decide what the objectives are that we're going to be accomplishing, and I was like, “Yeah that sounds a whole lot like a work break down structure session.” And they say, ”Yeah and then we have these things called retrospectives and that's where we all get together and discuss what worked what didn't work how can we improve how can the team gel not going to stop,” and I was like, “Yeah that sounds like lessons learned. That's a technique that we've had in project management,” and they say, “Yeah, we have these things called up where we get together, and you know we stand up and we say this is what we did. This is what we're going to do. These are the impediments that are in our way.” I was like holy that sounds a whole lot like a status. And you know we have scrum masters though and that's what we have. And I was like what kind of the project manager is like so what you've done is you've taken all the ceremonies that have worked for ages. We've wrapped them up in new names changed the rules a little bit. We call it a new methodology. Excuse me I said but you. So we've come up with a bunch of new words. They sound nicer. We've described a methodology that's butterflies and communal living and it's sunny always. How is that going to work.

00:11:29;12 - 00:12:56;07
And that's where the rub comes in. My point being is I'm not saying it's wrong; it's just a different language. But my point in going through this in learning this and reflecting on this is that these techniques have been around for years. So why have the other techniques not worked. Why have the other things not worked and Agile started to take hold. Well first of all Agile soul is that you know the team makes decisions. Well there's still got to be strategy to the organization. At the end of the day you still have to track something costs. You still have to have funding for value. It can't be just Wild Wild West and everybody decides. There are still customers there are still requirements. There's still accountability. So again, as we're changing these words and changing these terms and everybody's got a little bit of a different term depending on which flavor of aisle you're going after, there's still got to be something that clicks and works. And so we're going to dive into what that something is and I'm also going to talk about what really has been around for years and what we keep kind of playing around with and also kind of what has led us to this Agile boom. What are some of these cycles that have led us here? So we hope to hang around with us continue to talk about Agile. Call and chime in. I'd love to hear from you as we kickoff 2018.

00:16:00;15 - 00:16:45;17
We appreciate you tagging along on this Friday afternoon as we're discussing Agile; just some of my reflections on the journey I went through this past year and in trying to tie it all together with everything that I've learned throughout my career and in grabbing onto what's really happening in the industry with that child. I want to make sure that we're clear that I'm not negative towards Agile. I think it's a phenomenal thing and anything that an organization is going to grab onto to change behavior. Let's go. Let's do it. But I just want to make sure that we're being clear, also, that it's not this this new thing or this latest greatest model that is, you know, a brand new never been done before.

00:16:45;25 - 00:17:10;26
And I wanted to talk through cycles now to of kind of maybe what has led us to this point. Because if you look at it first of all I mean almost everything that's coming out now in any of these methodologies really over the last. I want to say almost 80 years is coming either you know from adapted model Walter Shuu or Deming right.

00:17:10;26 - 00:18:09;22
So Deming actually adopted his model from alter shoe art and you've got the plan check act model and I mean PMI is built off of that. You know six sigma has got some of that either that you know and all of that is built into that. But essentially you know you've got a four-stage model that says we're going to plan. We're going to do. We're going to check and then we're going to act on that piece. And essentially now all we're working with is the cycles and the waste in between. Now one of the coolest things I learned. You know Agile is again, though that's coming out of lean and lean six sigma is how to reduce you know work cues and values and the fact that you know in projects one of the biggest flaws is that we try to plan every task you know two years in advance and then we get ticked off that there's changes to that. You know how clairvoyant can you be.

00:18:09;22 - 00:18:50;10
But the point being here is there's frustration, and the frustration is that there's continually missed targets, there's continually missed budgets and something's got to change. And so if you look at the evolution of I.T. I mean when we really first started coming out we're talking 60s and 70s. We consider that the Dark Ages of I.T. If you look at this cycle, and look business would come in they describe a problem and then they would just sit and wait it took whatever it took people didn't really understand what was happening, we had limited technology. And you were just at the mercy of it.

00:18:50;12 - 00:19:45;24
It just kind of was what it was and then you started to move into kind of a stage 2 which started to develop you know around the 80s, the late 70s early 80s, when we consider that kind of a tokenism period. So basically though we were just redeveloping the apps that were already created, the applications and systems to take advantage of new database technology networks, were coming out. We were able to start to really start to use some of the technology that was available but then Stage 3 came around in this late 80s. It is really kind of the payback period. And so this is after years of frustration, lack of control, some landmark books came out by you know Charles Handy and Peter Drucker, Tom Peters in senior management just started to look at how they were investing in computers and systems and turned it into a cost center.

00:19:46;07 - 00:21:46;28
And it started to lead to a lot of these top down approaches and controlled approaches of I.T. And that's been leading us to this stage for which is that the partnership model, and people have been trying to figure out this partnership model for a while, and partnership is supposed to be a shared recognition between business and I.T. where you know it is not a cost center but revenue generating and we're starting to see some really good signs of that. Now you're seeing the ones that do it well and the ones that aren't the ones that are doing well, we're starting to see that being marked by what we call digital disruption and the aspects of social media the ones that are figuring out how to partner their I.T. departments and their business very well are the ones that are digitally disrupting industries that have been doing these top down management approaches forever, and that's where Agile is really getting the buzz right. I mean, to be fair,  Agile is getting the buzz in the adaptability of the market the reaction to the consumer the speed to market to be able to react and people are trying to figure that out. Problem is, you've got some of these companies that have been running top down and command and control for so long that you know you're turning the Titanic. You can't really adjust as quickly as some of these newer, leaner startup models and that's where are you. Here we have this startup mentality. Well the startup mentality just means, in all honesty, really a lot of decentralized decision making. They've got models in place where Agile can thrive because they've decentralized so many decisions. It's easier for them to make. So, the issue becomes, you know, for this large huge, conglomerate organization; how do we start to decentralize or trust a lot of our employees to be able to make these decisions?

00:21:46;28 - 00:22:27;04
That to me, though, has nothing to do with Agile. It has to do with management philosophies and trusting your knowledge workers and understanding that you know, the whole point of me creating a show called The Work/Life Balance, and trusting your employees. And that's been something we've been pushing you know for 15 years now. That's not Agile and new and cool. That's just trusting your smartest people in the room to do what they do. But at the same time again coming back to the topic at hand. All right, what's the answer. How is it why is Agile really taking hold. Well first of all let's talk about the things I like.

00:22:27;11 - 00:23:06;21
One of the coolest things that that I think is taking hold of Agile, and why I think is becoming very successful, is that it does have a very clear contract if you do it well and you do it right. Let me boil all of the big talk and all the training and all the other stuff down to a very, very simple covenant. That covenant says that regardless of everything that's going on, we're going to allow you to change as much as you want to change. But once we commit to a sprint, which is a two week interval or a three week in a row of four week interval, whatever you guys have decided in your company, but most likely it's a two week interval.

00:23:06;22 - 00:24:32;18
You don't change it. So basically, the covenant is between an executive and either the product owner scrub management, or whatever, that simply says once we commit to this line of work then this team gets to focus for two weeks and just produce that work. So essentially what we're saying is limit the interruptions allow them to focus and produce value. With that being said, that one covenant, if you can achieve that can actually change an entire organization. I mean, let's boil everything else down and whether you're Tumba story points in estimation and all those other crowd. That's what it really comes down to; whether or not you can get the executives to say, once we commit to this sprint, it's not going to change, and we agree we can change future sprint so we can add requirements and we can do all this other stuff. But essentially and I think we need to make t-shirts that just simply say don't touch my sprint because once that sprint is committed it's done. So, the problem is in traditional project management is that those are 18 month projects, and we try to do all the definition and planning in the very first few weeks. Well, things do change in 18 months. Markets do react in 18 months, and the fact that we think we can be clairvoyant enough to identify all of the work and figure out how much it's going to cost.

00:24:32;29 - 00:27:25;20
So essentially using a Lean Six Sigma model, if you're reducing the work queues and you're reducing the cyclical time to say we're going to basically fund a quarter and we're going to fund a team not a project and we're going to work in two weeks sprints in increments and once we commit that's what we're going to do then. It's amazing what you actually can accomplish that has been the promise of Agile. However where I think Agile goes off the rails is when the very first entry point is, you know, somebody coming in and saying, “Well the first thing you need to do is train every single person in this entire organization and  Agile that group is selling you training.” They're not really selling you a methodology or they're not really selling you a way to be successful. To me they're just selling you training. So, I'm always wary of that and six sigma, right? I don't know what value there was in six sigma to have you know that where, you know, everybody needs to be, you know, yellowed out certified look, you know, 60 percent 70 percent of those people never even cared. They click click click click yeah. Past the yellow belt. There was no value in that. Your higher value was in the people that were really going after the black belts and the master black belts. Same thing here. People just want to be able to come in to work and do what they want to do and get out. So, you know, committing to the entire organization to be Agile, you know, train top to bottom. I think is nuts. But again, that's my opinion and I'm allowed to say because I have my own radio show and get a chance to air my opinion for 60 minutes a week. But the point being, anybody who just comes in and says, “Let's train everybody top to bottom,” is selling training. That's what they're selling, not necessarily the promise of a new day; selling training that's what they do. But these cycles have continued, and their cycles are all based on the same piece, right? We're all still doing playing do check act. But I really think what's happening now is, through the evolution of I.T., people are. We're still at this stage for a partnership and still trying to figure it out. The ones that have figured it out, digital disruptors; the ones that haven't figured out are starting to fade away. And I think we really need to pay attention to some of these trends. So, having said all of that. Right. So now I've gotten out of my training. I've got now what I think is happening out there how I think we got here. What I want to do next is start to reveal to you some of the key trends that I'm seeing in Agile and where I think some of the big pushes are going to be in, even some of the things that are pretty advanced as far as when you start to talk about why we got here how people are looking at some of the tools and some of the advanced uses of tools with Agile. So, we're going to be doing that right after the break. You've been listening to The Work/Life Balance with Rick Morris we're talking Agile we'll be right back.

00:30:31;10 - 00:30:36;02
And we are back to The Work/Life Balance. Before we go forward. I did have a couple of shout outs.

00:30:36;02 - 00:31:42;04
You know we do want to promote, make sure that we are promoting the almanack book to which you can find at Amazon or at We've been blown away by the response to that book, and we're certainly appreciative to all of you that are reaching out to us. That book continues to sell very, very well that can tell different authors. Talking about Agile and scaling, Agile to the enterprise. And we're very excited about how that book has been performing. Also wanted to say thank you to John Deaver of Cinepear. If you go to our website, there's a new video there on the front page that he helped us put together, and if you follow us on social media, all the videos that we've been putting out via PM minutes and all the other ones have been done by Cinepear. They did a fantastic job. We appreciate the partnership with them. I did want to react to a question that I did just receive on Twitter though one of the questions was, you know Agile seems to be more successful than not, wanting me to respond on that.

00:31:42;13 - 00:31:48;27
And I think that that's true, and I think it's like anything else. I think it's like a diet program.

00:31:48;27 - 00:37:22;16
You know as you walk through the aisles of a grocery store. You know you see all the US magazines, People magazines, and all that stuff and it's just littered with diets that work, right? Here's all the diets that work. Here's every diet program that works. But it's the same thing. I think I said earlier, which is if you don't change that behavior it doesn't matter what diet plan you're trying to follow, you have to change your behaviors for it to work. And I think for every person that they throw on the cover, in cover of said people, and for every great diet story there's, you know, 40 stories that nobody's going to read about where those diets and probably 400 stories that diets don't work. And I think it's January 5th which means that probably about three point seven million people in the United States that have already failed their New Year's resolutions on diet. So yeah I think Agile is very successful if there's a commitment to the behavior. I think any methodology is really successful if there's commitment to the behavior. And I say that coming from somebody who implements, you know, systems for a living. You know a lot of people look at the software that we sell and the implementations that we do as a cure all for their for their issues, and software is not going to solve, you know, core business issues that you're having it in. One of my favorite things to say is that we want to design to the 95 percent, not that 5. What I mean by that is, you know, most of our organizations already know that, you know, there's 5 percent of the company that are off the rails or are going to, you know, follow processes are that their problem children versus dealing with those 5 percent. They want us to design, you know, in our software a way to deal with them, you know, in the system. And I'm like, “Why do we need to put in all these checks and balances and notifications and all this stuff into the software that's going to hinder the other 95 percent and their jobs just because you don't want to deal with the 5 percent?” Yeah, I don't get that in. It's kind of the same thing that has evolved, you know, in I.T. departments if you look at I.T. in their evolution and we went through the four stages. But just look at how they formed and, even though it's supposed to be a cohesive group and a revenue generating group, they really don't run as cohesive departments. They run as functions and then those functions tend to run on their own and they tend to then, you know, work on their own and develop their own systems and then those systems don't talk to each other. So, for instance, you have a support group and that support group generally uses a helpdesk tool and you know they open tickets track issues and that kind of thing. And those issues could have development things. Well then your development team uses some sort of badge out tools, so they're using Agile central or using version 1 or Jira something like that. They want to work in their system and then your finance department has their big ERP and then you know you've got. Then your project management team and, so they're doing things by spreadsheets or whatever. But at some point, all of this information is got to compile and compare. And so, you know if a ticket opens up and support that needs to easily flow to your development, that it has to get in you're planning, your project managers need to have things that easily go to development, developers got to do it all it's got to tie together. But for years people have been buying different tools that satisfy just their need. And now there's this huge integration issue that's happening within platforms. And so, when we enter an organization and we're looking at what, you know, is a whole and as a business you start dealing with well, you know, this faction is not going to want to use, that faction is not going to want to use it. So this is just for us and I think that that is something that is really the next frontier of I.T. and Agile. And so I think one of the biggest promises of Agile in terms of methodologies it's forcing I.T. to not look at only how they plan and operate but also how they do dev ops. And that's such a large component of being Agile. I think one of the favorite quotes I ever heard came from Curtis Timely and he's the product manager for CA PPM, which we're very proud to have as a sponsor for us, and he has all the time. Are you doing Agile? Are you doing Agile theater, and him when you ask what do you mean? And he says, “Well, you know, if you're doing Agile that means, you know, you're fully ready to develop and deploy code all the way to production and that could mean even releasing code prior to you know the sprint end date you release on demand. That's fully developed and deployed and ready to go; Agile theater means you've just created Agile teams. But, you know, you're just developing code in an Agile way but if you can't deploy it and impact that an invaluable wage or a customer then that's Agile theater.

00:37:22;28 - 00:37:29;10
And because you know so many I.T. groups are so chopped up.

00:37:29;21 - 00:39:18;13
I think that that's, you know, a big piece. I think one of the other things that we're running into and we see quite a bit out there is the lack of readiness to commit to the methodology and again that's the same point that we were just making is that must change behavior. So, for instance you know we see a lot of customers that say we want to go out but we still want everybody to track time. And I know that's crazy for me, because up to two years ago I would have told you unless everybody in the organization is tracking time then you're not going to get to the productivity numbers that you need to. So, I was big big big big big on time tracking, and I still am unless you have a way in which you can track productivity numbers and things of that sort but in adj out you have that way. You know you have committed sprint's committed story points to them whether or not they got completed and velocity numbers and things of that sort. So, and there's even ways that you can derive costs we can even capitalize by story point things like that, and if you want to see how to do that you can pick up the almanac volume to book to we talk about exactly that how to capitalize and do capital and expense buy story point within the book. But coming back to the specific point, you know, we talk to clients who say, “

Yeah we're Agile but we want them all to fill out time sheets and we're like what then that's not an Agile practice. I mean then you're having to break out the, you know, teams to individual people. They have to track times to specific tasks such not an Agile practice that's not really Agile. So are we going Agile or aren't we? I mean if we're going Agile, then it's a team based team reporting team productivity and we are all going that way or we're not right.

00:39:18;13 - 00:40:11;27
But it's not we can't just dip the toe in the water where they're committing to the methodology and going forward or we're not. So, it's no different than, you know, and I'll beat this analogy to death; no different than, hey I'm going on a sugar free diet except for the three slices of chocolate cake that I'm going to eat at night. You know you're either committed to it and you're going to go after it or you're not. But those are the same people that's going to turn around and go, “Yeah we tried adj out but it didn't work. And I tried to diet, but I didn't see results so I'm off that you know sugar free diet.” It's like. Yeah. Did you ever really go sugar free. Yeah, I don't drink except for you know the bottle of wine at night. Come on. You're either IN or you're out. But you can't have it both ways so easily. That answer the question. And I know I went on a little bit more of a tirade than I anticipated but it's a good question.

00:40:11;28 - 00:40:18;25
I enjoyed it. You know. But that leads to the bigger discussion here as well.

00:40:18;26 - 00:41:01;19
And we've got a little bit of time to deal with it. As you're changing we talked about euphemisms; we talked about the cycle. There is the other big elephant in the room with that. And that's people started talking about story points, and I always refer to one of my favorite conversations I had with the naturalists as we were trying to convert things to costs, and we said you know this story points it's a two week sprint so we're going to end for 80 hours per person. Multiply that by cost to get to accosts, and she says she can't do that. So why when we do things by story points? I get that, but we still have to infer this to a cost. Well you can't do that. Why? Because we do it by starting points. So long story short, I came back to her, and it's like well can I cut you a check and story points.

00:41:01;22 - 00:41:32;01
Can we pay you in story points. And so, I think that there is the commitment to methodology. You can't tip a toe in the water, but there is still a translation that has to happen. So, I think the largest trend that we're going to be looking at especially in 2018 is the emergence of hybrid, and hybrid is going to be the emergence of the proper hybrid in the translation, because at the end of the day, you can't go to a CFO and show a reporter story points. They've still got to see dollars at the end of the day.

00:41:32;01 - 00:43:17;26
A company is still going to fund initiatives right, whether you call it a project, whether you call it features where they called, you know, backlog whatever. There's still got to be we are paying X amount of dollars to get X amount of value out. What I love is the fact that we're not necessarily funding projects anymore. We may not be funding, you know people are funding teams, but I do like the fact that everything is starting to lean towards value. What is the amount of money that we're funding? What's the amount of value that we're getting in return? Because if we start to use the term value and we really started to translate that term value, then I.T. can be referred to as value. And I really think that that becomes that euphemism that works in our favor. So instead of trying to be always happy, go lucky and change all these different terms. If we can get the term out of it being a cost center and it being a value center in this is the value of the project. This is the value of the work. This is the value of the deliverable. Then I think, when it comes time for funding and time for budgets and everything else, then things are starting to be seen in a whole different light. And that's one of the most important things I think that we can go after. So, I know we've covered quite a bit. We've covered the evolution of I.T. We've covered the evolution of my view of Agile. We've even come up with some euphemisms of all that has confused you. Hey, it's been that kind of Friday for me as well but I'm welcome to fielding your questions answering the phones. Anything that you guys have. But we've got one final segment we're going to, and do that next right here in The Work/Life Balance with Rick Marrs.

00:46:19;15 - 00:46:44;13
And we're back with the final segment of The Work/Life Balance for the first show of 2018. Already hit 2018 running. We're going to be in Louisville Kentucky next week, I believe with 21st and 22nd. We're going to be doing some keynotes for Sivertsen International right here in Birmingham, but we'll be working with that organization. We'll be in Nashville the week of the twenty ninth.

00:46:44;13 - 00:48:37;18
It got a lot of exciting and then of course I'm sorry but February 16th we'll be going back to Orlando to be with the international certification with the John Maxwell team. So, a lot of exciting travel coming up. A lot of exciting events coming up, so we hope that you'll hang out with us for all of those. And again, upcoming shows, we're actually going to do a panel interview next week. We've got a new book coming out. We had John on the show with how leaders improve previously. But we're going to get Jeff Grady and I believe Sasha Linda can help, if said her name right, but we'll make sure we get it right for next week. And Steve Williams, John Gates on the show discussing their book and their research on how leaders improve. So that will be coming up next week. We'll also have Paul Cummings which is good. He's got a great book that was just released by Wiley. We’ll be discussing about that on the show January 19th, and then we'll have one of the coauthors of The Almanac. Nicole is going to be joining us on January 26 and then looking forward as well. February 2nd we're going to have, as we were doing this Agile show, we booked Scott Ambler who is really the founder and disciplined, Agile has got a great consulting practice around that, we've had some fantastic conversations, Scott NYE around this very topic that I was discussing today. So, can't wait to have him on the show and I've already prepped him that I was going to throw a lot of these comments that I've got around Agile and would love to hear how he reacts and responds to some of the things that I've heard in the open market. So, with that we've appreciated everybody hanging around with us. You know I wanted to give some closing comments around Agile.

00:48:37;19 - 00:50:04;08
Look, I love the fact the greatest thing about Agile, I'll say this, is that there seems to be a lot of passion around it. And to see passion and ownership within the development world and developers around it that I completely enjoy. So regardless of, you know, if you want me to, the whatever methodology you want me to call it, if there's passion around planning there's passion around understanding. You know what each other is doing and supporting each other in a team environment. I'm all on board. The communication around it in some of those ceremonies built if they're bought into, and people are really doing it and really getting value out of it as a teamwork based system, I think there's tremendous value in that as well. Those are some of the biggest things that I'm catching, as well as I said before in the earlier segment, the covenant between executives and developers in making sure that we're not touching this sprint and that we actually can focus and achieve and accomplish something versus trying to do 17 projects at once. When I started The Work/Life Balance, in one of my biggest, you know, runs for the last 20 years, is the fact that I think the number one issue that faces almost every organization on the planet is you've got too many projects not enough people.

00:50:04;24 - 00:50:18;13
And so, I don't care what we call the methodology. I don't care how we structure a methodology, as long as our biggest focus is that we are focusing on the people who actually do the work for our companies.

00:50:18;13 - 00:51:12;12
We've got way way, way too much work planned. And what happens without any kind of methodology or portfolio management is that companies try to start and do every project. And they don't finish any of them well. So again, I don't care what you call it as long as there is a profound focus that's protecting our most precious, our most precious, resources which are the people that do the work right. Those are the people are going to give you the results. So, don't sit in some stuffy room and sit there with some spreadsheet and decide people's futures, or go, “Yeah they can be 180 percent allocated.” Everybody's over allocated. Who cares, because that is truly what's going to disrupt your organization. And that's truly what's going to be the detriment to your organization. If you treat people with respect you treat people for the knowledge that they can bring.

00:51:12;13 - 00:51:56;23
You're really going to reap the rewards. And if you want to call that Agile, and if you want to develop a methodology that's going to expound on who they are and what they can provide for you, then that's the successes. So if Agile is the answer to that, for you and your organization, then I'm on board. Let's rock. Let's call it if you want to call it. You know some fluty-do thing, then I'm with that as well. But the point being is that people, at the end of the day, is where this success or failure of your organization is going to be, and how you treat and respect them is where the success or failure is going to be for your organization. And that's it. Methodologies aside, what you call it aside, that's what's going to be and that was the point of The Work/Life Balance in the first place.

00:51:56;24 - 00:52:57;18
Why I started to do this radio show is to expose this listening audience not only to different methodologies and different thoughts but also to people that we're going to expose us to different ways of doing things. To leadership. To different aspects. And we'll hopefully continue to do so throughout 2018 if you continue to bless us with the opportunity to fill the airwaves. So, I have appreciated this audience. I appreciate the following in the love that we get on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and all the other things. Please continue to reach out to us Rick A. Morris. You can find me at break 8. Morris and LinkedIn. You can find me at Facebook at the same as well always reach out to Rick A. Morris and you'll find all of us on social media there. We also post our calendar where we're going to be at, so we're going to be speaking in anywhere near you. Please come find us let us know that you listen to the show.

00:52:57;18 - 00:53:23;15

We're also working on getting this show out on Alexa so it can be on the podcast there. So, listen for that announcement shortly, as that should be done in a moment. And we've got some exciting announcements that we'll be releasing across the show over the next couple of weeks. So again, reach out to us. We love you guys and we'll talk to all of you next week right here in The Work/Life Balance. You've been listening to Rick Morris.