Episode 190: Talking Agile Live From The Man Cave with Serge Beaumont

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Renee, Craig and Tony are together to chat with Serge Beaumont, Principal Agile Coach at Xebia, live from his man cave and despite showing their lack of mathematical skills in relation to dice they chat about:

  • In relation to culture, if the human connections are there you can handle just about anything
  • A foundational cultural aspect at Xebia is that they implemented Xebia Knowledge Exchange (XKE) – every second Tuesday the team has dinner and then has a mini-conference of about 20 streams
  • Xebia were at the foundation of the ING Agile transformation
  • Gloomhaven
  • Rode PodMic
  • You need leadership that truly believes in culture as a powerful thing
  • Renee does story maps like trees and Serge prefers to ensure that he finds his epic on the horizontal slice rather than using the activities on the vertical backbone, building towards an MVP
  • All backlogs should be tree structures
  • An…

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Episode 159: What Colour Agile Would You Like Today with Nigel Dalton

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Craig is at YOW! Hong Kong and is sitting with Nigel Dalton, Chief Inventor at REA Group and the Australian “Godfather of Agile” and they reminisce about:

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Episode 155: Continuous Delivery Culture at Pushpay with Ian Randall

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Craig is at YOW! West in Perth and sits down with Ian Randall, Engineering Lead at Pushpay and co-organiser of the Codemania conference in New Zealand and they chat about:

  • The size of the New Zealand banking system and small number of banks makes it very easy to innovate in the payments space
  • YOW! West talk “From Inception to Production – A Continuous Delivery Story
  • The more times you the do the things that are hard and hurt, opens up the opportunities for automation
  • Blameless Retrospective (John Allspaw, Etsy, 2012) – promise that there will be no retribution or consequence for decisions that anybody made during an incident, they made the best decisions that they knew at the time, they were operating in a system that allowed you to make that system in the moment – therefore means that people are not afraid to make decisions because…

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Episode 149: Continuous Delivery with Dave Farley

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Craig, Tony and honorary Revolutionist Pete Sellars are at YOW! Conference and sit down with Dave Farley, co-author of “Continuous Delivery” and they chat about the following

  • There are anti-patterns with doing XP at scale, continuous delivery was born from the learnings from that
  • Continuous delivery is just extending continuous integration to more of the software development practice (and continuous integration requires test driven development)
  • Continuous delivery works because it is the application of the scientific method to software development
  • If you work in an iterative, imperative, experimental way and you take continuous learning seriously and take cycle time as a serious measurement you will naturally drive out agile, lean, systems theory and DevOps
  • YOW! 2016 presentation “The Rationale for Continuous Delivery
  • Most common two ways to introduce continuous delivery to your organisation – need to get cover from senior management to make change or…

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Episode 133: Rules Are For Pussies!

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Craig and Renee are both in Sydney and catch up around the kitchen table to discuss a bunch of things happening in the Agile universe:

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Episode 122: Learning to Learn with Aino Vonge Corry

The Agile Revolution Podcast

ainoCraig is at YOW! Conference and catches up with Aino Vonge Corry who is one of our very few repeat guests on the Agile Revolution. She describes herself as someone who puts speakers on stage, makes developers communicate and messes with the heads of students!

  • Part of the YOW! conference organising committee
  • Important to find examples that relate to all of the students in the class (not just a subset)
  • Microservice lectures – no more than 15 minutes lecture and then a learning activity
  • If there is interactivity then there is a reason to turn up to a live lecture
  • YOW! 2015 talk “A Comment on How We Learn
  • Need to respect and acknowledge that other people take in knowledge at different paces, this is important in activities that we give people time to think
  • People need to relate ideas to the things they are doing now to take…

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Episode 112: Inside Spotify with Anders Ivarsson

The Agile Revolution Podcast

AndersRenee and Craig are at the Agile Australia conference and talk to Anders Ivarsson, an organisational coach at Spotify, and learn some of approaches that make Spotify tick:

  • Agile Australia talk “Autonomy and Leadership at Spotify” and workshop “Organisational Improvement: Design-inspired Problem Solving”
  • Agile Coaches spend time with squads versus a new role of organisational coach that looks at the culture, ways of working, vision and systemic wastes
  • Spotify is not a model
  • Original Spotify scaling paper, never imagined the spread or the impact
  • Spotify have shared a lot of the things that have worked well, but they do also have challenges as well – one is alignment across teams as the organisation gets bigger so they have been working on visualisation and prioritisation
  • Spotify Culture videos (Part 1 and Part 2)
  • use microservices to ensure that the organisation can work in the…

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Episode 101: The Lean Mindset with Mary and Tom Poppendieck

The Agile Revolution Podcast

craig-poppendieckCraig catches up with two luminaries in the Agile and Lean space, Mary and Tom Poppendieck at YOW! Conference to talk about agile, lean, rapid feedback, culture and leadership. The discussion points include:

  • Making the link between lean and software development and discovering that waterfall makes no sense
  • The origins of the first book: Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit
  • Agile is not lean in software development, Agile is lean in a delivery organisation
  • How long does it take you to put a single line of code into Production?
  • The manifestation of lean really kicked off in 2010 with both the rise of DevOps and the Lean Startup
  • Delivery organisations versus engineering organisations and the journey of Agile
  • Agile has not well addressed delivering the right stuff, solving the right problem and the architecture of rapid deployment
  • Only two goals at ING: Deliver every two weeks and don’t crash production, resulted…

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David Mole on Self Selecting Teams and Drive

InfoQDavid Mole talks about implementing Spotify inspired squads and tribes at Trade Me, as well as the results of experiments in self-selection of teams and inspiration from the work of Daniel Pink.

DavidMoleSource: David Mole on Self Selecting Teams and Drive

Agile Australia 2012 Day 1 Review

Agile Australia 2012 was held a few weeks ago at the Hilton on the Park Melbourne in front of a record (and venue busting) 850 attendees. This year I had the privilege of being a plenary session host and speaker, present at two workshop sessions and be an MC at a number of different sessions.

Furthermore, I was a member of the advisory committee with the role of program overview along with the usual duties of reviewing and shepherding conference speakers. This year the review process was open to comments and voting from the community and overall I think we ended up with a good mix of proposals.

With all my duties I was quite busy this year, but here are my notes from day 1.

Keynote: When The Stakes Are High

Dr. Fiona Wood, Plastic Surgeon and Director of the WA Burns Unit, was the keynote speaker and undoubtedly for many people was the highlight of the conference. The advisory committee (and particularly Martin Kearns) had been aiming to get somebody from the medical profession for a couple of years, and her talk was nothing short of inspiring.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • you either engage in the landscape or whine about it
  • we need to enjoy what we do, but it is our passion that drives us
  • when you see what you think is the answer, step back and look for the rest of the jigsaw
  • learn something from everyday, so that tomorrow is better
  • time is precious, understand what is out there rather than reinventing the wheel, start in front of the start line
  • had to look for nozzles to spray skin, ended up using Italian mouth freshener!
  • you need to articulate the vision so that the team will get it, passionate leadership alone won’t bring people along for the journey
  • no better way to manage a disaster than having planned for it first
  • how can we mould our resources to deliver at a better level
  • leadership has to be very flexible
  • respect those people that have changed your life, if you realise it say thank you, you may miss your opportunity in the future
  • nobody does anything in life in isolation, need to communicate well so we can contribute
  • why can’t we celebrate being the best we can be every day
  • criticism is essential, but criticism and walking away is a total waste of time
  • I use energy to find better solutions to the patients I treat rather than waste that energy arguing with somebody
  • we access our thoughts by communicating, facilitating and shaking the tree
  • today is not as good as it gets, that’s what gets me up in the morning
  • it’s not get to the top of the mountain and stick the flag, it’s the journey
  • “who am I not to dream”, dream but anchor it in reality

Keynote: Agile: Looking Back, Looking Forward: Adapt, Innovate, Collaborate & Deliver

Following on from Dr. Fiona Wood was a tough act, but in front of 850 I took the stage with Nigel DaltonDavid Joyce and Simon Bristow to deliver this session. The slides are available in a separate post.

From Agile Australia 2012
From Agile Australia 2012

Mainframe Test Automation Within SCRUM – How Did We At The BNZ Get It To Work?

Bram Surti and Rob White from BNZ delivered this session. Essentially I was interested to see if they did anything different to what I had already tried myself in this space. Sadly, I didn;t learn much new, but I was pleased to see they were using a lot of the same tools and approaches that I had used myself in this space. Their slides are available here.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • needed a Java expert to help with the writing and debugging of tests
  • used Concordion – developers instrument the tests and used JUnit under the covers
  • used Jenkins for continuous integration
  • COBOL is a dinosaur, it is scary and big and hard
  • used stored procedures to inject messages – could be dropped and tested on the mainframe and invoked from any language
  • used Concordion Logging Tooltip Extension to get the debugging output
  • used FreeHost 3270 to drive the green screens, old software that needed some upgrading
  • got buy in from mainframe developers as driving green screens was very useful for upgrades, got exposure to another language
  • took 30% longer to write test than originally thought, but testers said at the end it saved 50% of their time
  • isolating data for the test suite was imperative

What Happened To People Over Process?

I was MC to this session by Sarah Taraporewalla from ThoughtWorks, her slides are available here.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • we don’t spend enough time understanding people
  • as a leader we don’t have all the answers, but we know we can do better
  • Kinder Surprise in relation to people – wrapper is the actions of people, but it is a thin layer, peel off the actions you get to the attitudes that govern what we do, apply a bit of pressure and you get to the values, open up the inner canister and you get to people’s belief system
  • don’t really understand our belief system until you are challenged by somebody else’s – a good example of this is people and their attitudes to attending meetings – you may need to understand what drives people
  • there is a lot of literature around this!
  • transactional analysis – Games People Play (Eric Berne) and I’m OK – You’re OK (Thomas A. Harris) – at any given state we have a mental state of an adult, parent or child
  • child – react to world around you as if you were a child (when I grow up, I wish, I want)
  • parent – react like a parent based on imprints of how our parents reacted (should, ought, could)
  • adult (analytical side – who, what, why, I think)
  • even if you know yourself, you don’t know jack! – people talking on the same plane have harmonious discussions, they break down across the positions (what people know about the world)

Practical Kanban for Software Development

I was MC for this session delivered by Perryn Fowler from ThoughtWorks. I had high hopes for this talk as Kanban is still not well understood in the wder community. It covered a lot of good topics (and, as he stated at the top, the talk was the thoughts of Perryn), but it fell victim to running out of time for the meaty stuff and unfortunately was a little rushed at the end. Furthermore, his slides do not seem to be available either.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • Kanban is not just cards on a wall, even though literally it is a visual indicator
  • Kanban is not an entire methodology, it is a technique
  • Kanban is a tool to tackle particular situations and problems, we often treat these situations as normal, but there is a better type of normal
  • limiting your WIP, the manageable level is probably a lot lower than you think
  • Kanban dots – stick them on your wall to indicate WIP
  • Kanban is about stop starting and start finishing
  • utilisation is not throughput, high utilisation damages throughput
  • Kanban is working as a team
  • business goal burnup – when do we start making revenue – keep your eyes on the prize
  • we are trying to achieve flow – Kanban will make poor flow visible
  • layered teams (multiple technologies) – technical layer stories don’t make sense and teams get out of synch, use task cards for the work and put WIP limit on the cards
  • reduce WIP to learn about your process
  • bugs and rework – it counts towards WIP, can put in the development or test column, whatever you are most comfortable with
  • blocked is nothing we as a team can do anything with – does not count towards the WIP limit
  • people will cheat – the rules aren’t important, it is the principles you want to achieve
  • use a green sticky for done rather than a done swim lane
  • small cards gives us good flow
  • Kanban will feel like it is causing problems, it is just making it visible

Value and Culture OVER Practices and Processes – Driving Agility at Bankwest

I was MC for this session delivered by Sandra Dalli and Sarah McAllister from BankWest. I really enjoyed this session. They kicked off the session with a great video with music and time lapse pictures (unfortunately it does not seem to be available publicly). Most enjoyable was their honesty about their journey and this mistakes they made along the way (they started by spending three months in a cubicle writing a document about Agile!). It also appears that their slides are not available currently.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • apply Agile principles to your transformation
  • you don’t have to be on an Agile project to be Agile – agility can be applied to everything
  • people drive the change
  • executive sponsorship is really important

Failure: A Love Story

I was MC for this session for Tom Sulston from ThoughtWorks. The highlight of this talk was the fail cake! His slides are available here.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • fear can be a motivator, but it is not useful
  • flight or fight – flight is the default response
  • systematic desensitisation – common technique for getting rid of fear
  • we always plan to succeed, so we don’t plan for failure
  • failure is a really great learning tool – if you made the failure you know it, the hard part is sharing with the team
  • taking fear of failure to the brink that you don’t know what to do is really bad
  • retrospectives give you a coping mechanism – share with others and make it better
  • continuous integration – fail early and stop the line
  • automated testing – removes doubt, they fail for a good reason
  • showcases – we find out we are going to fail early
  • sustainable pace – a failure because we still get a crunch at the end of the project, allows us to build slack because you can’t run at 100%
  • it’s about learning not winning
  • continuous delivery – you can go to production at any time, remove the fear of go live
  • aim for simplicity and feedback
  • fail cake – if you break something, you need to buy cake for the team, nobody is afraid of cake, nobody can yell at you with a mouthful of cake!

Safe To Fail

I was thrilled to be MC to Phil Abernathy (he was my MC last year and I have worked alongside him for a number of years). He had a great set of slides at the start of this talk to illustrate his experience. Given I knew the content of this talk quite well I did not take any notes, but I did like his analogy around the $100 strategy (for every $100 spent, where did it go – pull the strategic levers to figure out where you can change, these become your strategic programs). His slides are available here.

From Agile Australia 2012

Other Stuff

At the beginning of the day, IBM sponsored a speakers breakfast, and they recorded an Agile song called “Wake Up To Jazz” (video and audio).

At the same time, Renee Troughton and I took the opportunity to record a conference kickoff podcast for the Agile Revolution.

Some of my colleagues presented talks on day 1 including Dipesh Pala (Easy Ways to Break Up) and Renee Troughton and Paul Watson (Panel: Agile Governance – The New Disinfectant).

The night wrapped up with a student event called Activate Agile. I sat in the back of a number of presentations, with the standout for me being being an overview from Andy Sheats about their journey at health.com.au.