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  • This week, your hosts, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil, share seven tips for Agile Facilitation. Collaboration is necessary when solving a problem, and Agile Coaches and Masters work to enable a Team to cooperate. Every event is unique, which is why Facilitation could be considered a form of art.

    Key Takeaways

    Contextual Awareness:

    Teams and events are filled with unique variables that the facilitator cannot always anticipate; as a result, reading the overall atmosphere of a room and the individuals’ body language is a fundamental skill for Facilitators.

    Every Facilitator has to remember that they are facilitating for a specific audience. Who is this meeting for? What is the value for these participants?

    Use Time boxes.

    A Facilitator must master the flow of the meeting to achieve the goal in a timely manner.

    A Facilitator should design the session with the intended activities, promote collaboration from collaborators, and be flexible enough to adapt to changes.

    Mastering the act of active listening:

    Listening is achieved when being fully present.

    Seek to understand.

    Facilitators must be able to paraphrase what they just listened to to ensure they understand what the collaborator is saying.

    Are collaborators listening to each other? A Facilitator must also promote active listening among participants.

    A Facilitator must foster an open and inclusive communication environment.

    A Facilitator must become a master observer of the room. Who is participating? Who is silent?

    Design a power start!

    Set the purpose and the intended outcome for the meeting. This will improve participant engagement.

    Specify how participants can engage.

    Visual Facilitation tools are incredibly beneficial for a better Facilitation.

    A Facilitator must handle conflict with grace.

    Conflict is inevitable, especially in a collaborative environment.

    Participants should be encouraged to learn from each other. Conflicting perspectives must both be validated.

    A Facilitator must be clear about which behaviors are acceptable. Safe boundaries are essential to hosting a psychologically safe environment.

    Facilitators must continuously improve their skills.

    Facilitators must apply learnings in a setting first to realize how they can be improved.

    Pairing with other Facilitators can be a great way to keep learning continuously.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Empowered: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products (Silicon Valley Product Group), by Marty Cagan and Chris Jones

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, your host, Justin Thatil, welcomes Ned Pope, Director of Product Practice at Agile Thought. In this episode, Ned and Justin explore the most common challenges encountered while engaging with an enterprise client. Ned shares valuable insights regarding creating a new product effectively and timely, emphasizing the crucial value of openness and collaboration within a Team. Ned highlights the importance of focusing on the problem, the elements of the solution, and how they can be broken down to prioritize the most unique and highest value for clients and customers.

    Key Takeaways

    Enterprise clients are dealing with a massive sector of the marketplace.

    There is a wide range of variance in what the clients are trying to accomplish, so it is important to ground them in their thinking around problem-solving. If you can remove even a minor inconvenience from someone's day, you add value to their life.

    There must be a list of priorities from executive and senior leadership within the enterprise clients, along with the dates they will be needed. This road map is not based on capacity or capability to deliver a solution around a specific item to be delivered at a particular time.

    Don’t get frustrated when trying to create a digital product. There is a reason this solution doesn’t exist yet, or in the form you are trying to build it.

    Make sure everyone is aligned and on the same page.

    Understand and respect the current processes within an Organization.

    The organization has already figured out how to solve the problem in the current fashion, and you do not want to disrupt that but to provide something that makes that process more manageable, enhances that solution, and makes it more effective and scalable.

    There are tangible elements that form a culture.

    Empower teams to think creatively about a solution.

    Openness, resourcefulness, and collaboration are critical elements of an Agile Team.

    Move UX design and UI library components as visual references at the beginning of the process to save time and ultimately allow for a better product.

    We often get to the details and the complexity of the work and then begin to get consumed with all the nuance and intricacy of the daily work, which can lead to overseeing the most basic aspects.

    Remember, you are building a visual tool!

    The vast majority of technology has some form of interface, which generates success and speed with quality and accuracy.

    Provide visual references to align the Team with what you are trying to accomplish and execute. It is recommended that you bring in a highly skilled UX Designer to the heart of the Product Discovery. Don’t wait until the process is in development; the UX designer needs to join the process from the beginning.

    Use a UI library.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Scaled Agile

    Scrum.org

    National Academy of Inventors

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

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  • This week, your host, Justin Thatil, is joined by Mike Guiler to explore complementary practices in Scrum. The Scrum Guide intentionally left many open questions for users to adapt and practice flexibility.

    In this episode, Justin and Mike outline several practices, such as identifying the product vision, adapting the Kanban Board, and providing visual information regarding the production process. They also discuss the benefits of using Kanban’s lead and cycle time metrics and close this conversation by diving deep into the importance of identifying a shared definition of ready.

    Key Takeaways

    Product Vision:

    Scrum is always about outcomes.

    How do we find the right outcome to deliver to our customers?

    First, we need to be clear about the product vision and what the organization considers a priority.

    Second, the Team comes up with a plan to achieve that vision, which unlocks an organization's power.

    Adapt a Kanban board.

    The Kanban board helps to visualize the process at a particular sprint timebox.

    Many benefits result from visualizing the steps in the Kanban Board.

    Scrum with Kanban:

    Stop starting and start finishing! Look at what you are doing and implement better Teamwork.

    Kanban’s lead time and cycle time metrics give an indication of the system's progress and whether it is getting better. The cycle time measures the time it takes an idea since it enters a print backlog until it is delivered to the customer, while the lead time gives more of a system view.

    Find your definition of “ready.”

    What has to happen to make a product backlog ready?

    Get to a shared understanding of what is considered ready within a Team.

    Reduce the ambiguity about what should and shouldn’t be in the product backlog, resulting in a better sprint plan.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Listen to Episodes 277 and 279 of The Agile Coaches Corner.

    Scrum with Kanban

    Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Set New Ideas in Just Five Days, by Jake Knapp

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by the first-time guest, Jeannine Gonyon, a Performance Engineering Practice Lead at Agile Thought. This episode explores the differences between performance testing and performance engineering, emphasizing the crucial role of Performance Engineering in mitigating unnecessary risks and protecting the Organization’s reputation.

    Key Takeaways

    Performance Testing and Performance Engineering test:

    Performance testing is the process that follows manual testing. After ensuring the application is working, testing for “non-functional” takes place, which is called performance testing.

    Performance engineering tests go to an extra step of analysis to find out exactly where any kind of optimizations are needed.

    Some Organizations are hesitant to invest in Performance Engineering.

    Some organizations consider Performance Engineering to be a “luxury.”

    Would you take a risk with your reputation? You will if you don’t perform performance testing on your product. Knowing the facts before production is priceless!

    The earlier you do Performance Testing, the more you have the maneuverability to make any changes.

    The costs of Performance testing:

    Performance testing does not happen in a shared environment, which adds a cost.

    There are ways of reducing the costs. You can spin the environment when you need it.

    The cost is manageable if you do it earlier.

    If you do performance testing, the earliest is the best way to mitigate risk (better than spending much money later).

    What is the relationship between Performance Testers and the rest of the Team involved in developing a product?

    Performance testers are technically aligned with manual testers because they need to know when the product is ready for testing.

    Performance testers work closely with the development Team, must be involved with the product owners, and be present at every step of the workflow.

    Performance testers need to know as much about the application as those using it.

    Performance Testing and AI:

    Currently, the engineering part can benefit from using AI tools for analysis in a more casual manner.

    A quick growth of AI tools applied to Performance tests is expected.

    Testing in Production versus Performance Testing:

    Performance Testing prevents the risk of a bad user experience.

    There is a place for performance testing before the product goes to production.

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, your host, Dan Neumann, is accompanied by Gill Broza. Gil is known for simplifying the complex and making the implicit explicit so people can make better choices. He is a writer and never prescribes a single right way.

    In this episode, Dan and Gil explore how to help teams grow and produce improved outcomes while diving deep into a discussion regarding Gil’s latest book, Deliver Better Results.

    Key Takeaways

    Agile introduced the concept that multiple ways exist to create, ideate, and deliver products.

    The variety of Agile methods can be paralyzing

    Gil proposes five levels of adoption to find the best “fit for purpose”

    The primary purpose is to help the company succeed while doing it timely and showing adaptability.

    Six aspects of fitness for purpose in the delivery process are throughput, outcomes, timeliness, adaptation, consistency, and cost efficiency.

    The value lies in how well we serve the company and the effect of the work.

    The people matter the most; they are the ones transiting the process.

    The strategies proposed by Gil work because people start to behave differently.

    Ways of working result from combining the tactics we use (process, practices, roles, artifacts, tools) and the mindset we employ while executing the tactics. The mindset is defined by choice-making, which has three components: purpose, beliefs, and principles.

    Sometimes, you need to change tactics and mindset simultaneously. It requires hard work but could be the only way to work.

    Decisions made in one place of the system can have ramifications everywhere else.

    Gil prefers to use the term “way of working” instead of “process” since it is a bigger construct and includes the choice-making component. The words we use matter; they communicate the way that we work and how we approach tasks.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Deliver Better Result: How to Unlock Your Organization’s Potential., by Gil Broza

    Chapter 1 of Deliver Better Results

    Thinking in Systems, by Donella Meadows

    The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow

    Random Acts of Medicine: The Hidden Forces That Sway Doctors, Impact Patients, and Shape Our Health, by Anupam Jena and Christopher Worsham

    Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts, by Annie Duke

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by Mike Guiler to continue the discussion on Norman Kerth’s book Project Retrospectives. In this episode, they explore the last three chapters, which are filled with exercises to apply at Retrospectives, specifically when sensitive topics are to be addressed.

    Key Takeaways

    Some Retrospective activities are designed to address emotionally charged topics.

    Failure must be accepted and embraced in postmortem retrospectives; otherwise, no one would be open to discussing it.

    As a facilitator, try to find the highest leader available in your organization that is willing to share with participants an instance in which they themselves faced failure and what he or she learned from it. This establishes that it is okay to talk about failure.

    Becoming a Facilitator:

    You have to “walk the walk”; facilitators are made by practice.

    Ask for help when you need it! Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when your capabilities are limited.

    As a facilitator, you can also contact someone outside your organization for support.

    A useful resource is getting feedback from a second facilitator about the Retrospective. Don’t be defensive; feedback is always an opportunity to grow.

    Allow space for intense emotions during Retrospectives. Fostering the expression of emotions is healthy and cathartic for the organization, but sometimes, it can be challenging for the facilitator to deal with them during the event. Listen actively, assign a meaning to those feelings, and try to identify the feeling arousing about that feeling. Identify which feelings can be discussed at the Retrospective and which others should be addressed one-on-one.

    Tools for Facilitators:

    Ask for help.

    When something isn’t working, try something different. Be humble enough to know when to pivot.

    Avoid triangulation. Encourage people to talk to the person, not about the person.

    Congruent vs. incongruent messaging: When delivering a message that describes a problem, first address how the problem is impacting you (the self), then the context, and finally, the intention and how this caused the problem. A similar approach is the Situation-Behavior-Impact framework.

    What to do after Retrospectives?

    Collect the readout: Make a summary of what was done in the Retrospective.

    Collecting a library of Retrospectives can help estimate projects. Retrospectives contain a significant amount of useful data for the organization.

    After recapitulating the event, think about what can be improved.

    The information coming from Retrospectives is a great way for a better forecast.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews, by Norman L. Kerth

    Intuitive Prediction: Bias and Corrective Procedures, Daniel Kahneman

    Listen to Project Retrospectives: Book Exploration (Part 1) and (Part 2)

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by Mike Guiler to continue their discussion of Norman Kerth’s book Project Retrospectives. In this episode, they dive deep into chapters 6, 7, and 8, analyzing some of the exercises and techniques described in the book and the immense value of learning to plan retrospectives for them to be fruitful. They close this conversation by addressing “postmortem” retrospectives and the importance of unpacking a failed project.

    Key Takeaways

    Chapter 6: Exercises and Techniques:

    There are many ways to facilitate retrospectives and this chapter describes several intentional exercises meant to shake things up.

    Norm addresses three essential parts of a retrospective: the readying, the past, and the future. The readying is meant to allow team members to prepare and bring forward relevant topics.

    Teams often want to save time in retrospectives by skipping them or shortening their length. They do that because they find them ineffective and do not see the value in investing time and energy.

    A Scrum Master must invest in making retrospectives into a much more impactful event for the team.

    About facilitating better retrospectives:

    Retrospectives need to take a longer time (three hours).

    There needs to be “emotional freedom” in the group’s atmosphere to facilitate and enable members to participate; it’s crucial to be aware of different personalities and how they engage with others.

    The topic’s sensitivity during the retrospective needs to be considered.

    The postmortem retrospectives: When a project fails:

    Be conscientious about not injecting your perspective; sometimes, it can do more harm.

    An idea must be presented along with its benefits, strategy, and plan, including the costs and reasons why it is helpful to implement it.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews, by Norman L. Kerth

    Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great, by Esther Derby and Diane Larsen

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by Mike Guiler to share their continuous learning journey. They have been exploring the book Project Retrospectives written by Norman Kerth, and today, you will listen to them discussing chapters 3 to 5, where they dive deep into the role of Retrospective facilitators. They compare Norm’s guidance against their own experience and reflect how practices presented are still be relevant today as retrospectives are more widely practiced in the industry.

    Key Takeaways

    Retrospectives: Internal or external facilitators?

    You can be present without necessarily having to share your opinions and thoughts.

    An external facilitator for a Retrospective is not part of the Team but can be a well-informed outsider.

    In the Scrum framework, very often it is the Scrum Master who facilitates the Retrospectives, but it does not have to be this way.

    There is a conflict between a full contributor on the retrospectives and a facilitator, which is why an external facilitator can be significantly valuable.

    Should Managers be in a Project Retrospective?

    Managers must be allowed to be present at Retrospectives, but their involvement needs to be regulated.

    Engineering retrospectives take time and effort.

    Sometimes, the same feedback is received during several meetings, which is why it is important to plan retrospectives carefully considering Team Styles, the way the questions are brought forward, and any characteristics that can come up after thoughtfully observing the Team’s dynamics.

    Identifying the most important topic for the Retrospective must be brought forward by the Team. The best achievement is when the Team expresses its needs as a result of the effective work of a facilitator (as opposed to someone dictating what the Team’s interest or need is).

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews, by Norman L. Kerth

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Justin Thatil, your host, welcomes Mike Guiler and Anitra Pavka. Today, they address the product discovery phase and some of the challenges the engineering Team usually faces while identifying what they will build and which special skills will be required to perform the task effectively. Also in this episode, they explore interviewing techniques and usability testing.

    Key Takeaways

    Interviewing users is universally helpful.

    Interviewing users is so important that it should be done every week.

    We need to be informed, and the only way to do this is by talking to the users.

    Before the interview begins, you need to make sure you know what you want to obtain from the conversation. A discussion guide might help to lead an interview and make it more consistent.

    Focus on allowing people to keep on talking.

    Engage in the conversation with active listening skills

    Open-ended questions are ideal for promoting a deep conversation.

    Fall in love with solving the problem and avoid fixating on a particular solution.

    Put an effort into understanding the underlying motivations to solve a particular problem.

    The organizational culture needs to promote the Discovery and Delivery Teams to talk to the customer and get feedback.

    Encourage small experiments that try to address a problem from a different perspective and use a different tool to solve it. If the experiment is successful, the new approach could be applied to other matters.

    Usability testing:

    Was the product easy to learn? Was the user able to get through the product efficiently? Were there errors along the way?

    Search to find out answers to questions about value.

    You can use moderated and unmoderated usability tests to get the feedback the Team seeks.

    Share the findings across the Team. They can influence how they approach the following prototype and evolve the solution.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or on X (Formerly Twitter) @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by Mike Guiler to discuss the journey of a Project Manager shifting to fill the Scrum Master accountability. This episode mainly focuses on those Scrum Masters who are newer to this accountability and have a Project Management background. In this episode, they explore what happens when a Project Manager is assigned Scrum Master’s accountabilities which can develop differently depending on the person’s expertise and ability to learn and embrace Agile principles.

    Listen to this episode to learn about the main aspects of a successful transformation.

    Key Takeaways

    It is common for the Project Manager (PM) to assume the role of the Scrum Master.

    Scrum Masters who come from Product Management can incorporate their expertise in the process of shifting to Agility.

    Product Managers often know a lot about the business domain.

    PMs often have good relationships with the Team, which are crucial to initiating a transformation towards Agile.

    You can’t easily hire for the business domain knowledge or the relationships.

    It is often easier to have current staff learn a new way of delivering value.

    A plan must be set in order to manage expectations between the development Team and stakeholders.

    Many non-Agile do not know who the stakeholders are

    Effective Scrum Masters will connect the team to the Stakeholders

    The Scrum Master must ensure that the entire Scrum Team is engaged with its stakeholders, showing the development of software and articulating the plan.

    The Scrum Master does not need to take ownership of the relationship with its stakeholders but should empower the Team

    How do we create more and better channels of communication with stakeholders?

    Project Managers often see success as being on time and on budget.

    As a Scrum Master, being on time and on budget is not enough; the most important thing is delivering the business outcome.

    Status reporting is another area where PMs must work in transitioning to Scrum Masters.

    When an Agile Team operates well, progress should be transparent.

    Even status reports could become less valuable if the entire Team works together and is aligned, working with Sprint Reviews and information radiators.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love (Silicon Valley Product Group), by Marty Cagan

    Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews, by Norman L. Kerth

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by their colleague, Mike Guiler. In this episode, they explore how a Product Manager shifts from just management to leadership and how this transformation influences the role. Dan, Justin, and Mike discuss tools and strategies, including OKRs, Story Mapping, and Hackathons, among others.

    Key Takeaways

    Product management must study the market and users, becoming customer-centric and ensuring it is still viable for the business at the same time.

    It takes more than one individual to effectively perform the discovery function. It's a Team effort (Product Designer, Product Owner, and a Technical member).

    Discovery and design sessions are opportunities for Teams to unlock the art of the possible.

    The Team has to learn from rapid feedback while ensuring steps are taken to not hurt organizational reputation.

    A Product Manager must first understand how to help the Team approach a particular problem. A great way is to identify OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and focus on the target market the Team is going after. Once the Team is aligned, the job can be done.

    A Product Manager sets an objective for the Team and allows them to work autonomously toward reaching it.

    Story Mapping: A Product Manager’s ally on the journey to product discovery.

    Story Mapping is an easy way to frame what the Team is trying to achieve and the tool that might be the most efficient for that purpose.

    Story Mapping can also help identify the target persona for which the Team is building a particular feature.

    There is tremendous value in having the Team involved in Story Mapping and, as a result, immersed in and knowledgeable about the problem at hand.

    Hackathons are a great way to keep a Team motivated.

    Allow the engineers to explore; you will keep them engaged and motivated.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs, by Uri Levine

    Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love (Silicon Valley Product Group), by Marty Cagan

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by Mike Guiler to continue the conversation that started in the last episode, where it was discussed how organizations can support their Managers. This time, they explore how Managers can help their Teams to shift to a more Agile approach.

    In today’s episode, Mike, Justin, and Dan dive deep into the reasons managers must be prepared to accompany their people in changing to Agile, sharing information, and asking the right questions to ensure the Team’s involvement.

    Key Takeaways

    When an Organization is shifting it is crucial to know what was the Perceived Value Proposition made by the Manager.

    A Manager as a Leader wants his Team to be informed and involved in the upcoming changes.

    A Manager must trust and value his Team’s opinions.

    A Manager must be willing to share information as well as show curiosity about his Team’s points of view about the Organization and its objectives.

    A Manager needs to support and empower Teams.

    In the Agile Method, words matter. There is significance in the different frameworks and mindset that come with Agile.

    A Manager needs to invest in creating amazing relationships with both the business and the technology sides of the organization.

    A Manager fosters communication and connectivity among all levels of the organization.

    Clarifying the roles, responsibilities, and what it means to be successful is a crucial part of a Manager’s obligations.

    “Leadership is communicating people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” — Captain David Marquet

    A leader helps their Team to upscale, so they are not stuck with the tools they already have to rapidly create value, which needs new tools, mindset, and engineering approaches.

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by Mike Guiler to explore how organizations can better support their managers. In this episode, they discuss two adoption patterns, the grassroots and the top-down approach, and the distinction between being a Manager and a Leader.

    Key Takeaways

    The grassroots adoption pattern and the top-down approach in an Agile Organization:

    Grassroots starts at a Team level.

    The top-down approach begins with the boss.

    If an Agile Team is self-managing: What does a Manager do?

    A Manager must decide whether he wants to be just a Manager or a Leader because these are different roles. Leaders set clear objectives; they are not so focused on the daily chores but on the higher business-valued conversations. A Leader cares about how to build the environment.

    A Manager needs to work his way to becoming a Leader and less about assigning tasks to Team members. A leader’s work should come from a mentorship place, sharing his knowledge and experience for the Team to explore (instead of being told what to do).

    An Organization can support a Manager embracing Leadership and becoming a servant leader.

    A Leader evaluates options and consults them with the Team; a leader does not impose practices. Communication is more valuable than processes and tools.

    The organization must have a plan in mind but check first how the Team responds.

    A Leader’s job is to establish the vision, shifting away from the “how.”

    While the Team is busy executing the hypothesis, the Leader is thinking about the next step.

    The Alignment of OKRs is vital for an Organization.

    Ensuring that OKRs match the plans for the product and what the business wants to achieve is fundamental for companies. This way, everyone knows what’s most important.

    How role descriptions are set up (performance reviews, salary adjustments) can influence the leader’s job.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    Who Moved My Cheese?, by Spencer Johnson

    What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter

    Team of Teams, by General Stanley McChrystal

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Dan Neumann is joined by an external guest: Seth Maust, President and Founder of Five Star Life, an organization that aims to change perceptions of education, sports, and culture. Seth began 20 years ago researching why so many children were dropping out of school because they did not value education and ultimately did not value themselves. Five Star Life focuses on dismantling this root issue by ingraining a different curriculum they created that guides students in developing successful mindsets.

    Key Takeaways

    Five Star Life focuses on attacking the root cause of student dropout.

    Children are not motivated to continue their studies because they don’t believe in the current education system.

    A good education teaches students how to think (not what to think).

    A successful life begins with the right mindset.

    Create new habits.

    It is a 28-week investment.

    The Five Star Life system teaches students to think critically.

    The application of the learned knowledge is fundamental.

    Students learn to handle conflict the right way.

    Choose your hard! Ignoring conflict is hard, and confronting conflict is too.

    Motivation is the result of vision.

    What is the first step that you can take to achieve your goal?

    Focus on taking small, incremental steps.

    An excellent way to start is to make an image of what you want to achieve and pin it somewhere you can see it daily.

    First, you must create a vision and then goals, but most of all, you must truly believe it will happen. When you attach emotion to an image, belief is born.

    Everything you are now is the result of subconscious programming.

    Unless you consciously choose to keep developing, you will remain what you are and you will repeat the same cycles.

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

    Visit the website and catch up with all the episodes on AgileThought.com!

    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, your host, Justin Thatil, is joined by three of his colleagues, Mike Guiler, Jim Beale, and Mariano Oliveti.

    In this episode, they explore the topic of accountability in Agile Teams and organizations. These four Agilists share their insights and experience on the role of accountability while explaining the value of tools such as OKRs and KPIs and the influence of a true leader in encouraging Teams by involving them in the whole process, trusting them, and enabling them to be self-directed and reliant.

    Key Takeaways

    Why is accountability so important? How do we keep accountability in an organization?

    Accountability is needed to identify who will be in charge of each task.

    Accountability should start at the top but needs to be emphasized at all levels of the organization.

    OKR (Objectives and key results) is a goal-setting framework that assists in keeping the Team accountable and provides a way to measure the outcomes.

    KPIs are key performance indicators that also contribute to keeping accountability. KPIs measure a team's performance to ensure they are on track to meet their project objectives.

    Leaders encourage accountability in Teams.

    If a leader is willing to engage with a Team, he will share goals with them and the journey to achieve them.

    Leaders need to value the involvement of every member and encourage self-driven work.

    Keeping people informed of the “why” motivates them, while the “what” will only give them tasks.

    A good leader holds his Team accountable and empowers them to make decisions. Overall, a leader trusts his Team.

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  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by Mariano Oliveti and Erica Menendez to discuss DevOps, mainly how it contributes to creating safety and providing feedback during an Agile product journey.

    In this episode, they share their knowledge about how DevOps eases the work and ensures value delivery. Listen to this conversation among Agilists for actionable suggestions and amazing real-life examples of Agile Teams benefiting from DevOps.

    Key Takeaways

    The problems DevOps can help to solve:

    DevOps can help solve inefficiencies such as the ones resulting from introducing a lot of bugs into the code or when there is a lack of Team Collaboration.

    DevOps helps to break down the silos.

    DevOps is a real time saver.

    Opportunities that DevOps gives:

    DevOps provides the opportunity for automation, testing early, and keeping a repeatable and reliable process that will work.

    DevOps ensures that, at the end of the day, the result is a product that was built in an efficient way.

    Employees working with DevOps are generally happier and more satisfied with their work, especially when automation makes their tasks easier to achieve and grants them the time to invest in the things that really matter.

    Applying DevOps infrastructure allows us to scale in a repeatable manner.

    DevOps is also a way to find what is wrong even before the customer does.

    Starting with DevOps is free.

    Begin with what you have and grow from there. Big changes are rough!

    The more you work with DevOps, the better you will get at it.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    ACF Coaching Certification

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

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  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by Anitra Pavka, an Agile Coach with vast experience in product ownership and management. In this episode, Anitra discusses the value of prioritizing people in the software development journey and shares ways and strategies to communicate more efficiently among the Team and with users. She also outlines different approaches to engaging better with users to minimize risks and maximize time use.

    Key Takeaways

    Anitra emphasizes the importance of being human-centric in software development.

    Always approach people with empathy and compassion.

    Telling stories is a great way to reach people and communicate your message.

    Be curious and open.

    Be aware of who you are building a system for.

    Capture users as a persona with a set of behaviors, goals, and motivations.

    The Team needs to know who the user is.

    The Team then can use its creativity and ideas to meet the needs of those users.

    The whole Team contributes to the conversation.

    Ways to engage with end users:

    What are the end users doing daily to deal with the problem you are looking at solving?

    Interact with people to see what they actually do instead of what they say they do.

    Seek customer feedback sooner than later to reduce risk in the long run.

    Learn to ask the right questions.



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  • This week, Mariano Oliveti joined Dan Neumann to discuss the importance of continuous learning and growth as an Agile Coach

    In this episode, Mariano shares his experience growing as a Coach. Listen to this conversation where Mariano and Dan dive deep into the steps of this incremental journey, which begins with awareness, followed by proficiency, to achieve mastery later.

    Key Takeaways

    The first step is identifying how you would like to grow as a coach

    At the beginning of your learning process, ask yourself: How do you intake and process information? What is your learning style?

    The second step is to find the topics that best resonate with you.

    To be an Agile Coach, you must perform specific skills at different levels, such as teaching, mentoring, facilitating, or coaching.

    There are complementary skills that can help you along the journey to becoming an Agile Coach.

    You need to have a good understanding of Agile practices and the Scrum framework.

    Business knowledge is also necessary.

    Be aware of your strengths and your opportunities.

    How can you be intentional about your learning?

    Being intentional is critical to mastering what you do.

    Be honest with yourself about your goals and objectives and how you want to reach them.

    Listening is the primary skill an Agile Coach needs to have.

    Listening internally to how you react to the events around you and finding opportunities to grow.

    Leaning is a journey, be patient with yourself and respect your process.

    Mentioned in this Episode:

    The 8 Stances of a Scrum Master

    ACF Coaching Certification

    DevOps Handbook

    Want to Learn More or Get in Touch?

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    Email your thoughts or suggestions to [email protected] or Tweet @AgileThought using #AgileThoughtPodcast!

  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by two external guests for Kanban University: Joey Spooner, Vice President for Community Development and Product Management, and Todd Little, Chairman of Kanban University.

    In this episode, experts from Kanban University join the podcast to share their expertise with the audience. Listen to this conversation and learn about the trajectory of Kanban University and its fantastic community. Also, they dive into a profound exploration of what Kanban Methodology really is and how it can improve what you are already doing.

    Key Takeaways

    What is Kanban?

    Kanban University has been educating a vast community on its method since 2013.

    The Kanban method is often misunderstood. Some significant aspects characterize the Kanban Methodology. It is a way to visualize the workflow, called operational practice. There are also Management Practices, which consist of taking and managing policies effectively in an organization. The practices of collaboration and experimentation are also of crucial importance.

    Kanban can also be used as a complementary practice to Scrum.

    A fundamental principle of the Kanban Methodology is to Start with what you do now. If you have started with Scrum, you can improve it with Kanban. Kanban is fundamentally an approach to improving your process framework; it isn’t a framework itself.

    The Kanban Method vs. the Lean Manufacturing:

    Lean Manufacturing aims to remove uncertainty, which is conceived as a waste.

    Sometimes, uncertainty does not need to be eliminated; it is inherited, and often, it is this uncertainty that brings value.

    Kanban tries to understand knowledge work and its behaviors while still representing the workflow.

    How does Kanban manage the predictability challenge while doing complex work?

    There are three common challenges while working with complex work: Delay, Dependencies, and Dormancies. Every Team needs to explore possible solutions for these challenges.

    Check Team reliability.

    An approach to predictability: Do more and better estimates.

    Advice for Scrum Practitioners starting to use Kanban:

    You can use Kaban on top of what you are doing with Scrum for more efficiency.

    Kanban tools allow Teams to stay focused and deliver consistently.

    Find first what your struggle is at the moment and see how Kanban can help with it.

    Learn to manage resistance to change and get accustomed to constant evolutionary change.

    Learn from the water's capacity for adapting to its environment.

    Agile needs to adapt to culture as much as a culture needs to adapt to Agility.

    Take small steps.

    You have to get your system under control, map it out, and ensure it is not overloaded. If a system is overloaded, it is not predictable.

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  • This week, Dan Neumann and Justin Thatil are joined by an external guest, James D Murphy, a United States Air Force Veteran, F15 Fighter, and instructed pilot. James founded a company called Afterburner Inc. and is now the CEO of Afterburner Capital; he wrote seven books and is an expert on the Agile Delivery Framework.

    In this episode, they discuss the concept of flawless execution, meaning an execution that is as impeccable as possible (nothing is perfect!). James shares how he combined his military training with his work as an entrepreneur and expert in the Agile framework.

    Key Takeaways

    Flawless execution can’t be perfect; mistakes will take place.

    Start with simple frameworks that are easy and scalable.

    Find purposeful tasks and actions. Developing and effectively communicating the purpose of the Team’s job is crucially important.

    Knowing more about the context and details is essential to prioritize the purpose. Intention and vision need to stay connected.

    The Team needs to be involved in every step of the process.

    The key to flawless execution is to have a common language to get work done.

    The truth is more critical than artificial harmony.

    Teams must foster psychological safety, which means that anyone can feel safe admitting an error without fearing reprimand.

    Building a safe culture takes time.

    Flawless execution needs a systematic approach.

    The system followed must enable good execution as well as flexibility; in this matter, simplicity overpowers complexity. Complexity will decrease performance while augmenting the chance of errors.

    First is the planning phase (who is going to do what and when). Once it’s over, no more brainstorming takes place.

    After planning, the plan is briefed (repetition of what was planned and the accountabilities that come along with it).

    Execute! Don’t get off track.

    Debrief as soon as the mission is over. Debriefing is almost as important as the mission itself, leaving a lesson to the entire enterprise, not just a small Team. Is there a gap between the obtained results and what was imagined and expected from the plan? The Team should ask itself, how did the success occur? And why?

    This entire process must be leader-led. It is the leader who first has to admit his/her mistakes. This transparency and honesty create the much-needed psychological safety at the Tream.

    Learn More:

    Afterburner website Afterburner on YouTube James D. Murphy on LinkedIn

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