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Why Agile Works

Podcast with Michael de la Maza, David Benz by Shane Hastie on Dec 12, 2016 |

This is the Engineering Culture Podcast, from the people behind InfoQ.com and the QCon conferences.

In this podcast, recorded at Agile 2016, Shane Hastie, InfoQ Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to David Benz and Michael de la Maza about their minibook Why Agile Works, which is available at InfoQ.com.

Key Takeaways

  • In a startup you have to use an Agile approach – it just makes sense
  • It’s easy to teach practices, but with a foundation in the core values of agile then practice drive adoption of agile can be hell
  • There has been a recent resurgence in the recognition of the importance of the values
  • This can be a way to explain agile approaches to executives
  • Cutting through dysfunction requires addressing culture and assumptions

0m:35s - Introductions

1m:40s - In a startup you have to use an Agile approach – it just makes sense

2m:25s - A story of collaboration

3m:35s - Doing something small first – Emotion and Cognition article on InfoQ

4m:15s - Bad experiences with project-management driven rollout of agile practices without the values as a starting point

4m:35s - The agile community seemed to pull back from having a values-focus for a time

5m:05s - The resurgence of a focus on values in Agile, Scrum and Kanban

5m:15s - Scale by implementing a set of values rather than by practices

5m:55s - The argument against Cargo-cult agile

6m:25s - Ping pong rooms in large companies is a symptom of copycat behaviour – just doing what a startup does doesn’t provide a startup mindset

6m:40s - What works in one environment, where people enjoy being together, becomes a way of avoiding work in a different context

7m:00s - The Agile Manifesto is silent on practices – it is all about values and principles

7m:20s - This is a self-help book

7m:30s - The book has lots of dimensions and plenty of examples of why values matter, and how they make a difference

7m:50s - The audience includes managers who want to adopt a value-driven approach

8m:05s - It is for people who want to deepen their level of consciousness about the agile values, not just add another practice to their toolkit

8m:35s - This is a book to help explain agile approaches to executives

9m:20s - Key message: integrity and consistency.

9m:45s - The impact of practices which are at odds with corporate values

10m:35s - Some ways to identify and overcome organisational dysfunction

11m:10s - Example of “use technology to make a meeting better” – if the meeting is not productive, using technology will not make it better

13m:10s - Cutting through dysfunction requires addressing culture and assumptions

13m:35s - The resurgence of a values-driven approach; not just in agile but the greater gestalt that is happening in the world

14m:05s - Millennials have a different perspective about openness and transparency; examples include Everlane and Brathwait where their whole cost structure is visible to shoppers

14m:40s - Example of organisations which have taken a radically different approach to organising work – Valve

15m:05s - There is an interest in completely rethinking the way large companies are run

15m:25s - Collaboration and trust are not just intents, they are skills that have to be learned and practiced. We are getting better at it as a community

16m:00s - The book brings together research and ideas such as Laloux, Reinventing Organizations and Moore’s Crossing the Chasm to explore why the agile values are so important for today’s businesses

17m:05s - The big challenge is you can’t teach or insert values into people, you have to inspire them

17m:45s - We don’t know a lot about how to catalyse change in values – there is lots still to learn

17m:55s - Value change occurs when people confront something that their current framework can’t deal with, then change themselves

18m:10s - Games and simulations are one way to trigger this confrontation

18m:45s - Lyssa Adkins – Agilists as agents of social evolution

19m:15s - Change is a complex process: how do we apply agile ideas to changing organisations in the future?

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