Rebel Diaries

Joshua Kerievsky - The True Definition of Agile and Agility for Everyone

April 25, 2022 Joshua Kerievsky Season 1 Episode 1
Joshua Kerievsky - The True Definition of Agile and Agility for Everyone
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Rebel Diaries
Joshua Kerievsky - The True Definition of Agile and Agility for Everyone
Apr 25, 2022 Season 1 Episode 1
Joshua Kerievsky

Joshua Kerievsky @JoshuaKerievsky is the founder and CEO of Industrial Logic, one of the oldest and most well-respected agile consultancies on the planet. They have helped organisations including Google, GE, John Deere, Nielsen and Ford grow high-performance teams. A bestselling author and international speaker, Josh created Modern Agile to help people and organizations benefit from a principle-based approach to agility in all industries, not just software development.

What we discuss with Joshua Kerievsky

  • How psychological safety enables high team performance
  • Why is it important for people to be able to speak their minds
  • The story of an inspiration|al leader who changed an organisational that was stuck in its ways for 100 years
  • How to continually deliver value
  • Why Agile is not project management 
  • The four Modern Agile principles and how all teams and companies can benefit
  • The challenges of scaling Agile and why it often goes wrong 
  • Josh's upcoming new book, "Joy of Agility"
  • And much more...

Links relating to this episode

Support the Show.

Keep in touch with the show

Leave a review

  • Please leave a review (written if possible) on your podcast app of choice

How Scott can help you and your business

Additional resources (Purchasing using the links below helps support the running of the show)

Show Notes Transcript

Joshua Kerievsky @JoshuaKerievsky is the founder and CEO of Industrial Logic, one of the oldest and most well-respected agile consultancies on the planet. They have helped organisations including Google, GE, John Deere, Nielsen and Ford grow high-performance teams. A bestselling author and international speaker, Josh created Modern Agile to help people and organizations benefit from a principle-based approach to agility in all industries, not just software development.

What we discuss with Joshua Kerievsky

  • How psychological safety enables high team performance
  • Why is it important for people to be able to speak their minds
  • The story of an inspiration|al leader who changed an organisational that was stuck in its ways for 100 years
  • How to continually deliver value
  • Why Agile is not project management 
  • The four Modern Agile principles and how all teams and companies can benefit
  • The challenges of scaling Agile and why it often goes wrong 
  • Josh's upcoming new book, "Joy of Agility"
  • And much more...

Links relating to this episode

Support the Show.

Keep in touch with the show

Leave a review

  • Please leave a review (written if possible) on your podcast app of choice

How Scott can help you and your business

Additional resources (Purchasing using the links below helps support the running of the show)

Intro teaser

[00:00:00] Josh: It doesn't mean hiding under a rock, living in a cave, never taking risks. It means taking safe risks. It means, being okay to fail.

[00:00:40] Josh: It's easy to stay silent. Even if you disagree with someone and say, "well, huh that's what they chose. It's dumb, but we're going to go that direction" versus speaking up, putting your neck out and taking a risk to speak your mind.

[00:00:52] Josh: There's actually, a godforsaken definition that actually is about 
project management and it makes me ill. It makes me sick to my stomach to see it.

Show intro

[00:01:01] Scott: In this show, Josh Kerievsky discusses how his four Modern Agile principles can benefit teams across all industries and even how Agile can be used for bad as well as good. 

[00:01:11] Scott: We also talk about the true meaning of agility and why many companies and teams get it wrong. 

Main show

[00:01:16] Scott: Josh would you mind just giving us a bit of an intro to yourself, a bit about the journey you've been on and where you are now?

[00:01:23] Josh: I got involved in the soccer field as a young kid. My father was into software and building systems, to make money for his family so I was involved in software development early on and started doing it while I was in college to make money and really fell in love with it.

[00:01:38] Josh: And throughout the nineties, I started to pick up, uh, different ways of working, being very experimental, so I fell in with a bunch of folks from the patterns community over, over time and, uh, the software patterns, community wonderful, wonderful people, a lot of the people that really were behind the whole Agile movement or, or big parts of the patterns, movement, and, uh, got involved in Agile deeply in the mid to late nineties before it was called Agile. We called it lightweight software methods and gradually, started making that the centre of my work over time. You know, found the principles and practices of agility to be so valuable, not just to software teams, but to all kinds of different folks that, uh, over time I've expanded the practice into different areas.

[00:02:26] Josh: And so I run a company called Industrial Logic. I'm the CEO and founder, and we've been around for about 26 years. And we specialize in genuine agility and helping companies get a lot better at product development and all the things that help you become able to move with quick, easy grace and able to be quick, resourceful and adaptable.

[00:02:47] Scott: Awesome. Thank you. And you are the founder of something called Modern Agile.

[00:02:52] Josh: Yes. Yes., I created the Modern Agile circle back in 2016 and created for that. And it's a true ".org". there's no money exchanging hands. We have a little store, but we usually are in the red on the store, with the work we do to send people stickers and things like that.

[00:03:10] Josh: It was a gift to the community to help folks understand what agility is and the fact that it's not just for software developers or software teams, it's equal opportunity for anyone who wants to become agile.

[00:03:22] Scott: I know them off by heart, but for those that haven't heard of it, could you take us through each of the principles?

[00:03:28] Josh: Absolutely. The first principle is called "Make People Awesome". And it's inspired heavily by a woman named Kathy Sierra who spoke a lot about making users awesome. She would say "don't make a great product, make a great user of that product. Focus on that user focus on making them empowered to do amazing things."

[00:03:51] Josh: "So instead of creating the world's greatest camera focus on making the world's greatest photographers" and it's just a very enlightened approach to product development and services too, you know, what kind of service are you trying to create the best service in the world or the best user of that service?

[00:04:09] Josh: So that was very inspiring, and my colleagues and I looked at it and we expanded it. We said, "you know, it's not just the users. You know, we've built products ourselves. We've sold products and it's not just the users that you're trying to make awesome there's the buyers, there's the evaluators, there's an entire ecosystem. There's your colleagues you work with to build the product." 

[00:04:28] Josh: So when we looked at it, we said, let's change it to Make People Awesome. And that's the origin of that first principle. It's very focused. It's a north star. It basically says if you are interested in genuinely being Agile, you need a north star.

[00:04:43] Josh: You need to be heading towards something. An awesome ecosystem, awesome users, awesome colleagues, even share holders or whatever it is, managers, um, that's a high bar and, it's something to aspire to. So that's the first principle.

[00:04:58] Josh: I often talk about the second principle is, it's directly south of the north principle.

[00:05:03] Josh: It's the bottom of the circle and it's "Make Safety a Prerequisite". That's a phrase that a brilliant fellow named Mr. Paul O'Neill lived and breathed as a leader, he was the leader of Alcoa, the aluminium company of America, which is a global organization. He was the leader of that company for 13 years.

[00:05:27] Josh: And when he first joined, they were struggling badly. He turned that company around via worker safety, he made worker safety the number one thing. Not a priority because priorities shift. It was absolutely the driving force of his leadership. And, and, you know, as Charles Duhigg's a Pulitzer prize-winning author. He wrote a book called The Power of Habit. And in that book is where he first introduces the story of Paul O'Neill. It's called the ballot of Paul O'Neill. 

[00:05:57] Josh: I read that in 2012, fell in love with it. I was like, "who is this guy?" "How could he change a 100-year-old company?" Because when he took the helm in 1986, Alcoa was 100 years old.

[00:06:09] Josh: So that's a hundred years of culture that built up and people were proud of being an Alcoan and they had scars from the aluminium machines, burning them or whatever. And he came in and said, I'm going to make workers safety, the thing. So suffice it to say making safety, prerequisite is one of those principles that, uh, when I started to look at it, I said, "well, that's what we've been doing with extreme programming". "We're making software development safe. We're making it or able to move faster because we're making it safe." 

[00:06:39] Josh: So safety and agility are very closely aligned. And, that principle there Make Safety a Prerequisite is a very strong statement. It's saying focus on safety, make safety important. And it's not, I shouldn't say what it's not.

[00:06:54] Josh: Cause a lot of times people misinterpret it it doesn't mean hiding under a rock, living in a cave, never taking risks. It means taking safe risks. It means, being okay to fail, right? Encouraging, learning from failure and not criticizing people for failure. So there's a lot of psychological safety that is also part of that principle.

[00:07:16] Josh: In addition to all kinds of other safeties, financial safety, health safety, uh, you name it, right. There's lots of safeties that are part of making safety, a prerequisite.

[00:07:25] Scott: You've obviously mentioned the employees and the colleagues. So my interpretation of that was always safe for my team to challenge me if I asked them to do something that they thought was stupid, frankly, and, you know, be brave and safe to challenge. Cause they're closer to the customer, all that kind of stuff as well isn't it?

[00:07:41] Josh: That's absolutely right. Yes, we do see that on high-performance teams, people can speak up. They're not choosing silence over voice, right? It's easy to stay silent. Even if you disagree with someone and say, well, huh that's what they chose. It's dumb, but we're going to go that direction versus speaking up, putting your neck out and taking a risk to speak your mind in a safe, in a psychologically safe environment, that's perfectly okay. It's accepted and it's not even accepted, it's encouraged. 

[00:08:08] Josh: So there's a lot of work to be done to make a psychologically safe environment. But again, a lot of times people start to think that Make Safety a Prerequisite is just about psychology and it's really about lots of things in different contexts and in Aloca it was physical safety, right. They also had psychological safety, but it's. You know, you could talk about brand safety, right? I mean, you could, your whole entire brand could, could be destroyed in one single move, you know?

[00:08:37] Josh: So there's, there's safety in many aspects of life. And again, it doesn't mean not taking risks. It means that you'll never make people awesome if things are really, truly unsafe. A product that someone's using your product. If they fundamentally are unsafe, their data gets breached they're not going to be a much of a fan of your product.

[00:08:58] Josh: If, um, you know, you're using a product and it hurts you. And somehow that's never, that's not going to do too well, a service that loses something or makes your life difficult. So safety and making people awesome are also directly connected.

[00:09:12] Scott: You'll probably know this story better than me. I'm probably doing a disservice but I heard there was a mistake someone made at Google that lost the company a lot of money, and I think it was a programmer who had just made a mistake in the code somewhere um, it, you know caused a big outage, and the story I heard was that the leader said, "did we learn from it?"

[00:09:32] Scott: That was the most important thing. Have you heard that story? Have, I got that wrong?

[00:09:37] Josh: Right. That is the kind of culture that you're trying to create where learning is key. Now, some people might sort of scoff at that and say, "well, you know, they lost millions of dollars with that". Well, they make hundreds of millions of dollars, you have to understand Google and I think that problem took place on the ad-words team, which makes a bloody fortune every second.

[00:09:58] Josh: You know, there are mistakes that could cost the company a lot. And so it's not to say "every mistake is fine" you're trying to create an environment where it's safe to fail, but you also have to have some guard rails, like "what are some things that we really want to avoid?", you know, "happening that would be so damaging to our company or our organization that we could never recover?".

[00:10:20] Josh: This is tricky stuff. Nothing that I'm talking about in Modern, Agile, is easy. These principles are aspirational, so.

[00:10:28] Scott: And it's a continual journey. Isn't it? It's not though right "tick we're now a Modern Agile"

[00:10:32] Josh: That's correct. You can't tick the box. Yeah, we did all those things.

[00:10:35] Scott: We've got a badge. Yeah.

[00:10:37] Josh: Exactly. So the next principle is Experiment and Learn Rapidly. So that is a focus on constantly experimenting so that you can learn more. If you stop experimenting, I think a lot of times you're just, you're, you're not growing, you know, even professional athletes as their careers change, as things change as the competition changes as their body changes, they have to experiment with different styles, different approaches, and same with companies, right?

[00:11:06] Josh: If they're not experimenting there, there's, there's an old story about a fellow who worked at General Mills. General Mills makes different kinds of consumer products, including cereals that people eat in the morning. Cheerios is one of the popular best-selling cereals. Well, this fellow had an idea for Honey Nut Cheerios.

[00:11:26] Josh: And so we'll put a honey nut coating around the Cheerios and sell those. And they ignored him for about five or six years until they finally tried the experiment. And when they tried the experiment in a very limited way, very safe way, they discovered that it was an enormous hit and then they went full bore and created Honey Nut Cheerios, and it was an absolute bestseller and so you ask yourself, "why didn't they try this earlier on when the first suggestion came along?". 

[00:11:53] Josh: So in a culture that is learning rapidly, you're often experimenting all the time. There's all kinds of experiments happening they're safe to fail experiments and you're learning from them instead of like, guessing about what to do. You're often experimenting, getting data and learning from that and making more informed decisions.

[00:12:11] Scott: I think that always has struck me when I discovered Agile and Agile thinking. And I made a lot of mistakes early on around just following processes. Maybe we can touch on that a bit later, but. But that, that difference between the traditional project management approach of "we've got our requirements up front, we're going to work on this for the next 12 months and at the end, hope that people still want it".

[00:12:30] Scott: But of course, during that 12 months, the whole world is literally transforming around you whilst you're just in that. "Well, we can't do anything other than what we've agreed we're going to" it's just in the world we live in now. 

[00:12:40] Josh: Yeah, much of the time. It does not work. I think there are the cases where you know exactly what you need to build. Nothing is changing. And that, that truly is a situation that, you don't necessarily have to use the Agile style for that. Uh, I think there's elements of agility that still apply even in that situation, you know, but yeah, for the most part, much of what we do, many of the products we do are foggy there's a fog it's a total uncertainty about what to do. 

[00:13:06] Josh: So experiment and learn rapidly, you know, that's shorthand because really it means experiment rapidly and learn rapidly. It's two things in one. So we want you to learn rapidly. And want to be, find ways to experiment rapidly if you experiment, but it takes you three years to do the experiment. Well, the whole world might've moved on, you know, so it's not just experimenting, it's doing it rapidly and it's also learning rapidly. How can you learn rapidly? In other words, how can you learn inexpensively where you don't take a lot of time and energy and money to create the experiment you're able to do it quickly and cheaply and learn from it. So it's, it's also aspirational and not the easiest thing to do. 

[00:13:46] Josh: Then the final principle is Deliver Value Continuously. So that one is basically having this style of working where you're constantly putting value out there. 

[00:14:00] Josh: I look at it as a sort of creative process. Look at artists, a lot of artists, they draw little sketches first.

[00:14:09] Josh: And then they take the sketches and they evolve them. There's a famous photographer he has all these pictures of all the celebrities for years and years and years. His name is Mark Seliger and I follow him on Instagram. I met him once or twice and recently he showed a little sketch of a rockstar and a bunch of little skulls that he just sketched.

[00:14:29] Josh: It was Kurt Cobain. And later on, he took this famous picture of Kurt Cobain with these little skulls. And I had no idea that he'd actually sketched the actual photograph before he took the pictures. He sketched it. 

[00:14:42] Josh: Right now, I'm working with my team on some, we have some data. That we know we want to start querying right now, we're not persisting it or thought being saved in any database. We just calculate it. We show it on the screen to a user. It's interesting, but we don't actually persist it. And now we're saying to ourselves, "What should we persist? There's a whole bunch of data and we don't want to persist all of it". And so we're sketching out ideas of what the table structures might look like. So we're trying to deliver value as quickly as possible. 

[00:15:10] Josh: You could say " I've built a component", right? Let's say you're building a car and there's a team that makes the wheels and they built a wheel. Okay. Is that value?

[00:15:19] Josh: Yeah, it's value. However, I still can't drive anywhere. I still can't go anywhere. I don't have a vehicle that will take me from A to B. 

[00:15:29] Josh: So we really look at value often in terms of holistic value, " does it allow me to do something?" If it's a book, could I start with an article? One little tiny little article's, like a mini-book, it's a really baby book, but it is whole, it's not, you know, uh, just the beginning of a story and not the end. It's an entire article. 

[00:15:49] Josh: So when it comes to delivering value, it's okay to give out drafts, to give out sketches, to give out or to learn rapidly. It goes hand in hand with experiment and learn rapidly, right? If you're experimenting and learning rapidly you tend to be delivering value continuously.

[00:16:03] Scott: And these things, all interlink. And so they're on the, do you call it a wheel or a circle?

[00:16:08] Josh: I really think of it as a Venn diagram. Believe it or not. I think that all four principles over, if you can get them all overlapping when you're doing something, you know, that's pretty cool. Sometimes there'll be two or two of them overlapping. Sometimes all, sometimes three of them, occasionally all four.

[00:16:22] Scott: It was transformational for my team. How are you finding, other larger organizations adopting it? Do they pay lip service cause it requires a big mindset shift and letting go of control and trusting your people on the front line more than giving up that central hierarchy and all that stuff?

[00:16:42] Scott: How are you finding that going down with the companies?

[00:16:46] Josh: You know the honest truth is I simply have no idea how far it's reached. Who's finding value from it. You know, when people come and tell me, Hey, we, we use it every day or we, or we have the poster and we talk about it. I'm always happy to hear that, but I don't have any data because the data a lot of groups might have is how many people have been certified in it, or, you know, there's no certification for Modern, Agile.

[00:17:11] Josh: I used to say, " if you can spell prerequisite correctly, then you're certified!" But no seriously, it's it doesn't, I don't have data to know how far and wide it's spread. It was really a gift to the community and we have a pretty active, modern, Modern Agile Slack, which I can give you a link to if you want to if anyone wants to go check that out.

[00:17:30] Josh: There's some various other spots that people go to sometimes to talk about it. So it appears people appreciate it. I just don't have numbers.

[00:17:38] Scott: That's fair enough. One of the things that stuck out for me when I first discovered it was, you describe I think on the website it's framework free and, and it is, it is about mindset more than anything else. I'm reasonably active in the Agile community and sometimes I go onto LinkedIn and I see arguments still about what Agile is it's like even the Agile community can't agree on what it is. And you hear some horror stories about, you know, Agile being scaled and becoming so bureaucratic and then getting a bad name. What's your take on, on all of that?

[00:18:11] Josh: It's very sad to me that we don't have an agreed-upon very simple understanding of the word agile. It's particularly upsetting because the word has been around for centuries. It exists. It's in the dictionary. You can look it up.

[00:18:26] Josh: I do love and appreciate the Oxford English dictionary. However, in this particular case, I do like the Miriam Webster American dictionary for the word Agile a little bit better, because basically the OED basically says that, you know, to be agile means being able to move quickly and easily. Right. That's agile. You can move quickly and easily. You're agile.

[00:18:48] Josh: There's actually, a godforsaken other definition in the OED that actually is about project management and it makes me ill. It makes me sick to my stomach to see it. I don't understand how they allowed that in there because to me, agile is about being it's it's an adjective, right? It's it is an adjective.

[00:19:10] Josh: People forget that. Ultimately they talk about agile as if it were a noun. And it's an adjective. Do you have an agile doctor, an agile team, an agile athlete. The dictionary definitions to me, absolutely clarify what it means. That still doesn't mean it's simple they do have the meaning, so able to move with quick, easy grace, or having a quick resourceful or adaptable character.

[00:19:34] Josh: That's it. That's what it means now what are those words mean? What does it mean to be adaptable or resourceful? What does it mean to be quick? I now understand most people don't get it. They don't understand what it means to be quick. It's such a simple word quick, but most people associate it with rushing or hurrying. Yeah. So they said they'll come out in the state "The purpose of agile is not to be quick". And I'll say. " Yeah, kind of, you know, it actually is the word quick is in every definition of the word agile", it doesn't equal quick because it's not synonymous with quick. You have to be easy, graceful, adaptable, resourceful. as well. However, it's a definite part of it. If you're not quick, then you would not say you're agile. So it's a part of it, but what it doesn't say is hurry or rush. Cause when you're hurrying and rushing you, you tend to make mistakes. Now we just said, "Hey, safe to fail, mistakes are fine". Well, those are safe to fail mistakes, right?

[00:20:36] Josh: If you're making mistakes that are costly, then you're rushing or. hurrying, so there's a mantra that the famous coach, John Wooden, he was a famous basketball coach in the US for a college basketball team. And he would say "be quick, but don't. hurry". 

[00:20:53] Josh: And to me, this is a brilliant concept because a lot of the players he would get would be like high school stars who were doing things very, very quickly, very much in a rushing kind of way and maybe succeeding that wasn't the John Wooden. game. John Wooden would say, "Nope, we've got to slow down and we have to be absolutely centred, balanced, in order to be, consistently championship teams."

[00:21:24] Josh: Anyway, I could go on and on about the definition, I wrote an entire book about this. That's just going to come out in 2023. It's called Joy of Agility. I really wanted to just be clear. What does the word mean? And then what would some exemplary stories be of agility? So there's over 100 stories of actual agile people and teams that demonstrate, you know, kind of what the definition says, you know, what, what does it mean to be agile?

[00:21:51] Josh: What does it mean to be resourceful and quick and adaptable? So that's a forthcoming book.

[00:21:58] Scott: It's fascinating stuff. It must be frustrating. I can hear your frustration. I think I'd seen you posted about that a while ago. That definition and the dictionary is now, how did that get in?

[00:22:08] Scott: That needs to be some kind of movement to try and get it taken out again. I think.

[00:22:12] Josh: Yes. It's particularly from the OED because the OED is, is, uh, you know, uh, revered institution and document and, you know, I was just a bit appalled when I saw that. So, um, 

[00:22:27] Scott: What's your thoughts on the whole scaling thing and I may, or may not mention SAFE.

[00:22:36] Josh: Yeah. I think that, you know, the, I mean, any serious practitioner of Agility will tell you that most of the teams that are trying to scale do not know even how to make it work really well on one team. Like they haven't really gotten awesome Agility going on one team and they already want to start scaling, you know, so it it's, it's kind of a joke.

[00:22:58] Josh: I think the bottom line too, is that there ends up being this kind of like insatiable desire for the whole organization to become agile because maybe because of competition, maybe because of, you know, the difficulties in the marketplace, right. That come up where you, you need to be able to move quicker, easier, and more gracefully.

[00:23:17] Josh: You need to be adaptable rapidly, you know, rapidly adaptable. And so there is this great need and therefore a lot of organizations want to spread it across every unit of the organization as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this is not just pixie dust that you just spread on people.

[00:23:35] Josh: It's like, "Hey, we sent everybody to cooking class. Now everybody can cook". No, it takes practice. It takes making mistakes. It takes learning from experts. It's an ongoing multi-year thing. And a lot of companies just get burned. First of all, I think a lot of people in companies are poor consumers of training programs or anything that's going to help improve them. They're poor consumers of it. 

[00:23:59] Josh: So they'll buy a packaged scaled process that isn't necessarily very good, or isn't a good fit. And then millions of dollars later and with lots of time and money and spend, they end up looking at their own organization and "are we any better?" And a lot of times they're not.

[00:24:19] Josh: So back to that wonderful UCLA basketball coach he would talk about activity without achievement. Where you don't like you've rearranged the chairs on the Titanic. You haven't accomplished anything. Activity without achievement is doing a bunch of stuff.

[00:24:36] Josh: "Well we took all these training classes in this scaled method and we implemented it everywhere. Everybody's doing it. Now we have all these JIRA charts showing up and this and that and stand up and we're doing all these rituals. But we're no better. We still can't get software out quickly. We still have way too many defects. We still have unhappy customers. We're still not doing too well with our competitors". 

[00:24:59] Josh: Activity without achievement."

[00:25:01] Scott: And then Agile gets a bad name.

[00:25:04] Josh: Correct. Yeah, "we shouldn't be using Agile", Agile as the noun, again, not, not agility or agile as an adjective, right. 

[00:25:11] Josh: So, you know what I come back to again and again, is when I look at great companies are great teams, great coaches.

[00:25:17] Josh: They lead with principles they lead with in the case of John Wooden, mantras. 

[00:25:23] Josh: So how can mantras or principles guide us? And that's where people start to go "aww. I don't know. It seems too fuzzy to me. You know, what would make safety, a prerequisite? What does that tell me to do? What should I do in the morning?"

[00:25:36] Josh: It actually, isn't that complicated. You can ask for help too. But you can start to say, "well, what would it mean for things to be safe around here? Can I speak my mind?" Okay. You can't great. "Okay. So maybe we need to work on psychological safety. Where could we learn more about that?"

[00:25:51] Josh: " How could I work with my team in such a way that if I reveal my ignorance about something I'm not treated like a moron?" 

[00:25:59] Josh: People are like, "yeah okay you don't know let's learn this together." 

[00:26:02] Josh: There's just so many ways where the principles can be put into practice and it may not be obvious to people.

[00:26:08] Josh: So that's where you do need some help. I've been a tennis player for years. I'm a tennis player who still takes lessons. Because I know that I have still much, much more to learn or unlearn and I will always be taking tennis lessons. 

[00:26:22] Josh: Whereas a lot of people they get to a certain level in tennis and then they've never taken a lesson again. They never get any better. And they're fine with that. That's to me, kind of a sad thing. Yeah.

[00:26:32] Scott: I think that unlearn is a key point as well. Isn't it? It's people don't want to admit sometimes that what they've been doing for a while is no longer relevant or isn't the right thing to do. And it's probably quite hard to let that go. I think a lot of people probably come from a project management background, like the more traditional Prince approach and then get "You can be a Agile project manager now, can't you?" and that requires a complete rewiring of the brain. 

[00:27:00] Josh: Absolutely. You know, the certification market is kind of sad too, with respect to Agile. People think that just getting certified is the entryway into a job and it might get them a job, but getting a certificate is really not the end goal. The end goal is I think people need to become scholars. They need to really become scholars of Agility. So "what can I learn to be more Agile?

[00:27:22] Josh: This is something that scares me. I don't know if the current culture is scholarly, you know, if they care about learning and getting better and better and better, they're just some people just want to, you know, get the money for the job and that's it.

[00:27:35] Josh: They're happy. They're content. Agility is, it's something that's pretty special and it's like anything it's, it's a practice. You have to really focus on getting better and better at it. There's no one class that's going to do it for you there's no one method or framework or scaled framework that's going to do it for you.

[00:27:51] Josh: It's a way of thinking. And it's a way of approaching things to solve problems and succeed sooner.

[00:27:57] Scott: I think it's intrinsically linked to good leadership and good human to human behaviour. Really? Isn't it. That's why, if you boil it down to those principles, forget the processes. If you can't trust each other and your boss doesn't treat you with respect, you're kind of screwed and following no end of processes won't fix that.

[00:28:18] Josh: That's true cause if you look at those kinds of behaviours where there's a sort of disrespect happening and difficulty with collaboration, it does tend to lead to slower performance. So it is definitely connected. 

[00:28:30] Josh: The one thing I would say though, is that the word agile is not, doesn't just apply to good guys.

[00:28:36] Josh: In other words, you could look at a terrorist and say, oh man, they were agile in that particular case. Right? I mean, that's a terrible thing to think about, but they found a way, a quick, easy, graceful way to do their damage. 

[00:28:47] Josh: So it's not kumbaya and let's just hold hands. This always means a good thing.

[00:28:52] Josh: Being agile, can be put to good or evil, cause it is finding a quicker easier path to your solution. That's ultimately what I see it as I just, I just don't associate it with always being about goodness, because I think it can be also put to bad use uses to.

[00:29:10] Josh: Modern Agile. It's a little bit different from the definition of Agile. It's much more focused on the good and on Kathy Sierra's concept of making people awesome. Or making users awesome. So I mean, much of what our work is involved in is products or services.

[00:29:26] Josh: And in that regard, you are trying to make the world a better place through your product or your service. So Modern Agile really takes a very sort of commercial focus of building things, making services, making products, and trying to do it in an amazing way.

[00:29:43] Josh: Whereas actually just the word Agile itself, I think is more generic and it could be applied to anything.

[00:29:50] Scott: I've spoken to other people about how organizations can be quite organization-centric and not customer-centric. And again, that key principle is about yes it covers your colleagues as well as making users awesome. But it's scary how many people I hear seem to have lost sight of why they're in business and, you know, improving the customer experience rather than vanity projects and stuff without evidence and all that stuff that just costs lots of wasted money and frustrated and. frustrated employees.

[00:30:21] Josh: Yeah, the customer centricity is so huge, so utterly huge. And you get people like serve Richard Branson, who will say, "you'll never get happy customers if you don't have happy employees. His way of getting really happy customers is make an extremely happy workforce.

[00:30:37] Josh: But he also focuses on the safety of customers in my book there's a story about when a Virgin Trains derailment happened. And what occurred through that through the making safety, a prerequisite and, and the way they constructed the cars in the train was so safe. They anticipated so many things that happen if, a train derailment that were to occur, what could we do to make it actually be far, far safer for people and lead to fewer deaths or injuries, and they accomplish that. It was absolutely amazing. I know some people are unhappy with Virgin Trains for other reasons in Great Britain, but some of the safety stories around it are phenomenal to me.

[00:31:21] Josh: That's basically looking both at the customer, but also how do you make happy staff inside your company? So customer centricity, I think is huge and, and staff centricity can also be really big too. You don't want unhappy staff. So that's where Make People Awesome is that ecosystem it's making the entire ecosystem awesome if you can focus on that.

[00:31:45] Josh: One more thing about the word. Awesome. Because I know sometimes that is used sarcastically in, in Great Britain, you know, like "awesome".

[00:31:52] Scott: Yeah. I always have to put a wrapper around it when I'm talking about it.

[00:31:55] Josh: Yeah, we have translations of Modern Agile in different languages and I've often thought about making a, a British translation, which is "make people brilliant".

[00:32:04] Scott: Okay.

[00:32:05] Josh: So if that helps.

[00:32:07] Scott: Yeah. I'll keep that up my sleeve.

[00:32:10] Scott: What's your, if you have to pick one favourite thing about what you do, that just you jump out of bed for every day. What's the, what's the one thing, your favourite thing?

[00:32:20] Josh: I really enjoy, probably wisdom, you know, and learning. So I love sharing wisdom. I love learning new things. I love to help make things just function better. I like solving problems. I love excellence. So the one thing, yeah, that's a hard one. 

[00:32:39] Josh: For me, it's really about having some kind of an impact. I do get excited about ways to help the world be a little bit better, help people be a little bit better. I find that to be very fulfilling.

[00:32:52] Josh: For me it means walking the talk or holding myself accountable for not walking the talk or whatever, but these things I talk about, I do try to practice them every day.

[00:33:03] Scott: Yeah, it's linked to the whole dopamine hit we get from knowing we can deliver value to the world. And I've certainly felt that when my team in the past we're in flow and every few weeks new value, new value, I might start to get agitated if we had a gap, I was like, "oh, we haven't delivered any value! I'm feeling really uncomfortable with that". That's a nice place to be, not the uncomfortable bit, but in that space. So yeah that resonates. 

[00:33:26] Scott: Obviously your book's coming out when's that coming out?

[00:33:28] Josh: So, pre-orders will be possible hopefully within a few months so sometime in the summer of 2022, the printed version will be out in February of 2023. Publishers are not always the fastest, but they also are smart about when to release a book. So there's certain dead periods and so I'm told they've targeted my book for February of 2023.

[00:33:50] Josh: There's an email list we've been growing of people interested. So I'm doing some webinars and things like that. If people are interested, they can join that. And I'll be giving a keynote speech about this topic at several conferences around the world, including, the Agile Alliance this big Agile conference in Nashville in July.

[00:34:06] Scott: So we'll make sure we get all the links in the show notes for the audience. So if you've got a link for the mailing list, we can put that in and you know, any other links.

[00:34:15] Josh: Yeah. Wonderful.

[00:34:16] Scott: As well for people. 

[00:34:17] Josh: Yeah. Thank you Scott I really appreciate you having me on your show and all the best for a wonderful podcast.

[00:34:23] Scott: Thanks, Josh.

Show outro

[00:34:24] Scott: A big, thank you for listening to the Rebel Diaries show. Your time is precious, so thank you. It is appreciated. 

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[00:34:46] Scott: Take care, be a rebel and deliver work with impact.