Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

Practical advice for making agile work in the real world

The Agile Mentors podcast is for agilists of all levels. Whether you’re new to agile and Scrum or have years of experience, listen in to find answers to your questions and new ways to succeed with agile.

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#100: Navigating the Future of Agile and Scrum with Lance Dacy & Scott Dunn

May 29, 2024     46 minutes

Join Brian for the 100th episode of the Agile Mentors Podcast as he dives into the future of Agile with fan favorites Scott Dunn and Lance Dacy. Listen in as they explore the evolving role of AI, the continuous need for leadership innovation, and the Agile community's journey towards greater accountability and effectiveness.


In the 100th episode, our expert panel celebrates by examining the latest trends and enduring challenges in the Agile industry.

They discuss the critical need for organizations to adapt and innovate, particularly through leadership and management strategies that foster high-performing teams.

This episode is a deep dive into how embracing change and technological advancement can propel the Agile industry forward, ensuring that organizations not only survive but thrive in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Listen Now to Discover:

[1:10] - Join Brian in a special celebration of the 100th episode of the Agile Mentors Podcast, featuring a look forward to future innovations in Agile!
[1:43] - Brian kicks off the landmark 100th episode with a forward-looking panel on Agile and Scrum's future, featuring experts Scott Dunn and Lance Dacy.
[4:01] - Listen in as Brian asks the panel to share their insights on emerging trends within Agile and Scrum, setting the stage for a thought-provoking conversation.
[4:15] - Lance highlights key trends including solutions for scaling challenges, the integration of AI in Scrum, and innovations in leadership and management.
[6:54] - Scott emphasizes the enduring impact of Agile and Scrum in driving organizational enhancements.
[11:36] - Lance underscores the critical need for leadership and management to adopt innovative approaches and acknowledge generational changes to effectively engage and support their teams.
[13:30] - Addressing the provocative statement that 'Agile is dead,' Brian explores its implications on the real-world demand for Agile compared to its perceived necessity.
[14:50] - Brian, along with Scott and Lance, urges the Agile community to recognize its shortcomings and learning experiences, which they believe may be contributing to negative perceptions of Agile, and how the community could approach it differently.
[24:10] - Brian encourages you to try out Goat Bot, Mountain Goat software’s Scrum & Agile AI tool. This free tool is trained to handle all your Agile and Scrum queries—start asking your questions today!
[25:58] - The panel explores the impact of AI on enhancing agility in organizational practices in estimating, development, and so much more.
[32:20] - Brian stresses the importance of using AI as a tool to support, not supplant, discussing ways it can improve rather than replace human efforts.
[43:23] - Brian shares a big thank you to Scott and Lance for joining him on the 100th episode of the show.
[43:44] - Brian thanks you, the listeners, for your support and shares his excitement for the future of the show, inviting you to send us your feedback or share your great ideas for episodes of the show. Just send us an email.
[44:57] - We invite you to like and subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast.
[45:16] - If you’d like to continue this discussion, join the Agile Mentors Community. You get a year of free membership into that site by taking any class with Mountain Goat Software, such as CSM, or CSPO, or Better User Stories Course. We also have Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® and Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner®, where we get right into the good stuff and have some deep discussions. We'd love to see you in one of Mountain Goat Software's classes, you can find the schedule here.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

Scott Dunn
Lance Dacy
Goat Bot
Certified ScrumMaster® Training and Scrum Certification
Certified Scrum Product Owner® Training
Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner®
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster®
Mike Cohn’s Better User Stories Course
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule
Join the Agile Mentors Community
Subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast

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This episode’s presenters are:

Brian Milner is SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He's passionate about making a difference in people's day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work.

Scott Dunn is a Certified Enterprise Coach and Scrum Trainer with over 20 years of experience coaching and training companies like NASA, EMC/Dell Technologies, Yahoo!, Technicolor, and eBay to transition to an agile approach using Scrum.

Lance Dacy is a Certified Scrum Trainer®, Certified Scrum Professional®, Certified ScrumMaster®, and Certified Scrum Product Owner®. Lance brings a great personality and servant's heart to his workshops. He loves seeing people walk away with tangible and practical things they can do with their teams straight away.

Auto-generated Transcript:

Brian (00:00)
Agile Mentors, welcome. This is our 100th episode. Can you believe it? We've been doing this for 100 episodes now. So first, before we even get into today's episode, I just wanna say huge, huge thank you to you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for giving us feedback. Thank you for giving us suggestions. We would not have made it to 100 without you, so. Huge thanks to you. And to celebrate, we're trying to do something different here for the 100th and not just let it go by and not mark this occasion. So what I wanted to do was to have some of our regulars, our favorites on together so that we could really kind of look ahead. So let me introduce our panel for today. First of all, I've got Mr. Scott done with us. So Scott, welcome.

Scott Dunn (01:00)
Thank you, Brian. Glad to be here. This is awesome. Congratulations. That's so cool.

Brian (01:04)
That, thank you, thank you, thank you very much. And then another favorite that we have on quite frequently is Lance Dacey is with us as well.

Lance Dacy (01:13)
Hey Brian, congratulations once again. I remember us just talking about this when you were starting out with podcasts and you look at 100. You do this every week, right? Is it a, has it been a hundred weeks? Wow.

Brian (01:22)
Yeah. Yeah, we do this every week. We missed a couple. Our listeners probably know there's been a couple of times in there we've taken some small breaks around holidays and other things. But yeah, this is going on just about every week since then.

Lance Dacy (01:38)
Well, congratulations. That's amazing.

Brian (01:40)
Thank you, thank you. Yeah, I'm amazed and as I said, very, very grateful. And it really hit home to me when I went to my first conference after doing this and people would come up and say, hey, I listen. That was really a cool moment. And I always tell people, hey, I'm speaking to other conferences, come and say hi. Come and say hi to me this year. So as I said, I wanted to have a panel so that we could talk about, we've been...

Scott Dunn (01:40)

Brian (02:10)
doing this for 100 episodes and lots has changed, lots have changed over the past year and a half, almost two years now that we've been doing this. We kicked off on, I think it was May 18th, 2022. So we're coming up on two years of doing this. And my thought was, what's gonna happen over the next 100 episodes? Like, where are we gonna be in the next two years? Where are we gonna be in the next five years? What kind of things are changing? What are we going to think about stuff over that time period? So I wanted to have a panel to kind of comment and discuss this with us and Where I wanted to start is maybe not where I think most people are going to think I'm going to go But I want to start with kind of the agile industry kind of the way things are going now for Coaches consultants scrum masters product owners So I'm gonna throw this as an open question and whichever of you wants to go first, go first. But what do you think we're seeing right now? What kind of trends are you seeing in that realm? And where do you think it's gonna, where do you think it's going?

Scott Dunn (03:26)
I nominate Lance to go first.

Lance Dacy (03:28)
Okay, here, obviously they're thinking about Scott. It looks like he's got something to say. Okay, well, that's a tough question because I think it still depends on the industry and the organization. It's all made up of people still. So there's still a lot of variables, I think, that affect the way that we do our jobs as transition coaches or business agility coaches or agile coaches, whatever you wanna call us. I think...

Brian (03:29)

Lance Dacy (03:59)
You know, I think there's still plenty of organizations out there that are struggling to bring their people together to deliver great products. And it's not because they don't want to, it's just lacking the skills and the frameworks and things to do that. So I still think that there's some organizations out there that benefit from saying, hey, let's just start from what we know and start doing this and then adapt to it as it changes. But I think a lot of times organizations, I think scaling is one of those big. problem child out there that people have kind of learned how to do this with smaller teams and smaller parts of the organization, but getting the whole organization to collaborate together. And of course, they look to another framework for that. And I'm kind of framework agnostic, especially when it comes to scaling, because I think at the end of the day, if you can't do it well in the small environment, it's going to be very difficult to do it well in the large environment. So the best thing you can do is kind of analyze your own situation. with like value stream mappings and cross-functional teams and things like that, and try to make sure that you're organizing yourselves and preventing waste as much as possible, I think is one of the big things. But I've also seen a kind of an uptick in, of course, these practices in agile being distributed over non-software domains. We've seen that for a long time, that's not necessarily a new thing, but I think it's gravitating more. to that. But I think the biggest one is really what we're talking about today is how is this AI stuff or what we have been talking about, how is that affecting this? And I think it's here quicker than we really think, or already here. And so trying to figure out how to handle, you know, data driven decision making based on that and, you know, using these tools to integrate. And then I think the last one that I would talk about is leadership and management. I think There's a specific type of environment and culture required for these people to thrive and collaborate and leadership and management has not seen a lot of innovation in the last 150 years. So, I find myself spending a lot of time coaching executives and mid-level managers on how to foster an environment that we can know how we practice psychological safety, empowering people and making it a great place to work, especially in this remote distributed environment. So I don't know if it's... All that's fairly new, but I think it's more prevalent than it was in the past. So I don't know, Scott, go ahead.

Scott Dunn (06:28)
No, that's good stuff. And I've only got 35 points I want to walk through. So one, I think we had all agreed that this idea of agile seems to be the common experience we're seeing as we're still coaching out there in organizations. They think that they've already done that. That's in the past. What's next? Or they settled in like, we're just hybrid. And it's not a. So help us move forward. It's like, no, we weren't done that. Here's this other thing. But the other things they're needing. And I like it, Lance. You kind of mentioned a couple of other words that people use, like organizational improvement, organizational chiasm, these ideas, like, hey, we're trying to get better. And I almost rather use those words because if I use a word they think they know, then we've kind of lost the fact that, you know, we're there. It strikes me, it's a little bit like marketing. They're just like, nope, marketing's done. And now we're doing this. And like, no, marketing's always learning, moving forward, growing. And I think we're gonna see this idea they realize, like, oh. Agile wasn't like a destination we check the boxes now they're on Scrum team. So that's one thing we're continuing to see. And the reason I'm saying that is the problems are still the same problems. We're talking earlier about capacity management, visibility, clear, you know, can execs see where we are in these larger initiatives? And the answer is like, no, they're still not doing those well. That speaks to whole org. And two quick stories on that is one, we're working with a company that decided like, yes, we're going to take this whole org approach.

Lance Dacy (07:27)

Scott Dunn (07:45)
And once they, within a few months, they'd gone from cycle time of 100 days down to 10. They had tripled their productivity. They went from one release every two weeks to seven in a day, right? But that's because the whole org is represented as they're rolling out, actually holistically. Let's contract that with a company we're just talking to this week. I was trying to describe getting a group together, it's representatives across other departments who have people who have authority, who have influence, finances, et cetera. they could not grasp the idea that there'd be a team working on improvement items across the org. It took several explanations, like I'm not talking at the team level. I'm talking about the team that's working across the org level. And what part of this comes back to is I think of the idea of I'm a manager. This is my own like awakening recently. If I'm a manager, let's say I'm the software engineering manager, I'm the director, my concern, this is my mistake earlier, my concern is not, are we doing ads all right? My concern is, is my boss getting what they want? If my boss wants clear reporting on where we're at the features, I don't care if it's Agile, waterfall hybrid doesn't matter. Did you show me a nice pretty report that gives them what they need? That's what I, that's what I do not wanna be called into her office on Friday about, right? So I keep mistaken, like they wanna do Agile, right? No, they wanna check the box and what they're accountable for and meet those expectations. And I know the higher up the or we go, the less they probably understand about Agile. At least that's the surveys that I'm running is like a... a 20, 30, 50% gap between what these people say their managers think they understand about Agile and what the people actually do in the work know that they understand Agile or not, which is always a large gap. A good example of that is remote. I'm not trying to kick a dead horse when it's down or whatever the saying is, but we've talked about remote a lot, but here's what we're seeing is, I think the basis of a lot of this return to office is simply, I don't know my people are working or not, I just need to see them.

Brian (09:30)

Scott Dunn (09:41)
I can't tell, and I can't see them, I can't tell, and I get nervous, which really means I don't really have an understanding of fundamental aspects of how work is done using transparency, inspect and adapt, all that, right? And because I can't really, I don't really have mastery over that, I'm gonna need you in the office at least three times a week. Because I don't, I'm not really watching the work anyways, but at least I know you're showing up, and I'm accountable to make sure people are busy and working. That's, you know, I draw it down to its most rudimentary level. To me, it's a reflection of the capability of management. You mentioned that, Lance, about leadership. I think we're starting to see

Lance Dacy (09:41)

Brian (09:52)

Scott Dunn (10:11)
What we probably will see is this real cutting line of those who get it and trust their people and they work. And we've seen, you know, 10X, 100X on, on experts really let loose to do their best work and those who are simply like, you know, managed in that traditional sense and all the drawbacks and your loss of talent, all that. I think the companies will have to pay the price eventually. Thinking back to the time when people didn't really want to go ad drug because they thought it was a fad. And it didn't take but a few years, like, um, I could be wrong.

Brian (10:35)

Scott Dunn (10:38)
maybe that is a thing we need to do, right? And then everyone gets on board, but there was a lot of kicking and screaming and doubting the early years. I think we're gonna see that with remote work is made like the proving ground of do you really work this way or not as a manager? Do you get this or not? So those are some of the trends I see. I still see a lot of people still in the very fundamentals because they think these things are already understood and known and we're moving on to something next. There is no next. I think the pace of change out there is if you're not working this way as an organization, you're losing ground already. Like... while they're listening to the podcast.

Lance Dacy (11:08)
It's like the remote, you know, what you were just saying is like the remote is the automated test for your operating system at work is like, if it works like that, then we're likely doing some really good things. But you know, I remember, um, I'm going to show my age here though, but prior to my technology career, I worked at FedEx and I was in leadership and management, managing their third largest hub here in Fort Worth, Texas, uh, the air hub, you know, and FedEx did a great job teaching leadership and management and all that kind of stuff.

Brian (11:08)

Scott Dunn (11:14)
Thank you.

Lance Dacy (11:36)
And I remember them focusing on the idea that you cannot lead and manage people currently how you are going to in the future because they were talking about how the new generation is coming on board and they just won't tolerate certain things. And I think you hit it on the head with that, Scott, that if these managers don't learn how to lead and manage with this newer generation, two or three removed from what I'm talking about. you're not going to have any employees because they will not tolerate it. They do not work that way. They work radically different. You know, I'm going to categorize money as a gen X person. And I'm going to say we were taught to be very individualistic, climb the corporate ladder, you know, keep your pain to yourself, just grin and bear it, fight through it, do the best you can and be autonomous and don't rely on a lot of people. And, you know, don't trust anybody. You know, the latchkey kids, we just were independent. We learned how to do it all. And that's not necessarily bad. We needed to be managed a different way than these people now. I, and I've got four kids, so I see it. It's like, they're not going to tolerate this stuff. So you hit it on the head with that leadership. I mean, coverage, a broad spectrum, but, um, Mike gave a talk in Oh nine. I'll never forget this. When I first went to the scrum gathering in Orlando and Oh nine, and he was on a panel and he said it really succinctly. He said, I hope we don't call it agile or scrum anymore. It's just the way that we work.

Brian (12:36)

Lance Dacy (12:54)
And he was referencing object oriented programming. You know, he said, we don't call it object oriented programming anymore, it's just programming, you know, object one. And so it's like, yeah, we're not going to, let's not have this debate. We want to build the highest business value things as early as possible with the least amount of costs who can argue that that's not the right way to run an organization. So let's not debate it. Let's not use the buzzwords. Let's just do it.

Brian (13:01)

Scott Dunn (13:12)

Brian (13:18)
Yeah, I agree. And it's, you know, kind of back to what Scott said, too, there is a marketing issue here, right? There is this kind of idea of people are so saturated with the terms that they've experienced them and they feel like, hey, I know that I know what that is, I don't need to be I don't need to learn any more about that. And now I'm just kind of moving forward when they don't really. And that's what drives all the people out there that are saying Agile is dead and all the Agile is dead speakers and all that stuff. It's not dead. And if you listen to them, they don't say it's dead. They just say, people don't understand what it is. And so they're doing it wrong. I think there's kind of this interesting dynamic going on. Right, because on one hand, I think we're at a time when

Scott Dunn (13:54)

Brian (14:03)
businesses could benefit the most from doing things like Agile because they're gonna get the most with less by doing these kinds of approaches. However, at the same time, we're hearing stories of entire Agile departments being let go in different organizations. And we're seeing people who struggle after coming through classes and stuff finding work as a scrum master, even though there's a demand. There's high demand still for these kinds of things. So there's sort of this dichotomy that's going on of, I think there's a slump going on in the agile demand when the need for it is high. And maybe that's a marketing, right. Maybe that's a marketing thing that we haven't done a good job, but I wanna propose one other thing here and I wanna get your guys take on this.

Lance Dacy (14:51)
than ever.

Brian (15:02)
The people who say Agile is dead and they say that, we shouldn't be doing this because we should call it something else. Because no one understands what it is anymore. And that's why they say it's dead. I have generally thought of those, and I think many of us sometimes fault the leadership a little bit in this to say, they didn't invest enough to understand it. They didn't really support it, right? Kind of that mentality. But I think that as an Agile community, that we need to own up. Like, I think we just need to step forward and say, you know what, we have not always done it right. And there's been plenty, you know, I talked about this in the Scrum Master class. There's plenty of Scrum Masters out there who think that the job of being a Scrum Master is to schedule meetings. And that is it. And...

Scott Dunn (15:55)

Brian (15:58)
You know, those people, you can understand why a company would say, I don't need that person. I don't need a person to do that. And then all of a sudden they're letting go all of their Scrum Masters because they think that's what a Scrum Master is. So I think we have to own up a little bit to say, we're partly responsible for this, right? We're partly responsible for the bad impression that Agile has and we just gotta own it and say, yes, that's true, but that's because we've made mistakes as well and we're learning.

Lance Dacy (16:17)
Thank you.

Brian (16:28)
And now we know better, right? Now we know what we're supposed to do. But the pretense that we maybe came into it with, saying, hey, we know everything and we know how to do this stuff, was what caused the downfall, I think. What do you think?

Scott Dunn (16:32)

Lance Dacy (16:44)
It's like the overlay though of saying here, here's how you do it, right? I think what we got wrong or not necessarily wrong, just we didn't know any better at the time is, I've worked with 20 companies and this way work, let's try it. And then if it doesn't work, we'll adapt it. Cause I think it's always been about that. But you know, just like any approach, you know, the effectiveness of that approach depends a lot on how it's implemented, supported, adapted, taught. And I feel like what we should just start focusing on, you know, it's hard to put this in one term, Maybe it's just like helping and facilitating the creation of high performing teams. Like that's an unarguable thing that you would want to have. What's happening is the organizations either whether they misunderstand the role or have a bad experience in the past with it because you can't say their experience is invalid, right? Everybody has their different experience and opinion and what they went through. And I acknowledge that. But if you think of any professional sports teams, what's happening in the organizations in this world?

Brian (17:20)

Lance Dacy (17:43)
is they're getting rid of the coach of the team. And what we have to do is start recognizing what does the coach really do is trying to make the team high performing. You know, in professional sports, it's to score points and win the game, right? Well, kind of trying to do the same thing here, you would never get rid of the coaching position saying, well, all they do is watch film and tell the team what they're doing wrong. No, I mean, Andy Reid, you know, the Kansas City Chiefs, they won the Super Bowl, arguably the best football team in the world, if that's what you're using as a bar. And...

Scott Dunn (17:46)
Thank you.

Brian (17:55)

Scott Dunn (18:03)
Thank you.

Lance Dacy (18:12)
And so they've arrived, they're the best. Do we get rid of Andy Reid? No, they need him even more because they get complacent and they get this idea that we don't need to change anything. And I see plenty of teams like that. It's like, no, the coach has one of the hardest jobs in the world is to tell the best performing team in the world they can get better. And the organization sometimes is the wet blanket and suffocating the environment for which that team can perform.

Scott Dunn (18:16)
Thank you.

Lance Dacy (18:37)
And I feel like, you know, instead of whether you want to call it a scrum master and agile codes or whatever, it's almost hard to use those terms. Some of these people anymore, because they'll just sit there and argue with you about it, but let's just say I'm trying to coach a high performing team and how can you argue with that, you know?

Brian (18:50)
Yeah. Yeah, I don't think you can. Scott, what do you think?

Scott Dunn (18:53)
If I was to ask you, well, if I was to ask both of you, do traditional management, whoever's making hiring decisions, do they know what an agile coach is and what's in telling them that they're doing well or not? And I would argue the most don't. And I think that's why we see a lot of people, I mean, in the end, people follow the money. I don't call people for work and their own self-interest. So if I can just update my LinkedIn profile and change it to agile coach. and whoever interviews me can't tell a difference. And that means I get a salary bump and of course, or let's just tell it like it is. And I think your listeners, I know you to be good with this. If I can just take a two day class and I'm gonna get a 25% salary increase, whether or not I get it or not, let's not even go there. Like I passed the test, I've got the certification. And unfortunately, I think that's more the dynamics of any given market is like, oh, it jumps to the solution, right? I just, you know. hire these scrum masters and I've done the agile thing. And even though any of us would say like, that's much bigger than that, this agile coaching involved is much more than the two day class that you need, et cetera. But think about that. I'd look at the people that I've trained, which, you know, is thousands. How many companies actually came back and said, we need help as an agile coach? 20, 22 dozen, right? That we actually went in and did real transformation work. So that's them not asking. That's them like, no, we got it. I think that simplicity of understanding Do I take a solution or do I go through a mindset change? Well, taking the solutions is going to be easier. So I'm going to jump to that rather than like reflect, like, I think we need to change. Change is hard, we agree. So back to the point of like, are we to blame? I see some of that market dynamics, but we do that with diets. We do that with the career. Also Greg, we wouldn't just grab something easier than actually go through the change. So I do agree with you, but I think it's a good point. How we try to re-message that when the world already thinks I understand it. I think we're watching this happen. When I look at companies in that space,

Brian (20:30)

Scott Dunn (20:42)
They are using different terms and phrases. I think that moves us away from, maybe that's an aspect of like, where to blame. The other interesting thing, Lance, you mentioned about the coach and we don't fire the coach. And I think that's the best example I go to is, look, I'm a business owner of a professional sports team. I'm watching the dollars and I don't wanna have to pay Andy Reid millions, but I know it gets results. And I don't wanna coach for the offensive line. I don't wanna coach for defensive, but the results are clear whether that works or not.

Brian (21:03)

Scott Dunn (21:08)
The other thing that's interesting is you watch some of these coaches, like when it changed in college football with name engine, name engine and likeness in terms of attracting students for different reasons. Like I can make money during college. I don't have to hope I make the pros. And how that changed the game significantly to where some coaches like, forget it. I don't want to play this game where they're now empowered to make their own decisions on where they want to go and not just sit on the bench. If I want to sit on the bench, the transfer portal. So you're watching dynamics play out on what does that mean to bring that change in? I do think in the end, there's probably a simple split on, there's an organization that needs to continuously improve and look for ways to do that. Not as one-off projects of, hey, let's do an improvement project here. But as a feeder backlog, but simply there's always ways to improve and stuff's always coming in and we're always working that as a layer of the way the organization runs. When I see a chief agility officer, some of these other roles, I think they get it. I think manufacturing systems get that with like lean thinking and like, That's just what we do. We're always looking for that. I don't think software engineering. And this organization get it. And to be honest, my friends, you can tell me if I'm off. I don't know if they got sold that truth of this is always going. It is not put all your engineers on the teams, hire a scrum master, change someone's title of product owner and you're good, right? But I think that's what they kind of thought it was. And then they're done, but that's a team level. It's not organization level and it just sits there. So I guess there is someone with the blame because maybe that's what they were taught and not the bigger picture as well.

Brian (22:25)
Yeah. Yeah.

Scott Dunn (22:35)

Lance Dacy (22:36)
The rebranding is interesting the way you said that. I don't, you know, let's call it something other than Agilent or Scrum, whatever you were talking about. And that's what organizations do when things are broken, is they reorg. We're gonna just change the name of it. It's like following a diet plan and going, well, I don't like that it doesn't let me have sugar, so I'm just gonna call it something different. The constraint.

Brian (22:48)
Hmm. Yep, you're right.

Scott Dunn (22:50)
Yes, yes

Lance Dacy (23:02)
You know, the constraint is there to make you better. And I think that's what a lot of people don't get about, let's say the Scrum framework has a lot of constraints built in not to make it harder to do your work. And I will argue it's harder. Like I tell people all the time, this is a harder way to work. It's not an easier way because it requires all of us to come together. But you just said it so eloquently, Scott, I just thought about that, that they just, who cares what we call it.

Brian (23:03)

Scott Dunn (23:16)
Yes, for sure.

Lance Dacy
(23:26) the organization and the leadership is stuck by saying that at their level, all they gotta do is call it something different and now it's solved. All I gotta do is change the org chart on a spreadsheet. And I can't tell you how many organizations I work with where I'll get a note and say, well, we're going through a reorg right now, so we gotta hold off on this training or do this or do that. It's like, well, you just went through one, I've worked with companies that have been their coach for a very long time. It's like, how many of these are we gonna go through? What's the purpose? When are we going to start realizing that it's not who reports to who, it's who's doing the work and what's the environment and culture we've created for them. And I feel like leadership and management, I don't even care if it's software. Like Scott, you're saying software, we really don't get it. I'm not sure any company really, there's a few out there that I would say their leadership and management's working really well, but the operating system for the culture is broken. And, you know, we know that for a long time as agile coaches, but it's like, there's some benefits to be gained even while that's happening.

Brian (23:54)

Lance Dacy (24:24)
that we can get some efficiencies going here and they're still better off. But we've hit that next level, the problems are more complex now. People and it's leadership and it's hard to change those because they've been doing it for 150 years this way. You know?

Scott Dunn (24:34)

Brian (24:34)

Scott Dunn (24:40)
Yes. Yeah.

Brian (24:41)
Yeah. Well, we can't leave the episode without talking about AI, at least a little bit, because I know you brought that up already. But yeah, we definitely need to think about AI in the future. And yeah, yeah. Because I know we talked about that a little bit when we were meeting here before we started to record. But just curious.

Scott Dunn (24:46)

Lance Dacy (24:52)
leaders and managers.

Scott Dunn (24:54)

Brian (25:06)
Where do you think that whole thing is going? What I should say is, how do you think it's going to affect agility? That's the big question.

Lance Dacy (25:17)
You want me to go again first, Scott, or is he going to flip flop?

Scott Dunn (25:20)
No, no, we're not flip-flopping. It's you, man. You got it. I'm not changing.

Brian (25:23)

Lance Dacy (25:23)
Okay. He has some reason to do this. You know, I feel like I'm walking into a trap here. Um, the way he's going to trap me. Um, well, and you know, we were kind of talking before we even, you know, started the podcast, but I was mentioning, you know, project management wise, you know, that I believe AI can bring a lot to just helping teams become more efficient and productive just at a superficial level by simply

Scott Dunn (25:28)
With pretty...

Brian (25:29)
No, that's a wrong answer, Lance.

Lance Dacy (25:50)
if we're talking about Scrum, let's say, because a lot of us practice Scrum and we teach it, you think about a sprint planning exercise and how often it's very difficult to just simply explain how to come up with your capacity for the next two weeks, and based on your skillset and the work needing to be done, are we sure and confident that the work we've committed in this next one, two, three, or four week period that we can actually get it done? as a cross-functional team within the constraint of getting something usable to the end user. I think a lot of people forget that as well. So I feel like automating things like sprint planning where you can feed in a profile of all of your different skill sets and their capacity. We no longer languish over this big spreadsheet that I used to use back 10, 12 years ago. There's a lot of better ways to do it nowadays, but I think eventually you just say, based on this team and what they've given me, here's how much work we can do. feed in the work and say here's the best sequence of the work. You know, the harder part is fitting, you know, utilization is not really a topic I want to get into because I think it's always misunderstood. But once you account for all of the slack time that you need to, you want to be as utilized as possible. I think using AI to help figure out what's the best path. Like I do an exercise in my class where I give them 10 backlog items and based on the different skills, capacity, and things that need to be done, what's the best fit? Right, so in data science, we talk about fitting the model. Why not use AI to help us be the best sequencing of the work with the highest value and the best way to use our capacity? So automatic task assignment, just like we do with calendars now, where people can feed in the work they need to do and it'll create the best calendar fit to maximize your workload. Automated code is coming, you know, we're already here. You know, automated. backlog creation, chat bots, AI driven testing. I think all of that is, if not here already around the corner, that's gonna affect, hopefully in a good way, the way that teams do that. Now, we can have a whole nother topic of how that affects product and marketing, because I think the biggest issue we have is getting closer to the user, and understanding and having empathy for them, because too often we get caught up in our own world that we're just...

Brian (28:03)

Lance Dacy (28:10)
languishing through trying to get the work out. Well, why are we doing the work is the real reason and what's the best way we can get that work to the user that solves their problem. So I'll pause there. There's a hundred things I could go in. I had 35 bullet points. I have about 110, because I love this stuff, AI and data science and all that stuff. But Scott, I'd like to hear you had some good ideas in our pre-talk as well.

Scott Dunn (28:14)
Thank you. Thank you. Well, I appreciate you inviting me out to the Lance Dacey podcast. I just want to say thank you for that. Right when he drank his water too.

Brian (28:37)
Hahaha! Weird.

Lance Dacy (28:44)
Right. I can't respond. Let me take a scotch now that I can respond.

Brian (28:46)

Scott Dunn (28:49)
Yeah, he just needs to take a drink. He's ready to go. I know I love it. I love all the ideas in the Thoughtsland. So on my particular view, when we look at the companies we're helping, so we're Atlassian partners, so I'm watching what they're doing. And I mentioned about the fact that it can automatically do like acceptance criteria, you can ask. Anything about, take all the, what we used to call it, the tribal knowledge. It's gonna do that for you. I don't need to track down who's Lucy whomever. I'm just gonna ask it and it knows. I can say, give me a spreadsheet of the people involved with this. What's the background of this project? Any of that tribal knowledge is like, it's already there now. All that data sitting in Confluence, and Jira, et cetera, ability to create tickets. I'm not going and manually creating tickets anymore. I just say, create a ticket for this thing. So all those add up to lots of saving, time savings, all the manual stuff, anything that you just already know. And everyone hates making the tickets and doing so. it's going to take care of that stuff for you automatically. On the dev and engineering side, I'm seeing a lot around what seems to be promising, impossible, certainly code reviews, like there's a template of things that you know you're checking for in code reviews, readiness to go to production. Can it create these models and things? I think we'll wait to see. We're talking about the case tools, but I believe it will because it's not limitless on when we're creating basic applications. If you take your simplest thing like hello world, you know. or a basic screen that's only got five things or a login screen, there's only so many permutations what's gonna happen with that. And it can learn those things and do those things. Software engineering is your biggest cost for software companies, these engineers, and they're hard to find, and you got time zone issues and all these other things. Everyone's looking for ways to reduce cost right now. We've got issues of just getting the talent and the source, and you got parts of these engineers' work that they do not wanna be doing anyways. So I think you're gonna see a lot of those things put pressure on figuring that stuff out. But between the computing power that we're talking about, how much can be handled by those graphics chips and how much information is out there, I think you're gonna see real wins of measurable significance that's gonna be proven out and certainly driven by the business leaders themselves trying to find where can we reduce the cost with the promise of some of these things. But those are some that I've already seen. We're definitely watching, as I mentioned,

Brian (30:43)

Scott Dunn (31:12)
on the Scrum developer side, just saying like, what's happening out there? And just take a look and see what we can do. But you're gonna start finding the simpler solutions that are gonna be chipped away at first. I think about the self-driving cars. I remember thinking there's no way the car can handle all these, you know, what felt like limitless situations. It really isn't. There's only so many things happening on the roads and they have slowly learned to do that. I think it's gonna be the same on the engineering side as well.

Brian (31:31)
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I agree with both of you. I kind of think that I've taken a stance on it, like in the past, I just see it as a tool. It's a more advanced tool and it can do some things better than we can right now. There's some things that does really well and there's some things that right now it's not very good at. And I think it's important to try to understand that, right? I'm not gonna, you know. I think I've come to a place where I would never say, I don't think it could do X, Y, Z, because I think that eventually it can. I think that there's gonna be things it can do. And it's just a matter of time before it can do pretty much anything that we could be doing right now. Even right now, one of the things it's really, really bad at is having ideas. It doesn't really...

Scott Dunn (32:10)

Brian (32:30)
brainstorm or it can give you ways of, it can give you some little tidbits and things that you can build upon. But having used it to help try to write a blog post or anything like that, well, here's an experiment, right? Go to any, your favorite AI and ask it for 10 business ideas based on whatever, just, Uh...

Lance Dacy (33:01)
Of course it's not going to be good at that.

Brian (33:03)
Well, no, it'll give you, it'll give you 10.

Scott Dunn (33:03)
There's a creativity problem right there. We have a problem with creativity. I see it.

Lance Dacy (33:07)
I'm just kidding, bro.

Brian (33:08)
Yeah, it'll give you 10, but then go back and ask it and do a new chat, ask it again. Do a new chat, ask it a third time. Compare the answers you got across all three. And what you'll see is it's a lot of reused stuff, right? And the reason that it's recycling it, the reason it's reusing it is because this is a large language model. This is pulling from what it's been trained on, right? It doesn't invent a new thing itself.

Lance Dacy (33:33)
Mm-hmm. Create new you

Brian (33:38)
Right, now again, I'm not saying that it can't do that in the future, but what we have today is not a creative source in that way. It has to have the training data, even image, kind of AI image generators, that's built on what it's trained on. So you can't train it to a point to say, give me a picture of something that you haven't been trained on, right? weird picture that you have nothing in your database to go back to and use as a reference. It can't do that because it can't imagine, right? Yeah.

Scott Dunn (34:18)
Yes, that's the key.

Lance Dacy (34:22)
I was working with a company, they do ads, helping people come up with ads. So a lot of marketing spend money out there, right? You can tell it what kind of market you want to go into, what your competitors are doing, and very quickly feed it some images, feed it a few websites, and it'll give you 100 different ads with the words and everything you want to take on it, and already give it a conversion score. Like...

Brian (34:44)

Lance Dacy (34:45)
this ad should get this amount. And it was amazing to me, because I kind of struggle with that anyway, as a business owner, creatively coming up with content and ads and things like that. Like we were talking about earlier, I don't think on this podcast, but like being a co-pilot, having the AI stuff be a co-pilot where we kind of use it as a tool. I think eventually it'll be vice versa, ironically, where we'll be the co-pilots. I think... You like personalized user experience, creativity type things like, you know, how we do AB testing and stuff. Why not let AI do a lot of that user research and spin up the code very easily and figure out click patterns and things like that. Like I could say, I need nine different designs for this one screen. I mean, that used to take weeks, if not months for a designer to sit and attend, I'm not trying to bash their field. I love working with them. And. They're very creative people, but I feel like that's going to be the next step with this AI is, hey, give me nine options. And then that designer spends less time creatively. They get better ideas sometimes. Maybe some of them don't like that. I don't know. I'm not a creative person like that. But I can see that helping me in saying, hey, I don't have to hire these nine marketing people or five marketing people. I can just say, hey, let's look at those things. So I think that user, that creativity, Brian, is what you were hitting on imagining things.

Brian (36:02)

Lance Dacy (36:03)
Yeah, give it a lot of data can give you options and then you can take that and come up with the ideas as a human, but yeah, eventually that'll all be taken over too, I think it's all taken over the world. T1000, here we come.

Brian (36:15)
I think you've got to have one of the concepts that's out there is referring to these as agents and having multiple agents that will carry out a different task for you. And I really think that's when I think about the future of this kind of stuff and how this would affect a typical software development team, that's what I see. We have hierarchies in our organizations that exist. And those are essentially different layers of agents, right?

Lance Dacy (36:23)

Brian (36:43)
And I think that that's what we're going to see with software development teams and other things is we'll have a deployed network of agents and these, these AI agents will speak to each other and they'll, they'll refine what each other do. Uh, right. And it makes it easier for us, but again, we've got to have the idea to generate it, to start it, right? It just, it can't do that on its own right now.

Lance Dacy (36:57)
make it easier for us.

Scott Dunn (37:03)
Cheers. There's definitely a few things where I've just been popping in, where I had to do some legal docs and I just went there and had it write them. They were great. Just fill in the blanks. I was waiting to get content back from someone about a speaker, maybe somebody to go about Mark Kilby on remote and waiting and waiting. I'm like, dog gone. I just wouldn't ask, you know, chat GPT tell me about Mark Kilby, what he does and grab that. And it did a great job. Put that out there. I didn't need, I didn't need someone else to do it. I didn't need to wait for that.

Brian (37:31)

Scott Dunn (37:34)
And I don't even look for creative art anymore. I simply say, give me this art. I do it in Creative Cloud. Give me that, and then you know, good enough's good enough. I move, because it's like you're touching on the delays on some of the things that can be the killer of that. I think in the same way back in the day, Sudhnyalanshi said that you're dating yourself. And I remember when I was younger, we just had electricity for the first, I'm just kidding. But think about the first time when you're telling people like, no, the computer could do that for you.

Lance Dacy (37:35)
I'll see you later.

Scott Dunn (38:02)
I feel like we're becoming a lot of companies now like, no, AI could do that for you because they just don't know. If they're working a certain way and they've been in that company for 20 years, they think, no, my job is to create the new insurance for them and then send that, no, you don't have to do all that. So I think it'll be a redistribution because for all of us to see here right now and say, I've let go of thinking there's limits to this and that's where I've come to last few weeks. And we're, and we're.

Lance Dacy (38:23)

Scott Dunn (38:26)
Well, I'm going to, I feel, I feel we're cutting edge. Your audience may say differently, Brian, but I feel like we're cutting. I feel like we're cutting edge. And if we're just coming to realization, there's not limits. Think about your traditional worker who's not necessarily a knowledge worker, they're just in the office. They have a certain role. It's been not too different over the last 10, 20 years. They have no idea. I probably could cut that. You mentioned Lance about the ads and I was seeing something recently that said that those AI ads can cut, can cut the design time by 90%.

Brian (38:31)

Lance Dacy (38:46)
Yeah. I would totally agree. I mean, I tried it and you just like you were saying, waiting on delays to me is my biggest thing. Like the best thing we can do for an organization is a value stream mapping of some sort and say, where does the cycle times killing us? There's so much low hanging fruit there that you could turn that into millions of dollars. And if we were just quit articulating words for that, let's just go do it. I feel like that's what AI is gonna do for us. We were talking about the, Mike's

Brian (38:55)

Lance Dacy (39:22)
written a book on user stories and all that. So I'm going to use that as an example, as a product backlog entry point to getting work done. And I think we were talking about this before the podcast. And I feel like eventually we're just going to have a user say, as a user, I need to be able to pay by MasterCard on this screen and make sure the error message says this. And if it is successful, do that. And we won't need programmers. The computer will take that. And it'll write the code for that. It'll deploy the code and it'll say, what do you think about that? And so when you talk about this with agile, but I don't know what we're gonna have these, we're just gonna have users that can now have software created for them. Just like I can an ad, you know, it's like, I'm gonna have this design created, but I speak to it in natural language. Who cares if it's C++, COBOL or JavaScript or Python or whatever, it doesn't matter anymore. The computer will decide. and write it, deploy it, and manage it, and take all the complexity out of it. That's eventually where I think we're headed.

Brian (40:23)
OK, I just want to state this out there for all the listeners. Make sure you at the right person on this. It's Lance Dacey who said that all the programmers are losing their jobs. All right, just make sure you get it right. That's who said it. Uh.

Lance Dacy (40:36)
Oh my gosh.

Scott Dunn (40:40)
Here's to seeing you all again.

Lance Dacy (40:41)
Did I really say all? I just said it's going to be a disruptor. I thought, but you know, I'm sorry. So just like I think you like your next designers, I think software programmers are just highly creative and great people. So I mean, no, uh, you know, no, just be on the lookout, find a way to contribute to the fact that your job.

Scott Dunn (40:45)
I heard everyone within the year. I think that's what I heard.

Brian (41:03)
Yeah. No, I mean, all teasing aside, I think that the developers who are using it now within their IDEs and locked into some of these tools that are available to have AI help them with code, they're ahead of the game. And people who are afraid of that stuff and saying, no, I'm not going to keep that at arm's length, we've seen this movie a million times. Right.

Scott Dunn (41:03)
Yeah. Yep. Yeah.

Lance Dacy (41:19)
Yeah. Yeah, played out over and over. It's like, you know what, Brian, two weeks ago, I don't know what the time is, I'm just being facetious right now, but a while ago, I would say that not true about programs because I say you will always need somebody programming the computer, but I've since now changed my mind thinking because I'm highly agile and I learned in that space and I drink my own champagne. That's not really true because I can go into chat, you know, I took, I'm a programmer myself, so I mean, no disdain about that, I remember in school, the first program I had to write was C++ about calculating the Easter Sunday date for a given year. And I had to write code to do that. And I tested that with my son over my shoulder, saying, I'm going to show you what ChatGPT can do. I said, write me a C++ program that calculates Easter Sunday for a given year. And I swear to you, in under a minute, all the code was there. Now, it didn't run. I had to take it and put it into an IDE and compile it and do all that stuff. But it worked. And it took me months to do that. So all I'm trying to say is it can help us be better. The creative side will always be there, but can you imagine not having to worry about code anymore? And you do more of prompting the computer instead of coding. That's really what I mean. I don't want to say their jobs are going away. I just think their jobs are going to be changed. They're going to be the next disruptor, just like I was talking about real estate agents and banking and all of us have been disrupted. But we gotta welcome it. Take it.

Brian (42:37)

Scott Dunn (42:40)
Yes. Brian (42:49) Yep. Yeah, right. Welcome to the party, pal. Yeah, no, I agree.

Lance Dacy (42:57)

Scott Dunn (42:59)
I feel like saying at this point, we should let all the listeners know that actually this podcast is AI generated and these are not actual people here.

Lance Dacy (43:07)
I'm not really sure.

Brian (43:10)
Yeah, this was done with the approval of these three people, but written by written by AI agents. No, no, it's absolutely not. These are real human beings. Well, guys, this has been a really interesting discussion. And I know we've gone a little bit long. But hey, it's the hundredth episode. Come on, cut us some slack, right? We got three of us here. We obviously are going to kind of diverge a little bit. So

Lance Dacy (43:15)

Brian (43:35)
Thank you guys so much for coming on and helping us to celebrate this 100th episode. I really appreciate it. So just want, you know, Scott, thank you.

Scott Dunn (43:45)
Thank you.

Brian (43:46)
And Lance, thank you as well.

Lance Dacy (43:48)
I'm about to say Lance, no thanks. Thank you, Greg and Brian. I always love being on here and Scott, great to see you. It's been too long.

Scott Dunn (43:49)
Yeah. Hahaha. Good job.

Brian (43:52)

Scott Dunn (43:56)
These two, yes, really enjoyed it.

Brian (43:57)