Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

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#106: Innovating Through Economic Downturns with John Barratt

July 10, 2024     35 minutes

Join Brian and John Barratt as they delve into the current state of the agile industry, exploring the impact of economic downturns on agile coaches and Scrum Masters, and discover innovative strategies to navigate these challenging times.


In this episode, Brian and John Barratt dissect the current state of the agile industry, focusing on the effects of economic downturns on agile coaches and scrum masters. They discuss the reasons behind organizational layoffs and cost-cutting measures, emphasizing the need for innovation to thrive during challenging periods.

The conversation shifts to redefining the roles of scrum masters and agile coaches, highlighting the importance of delivering value and outcomes rather than merely facilitating meetings. John introduces two essential resources—the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel and the Agile Coaching Code of Ethics—to support agile practitioners in their professional development.

The episode concludes with a discussion on the significance of mentorship and continuous improvement within the agile community. Tune in for invaluable insights and practical tools to enhance your agile journey.

Listen Now to Discover:

[1:08] - Brian welcomes Certified Scrum Trainer®, Certified Team Coach®, & Certified Enterprise Coach®, and host of the Clean At Work podcast, John Barratt.
[4:42] - John reveals the core issues behind struggling organizations and shares how innovation can allow an organization to thrive during challenging times.
[5:50] - Brian and John analyze the impact of economic downturns on organizations and agility, offering strategies to navigate these challenging times successfully.
[10:04] - Brian and John explore the role of Scrum and Agile in an economic downturn.
[16:08] - Join Brian and the Mountain Goat Software team for not only a Certified ScrumMaster® class but a full year of membership, learning, and support from Mike Cohn, Brian, and the Agile Mentors Community. You don’t have to lead alone.
[17:09] - Brian poses an opportunity to expand the definition of done of Scrum leadership.
[19:43] - John introduces the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel and the Agile Coaching Code of Ethics as powerful resources to help Agile practitioners and leaders enhance their skills and progress in their development.
[23:42] - John shares the tool of Agile Scoping, based on From Contempt to Curiosity by Caitlin Walker, to lean into Scrum success within an organization.
[32:25] - Brian shares a big thank you to John for joining him on the show.
[33:04] - We invite you to share this episode with a friend and subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast.
[33:57] - Do you have feedback or a great idea for an episode of the show? Great! Just send us an email.
[34:16] - 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. 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:

John Barratt
Clean At Work podcast
Scrum Events Meetup
#93: The Rise of Human Skills and Agile Acumen with Evan Leyburn
The Agile Army - John Barratt
Agile Coaching Growth Wheel
Agile Coaching Code of Ethics
Agile Scoping
From Contempt to Curiosity by Caitlin Walker
Agile 2024 - The European Experience - Manchester
Agile Coach Camp UK
Certified ScrumMaster® Training and Scrum Certification
Join the Agile Mentors Community
Subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule

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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.

John Barratt is a Certified Enterprise Coach® (CEC) and Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST), passionate about helping individuals, teams, and organizations achieve their best through agile coaching approaches. With a background in the military and a keen interest in systemic modeling, John constantly seeks new ideas and innovations to support organizational resilience and agility.

Auto-generated Transcript:

Brian (00:00)
Welcome in Agile Mentors. We are here for another episode of the Agile Mentors podcast. I am with you as always, Brian Milner, and with me today, I have a good friend of mine that I've been trying to get on the show for a while. Mr. John Barrett is with us. Welcome in, John.

John Barratt (00:14)
Thank you for having me Brian. It's been a while. We've been trying. We're here today. I'm really pleased.

Brian (00:18)
Yeah, very, very excited. John and I have seen each other at conferences for years. We've crossed paths. And I kind of jokingly said to him, I'm threatening to have a conversation with you not at a conference at some point. And that was kind of how we started this. For those who aren't familiar with John and his work, John works with a company called Agile Affinity.

John Barratt (00:34)

Brian (00:43)
He is a certified Scrum trainer, a certified team coach, and certified enterprise coach. So he has the holy trifecta of Scrum Alliance certifications there from the guide community. He's a coach and trainer. Couple of interesting things. First of all, we'll talk a little bit about this, but John has his own podcast called the Clean at Work podcast that we can talk about here a little bit. But another interesting thing that he told me before, I didn't realize this, but John actually started in the military. So do you want to say anything about that? How long were you in the military?

John Barratt (01:19)
Yeah, so I was in the military for six years, joined accidentally when I was 18. So I went into the career office with a friend who was joining. And they were like, you're a bright lad, you can earn all of this money. So it was either go to university and getting lots of debt or join the army, get lots of training and get paid and see the world. So no thoughts of joining before that day accidentally joined. Did six years including a tour of Iraq. And the important thing about that for me is when I left, I felt really isolated. So Army is all about team, right? Team focus. Left the Army, was in IT, and it felt totally different. People were there stabbing me in the back, not supporting me. And then I found this thing called Agile, which was about teams again. And this thing called Scrum, where it was a team game. I was like, this is what I've been missing. Where's this been for the last two years since I left the army? And the rest is history. I did do a keynote at Central Agile Spain. I'm not sure what year, but it is on YouTube for anyone who's interested in hearing more about how the army is actually rather agile in my humble opinion.

Brian (02:22)
Yeah. That's awesome. We'll find that and put that in the show notes here. So if people are interested in finding that, they can go and watch that.

John Barratt (02:45)
Yeah, we'll have to dust it out of the archives.

Brian (02:48)
Well, yeah, yeah, I'm sure we can find it. But we were talking before this about our topic and I think this is going to be a topic that's interesting to a lot of people. Really, really kind of diving into the state of the industry right now and what we're seeing as far as the economy in the agile industry. You know, there's there's several organizations that have laid people off You know, there's there's less demand at the moment in the coaching kind of realm So kind of what's behind that the the shifts and you know What might be driving this kind of thing? So I know John you got some opinions on this. So let us have it

John Barratt (03:18)
Mm -hmm. Yeah, so I don't want to talk too much about the global economics. I don't pretend to be an expert on why we're seeing a recession. We can talk about, you know, COVID and the cost of that and also the war in Ukraine and, you know, all of the pain and suffering that that's caused much more than, you know, what we're seeing, which is, you know, a few people being laid off. So I don't want to go into that. But what I do want to really explore is, so if an organization is struggling, there's two elements. for that. Do they try and cut back as much cost as possible or do they try and innovate themselves out of that recession? Do they try and do something different and in a unique way? Unfortunately what I'm seeing a lot of is the first one which is cut back, reduce cost as much as possible and that's to the detriment of the the Scrim masses and and agile coaches that we see and I'm going to talk a little bit why they are the ones that often are in danger in a minute. Instead of where they should go, which my bias opinion should go, right? What I'm trying to do in the company that I run is to actually lean into that as an opportunity and try and innovate and see, well, what is possible in this new, exciting world that we're perhaps moving into? Where do we need to go when organizations are struggling? What are the opportunities, an example, AI that we've seen and what difference will that make in the next few years? I mean, who knows?

Brian (05:14)
Yeah, yeah, I think it's fascinating and you know, there's something I've talked about with some friends for several years and that is that I think there's sort of a, boy, I don't know how deep we want to go on this, but you know, you have a lot of executives now that get hired to come into a company and it's gamesmanship because the idea is I've got to increase our... our stock price by however many percentage points. And my bonus is tied to that. The more I can increase it, the more I get a bonus. Well, it's kind of like if you go to a team and tell them, hey, can you do more story points? They can certainly game that and all of a sudden have more story points. Well, the same thing with a short -term kind of executive. If you're in an organization and you're only going to be there for a couple of years, And you know your site is, if I can raise it three percentage points, I get a bonus. Well, there's a lot of easy cuts I can make that all of a sudden I've gone up three percentage points. But the long term of that company has not benefited. It's only the short term. And it just feels like, I don't know if it's a day trader thing, if that's really why this is kind of becoming more prevalent or not. But it seems like investing is kind of more of the short term. Now, and it used to be when you buy a stock, you'd buy it for 10, 20 years because you believed in that company and you expected to pay off over the long run. There's still a little of that, but it seems much more short -sighted. And I think that's trickled down to our, like I said, I don't know how deep we want to get on this. I think that's trickled down to our executives. And I think from the executive, that's trickled down to the employees. And that's really affected how...

John Barratt (06:41)
Mm -hmm.

Brian (07:06)
you know, when we've had layoffs and we've had downturns in the economy that just, hey, this is an easy way for us to show an increase in profits.

John Barratt (07:15)
Yeah, I think that's a really good point. It reminds me of Craig Lammon's laws, structure leads culture. And when we talk about structure, we don't ever just mean the hierarchy, we mean the bonus system, how people are rewarded and paid and all of those things. And so if you're rewarding shortism by giving these execs bonuses based on

Brian (07:34)

John Barratt (07:41)
profit for this year or as you said stock increase by 3 % then they will cut costs because what looks good for short term and for stocks is to have the minimum operational expense possible right if they can keep that as low as possible then that looks like a solid company because they're keeping controlling costs they talk about and and If they're working on margins and profits start to go down, which is what we're seeing as a trend at least UK, US, I can't say if it's completely global, but it seems like a large percent of the company and the organizations are going in that way, then what they do is to keep their margins so that they get their bonus is they start to reduce that, right? Because they need to keep that buffer. If they were to do what I'm suggesting, which is to lean into that and perhaps spend a little bit, spend some money to make some money, or at least keep it lying and try some innovative stuff, then that's high risk for them. Hmm.

Brian (08:50)
Yeah. Yeah, I've seen things before that have said that when there is economic downturns, that their evidence shows that the companies that invest more during the economic downturns actually end up increasing their positions to a much greater extent when the downturn starts to turn around because...

John Barratt (09:02)
Mm -hmm.

Brian (09:14)
they haven't just set idle or they haven't tried to reduce, they've tried to invest and now they're positioned to really take advantage of it once the economy starts flowing again. I'm not like you, I'm no economic expert, I'm no economist. So I don't know all the ins and outs of what's causing that. But it certainly has caused pain in our sector. And I think a lot of sectors, because I have I know lots of people who have gone through layoffs, not just in the tech industry recently. So I guess kind of the question that I ask about this as far as the agile community is concerned is, if we were delivering value, right? If it was undeniable that what we were doing was increasing profits, increasing value to our customers, I think that would make it a lot. harder for these kind of layoffs to happen. So I don't want to entirely say, hey, it's bad leadership, right? I think we have to take ownership a little bit.

John Barratt (10:23)
Yeah, and I'm going to say something I think is quite controversial here, which I actually blame servant leadership for this. So I know in the latest version of the Scrum Guide, we use the word true leadership, but I still like the word servant leadership. And I've actually changed my mindset and how I teach these things over the last few years because of this, because we've started to see this trend.

Brian (10:28)
Go for it. All right.

John Barratt (10:51)
And I've seen it in organizations where I've worked, I've left one year later, and then they've made all the agile coaches redundant. And I think it's down to how we use and perceive servant leadership. So historically, I was always, you know, Scrum Master or Agile Coach is the great person in the background. They let everyone else take the credit. They're there to help and support the team and to do all of that stuff, which is great, right? until someone with a balance sheet comes along and goes, what are all these scrum masters who aren't delivering any value, right? They're an overhead. They're seen as an overhead. Not delivering any value. No one can even tell me what value they've created. These developers over here, they're doing great. And the product owner is really maximizing the value of this product. But these scrum masters, they don't add any value. Because that's what we told them to do, right? We taught them to...

Brian (11:29)

John Barratt (11:49)
give everyone else the credit and serve everyone else and be in the background. So I think we've got a lot to blame, Brian, as trainers for, well, I don't know how you've taught it in the past, but I feel a little bit guilty. Don't worry, I've got the answer, but I just want to hear from you, what you, where you are with that one.

Brian (12:04)
No, no, no, no. Yeah. I'll tell you my opinion and you'll tell me if I'm correct or not. Yeah, no, I agree. I definitely think that's part of it. But maybe this will be a little controversial. I kind of spoke about this recently at the Scrum Gathering in my talk. In the trend that we've seen, John Barratt (12:15) Yeah!

Brian (12:40)
that I kind of talk about the diminishing of the perception of value of the Scrum Master. And I think that there's kind of multiple parts to that. I think part of it could be, hey, leadership doesn't really understand the value. But I think that there is a secondary part of that, that they're not seeing the value. And if they're not seeing the value, then I think that that's

John Barratt (12:48)
Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.

Brian (13:08)
that rest on us. I think that we have to partly do a better job of helping them to understand it, but partly doing a better job of delivering it. And again, don't want to get too controversial here, but in our industry, in our training industry, You know, we've done lots of two day classes. We've done lots of things where we get people out the door and then they're in place and they're doing things. And the follow -up, you and I both know the follow -up is so important. You can't just take a two day class and then you're set for life. It's two days, but that's a kickoff and you got to continue that. and if I, if I take a two day class and I kind of slide backwards a little bit from that class and I get in and I'm a scrum master, there's, John Barratt (13:43) Mm -hmm. Yeah.

Brian (14:01)
Unfortunately, I think there's a lot of scrum masters out there who see their job as meeting scheduler. I'm here to schedule meetings, and that's the value I bring. Well, I can't blame a leader for letting that person go, because anybody can schedule meetings. It doesn't really take a lot of skill to do that.

John Barratt (14:08)
Mm -hmm. Yeah.

Brian (14:26)
The skills that we should be adding are those soft skills, the conflict resolution and understanding the personality types that make up our team. And essentially what I talked about in my talk was that first phrase of the Agile Manifesto, individuals and interactions over processes and tools. It's about individuals and interactions. We have to know the people that make up our team, not every team in the world, but our team. And we have to know. how they work best together. And I think people who do that, there's enormous value for that. So I would propose to you there's a shared blame, right? I think there's a blame there that we need to do a better job of showing the executives, but we also need to do a better job of actually providing value for the executives. John Barratt (14:58) Mm -hmm. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, I'm just, I was just, you know, I'm new to running CSMs and things like that. And one of the things I've brought in is a follow -up session. So, you know, a month after the training, they can have 30 minutes and we can talk about stuff. And that's really where you appreciate that the CSM isn't enough, right, to be a Scrum Master because you... There's only so much you can do, but the thing that always lacks, at least I haven't managed to perfect it yet, is those soft skills, right, which are the things that are important because you can't cover that in half an hour, an hour, right? All of those things are a full one, two, well, I'm being generous, just touching the sides with a one, two day course in some of those. And it's good to see the Scrim Alliance moving into some of those, you know, competency based or what they call skills based. courses where we can go a bit deeper into those key things. Because they're talking about, well, how can I do this? And in my head, it's obvious, but it's clearly not. So there's a huge gap between putting someone on a two -day course and thinking they can be a scrum master. And we do see a lot of bad scrum masters in the industry. And it certainly does cost everyone, even the good ones, some credibility. Right? Because... And if there's more ones, and it's not bad because they're bad people or trying to do a bad job, it's just that they haven't been equipped to do the job, right? Yeah, it's as simple as that. Brian (17:03) Yeah. At one of the tables I was at at the recent guide retreat at the Scrum gathering, we were having a discussion around this. And one of the things that kind of struck me as that was going on was, you know what it sounds like? It sounds like we don't have a stringent enough definition of done. Like when we think about someone who's you're now ready to be a Scrum master, well, that definition of done right now is a two day class. Right? And.

John Barratt (17:22)
Mm -hmm.

Brian (17:32)
I think we have to put in the expectation that, no, this is a component of that definition of done, but there's actually more that you need in order to, you know, this is an important role. This is somebody who is shepherding and guiding a team to be successful in this. So if someone's not qualified in doing that, it's no wonder that we see a bunch of bad scum out there because the person leading it isn't qualified, you know?

John Barratt (17:38)
Hmm. Yeah, and actually, I was just thinking an apprenticeship approach would be a much better idea, right, for this type of work. I often give the metaphor in my classes that agile coaching is a craft, Scrum Mastery is a craft. And imagine you're a carpenter, you don't get better at being a carpenter by reading lots of theory about good joints and all of this stuff. You know, you pick up a few things, you get better at Scrum Mastery or agile coaching.

Brian (18:07)

John Barratt (18:29)
by working and getting feedback. Our work is with the people, right? And people are a lot more complex than would, so we have to do even more of it to get any good. And of course, in carpentry, you wouldn't think about, we'll do a two -day training course. You would do an apprenticeship, right? And they do it for years before they become like a master carpenter. Yet we have scrimmasters after two days.

Brian (18:58)
Yeah. Yeah, no, I completely agree. And for the organization, I know when you've seen organizations that have sort of that layer, that hierarchy of we have Scrum Masters, but we have coaches, and we have enterprise coaches. When you have that kind of structure where you can have the phrase we use as mentor and be mentored. And if you can be in that place where you mentor others and you're also being mentored,

John Barratt (19:21)
Mm -hmm.

Brian (19:28)
That I think is really key to reaching the next level, to being able to kind of grow into what it is that you want to become in this industry.

John Barratt (19:39)
Yeah, I mean, I can't solve that problem very easily myself. You know, we've got a certified team coach and enterprise coach in the Scrim Alliance. It needs to be a bit more of a gap, I think, between that and CSPSM and we'll see what comes out in the next few years. But there is a couple of resources that I have worked on to try and help with this. So I've been on a mission to try and professionalize the world of agile coaching for at least five years. And the two things that I've found that have helped most people, is something called the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel, which you may have heard of. We'll put the link in the chat to that, which has kind of all of the competencies that we think you need in Agile Coaching, which is the set of competencies that a Scrum Master needs. So not Agile Coach, Agile Coaching, Scrum Master, Agile Coach, or any, you know, job title could be anything, right? It doesn't really matter. So that's a really useful tool. gives you all the areas, but it also gives you guidance, like a one to five guidance that almost uses the apprenticeship type thing. I can't remember all the levels, I think it uses like the Drift for scale, but it says at level one, you should be able to do these sorts of things. At level two, you should be able to do these sorts of things. And that gives people at least a starting point. You don't know what you don't know, right?

Brian (20:58)
Right. No, I think that's awesome. And we definitely will put that in our links and make sure that people can find that. Yeah, you're right. That kind of apprenticeship idea, I know that I could not have gotten to where I am without the mentors I've had.

John Barratt (21:15)

Brian (21:18)
And it's people who have, for no benefit of their own, have taken their own time to say, I'm going to invest time in this person and help them reach the next level. And I've tried to carry that forward as I've grown in this career as well, because I think it's important. I think we have to help the next group that's coming along. Yeah.

John Barratt (21:44)
Mm -hmm. I was thinking becoming a CST is almost like that apprenticeship type system, right? Where you have to do the co -trains with different people. They're like mentors, right? Different diversity, different types and groups. And you learn, both people learn from doing the co -train. And I think personally, it'd be a shame if they ever...

Brian (21:54)

John Barratt (22:16)
remove that concept because I think it's the closest we've got to an apprenticeship.

Brian (22:21)
Yeah. Yeah, and it works, right? I mean, I think that it does a good job of getting people to the level they need to be. There's still a lot, I mean, that doesn't do it all on its own, but it is, you know, I think anyone who's been through it, I think you would probably agree with this as well, is, you know, that was a foundational part of becoming a CST for me, is being able to observe and watch others and learn from them and... get feedback on how I was doing it. So I think you're right. That could be a very intriguing addition if there was someone who kind of incorporated that into the process. And I think that would give organizations kind of a confidence to say, I can trust this person.

John Barratt (23:10)
Which is what we really want with the CCCTCs, right? It's that stamp. I can trust that person. Second tool I wanted to highlight was the Agile Coaching Code of Ethics. So this was an initiative we did with the Agile Alliance. And the beauty of when we created this code of ethics, it was for people who were just starting out as well as experienced professionals. So you can read through that and that's kind of your rule sheet of

Brian (23:25)

John Barratt (23:40)
I'm new to this. This is the minimum standard we expect from a Scrum Master or an Agile coach in this industry. Because you don't know what you don't know again. But we've tried to make it as simple as possible. A simple list of these are the things you should definitely do if you want to be ethical in your work.

Brian (24:00)
Yeah. Yeah, that's a good resource as well. And we'll make sure we have that linked. Was there another resource as well that you wanted to mention, or is it just those two?

John Barratt (24:12)
So it's the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel and the Agile Coaching Code of Ethics. So we've talked a lot about the problem of where we're at, and we've given a couple of pointers. I wanted to talk a little bit about how I've changed my direction from this original kind of servant leadership type focus, which seems to be having some...

Brian (24:36)

John Barratt (24:40)
traction and benefit and value to people. And it's a couple of tools combined. So I created something a couple of years ago called Agile Scoping, which was based on Clean Scoping. So Clean Scoping is something that Caitlin Walker created based on Clean Language around how she scoped out a new piece of work. If you want to know more, then I highly recommend her book from Content Curiosity.

Brian (24:44)

John Barratt (25:10)
Bit biased, but one of the best books I've ever read. Not an agile book at all, but just a truly incredible story about how she's used clean language and something we call systemic modeling, which is using clean language in groups, with youths that have been kicked out of school, for example, and how they went from all individuals to suddenly kind of helping and supporting and understanding each other.

Brian (25:31)
Hmm, yeah.

John Barratt (25:40)
So great book. But anyway, Agile Scoping was based on that and it starts off with a discovery phase. We call that initial scoping, which is setting out kind of, is this work set up for success? So is the person in charge actually got enough influence over the system to actually make any change? So if you are doing Scrum. Do they have permission to actually change the structure into something that is actually going to help Scrum succeed? Have they tried different things before? And also this thing called congruency. So it's what they're saying aligned to what they're doing. So asking for those examples of, okay, you're saying that this, have you tried that before? Those sort of things. Very high level, just checking it out. And you can do that in an interview as well. So this isn't just for an external person. I always think that interviews should be two -way, right? It's not just a one -way thing. I want to check that if I'm signing up 40 hours a week or however many, that this is an organization that actually wants to be agile. I mean, I always put my hand out to the people on my training and people I meet at conferences where they're really struggling, right? And it's a really hard environment. And I always think, wow, you've got way more patience than I have. I really respect that. but my patients' levels are very low. So if I'm going to work with a client, I need to have a feeling that they can work at a pace, right?

Brian (27:20)
Yeah, right. Right.

John Barratt (27:21)
So that's level one and that's fine. Then we do an organizational scoping phase where you work with as many people as possible. You're looking at the problems that the organization says they've got, what the culture is now, where they want it to be, running some workshops, finding out what's happening. And again, we call it scoping because you can scope it to the level that you've been brought into. So if you're a Scrum Master working with one team and it's... One product owner, small product, that's fine. That's your scope if it's a whole organization, much wider. At the end of that, you create a coaching plan with the organization. So you have a session and you agree up to four outcomes is what I've found. So we move into outcome -based approach. So even if you skip all of the other stuff, what I would say is move away from any output thinking. As a scrum -rosterer,

Brian (28:10)

John Barratt (28:18)
even if it's just in your yearly appraisal, make it clear these are the outcomes that we're looking for. And these are more business related outcomes or things that are going to actually make a difference to the organization. So it could be things like make more money for the organization, could be increase employee engagement, increase customer engagement, number of active users in your mobile app, whatever those are. But they're nothing to really do with Agile, they're to do with...

Brian (28:42)

John Barratt (28:47)
that the organization wants to set. Those go into a coaching plan. We have a coaching agreement canvas that you can use to put all of that in. And then it's really clear, like these are the things that I'm going to help and support you with as a Scrim Master or Agile coach. There's a bit more risk, right? Because if you don't meet them, then you've got to have a conversation, but at least then it's visible, right? These are what I'm saying I'm going to help with. This is what you've said you want help with. And now we're going to do a number of experiments to try and get there. And that's where we get into that continuous improvement cycle of trying to involve, adapt, inspect, work on all of those things that are happening within your team, within your department, within your organization, depending on where your scope is, constantly evolving and looking at. where we're at. We might have some lead -in indicators as well, perhaps in there to help us cycle time, lead time, throughput. Those can be useful, but really we're looking at end value and we're measuring our performance of a Scrum Master Agile Coach based on the value being given. We're not letting the product owner take all of that praise and credit. Of course, we don't want to be too arrogant and go too far the other way. It's a team effort. but we're at least putting our, you know, more, I think skin in the game is the thing. What I've seen in the past is, you know, bit of a puppy dog type thing, Scrum Master, ooh, shiny over here, great, shiny over there, no, skin in the game, this is a partnership, and we're gonna work on this together. Sorry, I spoke for a long time, though.

Brian (30:16)
Yeah. Love that. No, no, no. I love that. You were saying great stuff. And I mean, I love the bit about outcome -based kind of approaches to it. I think that's really, really important. I've always thought, you know, like the performance, I'm always really hesitant about performance -based kind of metrics. And I always want to shift more to output outcome -based kind of metrics, not output. And I think that because that's, You're right. A business doesn't care how agile we are. A business cares if we're increasing our bottom line, if we're increasing our membership, all the business goals that you might have. That's what they care about. And agile -ism means to that.

John Barratt (31:17)
Yeah, I have a big shiver when teams have like agile maturity models. Like the word maturity, first of all, like if I say to you, Brian, you're immature, Brian. You know, that's just like, why would you do that? And also if I, you know, it's many people have said agile is never the goal, right? We're never trying to be agile for agile sake. We're doing it to help organizations and, you know.

Brian (31:23)
Ha ha ha.

John Barratt (31:44)
Therefore, why would you want to know how mature a team is when that's not actually that important, right? Could be a very leading indicator, perhaps, of where you're trying to get to, but it scares me when I see those sort of things.

Brian (32:04)
Yeah, this is great. This is great stuff. And there's so I mean, from what you've said, there's so many good links that we're going to be able to put in our show notes for this. We'll also, by the way, make sure that people can get in touch with you, John, if they want to follow up and learn more individually from you, because that's always really important here as well. And I know it's conference season. There's a lot of conferences going on. And you were telling me you're going to be at the Europe.

John Barratt (32:12)
Mm -hmm.

Brian (32:33)
Agile 24 conference, right?

John Barratt (32:36)
Yeah, so I've decided to do my part for the environment and not fly out to America for the third time this year. So I'm going to be in the Agile Alliance Manchester in July. I'm doing two sessions there. One looking at product refinement using clean language and the other one how to help and support self -managing teams with Caitlin herself. So if you like the idea of the stuff I was talking with Caitlin. and that's the session for you. Also going to be in Agile Prague this year, Agile Coach Camp UK, which I run, but unfortunately that is full. So there is a waiting list if you did want to try and sneak into that. And I'm sure I'll be at a few other places as well. There's also my monthly meetup that I run with a number of other colleagues called Scrum Event. It's actually the second largest Scrum Alliance user group in the world.

Brian (33:33)

John Barratt (33:34)
and we tend to have some pretty cool speakers there, so watch out for that.

Brian (33:40)
That's awesome. Yeah. We'll try to link to all of that so that people can find it. But yeah, if you're going to be at any of those conferences or if you're on the fence about going to the conference, you can hear great speakers like John there. So make sure that if you do, that you go up and say hello and tell them that you were listening to the podcast and heard this and were interested. And that's why you're there. Well, John, I appreciate your time. We're recording this on a Friday afternoon for you. And I know that's really precious time at the end of a week. So I really appreciate you giving us your time here and sharing your knowledge with us.

John Barratt (34:19)
Thank you for inviting me and having me. It's been a blast.

Brian (34:24)