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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#29: Influencing Up with Scott Dunn

December 21, 2022     30 minutes

Join Scott Dunn and Brian Milner as they discuss how to influence up, including the tools you can use to overcome difficulties and step into a partnership with the influential people in your organization for influence that creates lasting change.


While we all want to be heard, but we are sometimes met with leaders in our organization who are uninterested in our concerns or resistant to giving needed support.

And sometimes, it's our approach that's causing our conversations to fall flat.

In this episode of the Agile Mentors podcast, Brian Milner and Scott Dunn share their real-world experience on what to do from your side to earn the right to influence up. They discuss what bosses, managers, leadership, stakeholders, and other higher-ups in the organization want and tools you can use to overcome the gaps and step into a partnership with the powerful people in your organization for lasting change.

Listen now to discover:

[01:06] - Today, Brian and Scott Dunn discuss influencing up.
[01:40] - Scott shares how it's easier to influence if you meet people where they are.
[03:46] - How to create a win-win by adjusting your communication style.
[04:25] - Scott shares how to earn the right to influence up by making things happen on your side of the fence.
[06:17] - How a mind of curiosity can help you negotiate your position when the higher-ups say they are 100% onboard with Agile except for…
[08:22] - How to challenge management without losing your job or credibility.
[10:05] - Why it's vital to look for opportunities to influence an organization at every level.
[11:07] - Organizational taxes are the price of the privilege of working in an organization.
[12:07] - Brian shares how even small iterations of Agile can move the needle in organizations.
[13:09] - Why you need to think about your intentions when trying to influence up.
[14:28] - Scott shares how you can introduce tenants of Agile to show people how to work differently, show up differently, and make a difference to improve an organization.
[16:05] - How returning to values on the Agile Manifesto helps organizations create team dynamics that inspire respectful team dynamics.
[18:59] - Scott shares how making your boss look good makes a big difference for everyone in the organization.
[20:09] - Brian shares how to think like your boss so you can frame your approach in a way that speaks their language.
[23:58] - The opportunity to 'choose your own adventure' within your organization through sharing information.
[25:29] - How to use the power of story to give your boss the tools to help make the change to Agile.
[27:11] - Scott shares how resources such as the Agile Mentors Community can help you delve deeper into community for insight into solving your influence issues.

Listen in next time when Lance Dacy will be on the show.

References and resources mentioned in the show

Agile Manifesto
#24: How Agile Organizations Respond to Challenging Economic Times with Scott Dunn
#1: Scrum vs Agile & Keys to Success with Mike Cohn
Lyssa Adkins
How To Be Successful with Agile in Any Culture
Christopher Avery - CEO & Founder -The Responsibility Company | LinkedIn
Mountain Goat Software
Agile Mentors Community
Scrum Alliance
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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.