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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#31: Starting Strong: Tips for Successfully Starting with a New Organization with Julie Chickering

January 18, 2023     35 minutes

Join Julie Chickering and Brian Milner as they discuss strategies you can use to get started on the right foot with your new organization.


It's the new year, and for many people, that means starting a new chapter in their life, maybe in a new position, with a new team, or possibly an entirely new organization. It's the perfect time for reflection to determine what you can do in these first few days and weeks to set yourself up for success.

So, we thought it would be a great time to take this episode of the show to highlight some strategies you can use to hit the ground running.

In this episode of the Agile Mentors podcast, Brian Milner and Julie Chickering discuss some strategies to set the stage for success in your new position. We will walk you through the vital steps for settling into your team and making an impact no matter what level of the ladder you are on. Plus, what to ask when you are interviewing to ensure you find the right fit.

Listen now to discover:

[01:40] - Julie Chickering is on the show to discuss starting strong with your new organization.
[02:15] - How to use team retrospective to identify where things are going well to amplify the good stuff while on a discovery mission of what needs work.
[03:35] - The one thing that Julie cautions about in one-on-one conversations that will help you avoid being influenced by others' opinions of their team members.
[05:22] - How to create curiosity instead of animosity by offering reciprocal grace to help everyone work better together.
[07:17] - Brian shares how to use an improvement board to keep a running track of things while identifying your next target, stay on the right track and avoid the worst-case scenario (as referenced by Henrik Kniberg in the Spotify Model - Part 2).
[09:23] - What Brian calls his 15-minute' cheat code" for understanding the dynamics of a team.
[11:31] - Julie shares her improvement backlog one-on-one ONE thing for Scrum Masters.
[12:08] - Essential techniques to help developers make an impact and utilize their skills in their new team.
[13:57] - How to get off on the right foot with a new team as a product owner.
[14:14] - Julie shares how to determine if an agile framework like Scrum is helping you meet your business goals (or not).
[15:34] - If you cannot communicate and collaborate with your stakeholders… you'll never deliver value to them.
[16:32] - How story mapping exercises can help product owners.
[18:31] - Why communication is the key to top-to-bottom team success.
[19:40] - The most important questions to ask when you are interviewing to determine if the organization is a good fit for what you bring to the table.
[22:17] - Why it's important to remember every interaction during an interview is a part of the job interview.
[22:33] - Brian shares a story of why it's crucial to determine if the company you are going to work for is looking for someone agile or Agile.
[24:42] - Why it's essential to do a background check on a company you're considering hitching your wagon to.
[25:38] - Start with where you are: how to start strong if you have the skills and are certified but need to gain experience.
[28:30] - How can you use your skills to give back and advance in your career?
[29:38] - How to highlight your experience and use it to your advantage when seeking various roles within a company.
[32:40] - The most powerful question you can ask your team that will help you start the new year fresh.

References and resources mentioned in the show

Spotify Engineering Culture - Part 2 (aka the "Spotify Model")
The Culture Code
How does project management work in Agile? with Julie Chickering
#7: The Sprint Review is not a Demo with Julie Chickering
Agile Mentors Community
#13: What Does Cross-Functional Really Mean? with Lance Dacy
Mountain Goat Software
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.

Julie Chickering is the brains and brawn behind JC Agile Consulting, believes that Lean and Agile practices are packed with potential — to enable positive culture change, business agility, and breakthrough results. Julie is a past president and board member of the Agile Project Management Network (APLN), a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), as well as a traditional Project Management Professional (PMP).