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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#36: Working with Humans with Dallas Jackson

February 22, 2023     39 minutes

Dallas Jackson joins Brian to explore the human aspect of work and the challenges that come with prioritizing the team while ensuring everyone is heard.


In this episode of the Agile Mentors podcast, Dallas Jackson joins Brian to delve into the human side of work and why it's essential to create work that fits people's lives rather than forcing humans to fit the work.

They delve into the importance of understanding and appropriately responding to conflict in the workplace as a Scrum Master and prioritizing the team while ensuring everyone is heard.

Listen in as they explore the challenges of adapting to change, why prioritizing human factors is essential for driving cultural shifts, and how to create an Agile culture that supports the human element of work.

Listen Now to discover:

[01:13] - Brian introduces Dallas Jackson, a native Texan, living in New Zealand who is a Teaching Assistant with Mountain Goat Software and certified team coach with Scrum Alliance.
[03:18] - Dallas highlights the importance of recognizing individuals as human beings and creating work that fits their lives rather than forcing humans to fit into work.
[05:17] - Brian shares the value of remote work to allow individuals to gain insight into each other's personal lives and encourages virtual show-and-tell sessions to foster stronger team bonds.
[06:43] - Connecting to foster deeper relationships as a team.
[07:42] - Dallas shares how showing her humanity helped her build a connection with colleagues, leading to a development of trust and a better quality of teamwork.
[10:41] - Why it's important as a leader to prioritize taking care of employees.
[12:21] - Dallas shares why creating a positive environment where people feel cared for and supported is crucial for producing good work.
[15:22] -The importance of building connections in team relationships through reciprocity and sharing personal stories, even those unrelated to work.
[16:39] - How opening ourselves up allows us to give the best to our fellow humans because we're ALL members of the same tribe—the human race.
[18:06:] - Brian shares the importance of understanding and appropriately responding to conflict in the workplace, including avoidance.
[21:08] - What about conflict—Dallas shares the importance of playing the long game and how not to handle it as a Scrum Master.
[23:39] - How using crucial conversations helps everyone stick with the facts and avoid misunderstandings caused by differing perspectives.
[24:43] - Brian shares the mantra he uses with teams to move beyond personal conflicts and focus on finding solutions.
[26:08] - Acknowledging that facts are the foundation, but feelings in the workplace matter too.
[27:17] - Dallas explains the significance of goldfish memory in conflict management, completing the stress cycle, and prioritizing the team while ensuring everyone is heard.
[28:07] - Brian shares why the Scrum Master's job is similar to that of a football coach in that you need to be clued into the emotional temperature of your team.
[30:32] - You can't process your way to a better culture—cultural shifts change when we take humans into account.
[31:38] - Agile is a philosophy that requires a shift in thinking about work and a departure from following step-by-step instructions and can be a difficult transition for organizations to make.
[32:39] - Dallas shares a football vs. rugby analogy about how to help managers make a mindset shift.
[34:53] - Brian shares that working with humans requires a different approach than working with machines because repeatability isn't always possible—adaptation is the name of the game.
[36:26] - Dallas shares the Cherokee saying that we die a thousand deaths to become our true selves.
[37:54] - You can hear more from Dallas at Scrum Australia in March.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
Scrum Australia
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule
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.

Dallas Jackson is a Teaching Assistant at Mountain Goat Software with a multitude of Scrum and Agile qualifications, including CSM, CSPO, CAL-E.