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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#52: The Birth of Agile: How 17 Adventurous Techies Changed the World with Jim Highsmith

June 14, 2023     33 minutes

Join Brian and Agile pioneer Jim Highsmith as they dive into the riveting saga of 17 tech rebels who defied convention, unleashed their passions, and revolutionized the world of software development.


In this episode of the "Agile Mentors" podcast, Brian sits down with Agile pioneer Jim Highsmith to share how 17 tech rebels reshaped the software landscape.

Jim shares captivating stories from his time working with NASA and Nike to the collaboration of 17 nonconformists that led to the Agile Manifesto and transformed the software industry.

Listen in for a behind-the-scenes look at the circumstances that led to the birth of Agile and how camaraderie, collaboration, and a human-centric approach sparked a wildfire of support for the Agile movement. Tune in to this episode for insights, lessons, and a glimpse into the future of Agile from an industry legend.

Listen Now to Discover:

[01:10] - Brian introduces Jim Highsmith, a renowned figure in the Agile community. Jim is an experienced software developer, writer, and storyteller. His latest book, "Wild West to Agile," has become a sensation in the industry, earning the top spot as a new release on Amazon. He also co-authored the Agile Manifesto and the Declaration of Interdependence for Project Leaders, co-founded the Agile Alliance, and served as the first president of the Agile Leadership Network.
[03:57] - Jim recounts his journey working on the NASA Apollo program and how the constant advancements in technology shaped the course of the Apollo project, offering valuable insights into the era's challenges and adaptability.
[08:47] - Jim shares a fascinating story from his time at Nike, where outdated requirements left a project stagnant for 18 months.
[10:34] - How waterfall methodologies left companies trapped and projects taking too long and costing too much.
[11:53] - Setting the stage for the revolutionary Agile movement.
[13:16] - A problem so painful leadership was on board to find a solution.
[14:48] - A message from our sponsor: Mountain Goat Software has courses from Certified Scrum Master Training and Scrum Certification to Certified Scrum Product Owner Training that equips you with the sought-after skills valued by top-notch teams. Visit the Mountain Goat website for all the details.
[15:40] -Jim reveals the connections and common ground that started the manifesto meeting.
[18:21] - An agenda-free meeting with 17 nonconformist experts seeking common ground and how an encounter with Steve Mellor led to an unexpected alignment of intent.
[21:01] - 17 individuals, each with nonconformist perspectives, agree.
[21:17] - Why did 17 audacious techies revolutionize the world? And what lessons can we learn from their experience for the future?
[23:39] - Where Agile's lasting impact lies and what keeps it at the forefront of change.
[24:39] - Putting aside competition for collaboration and cooperation that led to change.
[25:30] - What keeps Agile at the forefront of change? Brian shares a nugget of wisdom from Jim's book about Agilists.
[26:38] - Finally, a language that spoke to us all!—how the Agile movement shattered the notion of interchangeable cogs and embraced our humanity, sparking a wildfire of support.
[27:59] - Jim shares his thoughts on where he thinks the Agile movement is headed and why he thinks the agility of organizations and people will be a definite advantage in the future.
[29:56] - Brian mentions his high recommendation for listeners to pick up Jim’s book, Wild West to Agile: Adventures in Software Development Evolution and Revolution.
[31:38] - There are a ton of podcasts out there; thank you for taking the time to listen to this one. And don’t forget to subscribe to the “Agile Mentors” Podcast on Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode.
[32:05] - If you've considered taking a CSM or CSPO class, check us out at Mountain Goat Software. Or join the conversation in our Agile Mentors Community.
[32:32] - If you have feedback for the show or topics for future episodes, email us by clicking here, and I'll get back to you ASAP.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

Jim Highsmith
Jim Highsmith on LinkedIn
Wild West to Agile Agile Manifesto
Agile Alliance Agile Leadership Network
Certified Scrum Master Training and Scrum Certification
Certified Scrum Product Owner Training
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster®
Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner®
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule
Join the Agile Mentors Community
Subscribe to the "Agile Mentors" Podcast on Apple Podcasts

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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.

Jim Highsmith is an experienced software developer, writer, storyteller, and industry pioneer recognized for his instrumental role in the birth of the Agile movement. His latest book, "Wild West to Agile," has become a sensation in the industry, earning the top spot as a new release on Amazon. Jim continues to inspire and guide Agile enthusiasts worldwide through his insightful stories and expertise.