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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#78 A Year in Review: The Best Moments and Insights of 2023

December 13, 2023     35 minutes

Embark on a captivating journey through the Agile Mentors Podcast in 2023 with Brian Milner. Explore a spectrum of Agile topics, from Scrum Master challenges to leadership insights. Join Brian for insightful summaries, memorable moments, and a walk through the rich tapestry of Agile wisdom on the show.


In this episode of the Agile Mentors Podcast, Brian embarks on a retrospective journey through the standout moments of the podcast in 2023. Explore carefully curated episodes, offering solutions to the common challenges and then delving into the world of Agile beyond software development.

Listen in as Brian shares insightful summaries featuring memorable moments and a diverse landscape of Agile wisdom shared by his esteemed guests. Categorized into topics like Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Developers, Agile’s use beyond software, general career advice, and leadership and coaching, this retrospective is a treasure trove of practical advice, actionable insights, and real-world experiences.

Tune in for an inspiring tour through the rich tapestry of the Agile Mentors Podcast 2023 episodes.

Listen Now to Discover:

[01:16] - Brian introduces the episode and invites listeners to join him in a retrospective of the year's episodes, highlighting ones that may have been missed or are hidden gems worth revisiting, which he will group by listener preferences and areas of interest.
[02:39] - For Scrum Masters: Brian begins discussing the first episodes tailored for Scrum Masters, kicking things off with #47, "Exploring Lean Thinking and Agile Development," featuring guest Bob Payne, who shares insights into lean thinking, a foundational principle in agile development. Brian recommends this episode for Scrum Masters aiming to enhance their understanding of Agile's fundamentals.
[03:34] - Episode #52, "The Birth of Agile: How 17 Adventurous Techies Changed the World," features Agile icon Mr. Jim Highsmith, one of the authors of the Agile Manifesto. Jim provides a glimpse into the past and offers insights into the future of Agile.
[04:06] - Episode #59, "Revising the Scrum Guide," features Don McGreal, who played a key role in the guide's revision, shedding light on the thinking behind the revisions.
[05:31] - In Episode #62, "Effective Sprint Goals," Maarten Dalmijn delves into effective crafting techniques and the finer details of achieving success with Sprint Goals.
[06:12] - In Episode #69, "Should Scrum Masters Be Technical with Allison Pollard," Allison and Brian explore the question of whether Scrum Masters should possess technical skills. If you grapple with how technical a Scrum Master should be, this episode provides valuable insights and perspectives.
[06:51] - In Episode #39, Mike Cohn, an authority on user stories, shares valuable insights into the art of crafting effective user stories.
[07:15] - In Episode #65 with Randy Hale titled "Unlocking Lean Portfolio Management," Brian and Randy explore the concept of moving beyond a single-team focus as a product owner, delving into the realm of lean portfolio management building upon insights shared by Bob in episode #47.
[07:50] - For Product Owners: Must listen bonus from last year, Episode #22, with Roman Pichler, who shares his insights on "How to Create Helpful Product Roadmaps," addressing challenges commonly faced by product owners in dealing with the nuanced aspects of their role. The episode covers strategies to avoid pitfalls, especially the dangers of rigidly locking into scope and schedule timelines.
[08:54] - For Developers: Episode #33, "Mob Programming with Woody Zuill," introduces developers to the transformative practice of mob programming. Woody Zuill, a pioneer in this way of working, shares insights and a practical and thoughtful approach that makes it worth exploring.
[10:00] - In Episode #48, Brian hosts a unique episode featuring the renowned Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory, experts in Agile testing, in a show called "Holistic Agile Testing." This episode is particularly recommended for developers specializing in testing or involved in testing within a Scrum team.
[11:00] - In Episode #54, "Unlocking Agile's Power in the World of Data Science," Brian and Lance Dacy explore the intersection of Agile methodologies and data science. The popularity of this episode prompted a sequel, Episode #63, on the fusion of Agile and data science.
[11:58] - In the final developer-focused episode, Carlos Nunez joins Brian to delve into the world of DevOps. Carlos, a speaker at Agile 2023, shares insights on the significance of DevOps in today's Agile landscape, emphasizing DevOps as a means of empowerment rather than gatekeeping.
[12:38] - Agile Outside of Software: Episode #32 with Cort Sharp focuses on Scrum in High School Sports—specifically high school swimming. Cort shares his experience applying Scrum principles to create practice schedules and routines for the swim team he coaches, providing valuable insights for those interested in using Agile beyond the software realm.
[13:24] - In #38: "Using Agile for Social and Societal Transformation with Kubair Shirazee," Kubair walks listeners through how his nonprofit employs Agile methodologies to empower micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries. The episode highlights success stories, such as a barber's journey from a rented spot to owning a professional store, demonstrating Agile's transformative impact beyond the tech industry.
[14:40] - Episode #45 with Scott Dunn explores "Overcoming Agile Challenges in Regulatory Environments." This crucial topic addresses the unique challenges faced in tightly regulated sectors like government, legal, and medical professions, offering a compelling dialogue on navigating regulatory hurdles within an agile framework.
[16:00] - Episode #64 features John Grant discussing "How Agile Methodologies Reshape Legal Practices." This episode reveals the transformative impact of Agile in the legal profession and offers a unique perspective on Agile as a philosophy rather than just a practice, illustrating its broader applicability beyond the software realm.
[17:00] - Today's episode is brought to you by Mountain Goat Software's Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) course. This is a two-day training course taught by one of our certified Scrum trainers that teaches you how to use the product backlog as a tool for project success and how to respond to changes in business conditions by restructuring the product backlog. For the schedule, visit the Mountain Goat Training Schedule.
[17:27] - General Career Advice: #34: "I'm Trained, Now What? with Julie Chickering" addresses the post-training phase for Scrum Masters and Product Owners. Julie shares insights on taking the next steps, implementing knowledge, and finding opportunities to build a resume in Agile roles.
[18:29] - In #40: "Is it Time to Go Out on Your Own? Tips and Insights with Chris Li" Brian and Chris Li discuss considerations for those at later stages of their careers contemplating the transition to independent consulting. If you're pondering whether it's time to establish your consultancy, this episode provides valuable insights and considerations to guide your decision-making process.
[19:00] - In #42: "The Importance of Self-Mastery with Bob Galen," Bob emphasizes the value of constant learning, even after years of experience, highlighting the importance of staying open to new discoveries and others' experiences. This episode serves as a compelling guide for personal growth and continuous improvement.
[20:28] - Episode #46 with Christina Ambers: In this episode, Christina shares insights on "How to Assess Company Culture Before Accepting a Job Offer." As the year closes and people consider new job opportunities, Christina guides listeners through the crucial step of evaluating company culture and the importance of understanding if a company truly embraces Agile values or merely pays lip service to them.
[21:14] - Episode #50 celebrated the milestone of the 50th episode. Lance Dacy was on the show to discuss "Choosing Your Path: Exploring the Roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner." The episode offers guidance for individuals at crossroads, helping them decide between Scrum Master and Product Owner roles. It serves as a valuable resource for those navigating career decisions in the Agile landscape.
[22:13] - Leadership and Coaching: In the Leadership and Coaching category, Episode #37 features Brad Swanson discussing "Servant Leadership, Not Spineless Leadership." Brad dispels misconceptions and offers valuable insights into the essence of servant leadership, making it a compelling resource for those interested in effective leadership approaches.
[23:28] - In Episode 41, Karim Harbott explores "Cultural Transformations in Organizations." The episode delves into the challenges of changing organizational culture, emphasizing the time and effort required beyond implementing specific practices.
[24:00] - In "#44: Transformations Take People with Anu Smalley", Anu highlights the often-overlooked aspect of involving people in organizational transformations, shedding light on the human dynamics that can either support or hinder the process.
[24:35] - In Episode #53, "Debunking Myths in Agile Coaching with Lucy O'Keefe," we tackle the common myths surrounding Agile coaching and provide insights on unlocking excellence in Agile coaching practices.
[25:01] - Episode #66 is a solo episode where Brian shares his insights into navigating team conflicts, laying the foundation for understanding and mastering the essential skill of conflict navigation.
[26:00] - In Episode #68, Brian hosts Mike Hall for a discussion of "The Pros and Cons and Real-World Applications of SAFe." Whether you're new to SAFe or deeply involved, Mike's expertise provides valuable perspectives and tips for navigating this framework.
[26:42] - In Episode #70, Mike Cohn joins Brian to explore "The Role of a Leader in Agile." Here, Mike shares valuable insights based on his extensive experience, offering sound advice and perspective on the crucial role of leaders in self-organizing teams.
[28:10] - Brian encourages listeners, especially newcomers, to explore relevant episodes based on their roles, with the goal being to offer practical advice and solutions on specific issues rather than lengthy discussions. All episodes are available in the show notes for convenient access.
[29:33] - Brian expresses gratitude to listeners for the past year, reflecting on the unique nature of podcasting and letting listeners know he cherishes the encouragement and connections made, especially at events like Agile 2023.
[31:00] - What do you want to hear in 2024? What are some of the hot-button topics that haven’t been covered on the show or guests you want to hear from? Send Brian an email with your ideas.
[32:28] - And don’t forget to share and subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode.
[33:00] - We also have our Agile Mentors Community, where we have discussions about every podcast
[33:24] - Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season! We'll see you early again in 2024.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

#47: Exploring Lean Thinking in Agile Development with Bob Payne
#52: The Birth of Agile: How 17 Adventurous Techies Changed the World with Jim Highsmith
#59: Revising the Scrum Guide with Don McGreal
#62: Effective Sprint Goals with Maarten Dalmijn
#69: Should Scrum Masters Be Technical with Allison Pollard
#39: The Art of Writing User Stories with Mike Cohn
#65: Unlocking Lean Portfolio Management with Randy Hale
#22: How to Create Helpful Product Roadmaps with Roman Pichler
#33 Mob Programming with Woody Zuill
#48: Holistic Agile Testing with Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory
#54 Unlocking Agile's Power in the World of Data Science
#63: The Interplay Between Data Science and Agile with Lance Dacy
#71: The World of DevOps with Carlos Nunez
#32: Scrum in High School Sports with Cort Sharp
#38: Using Agile for Social and Societal Transformation with Kubair Shirazee
#45: Overcoming the Challenges of Agile in Regulatory Environments with Scott Dunn
#64: How Agile Methodologies are Reshaping Legal Practices with John Grant
#34: I'm Trained, Now What? with Julie Chickering
#40: Is it Time to Go Out on Your Own? Tips and Insights with Chris Li
#42: The Importance of Self-Mastery with Bob Galen
#46: How to Assess Company Culture Before Accepting a Job Offer with Christina Ambers
#50: Choosing Your Path: Exploring the Roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner with Lance Dacy
#37: Servant Leadership, Not Spineless Leadership with Brad Swanson
#41: Cultural Transformation in Organizations with Karim Harbott
#53: Agile Coaching: Debunking Myths and Unlocking Excellence with Lucy O'Keefe
#66: Successful Strategies for Navigating Team Conflicts
#68: The Pros and Cons and Real World Applications of SAFe with Mike Hall
#70: The Role of a Leader in Agile with Mike Cohn
#49: Celebrating One Year: A Look Back at 50 Episodes of the Agile Mentor Podcast
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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.