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Agile Disrupted

Agile Disrupted

By Agile Disrupted

For the people in the trenches of #Agile, where voices are heard and stories are shared.
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Requirements Gathering or Gospel

Agile Disrupted Apr 04, 2023

Requirements Gathering or Gospel

Requirements Gathering or Gospel

It’s not discovery. It’s discoveries.

If you were asked, how does the company you work for make money? Break it down. Whether it’s an early startup living off of seed funding or a corporate empire running multi-billion dollar enterprises across the globe, what part do you play in helping your company thrive as a business

Some responses might be, “Beats me. But who cares? I’m getting paid.” For how long? It all comes down to that, doesn’t it? Money

Businesses will fight until their last dying breath to stay invincible in a market that never stops shifting. As Alexander Osterwalder, CEO of Strategyzer, simply puts it, “business models are like containers of yogurt in a fridge with an expiration date.” What evidence can we rely on as indicators of progress that the companies we work for will thrive throughout the test of time? Or even the next decade? Or the next meeting?

Let’s think about:

  • Is it more important to gather requirements on how to build a product or service that isn’t supported by strong evidence of demand or usability? 
  • When do Business Requirements Documents (BRD) expire
  • When do Assumption Maps expire? 
  • What risks come with falling in love with your first idea of a solution to a systemic problem experienced by the business? 
  • Do our habits of Problem-Solution Fit make us complacent in delaying evidence around Product-Market Fit before scaling to Business Model Market Fit?
  • How often is Software Research & Design (R&D) funded to validate new business ideas before building them for the mass public?
  • Do our habits of peak efficiency limit us in uncovering opportunities & solutions for effectiveness for the same outcome?
  • Does a company that began in Software Research & Design (R&D) share the same measure of variability with a company that began in a PMO? 
  • What does uncertainty look like for a company that carries products and services dependent on both Software Research & Design (R&D) and a PMO?
  • Does our disdain for the risks that come with a PMO make us dismissive in understanding the organization design of how a company makes money?
  • What happens when both good business ideas and bad business ideas get funded in a company? 
  • What risks do we experience as a business when we pivot and when we persevere, but never to kill a bad business idea?

Does a company become invincible through the confidence of its leaders claiming certainty around the existing products and services that have given financial security up until now, or is it through the leaders who never stopped being entrepreneurs, that carry the conviction to navigate the uncertainty that comes with running a business? The dichotomy remains. 

Find out with newest guest Thomas Schaefer and the return of guest speaker Kaelin Burns, as we uncover what happens when we get caught up in the art of product, but lose sight of the science of business 🔥

Apr 04, 202301:04:24
Definition of Progress

Definition of Progress

Is failing fast effective or reckless, especially without understanding the pattern that led to the failure to begin with?

We create goals. We call them outcomes. We call them objectives. We measure key performance indicators on reaching these goals. We reach these goals to continuously improve. We continuously improve to reach our personal vision. We recruit others to join us in a shared vision. We get there together. We arrive. That’s the plan, right?

Are we more susceptible to enrolling into someone else’s personal vision of the future in avoidance of our own introspection of what we really want?

Are we more susceptible to being compliant, or even apathetic, towards a shared vision that’s forced upon us?

Sometimes we formalize our goals at work and sometimes we disregard them in our personal lives. Every day, we wake up to a blank canvas of possibilities and obstacles towards these goals. Every day is a lottery, ‘because cause and effect is not closely related in time and space,’ as Peter Senge explains it in Laws of System Thinking.

Time isn’t as linear as much as we understand it to be, and yet it is our impulse to respond accordingly. It is our impulse to create solutions for yesterday’s problems. It is our impulse to diagnose symptoms, so that we might avoid the hard truth of the patterns behind ‘the structures that might hold us prisoner.’

Given the limitations of cognitive load, our mental model alone can’t possibly contain every element of the butterfly effect. But the commitment that comes with seeking the truth means we discover how we are co-creating our own reality today and what we’re willing to do to generate the results we want.

So, ask yourself. What progress have you made this year?

  • Is progress more focused on reaching your goals based on the set of conditions you designed for yourself in January or compounding interest on your learning milestones?
  • If you were to do innovation accounting on your goals for the past five years, what would that teach you about your patterns?
  • If an Agile team were to do innovation accounting on the products and services they support, what would that teach them?
  • If holding creative tension towards a personal vision is difficult for the individual by default, what might that look like for an Agile team holding creative tension for achieving their Product vision?
  • How often does an Agile team have a Product vision that is connected to the shared vision of the company?
  • How often is an Agile team allowed the opportunity to understand how the company operates as a business, in order to create meaning out its shared vision?
  • If a shared vision for an Agile team means each person sees the same picture of success for their Product, how might an entire company of employees share a vision together?
  • What happens when the vision of the Product, the vision of the Portfolio/Program, and the vision of the company are three different pictures?
  • What happens when the incentive structure for the employee, for the Agile team, for the Portfolio/Program, and the company as a whole don’t match?

Is learning how we co-create our own reality a source of limitation or is reality simply a medium that we are bringing to life each day through our choices?

Find out with the return of guest speaker David A. Brown, and our newest guest speaker Patrick Mercurio.

Nov 29, 202201:11:55
Change My Habits

Change My Habits

“It’s a #mindset.” Is it though? 

Do old #habits really die hard, or are we dying each day with them? 

Let’s think about the #narrative we tell ourselves in the perpetual struggle to form new habits and the struggle to break bad ones. 

  • “I’ll do better tomorrow. Today is not the day.” 
  • “I’ll do better next month. This month was a lot.” 
  • “I’ll do better next year. This year was just too much.” 

Our habits and behaviors are tied to how we identify ourselves each day and it is when we confront our #identity, we begin to see significant #change in who we want to become. It all starts with our #choices. 

So, what about a living #system of individuals carrying habits and behaviors that represent the identity of a corporation? Let’s dig deeper. 

  • Is the identity of an Agile team the sum of its team members or an identity that is #enforced on them by the company? 
  • What are the habits and behaviors of an #Agile team that is learning together vs. not learning together? 
  • If old habits die hard for an individual, how hard is it for an Agile team of individuals to form new habits or break old ones? 
  • How often are the habits and behaviors of an Agile team a representation of its identity or a response to the #ecosystem it lives in? 
  • What are the habits and behaviors of a company that is #dysfunctional vs. #dynamic? 
  • What do the habits and behaviors of a company tell us about their organizational design? 
  • If no single individual or entity within a company is holding you #accountable to a specific change, how likely are you to relapse into old habits of an organizational structure that didn’t get updated? 
  • What are habits and behaviors of a company that is #learning vs. a company repeating the same routines hoping for a different #outcome? 
  • If old habits die hard for an individual, how hard is it for a company of individuals to form new habits and break old ones? 
  • If a company has simply changed its #strategy, its #people, without changing its #financial structures, #incentive structures, or #operational processes, can the habits of company that’s been thriving on waste truly evolve or be held prisoner of an unchanged system? 

If dysfunctional patterns of habits and behaviors are evident #signals alone, are companies willing to confront their identity crisis to welcome positive change, when it’s hard enough to do as an individual? 🔥 

Find out with the return of guest speaker David A. Brown and newest guest speakers Jennifer Burkle, and Kristina Stroud as we uncover mental models, where our habits come from, and what the possibilities could be.

Sep 26, 202255:24
SAFe to Fail

SAFe to Fail

So, is it really SAFe to Fail?

Let’s dig deeper…

  • What systemic problems do organizations face to consider adopting Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)?
  • What kind of financial structure supports SAFe?
  • What kind of incentive structure supports SAFe?
  • How much variability and ambiguity of the work does SAFe allow?
  • What measure of adaptiveness does SAFe allow, if we were to count the number of transaction costs and switching costs required to complete the work?
  • Are we truly increasing customer value, if the lead time in a SAFe portfolio/program is unspeakably long, the measure of adaptiveness is low, while the portfolio/program is inflated with specialization of roles?
  • What influences (or diminishes) psychological safety in a SAFe model?
  • What are common dysfunctional behaviors of teams in a SAFe model?
  • Is failure defined as a missed deadline, a missed PI objective, or a missed customer opportunity?
  • Is SAFe the problem or the lack of understanding the design of the organization itself?
  • Is SAFe the problem or an organization's learning disability of its own business model and achieving what’s needed to stay market relevant?

Tune into the Season 3 premiere with the return of guest speaker, Matt Miller, and newest guest speaker, 🙎🏼‍♂️ V. Lee Henson - Certified Scrum Trainer, as we uncover what psychological safety looks like in a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) model and the dichotomy of success and failure.

Aug 13, 202201:06:59
Disrupters Assemble

Disrupters Assemble

What better way to end 2021 than the much anticipated Season 2 Finale: Disrupters Assemble. With nothing short of profound introspection and prolific disruption.

Agile Disrupted brings back major speakers, David A. Brown, John Augustin, Matt Miller, and Jason Kerney from Season 2 for one last showdown called #ChangeMyMind on these eight topics:

Season 2, Episode 1: Psychology of Product

An Agile team will claim success by meeting their “Definition of Done” and delivering a Product that no one uses

Season 2, Episode 2: Scrum Master of None

When a Scrum Master can’t hold themselves accountable for their own craft, they fail to hold their teams accountable

Season 2, Episode 3: Definition of NOT Ready

Without validation practices provided by Definition of Ready, we fail to identify good ideas from the bad ones that results in an inflated Product.

Season 2, Episode 4: WIP or Whipped?

WIP limits alone won’t help undone work or a fragment team

Season 2, Episode 5: Agilist in Wonderland, a Fragile Transformation Story

An Agile Transformation alone won’t fix the problems an org is having with their software releases. It will only expose it.

Season 2, Episode 6: Ghosted

Ghosting only serves the person or the company in the act alone, without any regard towards the victim being impacted.

Season 2, Episode 7: Hard Conversations

People will be in denial of a problem or conflict to avoid a hard conversation

Season 2, Episode 8: Ugh Agile Interviews, Recruiters Edition

An organization’s obsession with present needs will poorly influence their ability to hire talent for the future

Tune into the Season 2 Finale with speakers David Brown, John Augustine, Matt Miller, and Jason Kerney find out how the disrupters assembled. 🔥

Dec 31, 202101:48:26
Ugh, Agile Interviews - Recruiters Edition

Ugh, Agile Interviews - Recruiters Edition

Agile Interviews. Enough said. 

When it comes to the organizations that carry their own perception of what being Agile means, in accordance to their own business model, their own operating model, their own cultural values & principles and ultimately their own brand, how can we be certain that we are being matched appropriately?

We don't. 

Until the actual interview begins with our hiring manager, it is an uncertainty we sit with. The uncertainty of what this manager is going to do with our future as soon as it's in his/her hands. The uncertainty of joining an organization without actually knowing what you signed up for, despite what you learned within a few hours of having a conversation with a stranger, or perhaps a couple of strangers.

If the argument is to embrace change and embrace impermanence of any present state we are in, are we hiring people as they are now? Or are we hiring for the inevitability of who they will become? Are we hiring to help others feel confident in their own future, because we, as leaders, see the future with abundance and absolute clarity. 

  • What happens when an organization is uncertain about the future they are hiring for and can't speak to it in an Agile interview?
  • What happens when an organization is uncertain about the role descriptions they are hiring for while being in the process of a Fragile Transformation?
  • What happens when an organization's misperception of Agile results in hiring the wrong Agile professionals?
  • What happens when an organization's misperception of Product results in hiring the wrong Product professionals?
  • What happens when an organization hires for a specific culture fit that ultimately leads to culture cliques?
  • What happens when a hiring manager prioritizes filling a gap versus investing in talent retention?
  • What assumptions and biases exist in the hiring process for Agile professionals, especially from the hiring managers?
  • Do we really uncover the organization's values and principles in the interview alone?
  • Have you ever been ghosted by a recruiter?
  • What happens when a recruiter sets up a candidate for failure at a prospective organization?
  • When does a recruiter really go above and beyond?

Are we at the mercy of an organization's open requisitions and their recruiting agencies, or can we change the narrative by uncovering the belief systems that support the organization's values & principles by asking the right questions? 

Find out with newest guest speakers Jose Mata, and Dionna Steed as they share what it takes to find talent in a market that truly is impermanent. 

Nov 23, 202101:10:52
Hard Conversations

Hard Conversations

Two words: Hard. Conversations. 

When comes to all the professional & personal relationships that fill our lives with fulfillment, or perhaps even dread, do we really accept the responsibility of conflict management? Do we live by the values and principles we carry, especially when conflict arises?

  • Do people avoid hard conversations out of cowardice?
  • Do people avoid hard conversations out of complacency?
  • Do people avoid hard conversations out of convenience?
  • Do people avoid hard conversations out of privilege?
  • Are we in denial of the problem that exists in order to avoid a hard conversation?
  • Are we always ready to provide or receive a hard conversation?
  • Do we statistically remember the worst fights over the greatest milestones in a relationship due to the emotional scars it left behind?
  • When you avoid a hard conversation, does anyone really win?
  • What element of risk and uncertainty holds us back from having hard conversations?
  • How regularly do we practice trust in ourselves in order to value the trust in others?
  • Do we overestimate how well we communicate and promote transparency?
  • Do we inflate the hard conversation to be bigger in our heads than it actually is?
  • Does the relationship carry any substance without prior experiences of conflict?
  • Are we compromising more often than collaborating in our relationships?

We are truly tested as humans by the decisions we make and its impact to others. We live with our decisions each day. So, is the hard conversation intended for someone else, or is it intended for ourselves? 🔥

Find out with the return of guest speakers, Joshua Mauldin and Emmanuel Wiggins, as well as, newest guest speaker, Jason Kerney, in our special two-part mini series "Corporate Horror & Trauma: Hard Conversations," as we face the hard decisions that come with having the hard conversations that imprint our lives.  

Nov 01, 202159:43


Tis the season to be horrific and ghoulish, let's talk about corporate horror & trauma. Have you ever been ghosted by a company before

Corporate ghosting is when a company completely cuts off all forms of corporate communication with you without prior notice or explanation. Plot twist: this can happen to absolutely any professional in their career.

  • Why does corporate ghosting happen?
  • What stopped a supervisor from having one hard conversation to their employee and sparing them a lifetime of trauma?
  • What happens to all the relationships that an employee built in the organization after being ghosted?
  • How does being ghosted by a company affect an employee's ability to trust their next hiring manager again?
  • How does being ghosted by a company affect an employee's ability to build relationships again at their next company?
  • Does one supervisor's decision to ghost an employee not affect the rest of the employees reporting to him/her?
  • How does ghosting one employee ensure the psychological safety of the peers of that employee?
  • Can a company's culture be salvaged when ghosting employees becomes an acceptable norm?
  • What precedent does corporate ghosting set for new hires at a company?
  • Where is the trust, integrity, transparency, and courage that companies seek from their people, if it's not shown by example?
  • How is corporate trauma any different from the personal trauma that results from being ghosted?
  • How does the human mind respond to a trauma it cannot process or find closure in?
  • Is there awareness of the damaging consequences that corporate ghosting brings to an employee or is it not that important?
  • To what magnitude do you start questioning yourself and your self worth to fully process the very act of being ghosted?
  • Does the memory of being ghosted by a company truly fade away or does it stay with you until the test of time?
  • Would you have changed the narrative of your time with a company knowing that you were going to get ghosted in the end?

Is a company's decision to ghost their employee a necessary cruelty that could've been avoided by providing one exit conversation? 🔥

Find out with the return of guest speakers Joshua Mauldin and Emmanuel Wiggins in our special two-part mini series "Corporate Horror & Trauma: Ghosted," as we disrupt the very act of corporate ghosting and what it does to any hardworking professional trying to make a difference.

Oct 26, 202159:31
Agilist in Wonderland, A Fragile Transformation Story

Agilist in Wonderland, A Fragile Transformation Story

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Alice. She discovered a world that disrupted her entire perception of reality. It was called Wonderland.

If we look at Alice as this beacon of hope and the personification of curiosity & courage, do organizations exist in the Agile world that we live in or are they hidden gateways to Wonderland?

  • What happens when an organization doesn't fundamentally know why they are transforming?
  • What happens when an organization has a reorg and puts their people into new roles without understanding the responsibilities required of those roles?
  • What happens when the infrastructure doesn't support the scaling framework stood up by leadership?
  • Will an Agile Transformation alone fix the problems an organization has been experiencing in their operating model for years?
  • Will an Agile Transformation alone fix the problems an organization has been experiencing in their business model and market domain?
  • When an Agile team follows the process in the ecosystem designed for them to deliver a product that no one uses, is that a true measure of success?
  • Are executives willing to make the hard decisions and be open to the changes required of an Agile Transformation?
  • Is an Agile Transformation an organization's last attempt to save the business and the jobs of their people?
  • What happens when executives carry their own assumptions & bias around a strategy for the future by avoiding the actual challenges that exist in the ecosystem?
  • Does an organization ever stop transforming in a market that is constantly changing?
  • Are we allowing the people of an organization the security to make decisions as well as mistakes in order to make progress?
  • When we show patience and grace for children to mature into adults, are we providing that same courtesy to the people of an organization maturing in their own principles & values during an Agile Transformation?
  • When consultants are hired to support the organization's Agile Transformation, are we really collaborating for an abundant future or are we hiring a service to make the hard decisions for us?
  • Are we really measuring changed behaviors of a culture that's been fundamentally disrupted?
  • Is the future we envision abundant and full of hope or is the fear of failure keeping us from it?

Find out with newest guest speaker, David A. Brown, as we uncover what it takes to navigate through Wonderland and find our way back home. 🔥

Oct 23, 202101:00:10
WIP or Whipped?

WIP or Whipped?

So, how good are you at prioritizing what you need to get done at a sustainable pace? How often do you realistically say "yes" to last minute commitments that come up and how often do you say "no" to promises that you know you can't keep?

Do you find yourself saying the following:

  • I'm going to sacrifice sleep, to get all this done. 
  • I'm going to sacrifice meals, to get all this done.
  • I'm going to sacrifice time with my friends & family, to get all of this done. 
  • I'm going to leave this partially done, so that I can get everything else done.

Now, flip that to Agile teams using WIP limits:

  • Can WIP limits expose an Agile team's inability to prioritize?
  • What happens when an Agile team blindly follows WIP limits and starts cheating their way around them?
  • What happens when Agile teams run the risk of pulling in too much work against their rate of predictability?
  • Can WIP limits alone help undone work?
  • Can WIP limits implicitly encourage collaboration for a fragmented team?
  • How comfortable is an Agile team saying "no" to work that is past their available capacity?
  • Are we really embodying a Work/Life balance if team members are allocated at policies are disregarded by leadership?

WIP limits encourage a culture of work that is done before pulling in more work. The tool(s) we use doesn’t guarantee the culture we seek, but the people do.

Are we setting the example of the culture we seek from others?

Find out with newest guest speakers,
Sviatlana Kopts and Ranjit Sellars, as we uncover what it means to "stop starting, and start finishing." 🔥

Oct 18, 202101:00:01
Definition of #NOT Ready
Oct 04, 202101:20:46
Scrum Master of None
Aug 28, 202142:58
Psychology of Product
Aug 14, 202145:04
Disrupters Assemble

Disrupters Assemble

What happens when you go through eight powerful episodes with different speakers on controversial topics that often get overlooked in the Agile space? Well, what you don’t do is wait for opportunities to manifest on their own. You create your own opportunities for meaningful change when and where you see them. 

Agile Disrupted brings back major speakers from Season 1 for one last showdown called #ChangeMyMind on these seven (7) topics:

  • Work is done when it’s in Production.
  • Managers are not required for a successful Agile team.
  • Trust is like a vase. It’ll never look the same when you put it back together.
  • Products fall apart without understanding their true product market fit, and the five (5) types of MVPs.
  • Between the end user, the customer, the buyer and the consumer, the customer is the most valuable player for a product.
  • Products serve the customer it’s designed for, but there is no guarantee they will use it without the right design.
  • “Culture fit” translates to “culture clique.”

Tune into the Season 1 Finale with speakers Kaitlin Zarcone, John Augustin, Joshua Mauldin, Matt Miller, Emmanuel Wiggins, and find out how the disrupters assembled. 🔥

May 24, 202101:20:50
Ugh, Agile Interviews
May 18, 202144:20
The Customer, Haha - UX Edition
May 10, 202140:11
Minimum Viable Potential
May 01, 202141:27
The Customer, Haha
Apr 18, 202147:20
Trust, smh.
Apr 11, 202101:00:52
Manager or Mentor?

Manager or Mentor?

Episodes with music are only available on Spotify.
When it comes to the organizations we work for and represent, do you recall the first conversation you had with the person you reported to or currently report to? The day you first joined your organization, swiped your security badge and carried a sense of nervousness as well as excitement of what was about to be the #beginning of an era.
It’s an indescribable sense of uncertainty of what you actually got yourself into, while you wait for your first “prime directive.” A pivotal conversation that’s going to set the tone of what, may very well be, your most important relationship in the entire organization.
And that relationship is with your #boss.
Is that relationship going to be the catalyst to your #success or your ultimate #downfall? How will that relationship represent the #integrity behind your team's success or failure(s)? How will that relationship affect your own #integrity as a human being? Will you be able to #support your team's success at the detriment of poor management? Or even worse, poor leadership?
Or will you able to #thrive and become someone that you never knew existed with the unexpected #support of a mentor? Tune into this week’s newest episode and find out with guest speaker, Emmanuel Wiggins.
Mar 27, 202143:13
Definition of #NOT Done

Definition of #NOT Done

Episodes with music are only available on Spotify.

As believers of #Scrum, we stress the importance of the ever popular team artifact: Definition of Done. So, how about the Definition of #NOT Done

Can you recall a time where a team completes their sprint goal and it does not actually meet their Definition of Done at all. In fact, sometimes the team completely disregards the #DoD and continues on to the next sprint anyway. In the team’s mind, they finished their sprint goal and justify their work being deployed to Test or an adjacent environment. The work is done, but the actual Product Backlog Increment is #NOT done. 

So, does that merit the uncomfortable conversation of #undone work? 

Work that is #done is work that is #released. Work that is #shippable is work that is ready to be in the hands of the #users. But does it actually get shipped? Work that is released is when that happens.

How long do we wait for #undone work to accumulate? How long do we wait for that risk to continue growing? The uncertainty of how the component, the feature, or the entire application will respond to Production data and ultimately Production users?

Tune into this week's newest episode and find out.

Mar 12, 202137:40
Agile, the #Buzzword

Agile, the #Buzzword

Episodes with music are only available on Spotify.

When you're in the world that is Agile, does it seem like the term alone has become a commodity? A term that carries so much history and influence has now turned into a modifier that is actively used only to prove a completely separate point. Is it Agile, or is it the #buzzword? Are we believers or are we followers? Tune into this week's episode and find out. 

Feb 27, 202135:49