Embracing an agile mindset, or implementing business agility in your organization, can be pretty challenging. Sometimes, agile even pose problems. But what are these types of problems? Forbes contributor Aina Alieva joins Sander to discuss her viewpoint on Agile Problems,
What you’ll discover in this show:
– What problems can arise while working with Agile
– How imposter syndrome can happen to anyone
– Alignment is essential
Agile & Enterprise Coach | Scaled Agile | Forbes Coaches Council | Speaker| Writer | Top 30 Female Entrepreneur 2021 by The NYC
Aina Alive is an experienced Agile Coach and a Business Consultant currently working for Sun Life (Canada) and a founder and CEO at Bee Agile Tutoring. She is a keynote speaker at PMI/Agile and Leadership Development Conferences and Symposiums. Her book “It Starts with YOU. 40 Letters to my Younger Self on How to Get Going in Your Career” hit the #1 position in the #jobhunting category on Amazon.
Aina has close to 10 years of experience in transforming businesses, leading change and developing leaders.
Aina has a vision for a world where leaders and teams are empowered to experiment with and execute new ideas and produce maximum results.
Sander Dur (host)
Scrum Master, Agile Coach, trainer, and podcast host for ‘Mastering Agility”
Sander Dur is a Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org, podcast host of Mastering Agility, Professional Scrum Master, and Lead Agile Consultant and trainer at Xebia. Besides this, he’s an avid writer for predominantly Serious Scrum on Medium.com. Sander has a major passion for the human side in complex domains. Ensuring a high level of psychological safety, therefore, is a critical part of his work. Organizations in complex domains can only survive when innovating. Innovation can only take place with the right balance between low social friction and high intellectual friction. While most organizations now understand how to apply Agile frameworks, they struggle with the delivery of value. Psychological safety is the next step in this evolution and Sander has a huge drive to help organizations reach that step.
He gained experience as a Scrum Master, Agile Coach, and Leadership consultant in many different top-tier organizations, including Nike and ASML.
Sander is enthusiastic, open-minded, and ambitious. He finds interpersonal relationships and intrinsic motivations very important in team dynamics. Besides his work, Sander loves spending time with his family, enjoys sports, eating healthy, barbecuing, riding his motorcycle, and traveling.
Discord community: https://discord.gg/6YJamBJxUV
people, agile, organization, leaders, spotify, coach, implement, team, educate, question, management, powerpoints, approach, powerpoint, provide, podcast, layers, problem, create, scrum
Aina Alive, Sander Dur
Sander Dur 00:04
Hello everybody. Welcome back to a fresh new episode of the mastering agility podcast. My name is sander and I’m your host. Before introducing today’s guests, I would like to remember you have the awesome mastering agility, Discord community. The goal is to have more 100 people in by the end of the year, we’re getting there fast. And we’re going to do a really cool giveaway again, once we reach that 400 By the end of this year now for today’s guest, the lovely Aina is joining us to talk about agile problems. Problems will arise when introducing agile mindset to organizations when trying to map scrum to an existing organization as a new way of working, what kinds of challenges arise? What kind of problems are we facing? What’s the current state of agile in her opinion? Let’s welcome Aina. Welcome to the Mastering Agility podcast. How are you doing?
Aina Alive 01:06
Good. How are you sander?
Sander Dur 01:08
I’m good, a little bit cold, a little bit tired. Other than that doing really well thank you very much, we didn’t really decide on a topic what we’re going to discuss. So in the short, previous recording, we discussed to talk about agile problems. But there are so many problems. What do you think are the biggest issues at this point when it comes to business agility.
Aina Alive 01:29
So in my current life stage, the biggest problem is bureaucratic organizations, which makes sense for large enterprises who has been in the market for 100 plus years. But in the current situation with COVID, and the other black swans exempt, previous way of work is quite slow. But fortunately, they even if they realize it, it’s hard to change his heart just adopt for when you had like so many layers of management, and they’re trying to become more agile, but still, they have so many legacy and like company, politics, bureaucracy, etc. So unfortunately, it’s quite slow to implement agile in such organizations. And there are many organizations this way in Canada, where I work for us though, this been my problem for the last few years since COVID. Started and that’s why I want this therapy to unleash my feelings.
Sander Dur 02:29
It’s always a good thing to be open about those, those challenges as well. I mean, pure bureaucracy has had as depending on what kind of organizations that you have, right? Initially, it was created to create some more than in the chaos. Is there no need no necessity for your any type of your bureaucracy when it comes to Agile organizations?
Aina Alive 02:52
Um, maybe like a few years ago, when I started to pursue an agile, I would say like no bureaucracy is evil, we don’t need a bureaucracy, we need to continue to grow cracy but maturing personally and maturing as a coach, I see like, we need some bureaucracy, otherwise, there’s going to be cause people can’t be just self managed without direction and without documented processes and to establish in some rules. So the issue is we need to find the balance between the processes, bureaucracy, and still have some freedom to adapt and to be agile.
Sander Dur 03:33
So what kind of bureaucracy, bureaucracy what kind of structure would you minimally expect an organization to exist or to be needed? Like To what extent does it become bad?
Aina Alive 03:44
So I noticed that as an older organization is more like management, two layers it has. And when we come with agility, the overall scene is to get rid of some management layers and add some like workforces, like, when I worked with teams, the main concern is they don’t deliver as fast as the leaders want. And when it gets to people, we need to hire more developers who need to hire more testers, and sit around but should we don’t have resources. However, we have managers and some layers of managers who like the main thing is just like, get to the scrum master or like whoever is leading the team, get some information from there and report it to the higher level of management, which is not bad initially. But then that level of management also just reports to the next level of management. So we have too many layers of management who just like reports to each other, but when it gets to, like cleaning up some layers, what are we going to do with people, we can’t just fire them because they dedicated so many years to organizations, they’ve been loyal, they’ve been productive and They wanted a good personnel and professional growth. So that’s why organization keeps creating so many, like, management’s there so people can feel that they are progressing, and we can’t just get rid of them. So another solution was to repurpose this people to retrain them to other roles, but retraining someone to other role. It’s like, I don’t know, I’m gonna Junko action, you’re going to retrain me to be a cook. And honestly, I hate cooking. So to stay in the organization, I will probably accept the offer. But I would still be like the maximum of like a mediocre Cook, if I really want to stay. So there’s a problem.
Sander Dur 05:39
Yeah, there’s, it’s a nice analogy, because I know you we’ve been, we’ve been friends for a while. You don’t like cooking. Also, because you don’t necessarily like food in general. The example that you’re trying to get into the organization is people don’t like to cook, but yet they want to eat. So they have to digest the food they’ve created themselves that they initially don’t want to get. And that’s I think, especially when you relate that back to the reporting, as you mentioned, reporting, just for the sake of reporting still implies that the decision making has been done somewhere else. Why not bring these people who have these still apparent decision making authority into the sprint reviews? Bring them there. So you don’t necessarily need the whole chain of reporting. And by doing so bringing back the lead time in that decision?
Aina Alive 06:27
Yeah, that’s a great idea. I also tried to implement it don’t just mean other codecs try to implement. So we invited some key stakeholders to the sprint review to the sprint planning. Unfortunately, like high level management is always so busy. So they come to the first 15 meetings to the last half an hour or so. They, they believe that spending one and a half hours for sprint review or for sprint planning, it’s too much for them. So why not just like, talk to the scrum master or product owner later and provide me with a PowerPoint, they so much used to the PowerPoint. So when we tried to get rid of PowerPoint, and it’s the topic for conversation, people freaked out, because what we’re going to do, how can we present? How can we lead without PowerPoints? So it took us about six months. So we’re kind of like on a winning side, we are getting rid of PowerPoint, we kind of like replaced it with mural board, which is more engaging and facilitating and still has some visuals for the meetings and for reporting. But still, it takes years to change people mindset to come to the meetings and see the value of Sprint Review. Rather than keep sending this PowerPoint from one layer of management to another.
Sander Dur 07:47
It sort of makes me think about this might be a very horrible comparison. But like drug users, I mean, you can tell drug users to come to rehab. But if you’re still gonna supply them with drugs in rehab continuously, then yes, they will always revert to their drugs. And it’s the same with no PowerPoint decks. If you keep supplying people with PowerPoint decks and invite them to the Sprint Review. Yeah, then probably they won’t show up because there have their needs met. Sorta, if you will, all the way the entire PowerPoint deck guy, if you want to know stuff, if you want to know about metrics, or you want to know about whatever we’re discussing, come to the Sprint Review. Other than that, I’m not going to provide you with that PowerPoint deck anymore. Too bad.
Aina Alive 08:30
Yeah, although I’m trying to You’re right. It’s just like a horrible comparison. But on the other hand, it doesn’t really make sense. Because we also noticed that people stakeholders created like meetings without inviting any of the coaches and run the discussions together in secret sharing the PowerPoints, like they’re sharing drugs, and people are your hub. And the other final thing is they might understand and they might like want to the or help and truly like trying to know details edge, but the higher level like a VPS, which us don’t have access to, they’re still on this drag of PowerPoint, and they demand the PowerPoint from the lower level of management and, like even being like I understood why PowerPoint is bad for the specific case, and I’m not sure, then it’s the PowerPoint is bad, like in general. No, we’re talking about my specific case right now. So they don’t have like guts to tell their high level of management that no, we are moving away from PowerPoint. It’s still like a manual control. It’s still like company politics, people still are scared to lose their job. So even knowing that the other ways are better. They still obey to the higher management and so it happens that nobody is educating the hiring management and this drugs are still like moving around the organization.
Sander Dur 10:00
Apparently, Microsoft is our supplier. We’ve got some support from Anthony in the in the chat, he says he doesn’t like PowerPoint either Mirro is always the way to go. Nice support fellow Canadians. So now what to do?
Aina Alive 10:16
Good questions. You know, just keep trying, just keep getting regionals as drugs and education from top to bottom. So, like many organizations hire us coaches, and hoping that we want to change, like leaders just like go to the team. And once I even like had a title, a child team coach, which I still don’t really understand what it means. But in high level, it means go to the team, change them, don’t touch us. That’s why we are creating this specific schedule for your team coach, you are not organizational coach, but it doesn’t work, you go to the team, you try to change the team. But the decision making still goes like top down. So you can change something as a team, but you can create a jail without changing the top. So it needs to be top down. And it’s kind of like a battle, we are trying to win this one.
Sander Dur 11:14
It is and I guess that’s where you see the discrepancy or the gap starting to either too wide and depending on how you’re engaging them. But if people don’t get to sprint reviews, or any other format, where you can discuss or engage with the team themselves, and then you will always sustain a gap. And that’s the that’s where you get start to lose interest from the team. Or the team needs to figure out themselves what is in meant with value like how can we meet user satisfaction? If our users or stakeholders in this case management is not been engaged with the in the actual conversation and the place where these these conversations happen? Yeah, they do expect the organization to change but okay, do that if they’re not part of the discussion. Whereas as Anthony points out, it’s all about educating the organization, if they don’t want to get educated, I mean, it’s really hard to get your diploma if you don’t go to school.
Aina Alive 12:11
Yeah, and also, I want to expand like another point of view, until all middle managers start hating me, it’s not always bad to have so many layers of management. And there is a very interesting book by Sunil Sundar, which goals sorry, Sunil Andhra, which goals that gorge and large enterprises were a him telling about the frozen middle, referring to a middle management much. It’s always like, good to have someone like in between who is frozen a little bit otherwise, we just like keep having ideas, we keep implementing them. But we need some time to process ideas. So sometimes when the ideas moving slow is good, because we can differentiate them and we can filter them and see if they are good, or maybe they just a fad, and we don’t need to implement them. Like the analogy I like, with Steve Jobs. Like he been also told about different ideas like iPhone and iPad, and others. And it took him a few years until these ideas matured and represented in a way that he understood. So we still need this filter, it is good to have middle management. But sometimes when filter is just like stuck, it doesn’t work. So what we were talking about before, it’s when the filter is stuck. It’s not like the good treetops the filter itself.
Sander Dur 13:42
No it is this, thinking about why and what’s the necessity to change? Like what’s the whole purpose that we’re trying to achieve with this whole organizational change? And if you know that, then you can start defining whether you need sort of these filters or how do you want to how do you want to move forward? What do you think is the biggest challenge whether the biggest underlying reason that it becomes this hard to change or to to still have the necessity for PowerPoints, for instance, or for any of these legacy behaviors?
Aina Alive 14:15
The main reasons are that people are protecting their comfort zone. They used to this, it works for them, why would we change something which works. And the example I used to provide in my webinars as well. So being an Agile coach is kind of like you have to adapt to change. Also, I traveled like a lot. I lived in different countries, different places. So it shows like my level of adaptability and agility. But when I buy a new phone or a new laptop, even though I want this change because I bought this one, for example, and it’s cute, it’s red color. It’s new like it, but it took me a week to change from my old iPhone to The new one, which I liked, and I wanted, just because I was rejected to change, it was challenging for me, it was painful to start using a new one to transfer a new information. But it’s simple. It’s just the phone, which I wanted. And for people who’ve been living in the same city, working in the same organization for 20 plus years precedes a career, like moving, for example, from the developer to a VP, using PowerPoints since they were 20. And now they are in their 50s. And now someone came 20 years younger than them and told PowerPoint is drugs, let’s get rid of them. Imagine the reaction and it takes time.
Sander Dur 15:43
Yeah, on the other hand, I mean, if you look at the insulation in your house, back in the day, you had only one layer of glass. And that’s what people stuck with for years and years and years. And now we have HR plus plus, but you don’t stick to that either. Just because we’ve always had single layer glass. So why change now? Because it always has been sufficient. There are better ways to do it now. So why not adopt those those changes? And there’s a question in the chat, saying I’ve experienced educating the team and showing so much value, where leaders start to notice and ask question on questions on how it’s done. What’s been your experience?
Aina Alive 16:18
What do you mean, what’s How is done? The agenda of limitation?
Sander Dur 16:22
Yeah, like, what’s, what we’re currently doing in our assignment at other large media corporation is to create some sort of FOMO. And then people start coming in, like, how did you do it? How is it done? How did you get to this point? Like, what’s your experience when it comes to training teams and educating teams and showing where value is and where leaders start to notice till that point, like, how is this done?
Aina Alive 16:46
Yeah, I think for us, it’s a great question. If people are curious, they already kind of like adopting their mindset to implement it, they just want to make sure that they just want to feel safe on this journey, and Twinstar one experience, one, like the Shepherd was going to lead them through this journey, because his journey looks scary. But they’re kind of like ready inside to explore the worst thing, when they don’t ask these questions. They just like reject whatever you start proposing them and just cut you down in the middle of your sentence. So in this case, they need support, they are scared psychologically. So the first thing you need to provide to them this safety, and one of the Agile pillars is transparency. So we definitely need to have a plan as coaches and mobilization plan on how we’re going to use it otherwise, like a shepherd without a plan. As we remember that URL is from Wonderland. If we don’t know where to go, we will go somewhere, but we need to talk to them and identify where they want to cancel when we have the start point and end point. We provide kind of like a route and given them a map being totally transparent, and telling them how we’re gonna do it. And when we get the our buy in, we can start slowly leading them, I can say like, when we provide the transparency, they find, yeah, we are ready to explore, they kind of like ready to explore, but they’re still scared. So on the way we need to support them with some like waterfall legacy, like still using the reports or some metrics or like whatsoever and slowly like moving to Agile metrics, but we need to understand that people feel scared initially. And we just need to provide some psychological safety. So same for teams and same for leaders.
Sander Dur 18:37
What such an hopefully this satisfies the question in chat. What such an implementation of such an approach work if people would not be a little anxious, a little antsy about this.
Aina Alive 18:52
So first, we need to have serious of, I didn’t like webinars, I prefer using a workshop with leaders and with teams like separately and together, providing them information, what is going to be done. So for example, if we are implementing agile we need to use we need to choose a framework. Was it safe, Spotify, Scrum, and Vaughn, whatever. So we need to give them some observation on the framework we’re going to use and make them choose. We are not consultants, we are coaches. We don’t tell them. Hey, guys, we’re going to use Scrum. Oh, we provide them like scrum Kanban. Say, for example, and just like an example and make them decide what is going to be like working for their organization because they’ve been there for like 20 years. And we just came and been there for a few weeks figuring out the best approach. So we have a workshop on creating the best approach and what framework we are going to use. Then we need to decide on the hierarchy again, even though we don’t like it, but we need some so do we want to Like teams platforms, and I’m using like safe language right now or do we want just like teams report into some director level or IV? So whatever structure we have, we need to identify team structure who we need in the team, like developers, testers, UX designers, do we need UX designer as a team? Do we need an architect etc? Like clear roles and responsibilities because teams are new to agile, they might not even like know what is the difference between a scrum master and product owner. So have a clear set up for the team have a clear hierarchy clear framework, and then we can maybe not then in parallel, we can go to processes and 80 tools, which I am not familiar with, I came from business side and I was electrical engineer, never a developer. That’s why probably I left it until the end, because I’m still scared when it gets to a technical conversation. But definitely we need to do it in parallel to identify technical tools and processes like for QA or what? What are we using? What kind of like tests environmental, what kind of DEV environment or architectural, like environment like Kafka, sonar, cube Acuitas, these are like, top three, I would keep using from one organization to another. That’s why I know this titles, and don’t ask me what it means. I don’t know. I don’t have to know I’m just going to my role is to lead with powerful question. So we have tech leads, we have architects who know exactly what I’m talking about. So we just need to bring these people in the room and facilitate and as a workshop, where as they can identify our architecture and tech tools.
Sander Dur 21:44
And speaking of the architecture of these back to you hierarchies, it’s the initial starting point of this conversation, talk about agile problems. And I think it’s very interesting that you have an architect for, you know, any new product that you’re developing. But as soon as he goes when it comes to these implementations of an organizational way of working like Agile is very different compared to the old traditional waterfall approach. But apparently, we never think about, maybe we shouldn’t have an organizational architects to restructure whatever needs to restructure in order to make this new way of working, actually working for us. What’s your experience on that?
Aina Alive 22:27
Um, we never had like, an organizational architecture to restructure the whole structure itself, because in my experience there mobilization and reorganization starts with one business unit, kind of like a pilot project. So the organization wants to play safe. Again, let’s start somewhere there, see how it goes. And then if you guys have a success, we might consider restructuring other business units, other parts of the organization. So if we get to success in the first one, we kind of like go into the second and the third one. But we never started with like organization as a whole, which would be the best approach for me as a coach, but it might be very risky for the organization, if it fails, the organization will lose like millions of dollars. So that’s why as they tried to play safe and again, we are talking about old bureaucratic organizations. It’s still a command to control and stone tools, their power. So yeah, we kind of like go using like not the best approach but probably the safest approach.
Sander Dur 23:34
Yep, makes sense. So in a way because the safest approach usually the least efficient one maybe interesting question to the people in the chat as well like do you experience to be agile problems at this point? And when I think about agile problems prediction comes to mind is predictability estimation. psychological safety of this point, of course is one of the biggest hot topics but we’ve been covering that in the podcast for quite a bit less than last few few episodes. But I think one of the biggest things that maybe you can you can back me up in your experiences of people or organizations are looking for a one size fits all like the silver bullet. Yeah, we don’t have to change that much. And we have the biggest impact. What do you think about this?
Aina Alive 24:22
This is another Pain and Suffering Reason but the topic is a child problem. So yes, that’s another problem. The organization wants, like silver bullet and kind of like the approach I used for the previous one and they always asked me about the successful cases and yeah, I have successful cases but one approach doesn’t fit all. Which people are again like they understand this smart people in the organization like leaders are like brilliant smart there, otherwise they wouldn’t climb the corporate ladder. But again, protective the protecting the safe To ensure security, they kind of like hoping subconsciously for this approach. So this is the other thing we need to educate them even during the job interview. Unless we are so desperate on getting a job. So we agree on everything they asked us during the job interview, but it’s so enough during the interview if they are looking for a silver bullet, or if they’re really ready to change, and unfortunately, like 95% interviews I had is that organizations don’t know why they need agile, they heard the fancy tech buzzword agile, they know that everybody is going Agile. Oh my gosh, we are not agile yet. We need an Agile coach. We watched two three videos on YouTube, we watched Spotify, we were excited about Spotify, we add to the job description experience with a Spotify model even though there is like not such a model at all. And Spotify doesn’t use this model anymore, but they do know about that. So when you come to the job interview and you start talking to them, you see it’s like after first two three questions even if you see it like from the job description, but you still have hope that you can educate his people. So if you see that people are like listening to you and buy in your ideas during the job interview. So I take it and I start like coaching them from the interview and since my first day in the organization that there is no one silver bullet and one size doesn’t fit all. If people are like too conservative just give us a jail or just like give us processes or a giant equals ground. We need scrum ceremonies. You see each so I just reject this offers. Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe someone knows please write us in comment and educate me.
Sander Dur 27:03
Ceremonies is one of these things as well. We difference between ceremonies and as they call in scrum events is that ceremonies are events except with a religious connotation in some people are very religious, when it comes to agile, like Agile is going to be our Holy Savior and save everything that we’re doing. Of course, it doesn’t work that way. If if it went up, then I would be out of a job. So thank God he doesn’t. But you know exactly what you say. The Spotify model does not exist. And we had Henrik Newberg on the show a couple of episodes ago where he was describing this, like there is no Spotify model, I just was talking about the Spotify engineering culture. And that’s what has been now known as the Spotify model. Actually, people left the company because of this, which is horrible, of course horrible impact. So that’s where you have negative value, different different topics that you can actually have negative value. But my point being many organizations are looking for that one size fits all approach because they fail to skip. But Alistair Cockburn introduced you to Agile being Xu Hari. Have you ever seen the Karate Kid movie? Yeah, good. If I see you are listening, haven’t watch it still did the principle applies you know the wax on wax off stuff. Point being Daniel Russo with the Karate Kid in the in the film itself, is being told by his trainer by his Sensei, Mr. Miyagi, to put the wax on, on the cars that he the old classic American cars. And to take it off again, like go through the motion. He did, he doesn’t want to do it. Why? Because it has nothing to do with karate. What it has to do with even though he didn’t see it is to get that muscle memory and to create a sort of a system of pattern and to endure the pain that comes along, ultimately, to know how this stuff works and how you can apply it and then if you’re actually going to apply it in practice, then you can learn from this and see where you can adapt to fit this to your your cultural needs, your organizational challenges. And that’s what Spotify had done has done is they took the empirical process, they implemented scrum as it’s supposed to be done by the book and then started to see where the friction was for to their specific, unique needs. The thing with unique is, is that you can watch that across multiple organizations. So any organization who wants to who says they need to implement the Spotify model is not looking at the empirical approach, but just you want to have our problem solved right away with and we don’t want to do really want to do anything for it. Think about what should we change that relates back to the organizational architecture? What do we need to change? Wax on wax off? Exactly. Anthony, what do we need to change in order to make this work for us and how can we create our you know, not the Spotify mine? Under the maybe the I don’t know, the shell model, the IBM Model, what works for us what our local challenges are. And I think that’s something that many organizations don’t want to do or underestimate what the value is, too. I mean, if you you’re highly intelligent, you’re well educated, you’re in the engineering, you were educated in electric is, recall that, and electrical engineering, I wouldn’t be able to do that. And why not? Because you went through that pain of doing the wax on wax off, you took the empirical approach and took the studies and found out what happens if I didn’t know you do drive to run X, you took the empirical approach, I didn’t. But I don’t expect myself to get to your level of knowledge yet. That is the exact thing that organizations are trying to do. Like, don’t go through the pain, don’t go through an emotion yet expect maximum outcomes. I think that’s something that we as, as agile coaches, or consultants are requested to fix with minimal, minimal pain.
Aina Alive 31:06
Yeah, minimum pain, minimum efforts and minimum might expand on that. And I talking to like many leaders, not just large enterprises, but other organizations, not related to it or agile. So those leaders or intrapreneurs, asked me about agile, so when I tried explain about the mindset about the value we are bringing to the customer is customer satisfaction. They don’t care about any of this, they just care, like, what is ROI until the year, how fast is going to be implemented. And when I tell like, it takes just like three, four months to get buy in from the team to get the trust. And only after that you can start coaching. And then it takes another like six months to get to this like coercion point to move the team like from the stage of like, Norm into performance. So overall, it’s kind of like 12 months, or even like more depends on the situation. We’re a rare cases when it takes like less time. Mostly it’s for the small startups, when people are more like agile and yawn. They mean like, on their mindset, not on the age. And those leaders, those entrepreneurs don’t want to hear that. And I noticed that so not many leaders are considering the strategy of playing a long game. Everybody wants the short games, the short win, and we didn’t care or didn’t want to think about what’s going to happen next. But a jail is basically a long term game, which will pay off but definitely not the first year.
Sander Dur 32:41
No, and that is a quite frequently in expectation, like implement scrum in three months, and then we’re good to go, then all of our issues will disappear like sun in the snow. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. sort of glad, but also sort of sad than to hear that this is your experience too. Glad that I’m not the only one. And I know I’m not the only one but it’s always good to be able to be on the same level and have the understanding mutual understanding what other issues this is great.
Aina Alive 33:14
What do you mean by the issues?
Sander Dur 33:17
You know, if an organization doesn’t dare to take the empirical approach, do you see this in other areas outside of the implementing implementation itself? Do you that what’s the effect that’s rubbing off when it comes to in our dynamic sculpture whatsoever?
Aina Alive 33:33
Yes, effect is the micro change that they mature or they have this PowerPoints reports they have probably everybody knows the analogy with watermelon, like a green herb for the green project on the surface and actually read from inside it which nobody wants like to notice though, they might have this like green project for like a few months, but then green is turning red and it becomes over so they spend another month like pretending that no we’re still green. We are just like turning yellow Amber for some reason, like keep pretending in front of them, like higher leadership like ABP or other levels, but eventually it doesn’t work and who blame too for this definitely a coach is definitely a Scrum Masters or a contractor forever came and brought the changes. So guys, it’s like you didn’t implement the changes we wanted. So it definitely hurts team dynamics. It hurts like organizational processes because they started changing they started transforming they moved to I don’t know like depends on how far they moved to this surge stero to the Fisterra to like AIDS era like conversion like 20 Stairs process overall. So they’re on the eight stairs now and they kind of like stuck some organization stuck and still like returns as they’re moving to Agile. And then he joins us as they’re telling me, we’ve been trying to implement a jail for the last 10 years. And, okay, you guys actually been trying for two years, and then you stuck here and for the last eight years, you just like stuck at this level and you don’t move it. So the organization keeps spending money is the ROI, everybody is concerned. But they keep wasting money for the transformation, which doesn’t move forward, or they just like shut down the transformation, and go backwards to waterfall. But the team’s already tasted freedom, they tasted agile, and some of them wants to continue, in my experience, like mostly like testers, they kind of like first adopters. No, because it’s easier for them to work iteratively than just test everything at once. Then the other so the team wants agile, but the leaders don’t. And then it’s gonna be like, pressure and kind of like internal war between the team and leadership. So it hurts like the organization financially, it hurts organization, psychologically. But unfortunately, sometimes there is a pain that organization needs to feel to understand what to do next.
Sander Dur 36:14
Unfortunately, yeah, I would say don’t really Yeah, of course, pain is uncomfortable people in general are relatively reluctant to change. How do you help people to understand why the why the change would benefit them? Is that empirical approach? Do you tailor this on the person at hand? Or is it do you have a model for this?
Aina Alive 36:37
I don’t have a model for this. And I can say that I am to experience in this and I can just convince someone after like two or three meetings, but like, we need to keep telling people and explain people, what is going to happen, like, each action has their result. So if we do this, this is going to be as a result, unfortunately, and I fall into this trap all the time, because I’m in a jail enthusiast, I know what it’s gonna like, get to the edge. So I kind of like putting cards in front of the horse. And telling Souls is going to be the result without providing them like clear actions, to make sure that they feel psychologically safety, or if I just like, provide the next steps without identifying the results as they get or maybe the results for the team which, like the leader isn’t don’t care, this. They supposed to care, but people are selfish. So yeah, it’s very, like challenging to identify and to provide, like, what do people really need, but when we kind of like, click, okay, this person cares about safety, for example, or like money, or like organizational spirit, when we click there, we keep like educating them on what’s happening. And again, it’s a painful process, you educate them, you create a meeting, and like, even if the leader understood, Okay, we’re good, agile, we’re doing empirical process, people’s first, it’s hard to break the habit. And then we get to the meeting, and this leader starts like dictating, again, to the team and to their like employees, what they need to do next. And it’s kind of like against what we’ve been talking about what we’ve been explained in the last two hours of education. And then at the end, the leaders ask for feedback. So did I improve? And you’re the coach like, No, you didn’t. And it depends on the maturity of the leader to take this feedback and to understand this feedback and also maturity of the coach how to provide this feedback, so the leader understands. So I don’t have a model yet. I am on my way of practicing and maturing myself as a coach and this much hopefully, in one year, we will have a podcast again. So I will have a clearer model and provide like there are five steps you can make. Leader mature and adopt, but not at this moment.
Sander Dur 39:03
I’m going to stick to do this. So November 2023, we’re going to have another podcast to reflect on this. I recently was a guest for once in the podcasts or the scrum network podcast with with Dave West will probably be really somewhere in December. I have a really nice conversation about him about leadership and he was very open about his personal challenges and what he feels is our his thing to improve and I think that he displayed a very essential thing there is to be aware of your own pitfalls and have a good level of introspection. What’s the best agile leader that you have come across so far?
Aina Alive 39:41
The best a gel leader you want to name or
Sander Dur 39:44
just a situation if you want to know in if you want to mention the name of Georgia, go ahead. Nice to have some kudos to someone but if you want to stick to the character or the behavior, the fine
Aina Alive 39:56
I would stick to the correct sir because I imagine a few real life A child leader as I am looking for become like them one day, I am not at the stage yet. So this leader is they have a very strong other business or technical background, and also having empathy and compassion, but stick to their coercion, they’ll stick to people problem like not colluding to people. And that is my problem, because I am empathetic. But I found myself being like too much in the lectin problem, and feeling too much other people pain. So I forget about my coaching plan and, and it’s like becoming a protective mom, which is not a coach anymore. Just like a protective mom. And even as a parent, sometimes when you’re over protective, it doesn’t serve your child. So these people they have like room. So business or understanding they speak business language, she was leaders, they speak empathetic language with the team, but they always have their focus in mind. So it’s kind of like a combination of accommodative type of personality, and analytical type of personality and sometimes assertive type of personality. So you feel the pain, you compassion to the team, you, you support the leader, but you analyze everything at the same time, and you assertively, push them to the end goal.
Sander Dur 41:29
So situational leadership, and being very aware of how to influence or how to behave in certain situations, and not always be like the the elephant in the Chinese government.
Aina Alive 41:41
Yeah, exactly. And know your end goal, know how to get there, and adjust and adapt and be agile on the way feeling empathy and compassion to the team and understanding to the leadership.
Sander Dur 41:56
That’s pretty cool. I think it’s very important. I think that relates to you what I see from you on, you know, social media platforms like LinkedIn. And I don’t want to call you an influencer, because that makes me think of Instagram hippies. But you’re definitely the good online personality, and you know how to brand yourself really well. But that requires that situational leadership as well. How do you get to this point that you know how to build a brand for yourself and know things what to say and how to behave in certain situation?
Aina Alive 42:27
Yeah, absolutely. And before we go to that question, I will actually give you one name. Ian Bonner is one of the coaches, I attended a few courses. And I still like, look for his force on LinkedIn, and I am learning a lot from him. So if you want to go to example, Ian Bonner is the one who follow and definitely sunder his podcasts, his discord. Or like social media as you have, yes. That’s how we met actually, one of the networking events. And coming to your question about the branding on social media knowing like what to say and how to say it took me a while to figure it out. And I was scared of posting something on LinkedIn, especially when I just like started my career when I pivoted from engineering and teaching languages to it and specifically from us or or jail, I was terrified, posting something on LinkedIn or like a blog because I knew there are like so many experts with like 30 plus years or 20 plus years of expertise, like who learned from Jeff Sutherland or like Alistair Cockburn or other fathers and here is like me i in a brand new scrum master who posts her like clever opinion on all social media. I was terrified, but I got some coaching from PMI chapters and agile chapters and people my coaches were very encouraging about that, like, don’t be scared just like post most people don’t know even like what you know, I gel is such a niche. So nobody knows outside of our like, go forward, what Agile is nearer like people in like marketing, ecommerce, or whatever, like other fields, so like, whatever you know, already, it’s something new for them. So start simple. So I started simple, I started writing what Agile is and kind of explaining in a simple way, not in a Wikipedia way where it starts the child is in methodology until like, full of frames such as Scrum. Kanban. So, like one sentence 15 unknown words for people who are far from our niche and kind of like make them sleepy after the first paragraph. So I tried to do it engaging and in a funny way so everybody can relate and understand. And that’s how I actually got an idea to start it illustrating and provide it in the most like funnier and challenges way, because it takes me so time to learn something new. Because again, there are like so many industry specific terms, I don’t know. And it’s new information is just like hard to absorb when it’s new. So I tried to make it like for a five year old child, like using foxes, bots, myiasis in my illustrations, like sometimes I’m criticized from business experts, like, Did someone just have this page and started providing children’s cartoons, but that’s the way how we learn at least like from my opinion. So I started there when you start branding and social media, and definitely someone is gonna hate you. But it’s kind of like the ratio of how many people like, follow you and write you positive feedback and encourage you to illustrate or to create more balls, because they learn from you and how many people hate you. And again, you discover why this person hates you what specifically they don’t like is your like, content doesn’t make sense, or they just don’t like your approach. I also don’t like approach of like some like influencers in Instagram or on LinkedIn or like, whatever. It’s just like my personal preference, but I never write a comment. Some people write a comment, okay, they don’t like my approach. Don’t follow me. The other people like my information are okay. This encouraged me to keep doing and also free webinars, podcasts and other like tools where I can interact with the audience and get questions. And it was another fear. Oh, my God, I’m going live on LinkedIn. Some experts will ask me a question. Like, have you heard about like this type of module? Or like that person? Oh, my God, I never heard about it. I look stupid. People want to stress me? No, I found out that authenticity is also a key to success in social media. I don’t know something either. Yeah. I don’t know. Please, educate me. This is actually how I learned that this is like the fastest way of Lauren, be in life. Having a webinar right to post on social media, people ask your question you don’t know. You openly say you don’t know. And the person explains it to you. And eventually you build your crowds. I don’t like to say followers, because again, like Instagram, he does have followers. I don’t have followers. I like having a network. And I like having people in the network who are smarter than me. So I can learn from them. Not just people can learn from me. So it’s kind of like a circulation of knowledge between like more experienced people to people who just like started learning. And when these people are just like started learning few years ago, they come back to me and showing their progress. And now I learned from those people. So it’s like, endless, endless circle of knowledge. And that’s how you brand yourself on social media.
Sander Dur 47:58
Really appreciate the openness that you mentioned, the and the courage that you display. Because I know it can be challenging to discuss these kinds of things, you know where you you’d have to say, or you don’t have to say, but where you specifically mentioned, your challenges the way that you felt the anxiety levels. Sometimes it seems to be a little too much that we always have to perform and that we know everything. And the thing is we don’t and as soon as you are comfortable with knowing that you don’t know everything. And maybe even anything, I mean, the sooner the minute I came out of my studies, after I graduated, the first thing that I learned is I don’t know anything. It took me four years. Now that’s not true. It took me a few years to go through my bachelor’s. But then what you still don’t know anything. And as soon as you embrace the fact that you’ll never get to a point where you know everything better it is. So I really appreciate your openness and your honesty in the meeting those things. And it’s the same with the name that you just mentioned, I wrote it down and you probably saw that Ian banner, I’m gonna look him up. I don’t know him, where I’ve been in situations as well, where people mentioned the name that you don’t know him. No, I don’t know the entire world. Let’s connect. Let me help me understand why this would be a good idea to connect with these people. But what is the information or the knowledge that they can bring? Or how can I support them? It’s knowing that you don’t know and everything and anything is really, really helpful. And a quote that came to mind while you were telling your story and sharing your your experiences. If it frightens you, if it makes you anxious, it might be a good thing to try. And actually, I’ve been talking to many people that were like, I don’t know where to start. What if the comments are going to be negative? Well, there will always be people who will doubt you or have negative feedback or just are complaining, you can feed that information, or you can feed on that. Or you can feed on the positives and see where you can improve. And again, take the empirical route, how can we inspect and adapt? And what can we do with this information? It seems like you’ve been doing a very good job in that you you’re part of Forbes, you do the webinars continuously, you have really good posts, really good quality posts, you speak in conferences, you’ve done really well for yourself. And that brings me to the last question of this episode. Where can people find you? Where can people see what kind of conference that you’re speaking at? Or where can people find your webinars? Where,
Aina Alive 50:39
Hey, before I answer that, I remember the Dunning Kruger effects. And so if you feel that if you know everything, you are on top of mountain of stupidity, and then you feel that you didn’t know anything when you fall. And only after that there is like a slope of improvement, which is very long, when you feel that you know everything, it’s you are on the top of the mound of stupidity. And then you fall from that. And there is whereas actual like slope of improvement and slope of learning is happening. And people are like on the different stage of the slope, but it doesn’t matter as a matter is that you are on the slope and you are improving. And another example I had in my head is like it was a platonic or a Socratic, remember, specifically when he spoke was his student, the student told Oh, you’re such a great philosopher, you know, everything. And he wrote two circles, one circle was small. And another circle was big, and Hedgehog. So this is your like, small circle of knowledge, your knowledge is what is inside there. And things a lion is it’s where your touch was unknown. So you don’t you don’t know much. So there is not much like unknown for you. But my circle is bigger. So this is my knowledge inside. And like what is outside it is unknown, which touches what I already know. So it’s kind of like endless way. It’s more we know, more unknown. We face and now coming to your questions under where people can find me. The link in my most active social media is not alive is there. Like also Instagram, despite the fact we despise Instagram keep is, some people are there. So I post my pictures, mostly on Instagram. And I am launching my brand new website on Monday. So it’s via jl now.com, where you can find the schedule with my webinars and future boot camps and training and just follow me on LinkedIn where I update my podcast record and my future presentations or whatever next, I’m planning to do
Sander Dur 52:51
wonderful. And of course you’re in the master utility discord community. And there could be of course, directly chat.
Aina Alive 52:57
Yeah, I’m already there. So don’t be confused.
Sander Dur 53:03
Well read is your name on the mastering agility discord. Anna, thank you very much for being here. Really appreciate the discussion. Hopefully we’ll see you back in November next year.
Aina Alive 53:12
Yeah, hopefully I will bring you a model. Thank you, Sandra.
Sander Dur 53:16
You’re very welcome. Talk to you soon. Talk to you soon. And that is all for today’s episode of the mastering agility podcast. Thank you for staying with us. Thank you for listening to this episode. Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of his work. I think she’s very inspiring. The way she’s feeling her presence on social media as well how she presents herself. How she speaks at conferences. I think she’s doing a wonderful job and I hope you guys agree with me. I also hope to see you in the mastering agilities discord community. You can find the link in the show notes. It’s a very thriving community. I’m very proud of the way we’ve built that throughout this year, and it’s just the first year so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen next year. Speaking of looking forward, I’m looking forward to next week’s episode as well. Hope that y’all got that you guys join us there to have an amazing day. Until then,