BONUS: Al Shalloway on Lean and Agile, 20 years after the Manifesto

Al Shalloway is a veteran of the software industry, and one of the early adopters of Agile. His company NetObjectives has even been podcasting on the Agile space way before Agile was popular. NetObjectives started their Lean And Agile Straight Talk Podcast way back in 2006, and you can still find many of their episodes on iTunes.

Business Value, the forgotten goal

In this episode we start by talking about the concept of “Business Value”, which is often forgotten in favor of some process goal like “adopt agile”. One can ask: what is the value of adopting Agile if we end up going bust?

But it is not so easy to define business value. In this episode we explore what might be the meaning or definition of business value in our organizations. We also discuss how we can help our teams focus on impact, not just more features delivered. And we end up talking about the need to have a process that adapts to many different organizations. Al talks about FLEX, a model NetObjectives developed after working with many organizations and understanding what is not working today when we try to scale Agile.

Developing an Agile model for organizations of many sizes

Al and his team have been around for a while. They have used XP, Scrum, Kanban, SAFe, Lean and more recently FLEX. From that varied experience, Al has learned a lot that he applies today in his company. From the insight that Scrum can only succeed if we take care of the people, to how SAFe is more appropriate to certain organizations, to the idea that management has to be an integral part of any transformation or Agile adoption. We talk about the Art of Action by Bungay, the orientation of management (hint: not top-down or bottom-up!), and double-loop learning. Double-loop learning is an essential part of transformation and actionable learning. We also refer to the New New Product Development Game, and other work by Nonaka, which informed the creation of Scrum.

About Al Shalloway

Al is the primary author of Design Patterns Explained, Essential Skills for the Agile Developer, Lean-Agile Software Development, the Lean-Agile Pocket Guide for Scrum Teams, and The Leanban Primer.

You can link with Al Shalloway on LinkedIn and connect with Al Shalloway on Twitter.

You can also check out the FLEX framework, NetObjectives and email Al.