Self-Managing vs. Self-Organizing with Michael Guiler

Podcast Ep. 121: Self-Managing vs. Self-Organizing with Michael Guiler

Self-Managing vs. Self-Organizing with Michael Guiler
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Episode Description:

In the new Scrum Guide update, one of the key but subtle changes has been on the phrasing that teams must be “self-organizing” to now saying that they must be “self-managing.” So, what might leaders do to help teams move forward in a direction of becoming more self-managing?

Joining Dan to discuss this topic and share his insights is return guest and AgileThought colleague, Michael Guiler. Mike is an agile consultant at AgileThought. He has been an agile coach for over 13 years and has experience helping geographically dispersed organizations (in both the business and technology fields) to transform and better achieve their goals.

Having done a fair amount with leaders himself, Mike has a ton of great insights on what leaders need to do to move their organization and teams in the direction of self-management, how to shift from a leader-follower to a leader-leader, why an organization would want to become self-managing in the first place, and the techniques and tactics leaders can use to enable self-managing teams.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Key Takeaways

  • What does self-managing mean? Why would you want a self-managing team as an organization and a leader?
    • Ultimately, you’re trying to build an environment where the organization and the people are really your focus
    • If you can make your people happy, your organizations will take off and you will no longer have to be the “puppet master” that is pulling all of the strings
    • Value the people and the interactions over the processes and tools
    • “When we can get an organization to focus on the people and realize that they’re not resources … they really unleash the power of the organization.” — Michael Guiler
    • A self-managing team can make really good decisions and have a great impact on its customers
  • How to begin to move towards self-management and transition from a leader-follower to a leader-leader:
    • Through an intention-based leadership model
    • Nurture an environment that creates safety for your team
    • Have open conversations with your team on self-management
    • You should have a good idea of where the organization is going as a leader in order to get to a place where it can self-manage
    • It is important to be completely transparent and make sure that everyone is on the same page about the organization’s vision and “why”
    • The vision should be matched with feedback from the bottom (and left to right, etc.) so that it’s not a power dynamic
    • Enable the team’s communication and ability to deliver based on the vision
    • Get clear about how decision-making happens based on the type of decision
    • Make sure that the proper authority for making decisions aligns with the vision and is clear
  • Techniques and tactics leaders can use to enable self-managing teams:
    • Story mapping is an incredibly valuable tool for software development teams to get everyone on the same page and aligned with where the organization is trying to go
    • Sometimes a team member doesn’t have the competency or skills to become self-managing, it is your duty as a leader to fill those gaps, give them the information they need, and help them grow
    • Give your team water-wings before you throw them in the pool! (i.e. Give your team safety so that when a mistake is made it gets caught and is not catastrophic)
  • Challenges for leaders new to the servant leadership mindset:
    • It takes time to change a “command and control” environment (i.e. the leader is used to “pulling the strings” and the team is used to having to wait for the strings to be pulled before they take action)
    • If your team doesn’t understand the big picture they can’t self-manage effectively
    • A lack of vision and understanding at all of the levels prevents self-management of the organization
    • If you punish/reprimand team members for making the wrong decisions, they will eventually stop making decisions on their own (halting theirs and the team’s ability to become self-managing)
  • Resources for leaders on unleashing your organization’s self-managing potential:

Mentioned in this Episode:

Transcript [This transcript is auto-generated and may not be completely accurate in its depiction of the English language or rules of grammar.]

Intro: [00:03] Welcome to Agile Coaches’ Corner by AgileThought. The podcast for practitioners and leaders seeking advice to refine the way they work and pave the path to better outcomes. Now here’s your host coach and agile expert, Dan Neumann.

Dan Neumann: [00:17] Welcome to this episode of the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast. I’m your host, Dan Neumann and pleased today to be joined by one of my colleagues, Mike Guiler. Thanks for joining Mike.

Mike Guiler: [00:27] Thanks for having me as always, Dan, I look forward to these conversations.

Dan Neumann: [00:31] We’ll see if you say that when we’re done. Just a little bit ago, Sam Falco released a trainer talk episode. It was the third one of a three-part series, and he was exploring some of the changes to the scrum guide. And one of the changes in there was talking about the inclusion of the term around self managing teams. And so for folks who are interested in going back and listening, they can do that, but it’s not a prerequisite for the rest of our conversation. What you and I are going to explore today is what might leaders do to help teams move towards the footing of being more Self-managing?

Mike Guiler: [01:14] Awesome. Looking forward to this.

Dan Neumann: [01:15] Me too. And I’m looking forward to your insights on that, uh, because you’ve, you’ve done a fair amount with leaders and, um, I’ve had a chance to see and hear about some of the things that you introduced to leaders and, uh, we’ll share those today.

Mike Guiler: [01:32] So one of the places I like to start is some books. Um, I find that, uh, Simon Sonics, uh, leaders eat last and David Marquez turned the ship around are just awesome books to help leadership wrap their head around. So what does it mean self managing and how do I have to change my behaviors? And why would I want to change my behaviors to accomplish self managing teams and organizations? I don’t know about you Dan, but, but more often than not. When I start to talk to the leadership about changing their behaviors, why and Oh, by the way, I’ve made it to, to the position I’m in not doing any of this stuff that you’re talking to me about. So again, why would I do this? And Simon’s book, I think does an awesome job of talking about the why. So in that book, he’s talking a lot about that. We taught, he starts typically with safety and we’ve got to build a safe environment, but ultimately what you’re trying to get to is building an environment where the organization, the people are really your focus. If you hone in on people and make them happy and good guess what happens within your organization, your organization takes off you no longer have to be that sort of the puppet master at the top, pulling all the strings to accomplish great things. And in fact, in his book, he about, um, GE and, um, Oh, why do you always forget the other one? Oh, it’s the big warehouse.

Dan Neumann: [03:14] So there’s a reason I ask other people what they’ve been reading at the end of these is because I have not read Simon’s book leaders eat last well, we could leave so people can email us the answer to I don’t know. Maybe we’d have a contest around that. Yeah. So if you can figure out the book Mike’s thinking of, that would be, he does. Yeah. Um, I love it. And, uh, when you were talking about safety, it made me think of some of the, the modern, agile, you know, quote, modern, agile principle. It makes safety a prerequisite might be a value, but what a clever bit of marketing, I want to say with the modern agile, um, because once you have the modern, why would you do the other kind? So now I’m kind of curious to know how much of that makes safety a prerequisite actually comes from, from Simon’s work. Um, Hm. I’ll have to see if I can pull on that string, but you’re talking about focusing on the people, um, and encouraging leaders who admittedly got there by not focusing on the people that got there by pulling the strings. People got used to waiting to have the string polled before they took action. And that’s tough. That’s a really hard change for both the leader and the people who are used to being directed very specifically.

Mike Guiler: [04:41] Yeah. And on both sides, right? I mean, you you’ve hit the nail on the head when, if I’m in a command and control environment and I’m used to being told what to do when to do it. And I go do this and I come back to the trough for the next item, when you start talking about self-managing and, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this right organizations, I’m, I’m going to become self-managed. And basically what they do is they throw these people that are used to being told what to do when to do it, how to do it in the deep end of the pool, and say, go ahead and swim without one swimming lesson.

Dan Neumann: [05:11] That is an approach. Um, I think that might be bordering on abusive if you do it with children, um, it might be abusive with professionals as well.

Mike Guiler: [05:21] Exactly. And Oh, by the way, I remember the name of the company. It’s Costco, that Simon was comparing and see, it only takes a few minutes and then it finally comes back to the old guy, but, and then when managers have shut the people into the deep end, they go, well, heck this didn’t work. That’s self-managing things crap. Right? And they start pulling the strings again, because there’s a deadline and I’ve got to get, I’ve got to meet this deadline. And that’s really what Simon was talking about when we was comparing GE and Costco, that if you look at GE stock price, for example, it’s bubbling all over the place and, you know, feast and famine. But when you look at Costco, it’s much more of a straight streamline, you know, it’s not sexy, but wow. They just deliver. And one of the reasons it’s because excuse me, they focus on the people and you can get that steady return that predictability that a lot of people talk about in the agile community. This is how you can do it by focusing on your people.

Dan Neumann: [06:19] That’s pretty, pretty interesting. What I know, of course, then you think back to the agile manifesto, the people and interactions over the processes and tools, and of course there’s value on the right with the processes and tools, but the manifesto says, Hey, we value the thing on the left. More the people in the interactions over there.

Mike Guiler: [06:38] Absolutely. Right. When we can get an organization to focus on the people and realize that they’re not resources. So one of our favorite topics, right? These are not resources. These are actual human beings. They really unleash the power of the organization. And David Marquet and has turned the ship around book talks about that. How do we get all of the brains in my organization working, right? How do we engage these unbelievably talented, really important people at all levels. And when we figure out how to do that, now your organization can run.

Dan Neumann: [07:19]
So I feel like the high-level description makes sense. We want to empower people. We want to focus on people, et cetera. I think it can be a challenge to then put that into operation so much like servant leadership, servant leaders. What exactly does a servant leader do? Just, just go, just go be a servant leader. So for, for people like me, who might’ve got a computer science degree or be more tactical, what, okay. Yeah. We want to focus on people. What’s an example, maybe a couple specific things that the people could say, Oh, like, I see that, I see an example.

Mike Guiler: [08:00] This is where I turn to David Marquet’s book. Cause I think he’s got a ton of really just solid advice on what you can do as a leader to do. He talks. And he talks in terms of moving from leader follower to leader leader, how do you move to leader leader? And so there are just a great stuff. But one of the things that I love about these two books is they both speak directly to safety. You have got to build an environment where a person feels comfortable raising their hand and going, I don’t understand that. And they don’t get smacked on their head. Right? If you do that, they won’t raise their hand again. And then you’ll also have to give, make space for these. What you’re almost certainly going to get is some dissenting views, right? The, the, the main people were thinking go left, but there’s somebody out on the, on the fence going, we should, right. Well, guess what, if you have a safe environment and they can say you shouldn’t, we go, right. You can have a great conversation. Now as an organization, you may not go left or right. But having the conversation brings all the power of the organization together. And that is really important. Uh, David also talks about competence, um, and having a lot of times down at that, at that level where people hands them a keyboard in the tech world, they may not have enough information, enough knowledge, competency, if you will, to be able to be self-managed. So guess what? As an organization, we’ve got to fill those gaps, we’ve got to do things to help them grow, give them the information, give them the, help them acquire the skill sets so that they can self-manage really important concepts.

Dan Neumann: [09:49] Oh, for sure. And, and so I thinking of competence, when we want the people to do T-shaped skills where they maybe have the depth of expertise, I’m waving my hand from top to bottom for bad, bad audio, but deep, deep in one expertise. And then across the top, like a capital to you, it’s some shallower level of expertise. He has still competence so that they can play outside their specialty. Um, you know, I was, I was jokingly saying, yeah, you probably don’t want me designing your user interface. I make ugly.

Mike Guiler: [10:27] I’m an old database guide. You definitely do not want me doing your UI. That would not turn out well.

Dan Neumann: [10:33] Yeah. But I can, I can write an OK SQL statement. I can, you know, I can, I can help somebody debug their code. I, I’m not very gifted at writing it anymore, but I can be the nodding dummy while somebody explains something and sometimes yields some, some fruit there. So, but in order for people to play outside their specialty, the organization owes it to them to, um, give them some safety. So yeah. Maybe put a life jacket on that kid before you throw them in the pool. We used to have water wings, the things that we inflated on your arm. I think those are actually drowning hazards now. Yeah. Well, I mean, they’re a bad idea then. I was better than nothing. So, you know, a little, you know, give something that resembles safety to your people so that if you’re asking them to play outside their specialty or even inside their specialty, when a mistake is made, it gets caught and it’s not catastrophic. It’s caught early it’s self-correcting those types of things.

Mike Guiler: [11:37] Absolutely. But, but it’s even further than that. Right. So typically when, when I think of it, like the T-shaped analogy, we’re really talking again on the technical side of the world about skillsets. Well, having a very deep skillset in database design for, and having a broad skill set in UI is great. But if you don’t have the vision, the knowledge of where the organization or the application or your user wants you to go being an awesome t-shirt developer, isn’t going to help you make that left or right decision. And so that’s where leadership also has Selena, right? You’ve got to develop the individual, but they also have to have a pretty good understanding of where the, where the organization’s going, where the application going, where does your, your member or stakeholder your customer, whatever you call the people that are actually going to use your software, what do they really need? What are they, why are they, why are we doing this right? I can’t be an order taker. I’ve got to have a broader view of what’s really going on to really be able to self-manage.

Dan Neumann: [12:43] That need for the vision is so important all the way through. So if you’re, if you’re C, even if your C-suite doesn’t know where the board of directors wants to go, you know, you’re going to be lost. And then it cascades down in a Scrum world. We want product owners to have the knowledge, authority, and time to have a properly refined backlog so that the most valuable things can be ordered near the top. If they don’t know what the vision and the direction of the product and the needs of their customers and the vision is there. There’s no way they can do that. All they can do is put stuff into a list and the team can churn out velocity, every sprint by knocking some stories out. And you’ll have no idea if you’re on the right path or not.

Mike Guiler: [13:31] Right. And, and that, that agile they’re air quotes. Once again, in that agile implementation, they’re really just a different set of order takers. Maybe the, maybe the orders are a little more helpful, but they’re still just orders. If they don’t understand the big picture or at least a broader view of the big picture, you can’t, self-manage effectively, you’ll make some decisions, but you may not like where they take you. And it’s because of a lack of vision, lack of understanding at all of the levels it’s got to flow. And then you hear sometimes yell, it’s got a trickle down. No, no, it can’t be a trickle. It’s gotta be the corner, right? If we have to be completely transparent and everybody needs to understand what’s going on and some of the why’s around it. So that people that have the best information are almost always going to be the people with their hands on keyboards, right. If you’ve got them the vision and they understand where we’re going, then I’ve got great information. I know where you want us to go. We can make really good decisions and really have great impact on for our customers.

Dan Neumann: [14:42] Yeah. I wanted to amplify. Yeah. It’s not a trickle down. It’s a torrent of vision. And hopefully it’s hopefully division is consistent over time. Right. We don’t want it churning. We want consistent communication of the vision. And then the other thing that came to mind is we don’t just want it to come down because that vision has to be matched with feedback from the bottom, right. Or, or maybe we could, maybe we could do the side-by-side. So it’s flowing left and right. And back and forth. So it’s not, it’s not a power dynamic. And I think, uh, Esther Derby writes and speaks and trains a lot on leadership. And, and I believe one of the visuals, I hopefully I’m not misattributing at church, but it was taking that top to bottom type of thing and it turned it on its side. So that communication is flowing back and forth. The visionary people on one side and the quote line workers, you know, the fingers on keyboards, et cetera, on the other side, and trying to increase the amount of overlap between the two sides. So that it doesn’t, let’s say going through up a pinch point, if you will, of micromanage and I’m sorry of middle managers. But no digs at middle managers. Sometimes that gets stuck in a bad spot where they’re just carrying the, the thing from the top and handing it to the person at the bottom and taking stuff from the bottom and framing a message and handing it back up to the top. And this is really about enabling the communication and teams to deliver based on the vision and the reality on the ground.

Mike Guiler: [16:20] And David talks about that a lot in his book, turn the ship around. How do we get rid of some of these layers? I mean, the Navy in particular, the military in general, right? A ton of layers of information that, you know, your choke point and now, you know, dying in that, in that turnaround time, how do we get rid of that? How do we get authority to the right level to make the right decision at the right time? Because that’s where the information is, is the most current and the most clean and fresh, if you will. That’s what this is about.

Dan Neumann: [16:52] Yeah. And authority to the right level, being really clear about what decisions and how decision-making happens based on the type of decision, what, what architectural related decisions can get made at certain levels, uh, whether it’s made by, uh, building a consensus or whether it’s coming down as a decree or whether it’s, um, completely egalitarian, whatever people can go, figure it out yourself, whatever you do is fine. Um, making sure that the proper authority for making decisions aligned with that vision is clear because you smack people on the nose of the newspaper, enough times for making the wrong decision or the wrong way, which is going to stop deciding.

Mike Guiler: [17:38] Exactly. And, and you can spend a ton of time building this safe environment. And one sort of smack them the nose. You’ve probably gone back to almost square one. It’s probably not that bad, but it’s almost that bad. It takes so much effort to get to this point and you can lose it so quickly by, by that knee, knee jerk reaction. And that’s hard, especially for new, not new leaders, but leaders that are new to the servant leadership mindset. And how do I get to this? Because their default reaction behaviors will kick in at times. So they have to be really aware and focused on, Oh, I need to prevent that. I can’t go here. I’ve got to go left instead of right. It’s hard.

Dan Neumann: [18:42] I did read turn the ship around by David Marquet, and so one of the things that stuck for me was the intention based, uh, leadership. And as I recall, it went a little bit like, you know, whatever, uh, me Dan, I would say, Hey, I intend to do X, Y, or Z. And maybe I even share the, the reason for that. You know, I’ve, I’ve confirmed that there isn’t going to be a new spend on licensing and it’s aligned with our architectural vision. And this is where we’re going, whatever I intended to do, it puts the responsibility then on the leader, maybe they redirect for some reason, maybe there’s some new information I need to get that I didn’t know, but the default is go for it. The default is not go to you, hand you the request, wait for you to decide through a committee for two months later, I get to go do something. It’s intended to do this, stop me if I shouldn’t.

Mike Guiler: [19:42] Spot on and through a sort of an inspect and adapt cycle. David talks in the book about, uh, so we, we went with an intent-based lodge or an intent-based communication pattern. Uh, well we learned that sometimes that person doesn’t have enough competency or skill set or knowledge and they pull the lever and something bad happens. And I think in, in his scenario it was, they turned the breaker off and that was a really bad thing. And so then they, they, the next iteration of that was I intend to let it pause so that your peers can hear and go, wait, did you consider this, you know, uh, such gotta think if we do that stop, right. So just taking that breath to go, okay, I’m going to do this, anybody see a problem. And then if you don’t hear anything, you go ahead and do it right to your point. It’s not basically a problem. Let’s wait three weeks for it to go all the way up and all the way down. That’s not the intent of this. So really important. You got to pause because your peers give you something that you hadn’t considered.

Dan Neumann: [20:49] Yeah. So intent-based leadership, uh, I don’t know how broadly the game Mother May I? Is known around the world, but I, I think I, you know, constantly asking for permission, gosh, may I do this? May I do that? May I do that? Yeah. This is a little different than that. So we’ve talked about vision as being a really important component. We’ve talked about some of the tactics or the techniques that leaders might use for enabling self managing teams, whether it’s creating safety making room for dissenting views, ensuring that there’s competence, maybe shifting towards a, an attention based leadership model like David Marquet talks about what other, uh, what other things come to mind as far as tactics you seem to be successful with, uh, sharing vision.

Mike Guiler: [21:43] So for me, I love a good story map. If I’m building software, love me a good story map. So Jeff Patton’s story mapping book is generally, I, I think that the gold standard out there, everybody should read that book. Um, I find it an awesome way for a group of individuals to get on the same page fairly quickly and in a very safe environment and an, a very lightweight environment. Uh I’ve I we’ve all spent a ton of time building really big things that are supposed to get us all on the same page that nobody ever reads. Um, a story map is lightweight, visual very quick and gives you the ability to see at a glance where the heck you are and how amazing is that to make sure everybody’s aligned with where we’re trying to go so big fan.

Dan Neumann: [22:36] Yeah. Back in my waterfall days, I remember vision documents or, you know, the like, and yeah, somebody writes them, there’s some sign off some Gates to hop through, and then they collect dust on a SharePoint site somewhere.

Mike Guiler: [22:50] Absolutely. And you can go even further. I love when I’m talking with new teams that are still in the business requirement, document, functional requirement, document, detailed design document phase of their life. When, when you can get the techie people in the room and the business, people in the room, I love to ask them, who’s actually read the business requirements, document soup to nuts, and nobody on the tech side, except for maybe a business analysts will raise their hand and go, ah, and then you can dig even further. And even the detailed design docs. No, you know, if I want to know something, I read the code. Okay. So this is very helpful, but how, how many hours did we spend on these things? It’s a great conversation. And usually the business people go really?

Dan Neumann: [23:36]
Yeah. And you can beat up the team for not doing it, or you can try a different approach. That’s a lot more palatable. So maybe we can, uh, let’s paint a word picture of a story map looks like for folks who maybe aren’t familiar, or maybe it’s just been awhile or they say story map and they, a different thing comes to mind for them because they’ve called it the same thing, but maybe it’s different than, than what you would see.

Mike Guiler: [23:59] Sure. So for me, a story map typically starts with a persona or a group of personas. Who are we talking about? Right. If you can sit down and if you don’t know who you’re talking about, or you don’t know where your destination wants to be, where you want to go, any map you produce, isn’t going to be particularly helpful. So start with a persona. And at that point, then I think Jeff Patton talks about building the backbone. So if I’m talking about persona X, what are all the things persona X is going to want to do? And, and don’t, don’t filter make it as robust and as wide as possible. So try to remove detailed going deep, but go Y so you’re building that backbone.

Dan Neumann: [24:41]
Yeah. So my, the example, I think that gets used quite a bit as traveling and pre COVID. I spent a lot of time in airports and, and, uh, I got pretty good at searching through Delta’s, uh, apps, but, um, I need to check flight availability on a particular date. Um, I need to schedule round trips or multi-city, or, uh, I need to pay it’s bad to run a business. If you can’t collect money from people, maybe there’s a little detail, um, refunds or credits or whoever. So it’s those big, those big things that our persona might need to do that we’re talking about. Yeah,

Mike Guiler: [25:18] Absolutely. Absolutely. And then once you’ve got those big things down on your belt, your back on, then you might want to pause and say, can these be grouped, right? Are these three big things sort of related in a certain way? Okay.

Dan Neumann: [25:33]
So the example of booking a flight one way round trip, a multi-city, it’s all, it’s all booking, right? So lump it together. Okay.

Mike Guiler: [25:42] And now you’re ready to go deep. Right? So now you’re going to take one of those, one of the backbone items, and you’re going to go deep and you’re going to all the things that I want to do for booking a round trip. What does that look like? A, B, C, D, and D. And that’s a great, I think at least a great way, a big tent event where, you know, maybe in the scrum world, your product owner is up with the board and all of the people in the room, which is your stakeholders. Maybe some customers, you can get them there, right? Your, your development team, the whole everybody’s in the room, they’re throwing out great ideas and they need to be lightweight. You’re jotting things down. You’re putting them up on a board, you’re doing it virtually you’re on a, some great virtual tool, but you’re, you’re fundamentally crowdsourcing, great ideas. And now you’re going to go deep. You’re going to try to flush out all that stuff. And then you’re going to go to the next one and the next one on the next one. And there are plenty of techniques around how to go about getting that thing. But the end of the day, what you end up with is this map of this is the journey that my persona has gone through. Here are all the things that they want to do. And now you can start talking about, well, what do they have to do? What’s sort of that minimal viable product conversation.

Dan Neumann: [26:51]
Yeah. I wanted to check on something you’re talking about, um, the details, and it could be easy for somebody to think that in this group, we’re coming up with, uh, an analog to a fully dressed requirements document. And so we’re not, you’re not, I, I don’t think you’re describing all the exception scenarios. And what does the error message look like? And how many fields do we have? That’s not what you mean when you say details, right?

Mike Guiler: [27:15] No. So if you’re, if you’re like a threesy, you know, the card communicates a conversation and confirmation, right. You’re at the first seat, right? You’re, you’re really just getting, you know, maybe a sentence or two on enough that you can have a conversation. You will later on begin to flesh out all of the details and right. If you’re a store or if you’re user story, organization write great stories around this thing. Um, but, but no, it’s gotta be leeway again. The trickier is you got to keep it lightweight. You don’t, you’re in trouble.

Dan Neumann: [27:46]
Yeah. So we’ve got the different activities across the top. Now you have, have some cards for some of the details, and then

Mike Guiler: [27:53] Now you’re looking into, so what do I really need? How do I break this thing up into releases potentially right now I’m moving these things up and down while these things, a lot of techniques to do this, right? It might be Moscow, maybe whatever you do, right. You can move these things up and down. And now on your story map, you have horizontal lines going across where these things above this horizontal line are the MPP. The thing we’re going to shoot for first for like the next set is the second release third release. And again, at some point I usually like in an initial story mapping exercise, if I can get two lines, I’m probably stopping. Once I go past that, I’m way too out in the future, the world’s going to change. We’re going to get into that and inspect and adapt. So you know what? We get out there in the, in the wild, if you will, in that first release, they’re going to give us a ton of feedback. That’s going to have direct impact on that second and third stuff. So I don’t know if I’ve ever gone past two, it’s just, it’s going to change too much. So why spend that time?

Dan Neumann: [28:50]
It will. It in one of the things I like about the story mapping technique and drawing those lines is it’s the opposite of what I see as a very common pattern. Let’s get all the identity and access login stuff done. However, you know, all the different ways first. And then let’s do all the different searching stuff second. And then we do all the different booking, Oh crap. We ran out of time.

Mike Guiler: [29:12]
Right? We can’t release anything.

Dan Neumann: [29:14]
Right. Instead of all right, let’s just do this type of identity and authorization. Let’s round trips. Let’s say let’s just do round trips. Cause that’s, you know, the vast, vast majority let’s take Amex. And, um, well let’s just take Amex because that’s what business people use and maybe they’re our persona and they’re you know, just taking a slice and then you go, Oh gosh, the architectural assumption fell over. When we went to go do the payments. So let’s fix that. But it’s a slice thin across everything instead of super deep on each step,

Mike Guiler: [29:46] That’s an awesome call out. Right? You’ve the people in the room have got to make sure that when they draw that horizontal line, if they usually refer to it as, as walking the wall, walking the board, when you walk the board from left to right, if you’ve got all of that is a fully functioning, minimal viable product, it’s gotta be an app, right? You, you can’t, you know, don’t deploy something that you get authentication and authorization. They can book everything, but they can’t pay for it. So it’s, Hey, thank you very much. Give us some feedback. Well, the feedback’s not going to be particularly positive, right? So you got to have enough there and then you get to, to get great feedback and iterate over it.

Dan Neumann: [30:22] Very cool. So I think that’s a good spot for us to, to kind of shift towards what you’ve been reading. We talked about, um, David Marquez book turned the ship around and Simon Sinek’s leaders eat last and then, uh, talked about Patton’s book on story mapping. So, um, there we go, three books for people, um, or maybe, you know, some subset of that. If they’ve read some of those and the importance of sharing the vision and then some techniques for how people can execute against that vision with story mapping. So thanks for sharing all those things, Mike.

Mike Guiler: [30:54]
It was a great time. Dan always enjoy this. You should invite me more.

Dan Neumann: [30:59] The door’s wide open. You’re on the hook. Now we will do this tomorrow as part of your continuous learning journey. I’m curious, maybe what you’ve been reading.

Mike Guiler: [31:11] Sure. So I’m almost done with thinking in systems, a primer by Daniella Meadows, uh, been a very good book, very enlightening on, on, uh, making changes in a system and what really actually happens as opposed to what I think was going to happen. I can’t begin to tell you a number of times, uh, they presented the, you know, this is what happened and I went, Oh, that’d be great. And then she told me what was really the outcome. I was like, Oh, that wasn’t exactly right. So wrapping one’s head around a system and how you can change it in a positive way, worth its weight in gold. So a great book would recommend it to people.

Dan Neumann: [31:50] I love that. And so many times very well intentioned changes have some very undesirable, unforeseen feedback to them.

Mike Guiler: [32:03] And it should, there, there’s more than a few examples in the book around changes in the environment and what the ultimate impact of those changes were and how at times humans have introduced something, cause this will solve a problem. And the net outcome of that was an infinitely worse problem. We didn’t foresee what was really going to happen. So it’s interesting and this book has nothing to do with technology. It’s a good book worth its read.

Dan Neumann: [32:32] I love it. We had, um, an example that comes to mind. We went to Hawaii, um, for Christmas a couple of years ago, you know, when we could travel and mongeese, mongooses, whatever, all over the place, because they were brought in to, I think, solve the rat problem on the Island. Rats are nocturnal. Mongoose are awake in the daytime. So the mongoose just feast on the bird eggs. Yeah. Solid plan. Unintended.

Mike Guiler: [33:00] I may be wrong here, but I’m pretty sure that we in Florida, we have loved bugs because they originally thought that they would help with the mosquito problem. And as it turns out, not so much, now we have love bugs twice a year, really muddying up our, our poor cars. But yeah, that’s what we have.

Dan Neumann: [33:19] Last one that comes to mind. Maybe it was on the previous episode at Wells Fargo, they decided to incense their frontline workers to get people, to sign up for things. Well, oops. Some people, you know, signed up people for things that they never signed up for. The power of manipulating people using rewards. Um, yeah. Well, good. I think we have our next topic is as soon as you’re done with that one.

Mike Guiler: [33:49] All right.

Dan Neumann: [33:51] Thanks Mike.

Mike Guiler: [33:52] Anytime, man. Thanks.

Outro: [33:55] This has been the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast brought to you by AgileThought. The views, opinions and information expressed in this podcast are solely those of the hosts and the guests, and do not necessarily represent those of AgileThought. Get the show notes and other helpful tips for this episode and other episodes at

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