AFH 015: The USS Agile Enterprise [PODCAST]


Ryan Ripley, Tim Ottinger, Don Gray


Ryan Ripley (@RyanRipley) Tim Ottinger (@tottinge) and Don Gray (@donaldegray) got together to talk about the word “enterprise”. Quite a few connotations were thrown around: inertia, masses of people, waterfall. Better, Faster, Cheaper was even discussed. We moved on to talking about the limitations imposed on scaling by Dunbar’s Number (150) and then learned about the Rule of the 2nd Floor:

“Nobody 2 levels above or below you in the organization really understands what you do for a living.”

The discussion then shifted to how we can do Agile with 5,000 people. Typical scaling patterns emerged:

  • Scale by Division:  Dividing people in to functional teams.
  • Scale Out, Not Up:  Group people in to feature teams.
  • Holocracy:  Peer to peer organization.

Using Extreme Programming (XP) and other disciplined software engineering practices to improve team outcome were discussed as was an organizationals ability to move up the Agile Fluency Model. We talked about Mike Cottmeyer’s recent post about stopping the anti-management rhetoric and finding ways to meet management where they are and help them find the path to an agile organization.

The discussion then shifted to how teams can measure their agility and the renaissance of craftsmanship in the software development world.

Don walked us through transformation management theory, we asked why organizations should even go “agile” in the first place, and worked on a definition of “agile” in the enterprise.

And then…we called it a night.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Paul Boos

    Somehow this window got selected, though this comment was intended for #013. I had both open, so I guess I selected the wrong comment area 🙁 My preference would be to have this one appear under 013 and my second attempt there be deleted. Or just delete this one here…

  • Paul Boos

    I finally got around to listening to this podcast; I found it very interesting on your coaching viewpoints. (I also really loved the embedded 3 min podcast segment and plan to tune into those more often).

    I can’t say mine is fully congruent with what was discussed, though I find my head nodding more in agreement and I never found anything I totally disagreed with…

    My personal opinion is we have been trying to squeeze too much order (i.e. make something too simple) out of something that is very complex (the context and people’s behavior – both the coach and any coachees – lead it to be that way). There are many dimensions to coaching along with your personal skill set that you bring to bear. How well a coach can perform is limited by both of those items.