Modern Agile stickers everywhere are helping Modern Agile stick. Dean Chanter of Capital One recalls his Accidental Experiment with Modern Agile (cake for every release!). Bob and Dean talk through the power of the laptop sticker, evolving and “upskilling” ScrumMasters, and Lean roots.
Bob Payne: [00:00:05] Hi I’m your host Bob Payne and i’m here with Dean Chanter and Dean you’re from, You’re at Cap One.
Dean Chanter: [00:00:11] Yeah, Currently at Cap One.
Bob Payne: [00:00:14] You’re doing some work with scaled Agile and you’re saying you sort of accidentally started applying Modern Agile. I’m super curious about that journey.
Dean Chanter: [00:00:25] I did it was very interesting so I joined Capital One about seven months ago, was with Intel for about 13 years before that, and when I first got to Capital One everybody had a Modern Agile sticker on their laptop there was actually a bunch on my desk. So I just slapped one on my laptop. I had heard about it before I got the Capital One but Intel was a big SAFehouse and so that was kind of how we did things there and made a lot of sense and so, maybe three or four months ago, my gallbladder decided that it no longer needed to be in my body and so’s listening to Josh’s podcast and listen to things and he and John Cutler were talking.
Bob Payne: [00:01:02] Okay, yeah I’ve had Josh on my podcast.
Dean Chanter: [00:01:04] Yeah. So Josh asked John -he’s like What do you think about Modern Agile. What do you mean to you. And John was like you know what. It really makes me feel like we can try anything and we don’t have to stick to one framework another. And I realized then that some of the things I have been doing it kept on with my teams was just that right. I had a lot of teams that were Scrum Teams and Kanban teams and we had ARTs so we had you know single teams but they needed… They were looking for a refresh right.
Dean Chanter: [00:01:37] You know some new ways of thinking about things that we brought in things like product discovery. We started looking at cycle time. Right. We just we started celebrating everything. Right. We had cake for every release we had you know just how.
Bob Payne: [00:01:54] Dangerous when you’re a real DevOps…
Dean Chanter: [00:01:56] Exactly. Exactly. Well that was one of the things we went from releases that were on average and they say average because it wasn’t a true cadence of about six to eight weeks. We’re now releasing twice a week. OK. You know just because of trying to setting audacious goals right. Right. Using that we want to really use more frequently. Right. And once we set that goal we started working through the different things and different challenges that it takes to get through. We actually even if we don’t have content for release on a particular day that we’re supposed to be released, we’ll still do the release. The reason is is because it allows us to go through those motions right and should identify more ways to we found things by doing that that maybe we should leave – blue green releases right. So maybe we should leave green up a little bit longer so we could fail back if we need to. Eventually, you know the goal there is eventually getting to where we could do continuous delivery if we wanted to.
Bob Payne: [00:02:56] Yeah. That’s great. So I’m so curious how you got the big batch of stickers. Did Josh come to CapOne and.
Dean Chanter: [00:03:03] He did.
Bob Payne: [00:03:04] Okay.
Dean Chanter: [00:03:05] So Josh came to camp while he was a keynote speaker. CapOne does a technology agile conference internally once a year.
Bob Payne: [00:03:13] I’ve spoken that years back yeah.
Dean Chanter: [00:03:15] I wasn’t there for that yet but that’s how the stickers ended up on my desk. So.
Bob Payne: [00:03:21] Yeah I have been doing a series of of of talks using modern agile as a sort of framework to look at Lean and depending on where I go and how how I either call it. “No one gives a shit about your practices” or “disrupting the cult of the cult of practices”. I’m a scrum trainer but fundamentally believe that scrum is a starting place and the goal is not to like do scrum. The goal is to get into this. You know this idea of experimentation learning and changing and and so you know I was an old XP extreme programmer guy. So you know I’ve known Josh for a long time and you know that talk really. It was actually that sticker was the deflowering force.. It’s probably not appropriate to say but I had always had Virgin Macs with no stickers on them until that one made it on my last Mac.
Dean Chanter: [00:04:31] That was the first sticker I put on my cowpat on issue laptops. Have it if you have a habit of putting stickers on stuff for me is like yeah I’m fine. I agree. I agree. You know that’s actually one of the things so I do manage a group of Scrum Masters right, and ScrumMaster is fhe title that Capital One gives them you know I looked at, look at them more than just that, right? They’re team coaches, I’ve got a couple that work as a scaled coach right? As well, and so-
Dean Chanter: [00:05:05] That was one of the things that we spent a day together back in March you know kind of strategizing you know our improvement areas that we wanted to go with the team right. And so that’s one of the things that I mentioned to them right is that you know if you look at it from that Modern Agile lens you know then I’m asking you to balance that coaching and the delivery right and ,. And one of the things we talked about is like sometimes as you know agile coaches all too often want to wait for that big moment and that big huge coaching opportunity, that next retro or their next delivery, right? So one of the things I talk to them about is sometimes coaching in the moment and being a player with your teams is actually the best opportunity for that coaching moment. I actually got one of my Scrum Masters now who is actually a performer on the release. So since we’ve got teams that are applying good DevOps practices right the teams are the performers on the release and so she’s actually the performer. What.. and the reason for that is that it allows him to have an extra person separation of duties or his since she’s not coding that she can have that access to that prod environment. But it’s a lot harder to identify a lot of areas of waste that the teams were seeing because she’s got that different lens.
Bob Payne: [00:06:20] And when you get when you get even further down the dev ops path you’ll be able to deploy without access to prod.
Bob Payne: [00:06:27] Exactly. Have an auditable..
Dean Chanter: [00:06:33] Yes. That is the goal.
Bob Payne: [00:06:35] Yeah.
Dean Chanter: [00:06:36] But in the meantime it’s allowed the ScrumMaster to provide value in ways that they haven’t in the past.
Bob Payne: [00:06:43] Right, You know just you know I like to poke at stuff. It’s kind of what I do.
Dean Chanter: [00:06:50] Oh yeah.
Bob Payne: [00:06:52] So you were working with. Well my friend Beth Wong.
Dean Chanter: [00:06:58] Yes. So that’s another interesting thing. So Beth and I are actually kind of paired together with the teams that we’re working with. OK so where I’m providing that more tactical delivery focused management of the scrummasters, Beth is actually paired with me as a true coach. Right. And so she doesn’t have that accountability to the product. And so she she and I are able to do things that having a single RTE in a scaling house wouldn’t be able to do. So Beth is able to run workshops and you know she was able to bring in someone and worked with them and that’s how we started our lean product discovery is because I was able to stay focused and she was able to coordinate those types of workshops. Another thing that Beth is is able to do. She’s actually run in a technical coach and so that’s one of the ways that we’re accelerating that automated release goal that we have for this.
Bob Payne: [00:08:00] Yeah. Yeah. I loved working with Beth and I know she’s she’s excited to be the guys now.
Dean Chanter: [00:08:05] So yes it’s a great partnership.
Bob Payne: [00:08:08] Yeah. Super. So what else is exciting for you lately?
Dean Chanter: [00:08:13] I mean definitely as we’re evolving you know our scrum masters you know and what we call upskilling them. Right.
Bob Payne: [00:08:21] So we’ve got some folks on my team that you knew six seven years ago as CapitalOne went through its original agile journey right went to see some class and you know they’re great at following those rules.
Bob Payne: [00:08:35] You probably are not aware of. In 2005 they started a huge agile journey.
Dean Chanter: [00:08:43] I’ve heard that.
Bob Payne: [00:08:44] It’s been swept out and then.
Dean Chanter: [00:08:46] Exactly as a multiple and in depending on what Capital One is a large organization depending.
Bob Payne: [00:08:52] Are we talking card?
Dean Chanter: [00:08:53] So I’m in card, right. Exactly. So different journeys there but the teams I’ve been working with I’ve been five or six years is kind of about as far as they can look back.
Bob Payne: [00:09:05] Right.
Dean Chanter: [00:09:05] And so again kind of going back to that me asking my team to be that more player coach. So we’re looking at different ways of kind of seeing the way the teams work right. Right now they’re working through Mary Poppendick’s original book.
Bob Payne: [00:09:22] Yeah.
Dean Chanter: [00:09:23] Right. So one of the interesting things about me and my journey started with Intel and so Intel being also not only a product development team but also a manufacturing to Jamie Flinchbaugh in the intel years and years ago long before I started there.
Bob Payne: [00:09:40] Right right.
Dean Chanter: [00:09:40] And turn into a lean house.
Bob Payne: [00:09:42] Right.
Dean Chanter: [00:09:42] And so
Bob Payne: [00:09:44] Lean manufacturing. It’s always ironic to me that many of the organizations that do really amazing lean logistics are lean manufacturing and I’m not saying this about Intel because I don’t actually have firsthand knowledge. They look at agile they’re like you know we can’t do that. That’s not it’s not you know it is really ironic that it is they do have the same same roots.
Bob Payne: [00:10:10] You know clearly manufacturing is a different is a different thing than product development.
Dean Chanter: [00:10:18] Right.
Bob Payne: [00:10:19] And. But but lean product development has also been around for you know almost 75 years.
Dean Chanter: [00:10:27] Exactly. So and that’s where my journey started right. Is is in then so. It’s almost like if you talk to the folks at Toyota about Lean manufacturing right now. What is lean? this is jus t what I do. So, at Intel, for me that’s what it was right. You know I.
Bob Payne: [00:10:43] They don’t fetishize lean in the way that scrum teams fetishize Scrum.
Dean Chanter: [00:10:47] They don’t.
Bob Payne: [00:10:53] My Precious Scrum.
Dean Chanter: [00:10:53] Exactly. Exactly. And so you know I you know we you know when I was running a team.
Bob Payne: [00:10:57] I’m the agile golem.
Dean Chanter: [00:10:59] yeah yeah yeah exactly. So when I was running at my first team team ride of developers and we had daily stand ups and we committed to you know we committed to the goal for that day and the next day we talked about you know how we go towards that goal right. Even if we were working on a bug right. We didn’t commit to finishing the bug. We committed to the experiments that we were going to run that day. Right. So when I transitioned to Agile you know it just kind of made sense for me right now come in the CapitalOne that I think it’s kind of flipping the coin. I feel like that’s a lot of the things that we’re working through as a team evangelist. At least in my area is bringing some of those thought patterns.
Dean Chanter: [00:11:41] Identifying the waste and running experiments right and less about any one particular process or and other. Metrics is another thing that we are bringing and doing which has been very interesting as well.
Bob Payne: [00:11:55] Cool experiment to learn rapidly.
Dean Chanter: [00:11:57] Absolutely.
Bob Payne: [00:12:00] And in fact the only one I have a little trouble explaining to executives is the make people awesome, because they don’t care. Many of them don’t. If they could go to the boards and saying yes we’re we’re we’re we’re selling the customer crap, we’re torturing people and we’ve got higher revenues you know.
Dean Chanter: [00:12:25] And that’s definitely a shame but.
Bob Payne: [00:12:27] It is. It is. But I’ve I’ve enjoyed I’ve enjoyed you know Josh’s poke in the eye and you know I think it’s going to stick.
Dean Chanter: [00:12:41] I think so too.
Bob Payne: [00:12:42] Yeah because it’s a sticker because he often makes a joke how do you make. How do you make an idea stick? Turn it into a sticker.
Dean Chanter: [00:12:50] Turn it into a sticker I haven’t heard him say that but I like that. Well I like what he’s been saying lately. right. He was at LeanAgile US in February and I got a chance to see his keynote there right. He opened the keynote. Are you curious as I say that’s what I took back to my team. Right. You know are we curious? You know and another one of the things he said there is I know have you identified a ceremony or practice on your team and just gotten rid of it to see what would happen. Right. And that’s another one of the challenges that I gave to my team as well.
Bob Payne: [00:13:24] Yeah I mean you know Toyota doesn’t.. They’ll throw stuff out left and right that you know. Lean is the machine that eats itself to make itself better.
Dean Chanter: [00:13:37] Yes.
Bob Payne: [00:13:37] And I don’t think Agile is there yet but that’s that’s one of my goals. So I really love you know he framed it in a way that pulled together many of the thoughts and conversations a lot of us had been having. And so I’m happy to carry that torch for him for a little while.
Dean Chanter: [00:13:58] I almost kind of I don’t know if it came on the cusp of or maybe there has something to do with it but I feel like a lot of the fights that you see you know on Twitter or blog spaces you know around Scrum vs Kanban, estimates or not… I feel like a lot of that has calmed down recently. I don’t know if it’s if there’s a correlation there. But at least for me that’s what I see.
Bob Payne: [00:14:25] I think there’s more correlation than causation would be my guess. I think people are just worried about you know foreign policy being run on Twitter. So no estimates or mob programming thing is just..it’s like Oh my God I can’t believe we were arguing about that stuff.
Dean Chanter: [00:14:40] Yeah maybe.
Bob Payne: [00:14:46] So thank you very much for coming in and appreciate it and hope you have a great talk.
Dean Chanter: [00:14:52] Yes. It was fun.
Bob Payne: [00:14:53] Great.