In early 2014, I switched from being a consultant coach back to an internal coach.  It has given me the unique opportunity to see what it’s like to be on the inside of an organization again.  One thing I was reminded of is this challenge: if you are one of the first (or few) in your organization to champion agile principles and practices, it can feel overwhelming at times.  Where can you go for ideas?  What challenges might you face?  What are some of the shifts in the agile community?  

One of my favorIntlPodcastDayite places to find inspiration these days is through podcasts.  When I’m walking the dog or working in the yard, I can play a podcast in the background and listen to some great ideas and conversations.  So to celebrate International Podcast Day today, I wanted to share with you some of the podcasts I find truly valuable (no particular order):

  • Agile AnswersAdam Weisbart (a truly innovative agile trainer) recently started a podcast with a simple idea: send in a question and I’ll give you a short answer in 20 minutes or less.  Adam takes questions via phone or web.
  • Agile Chuck Wagon – Chuck Durfee has a great podcast that covers short topics in agile in  8 to 15 minutes. Need a quick explanation of a topic?  Go visit the chuck wagon!
  • LeadingAgile SoundNotes – The good folks at LeadingAgile have a very pragmatic view of scaling agile.  I have found many valuable insights from their blog and the new podcast started by Dave Prior.  Disclaimer: I used to work for LeadingAgile and still stay in touch with some of their great coaches.  Note: you can also find the podcast on iTunes and other podcast platforms.  The LA folks like to mix the blog and podcasts posts on their site.  I’m still deciding if I like that since I’m subscribed to their blog via Feedly and the podcast via iTunes (a little repitition there)
  • Lean Change Management – Jason Little released the excellent Lean Change Management book in early 2015 and now he has a great follow-up with this new podcast.  What I like about the podcast is that Jason goes deep into why certain approaches may or may not work and he’s brought on some interesting guests from other communities that are involved in organizational change.  Jason – I’m liking every episode so far!
  • This Agile Life – This is the podcast that got me hooked on podcats; funny, insightful; just good discussions on topics agile teams face every day with an excellent mix of tongue-in-cheek humor.  If Monty Python did a podcast on agile, they might takem some tips from John Sextro and company!  I look forward to meeting John and his fellow podcasters some day.
  • Agile for Humans – This is my absolute favorite! Ryan Ripley has quickly built a fabulous collection of topics, guests, and deep conversations on topics such as #noestimates (chatting with Woody Zuill), some unique approaches to scaling (like FAST agile) and even how agile is like to Star Wars (episode 14: Agile in a Galaxy Far Far Away is one of my current favorites). Disclaimer: I helped Ryan Ripley kick off the first episode and put together some early ideas, but he’s definitely navigating this podcast to some great destinations!
  • The Agile Coffee Podcast – I’m a HUGE fan of lean coffee (face-to-face and virtual).  So I was delighted to find a podcast that used that same format!  Just a wide range of topics covered by some great coaches on the US west coast that I’ve had the good fortune to eet through Agile Coach Camp
  • Meta-cast – I do not tend to listen to every episode, but the ones I hear from Bob Galen and Josh Anderson are spot on for topics affecting teams, coaches and organizations today!  So I did want to point out this format.
  • Partnerships and Possibilities – I don’t know if Diana Larsen or Sharon Buckmaster will continue this podcast, but it’s a hidden gem on the internet.  They get into a wide variety of organizational and cultural topics from a wide variety of fields.  Their podcast has inspired me many times to think “what’s next?” for the organizations I’ve worked with and our society in general. It’s been a while since they have released a new episode, but I would recommend downloading a few samples on influence,change from the middle, differences between mentor/coach/sponsor, and gender differences in the workplace. I hope they continue.  I hope you have a chance to go through some of the past seasons.  Awesome thinking being shared there.

So if you’ve read this far, you may be wondering “Does Mark really listen to all these podcasts?” Heck no!  I don’t have that kind of time.  So how do I know about all of these podcasts and what they cover?  Here is how I filter my podcasts:

  • Listening at 1.5x speed – I don’t know what it is about podcasts, but I struggle to listen to them at normal speed.  When I tried listening at 1.5x, I found I was more engaged with the content and conversation.  If they are hard to understand at 1.5x, I drop them.  Yes, I’ve tried 2x speed and that’s ludicrous speed.
  • Who, What, When – If it’s an emerging topic I’m interested in or someone I know that I respect and find they’re thinking different from mine — I’ll listen.  If I’m connected to them on social media, I’ll try to send out a comment/kudos right away.  If it’s a topic I know well, I might listen to the first few minutes.  If I don’t hear any new insights, off to the next one.  My dog doesn’t care as long as she is able to continue to the walk while I skim through podcasts.
  • Engaging? – sometimes there is a slight shift in format (usually around an event) that may be appealing to me .. sometimes not.  I’ll skip ahead when not.

Let me know what podcast you listen to and why you find them valuable.  I’m always looking for resources to share with my readers and with folks in the AgileFlorida community.  Feel free to share in the comments below.