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ET Project \ Podcasts

ET-032: All Things Software And Managing Projects With An Agile Approach

With Ms. Irina Poddobnaia

ET-032: All Things Software And Managing Projects With An Agile Approach

and your host Wayne Brown on January 31, 2023

Episode notes:  A conversation with Ms. Irina Poddubnaia

Can you believe we are closing out the first month of 2023 already, it’s just incredible how fast the year is going.

In our episode today, our destination is the beautiful seaside city of Varna in Bulgaria, and our guest is Ms. Irina Poddubnaia. If you are a business leader of any size, I’m confident you will find this conversation today of value.

Irina and I share several common points of interest:

– lived in China

– manage projects

– content creators

– foundered our own companies

Here is an extract from our conversation as we start to get into it…

“…So, Scrum can be applied outside of IT regardless of what the founding fathers of Scrum tell you. They say that it was developed for IT teams. It wasn’t developed for everything else. The approach itself is universal. Like I have seen good marketing teams using Scrum, HR teams using Scrum. And I don’t know about legal teams, but it probably is also applicable because we are dealing with uncertainty. We are dealing with special cases where we have to research certain things. So, it’s still creative thinking.…

Today’s Guest: IRINA PODDUBNAIA

Ms. Irina Poddubnaia, who is a software as a service founder and business consultant specializing in Operations and Process Optimization. Irina has over eight years’ experience in E-commerce from running a fulfillment center in China where she was living for two and a half years, to launching her own SaaS software for package tracking called, trackmage.com, and it promises to increase sales by 5-10% while operating on autopilot.

She’s been successful in executing Lean six Sigma optimizations for e-commerce companies, for customer support, logistics, and overall supply chain management optimization. During our conversation, we focus on yet another of Irina’s areas of expertise, which is that of project management. And as you can probably imagine, this knowledge and skillset comes in handy when you’re assisting companies in the areas that we’ve mentioned already. I really enjoyed the conversation as it provided me a chance to go even deeper with my own knowledge and awareness on how best to apply Agile.

And given that I come from the construction world where we traditionally use The Waterfall methodology together with Gantt and PERT charts, well, it’s always a great opportunity for us to broaden our knowledge, and this is the case while we’re discussing Scrum Sprints and a whole variety of different methodologies associated with the Agile approach. So please get yourself prepared as we are about to launch into the discussion with Irina Poddubnaia and myself in this episode titled All Things Software and Managing Projects with an Agile Approach.

Final words from Irina Poddubnaia:   

“Well, I believe also there is another topic, but we need to touch about, like touch on is the leadership mindset. Because what happens in a lot of organizations is that there is this command and control mentality. Like I’m the boss, I know what we need to do. Here’s the plan, just do it. So this mentality is called the Push method.

Because you push the work on the team and you don’t give them the opportunity to actually creatively contribute to whatever they’re building. In Agile, the approach is a little bit different. You present your ideas to the team, and then they estimate them, and then you see that your idea is going to take forever to implement.

And that’s when you are going to negotiate with the team. Like okay. Like this solution is going to take forever. How about we do something else? And then the team starts creating the solution, with you. And there is this saying that like, If they build it, they own it.

So when they are going to understand that the plan is also based on their contribution. They suggested to do it this way. And then they’re going to own that plan. So you will not have to force people to work. You will get a genuine commitment and genuine participation. But that requires a change of mindset.

Because again, when you’re embracing Agile, you will also have to understand what servant leadership is, so you are no longer the person who tells everyone what to do.

You are the person who asks everyone what we should do. And then you have to make decisions and pick between the options that are presented to you by the team. That’s probably one of those key topics that don’t get enough credit.”

0:00:04.1 Wayne Brown: Hello, I’m Wayne Brown, and welcome to the ET Project. And with this episode, can you believe we are closing out the first month of 2023 already, it’s just incredible how fast the year is going. As always, we’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world, whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET.

0:00:27.2 WB: In our episode today, our destination is the beautiful seaside city of Varna in Bulgaria, and our guest is Ms. Irina Poddubnaia, who is a software as a service founder and business consultant specializing in Operations and Process Optimization. Irina has over eight years’ experience in E-commerce from running a fulfillment center in China where she was living for two and a half years, to launching her own SaaS software for package tracking called, trackmage.com, and it promises to increase sales by 5-10% while operating on autopilot.

0:01:08.7 WB: She’s been successful in executing Lean six Sigma optimizations for e-commerce companies, for customer support, logistics, and overall supply chain management optimization. During our conversation, we focus on yet another of Irina’s areas of expertise, which is that of project management. And as you can probably imagine, this knowledge and skillset comes in handy when you’re assisting companies in the areas that we’ve mentioned already. I really enjoyed the conversation as it provided me a chance to go even deeper with my own knowledge and awareness on how best to apply Agile.

0:01:46.6 WB: And given that I come from the construction world where we traditionally use The Waterfall methodology together with Gantt and PERT charts, well, it’s always a great opportunity for us to broaden our knowledge, and this is the case while we’re discussing Scrum Sprints and a whole variety of different methodologies associated with the Agile approach. So please get yourself prepared as we are about to launch into the discussion with Irina Poddubnaia and myself in this episode titled All Things Software and Managing Projects with an Agile Approach.

0:02:24.9 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor Wayne Brown as we unpack an exciting future together.

0:02:41.3 WB: Welcome Team ET to another week. And this week as usual, we have a fantastic guest on the show, and as you heard in the intro, Irina’s sitting in Bulgaria. Welcome.

0:02:53.7 Irina Poddubnaia: Thank you.

0:02:54.9 WB: Irina. Maybe we kick off with a little bit of background about, what it is you do and what makes you, you and so special with your business.

0:03:06.7 IP: Currently I’m a software as a service founder. Well, the software itself, the best way to describe it is to just to remind, remember how you ordered something on Amazon. On Amazon, when you order a product you get the information about when the order is getting to your doorstep, where exactly the order is now, what’s the status. And also they ask you to leave a review at the end of this whole process. So we take this functionality, and we make it available on Shopify, WooCommerce, ClickFunnels, and other platforms, that just don’t have functionality to support the post-purchase order experience or delivery experience, how some industry professionals refer to it. So this is in a nutshell what TrackMage is. We have some additional tools that are available as part of the same suite, but literally everything that happens after the purchase that’s the TrackMage’s domain.

0:04:07.2 WB: Okay. I originally listened to a podcast where you were guest and I think it was The Builder Podcast.

0:04:16.1 IP: Oh okay.

0:04:18.6 WB: With Matt Levenhagen or, I think, anyway, a shout out to Matt, but you were talking about the post-sales process, and I love the way you described the whole process and the challenges that many smaller companies face, or large companies as well, I guess. When it comes to really optimizing the process post-sales to engage and maximize their connection with the client. And I thought it might be a nice introduction if you could also share that, that storyline that you mentioned.

0:04:57.3 IP: All right. Just to describe it in broad strokes. So whenever there is an order made, the customer is actively participating in that. They find the product, they press the buy button and then they are no longer an active participant. They have to wait for the store to ship a product. They have to wait for the store to notify them when the product is getting there or we have to go somewhere else and press refund button, because if we don’t receive any communication from the brand, we typically get anxious. And I guess in certain cases when the customer is ordering Christmas presents or they are ordering something unique, this anxiety turns into obsession, because the customer is waiting so hard that they are checking, the order tracking page like five times, seven times per day because it’s just like, is it there yet?

0:05:49.8 IP: Is it there yet? Is it there yet? Almost like a donkey in Shrek, like, “Is it there yet? Are we there yet?” [laughter] It’s, it’s literally that kind of annoying feeling. The customers when they are waiting for the orders they have to occupy themselves with something. The best case scenario for certain businesses that actually count on that would be that the customer actually forgets that they ordered something, like in, and in two months they then receive a package and like everything is good. But in most cases, the customers don’t forget.

0:06:20.6 WB: Yes.

0:06:21.4 IP: And they start writing to customer support asking, “Where is my order? When are you going to ship it?” Sometimes it just like blows out of proportion. For example, one of our clients, Metal Family they launched their comic book and they had at that point, one million, five hundred thousand subscribers on YouTube. But right now they have three million, like it’s even bigger. So the idea is we launched the comic book and we thought that 10,000 units are going to be sold maybe in a couple of months. It was sold in less than a week. Another thing their customers since this is a YouTube audience and sometimes there are children mixed in, and since it’s an animated series, they were not very detail-oriented when they were filling in their email addresses or order shipment address. So that’s why every third order had incorrect information, and that’s why those customers they not only didn’t receive the email about the package, they also started writing to Metal Family on every available channel possible. So on social media, on email, in customer support and they were getting from one single person, they were getting up to five messages.

0:07:40.5 IP: So let’s do some calculations like out of 10,000 a third had incorrect information. So they wrote five messages. So that gives us roughly like 15,000 emails or 15,000 requests across all social media asking where is my comic book? That was insane. [chuckle] That was really crazy for Metal Family. So when TrackMage actually was introduced in the process and it started helping. So first thing that we automated was validation, we created an automated validation script that can report on any email field and then checks if that email actually exists. So that prevented the problem of the customer not receiving information about the package. But previously Metal Family wasn’t even sending any information about the package. They were just hoping that the customer is going to go to the post office and get their package.

0:08:36.5 IP: Okay. What happened next? We introduced the emails after the purchase, that we’re notifying them about the whereabouts of their package. And when the package was available for pickup. People actually went to the post office and actually collected it. Previously, Metal Family wasn’t sending those notifications, and up to 1000 packages were stuck in those post offices. And after two months, some of them returned back to Metal Family. So they had to purchase them back and ship them again if they wanted to actually deliver them to the customers. But they just kind of like, they were weighing the opportunities, should we buy them back or should we just ignore them and like, okay, we will not do anything. And of course, customers, they were always on the verge of refunding the purchase or raising some concerns that the customers actually had. So once we introduced TrackMage those numbers, like from 1000 of undelivered packages, that number went to 45 rolling average because people are still collecting the packages. But at every time we have 45 packages that are available for pick up.

0:09:54.0 WB: Yes.

0:09:54.3 IP: And after that, so basically we eliminated the problem altogether. And after that there was another growth lever and social proof lever that was missing entirely. So previously Metal Family wasn’t asking for reviews. And once TrackMage was introduced, we started sending those emails and we collected 2150 reviews from that first 10,000 orders batch. That was an unexpected outcome, because most of those reviews, they were five stars. And they contained those walls of text saying how much the customers loved the project, how much they loved the comic book, and lots of love. Maybe a couple of one star reviews were there, but it was literally just in those cases where the post office just broke the package or something was torn. And yeah, that’s how TrackMage was used. And that’s how many problems that typically commerce businesses have can be addressed by introducing this system.

0:11:01.6 WB: So today what we’re going to bounce around with is the topic of Agile project management methodology, if you like. And our audience, of course, executive talents or leaders by another name. Agile’s been around for a number of decades. Initially, I guess more in the software field and not so common in many of the mainstream organizations or industries. And over the last decade, perhaps maybe more, it’s becoming more and more well-known. And so you are an expert in many things, and you’re very familiar with…

0:11:43.9 IP: Yeah.

0:11:44.3 WB: Agile methodology. It’s something I’m aware of, I’m familiar with, but it’s not my area of expertise. I’m mainstream…

0:11:52.1 IP: Yeah.

0:11:52.3 WB: Old school, which is more traditional Waterfall methodology from a project management point of view. So I thought it would be an interesting conversation. If we look at this and we dissect a little bit the Agile methodology, what are the key differences that you see between the two approaches?

0:12:14.2 IP: I wouldn’t say that I have a lot of experience working in non-Agile projects.

0:12:18.5 WB: Okay.

0:12:18.8 IP: That’s why I don’t, maybe you can share how it is, how a typical project looks when you are not using Agile. But I can definitely tell how it is when you are using one of Agile frameworks. Usually when it comes to starting a project in Agile fashion, you don’t have to plan too much ahead. For example, in IT you are going to just start from the basic setup, like creating the repository, deciding on which technologies you are going to use, creating some kind of like a draft of the first architectural diagram. And after that, you are off to the races. You can just start with developing some code, proofs of concept, and you fail forward because you will start learning what works, what doesn’t. Do you have any dependencies that are going to get your project off track? This is exactly how it starts. But then again, like, after a certain point, ideally if you are just a new Scrum team and you are starting ideally in two weeks. You plan the next sprint. And you already have more intelligence about what solution you are building, what you are doing, and what needs to be happening next. I can also, maybe since we were talking about the cameras businesses, I can touch on the subject. How do you apply Scrum outside of IT?

0:13:42.5 WB: Please.

0:13:43.3 IP: So Scrum can be applied outside of IT regardless of what the founding fathers of Scrum tell you. They say that it was developed for IT teams. It wasn’t developed for everything else. The approach itself is universal. Like I have seen good marketing teams using Scrum, HR teams using Scrum. And I don’t know about legal teams, but it probably is also applicable because we are dealing with uncertainty. We are dealing with special cases where we have to research certain things. So it’s still creative thinking.

0:14:16.2 IP: The only place where Scrum is not applicable is where you have standardized quality and where you have expectations from customers that are adamant hard. An example would be a customer support center where the expectation is that every ticket gets answers within 24 hours or less. So that’s a hard commitment, and regardless of what you’re answering to the ticket you need to answer. And then again the number of emails or number of mistakes that the customer support representative makes, that’s also a hard metric. So whenever you have some hard expectations that cannot be changed and you don’t have any uncertainty, you don’t have to be very creative to work in customer support. Or you don’t have to invent a creative answer to the typical questions that the customers have. That’s why Scrum is not applicable, because you cannot iterate there or learn. There isn’t much to learn. Except maybe for those cases where the customer support representatives, they are also writing the user documentation. But that’s just an additional thing they could be occupying themselves with. It’s not their main idea, like the main idea of customer support to write documentation.

0:15:38.5 WB: Okay. So I heard a couple of things where I can make a comparison with Waterfall approach as an example. So typically in a Waterfall approach, the planning and the preparation phase is very intensive. We spend a lot of time doing that. And you mentioned with Scrum it tends to be a faster approach. So I can imagine there’s a difference there when you talk about the sprints. In Waterfall, we often talk about work packages. And a work package can be of any duration. What I understand as a big difference between those two is the transparency that occurs in Scrum or when you are using Agile is far greater. So it’s easy to see what’s happening inside the project, whereas traditionally with Waterfall, you tend to wait until the end of the project to find out the outcome.

0:16:40.0 WB: And so with your iterations, your sprints and your regular daily meetings, et cetera, there’s a lot of transparency and communication going on within the Agile approach. So I can see a number of areas of difference. And what I liked about what you said Irina, was, it’s not specific just to IT or to software companies, that it can be used by divisions or organizations of all shapes and sizes. Which is something I guess for those that aren’t using it a little bit nervous about how do you get started. So if we were a company that’s not using it at the moment, we don’t know much about it. We’ve heard lots of great things. How would we make the first step or move in the direction of using Agile and Scrum in particular?

0:17:39.3 IP: There is a lot to say about that because it’s a loaded topic.

0:17:43.3 WB: Yes.

0:17:44.3 IP: So, I would say that, the first thing that you identified as like this transparency that starts happening. Sometimes the businesses, they perceive Scrum or Agile as this magical tab like magical pill that’s going to just cure the business of all the flaws and everything is just going to be like ideal and perfect. But what usually happens is once you start doing Scrum or like you start running in an Agile fashion with another framework, you start seeing all the problems. It’s almost like the snow just like melts away and you see all the garbage or like all the streets, like all the messes that you have not seen. And that’s when they like say like, oh my God, like Scrum is not working. It’s not Scrum. Guys, you should definitely fix them. So the first thing I would say that an organization that wants to embrace Agile ways of working should do is first start with education. Read a book, there are a lot of books about Scrum. Watch a course, Watch a video course, like see how it’s done.

0:18:54.9 IP: Then pick a system where you can do everything that’s required for running in a Scrum fashion. There are great tools that are available for IT teams, but they’re not very great when it comes to other departments. So I would would say, so for example, for a development team, Jira is the best. It has a lot of reporting functionality, a lot of other bolts and whistles that are only applicable when you are applicable to those teams that are working with code. But when it comes to documentation marketing, you have recurrent tasks. In Jira recurring tasks are not a thing. They don’t happen. So that’s why you could consider working with Asana with ClickUp. Maybe with other tools that are current on the market, because there are a lot of, like there is a whole lot of tools that support everything that you need. My personal preference is with ClickUp, just because we have a lot of functionality that is easy to use.

0:19:55.1 IP: Natively configurable, and you have multiple views for the same tickets which is great. Like you can see them as a list. You can see them as a board, you can see them as a timeline. You can see them as a Gantt chart, like all at the same time with the same tickets. You don’t have to choose between one or whatever. But used to be my problem with Asana for a lot of times just because they were not supporting the multiple views for the same tickets, but later they fixed that. So like Asana is also a good option. So I don’t have any problem with them anymore. But then yes, the tool itself is just a tool. So, it goes in this hierarchy, like people then processes, and then tools, not the other way around. That’s why certain organizations, like we use Jira, we are agile. Like no [laughter] it doesn’t even correlate. It’s just a tool that you use, like how will you use it. That’s what determines if you’re Agile or not. So start with education first, then set up the tool but then to set up the a tool, you need to understand how the process should go. Maybe set up the required meetings and start running them.

0:21:09.4 IP: After a certain amount of time and a certain amount of experience, you will see what works for your team, what doesn’t. But when you are starting, don’t experiment, because otherwise you’ll end up with some kind of a version of the a framework. It’s not going to be actual Scrum, and then you’ll hire a consultant. Please save us. I don’t know what we are doing wrong. Like Scrum is not working. Like, it’s not Scrum, you’re just not doing it right.

0:21:36.4 WB: There are a lot of hybrid versions of Scrum and different methods as I understand it, within Agile. So, it sounds like that happens quite frequently.

0:21:50.4 IP: Well, that is, that phenomenon is called the Scrum but. Like we have Scrum, but we don’t have a Scrum master. We have Scrum, but we don’t have a product owner. We have Scrum, but we don’t update our tickets ourselves. We don’t like… We have Scrum, but we have free departments where tickets are getting passed from one department to another. When you are doing Scrum or any other Agile methodology, you need to think that your team is going to contain all the professionals that are needed, to deliver the final product or the final result. That’s important, so that there is no handover or there are no dependencies between the departments.

0:22:36.9 WB: You spoke about a few different tools. I’m just wondering, in today’s world, we have a lot of virtual teams and a lot of projects that are made up of teams that are scattered globally. Is there a tool that’s best suited for helping virtual teams that are that way designed?

0:22:58.9 IP: Well, yes. I believe that there is a stack of tools that you need to use to have a healthy dynamic and a remote team, where it needs to be a chat tool, somewhere where the whole team can communicate. I have seen different tools being used for that. So Slack, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. Where the teams literally, they have like dedicated channels to every topic, and they have constant communication during the day. Then there are Microsoft Teams, it’s very widely used. And right now it’s just gaining popularity. Certain teams, like marketing teams, they sometimes use even Telegram or social media like, Facebook Messenger to just coordinate between the team. I wouldn’t recommend WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger just because of the history issues. It’s not that collaborative in nature. That’s what I would say.

0:23:54.1 IP: So the first thing like is communication chat tool for the team. Then there is the project management tool where we are talking about the work items, and we have every work item described and who’s assigned, who is doing what and they have like where they have one single board where the whole team can look at and understand who is doing what. That’s another problem that I have seen in multiple organizations is that they divide every person’s tasks into separate lists, and then they don’t have a team. They just have a collection of individuals. And every person has their own to-do list. And that makes it much harder to coordinate between the even three people. That makes it harder to coordinate between three people. But imagine if you have a team of 12, that’s just like a nightmare. That’s why when you have a team, usually you have to maintain the size of a team around like eight people, 12 people maximum, because that’s the maximum that the same person can handle during one meeting.

0:24:58.2 WB: Yes. Yeah.

0:25:00.4 IP: Right. So, yeah, and then the last tool and, but not least that would be the documentation engine, something like Confluence, Notion, whatever tools are there. We are using an open source tool called BookStack. It’s also a, like a documentation engine. So what is good about the documentation engine is that everything that stays in the tasks is temporary. Once the task is getting closed, all those comments, all those insights, all those documents were getting lost. That’s why before closing that task, copy all that and put it somewhere on the documentation, so that it stays for your team and they can reference it later. And you can always just like adjust the documentation based on the needs. And that’s where all the SOPs go. That’s where all the documents about specific parts of the system go, and the documentation about the a project documentation about the a branding guidelines, like regardless of what it is, it goes on documentation if you don’t want to lose it. And that’s what I’m usually policing on the teams like okay. Like where did you put it? Like I put it on the task. Oh, thank you very much. Confluence, no.

[laughter]

0:26:15.9 WB: Right. What about in terms of language challenges in virtual teams that are spread across the world? Any of this these software or these tools that cater well in that regard as well?

0:26:32.0 IP: Well, I guess when it comes to certain tools, we have localized interfaces, if that’s what you are talking about, but then again, the interpersonal communication between the team members, that’s a very different topic. I guess that’s up to the HR department. You have to, like if you are a CEO or you’re an Executive Leader on a team, or not even a team, like the whole organization, you have to set the standard. So which language in your organization is going to be the default language? If your default language is English, every one on the team should speak English.

0:27:05.9 WB: My own experience is, I’ve worked with organizations that have that policy. Implementing that policy is really a challenge when you, when it gets a large organization and you get down by a certain level of seniority, which then becomes, as you say, it’s a high challenge because it had so many different dynamics, probably not the right forum here, but yeah, it does create some challenge. I was just wondering if there was a software that you are aware of that was useful for simultaneous translation and that type of scenario today?

0:27:45.5 IP: I guess there is, and the development of AI, I think the tools are just going to get better. At some point we’re just going to have something like a, I don’t know, like a headphone, that’s going to automatically translate everything we hear around us, but right now the technology is not there yet. When it comes to subtitles and to just like simultaneous translation, even Google Meet doesn’t have that, on Teams, I haven’t seen that functionality, so I guess the spoken communication is one of most challenging one. When it comes to the written communication, Google Translate, come on, you write something in your own language, copy-paste, it’s decent, the other person is going to be able to understand you.

0:28:27.3 WB: Yes.

0:28:28.0 IP: Now some AI adjustments like QuillBot or ChatGPT, you can speak perfect English without speaking English.

0:28:37.6 WB: True enough. So if I’m a leader of an organization, what would be some reasons that I would consider Agile?

0:28:47.6 IP: Well, quite a lot of reasons. So for example, if you want to iterate faster, and you want to deliver your products as soon as we are ready, not as soon as the budget runs out or the milestone gets reached, because sometimes, there is this unfortunate rule of if you have a budget or if you have deadline, the project is not going to be done before the date, like regardless of what you do. Because over-dependencies, because of the handoffs or the planned dates. Because again, if a development department finishes their code writing, let’s say two weeks ahead of schedule and they pass it to the QA department, but the QA department is scheduled to start in two weeks, are they going to start right away? Oh, yeah. Well no, they had other plans. They had other projects going on. And that’s why for two weeks, there is a gap. But if you were working in an Agile fashion, the increment, then it gets developed, gets tested, it gets demoed, it gets feedback within one week or one iteration. Let’s say it was three weeks, like within three weeks, you get everything done and there is nothing left. And then you don’t have to wait for the hand-off to happen between departments.

0:30:07.6 IP: And that’s why you can start, if you are adopting Agile you can start about thinking like, how do I make my team’s cross-functional? Another thing would be to do estimations. I understand that even in Agile circles, there’s a lot of controversy around estimations like, “Oh, we shouldn’t do estimations.” Or “We should do estimations.” Like there’s this no estimates movement. What estimations actually provide, is a venue to predict how much time the work is going to take. And you don’t have to estimate in hours. You can use relative estimation like, How big is this? Like is it like an Excel T-shirt? And how big is that our item? Is it an S T-shirt? So you can just compare them between one another. And this way, you get some predictability in terms of like how much of work the team can do within one sprint, one iteration.

0:31:04.8 WB: And this way, you get a relative idea of how soon you’re going to get your projects done. Because if you estimate the whole project, you will see that okay, it’s going to take three or four iterations for our team to finish that project. Sometimes the developers, they will find that a certain thing that they estimated to be, let’s say three days of work, it’s no longer three days, it’s just like one. And this way, you’ll get it done faster. Sometimes the opposite happens as well, they discover, they’re like, Oh yeah, we underestimated it three times and like now we have to dedicate two weeks to do like, and our best resources to just solve a problem. But it all evens out in the end with the estimates. Like sometimes they’re higher, sometimes we’re lower, but it all evens out. Yeah. There are a lot of things to mention, because again, every organization is different. I’m just thinking about some typical cases.

0:32:01.8 WB: Yeah, for sure. For sure. It’s a highly fascinating topic, I have to say, and I’m just looking at the time, I’m conscious of the time but… Anything we haven’t…

0:32:12.3 IP: Let’s continue. I have time. If you have time.

0:32:15.8 WB: Anything we haven’t spoken about in relation to Agile or in relation to Scrum itself, that you think is very important for people to be aware of?

0:32:25.8 IP: Well, I believe also there is another topic, but we need to touch about, like touch on is the leadership mindset. Because what happens in a lot of organizations is that there is this command and control mentality. Like I’m the boss, I know what we need to do. Here’s the plan, just do it. So this mentality is called the Push method. Because you push the work on the team and you don’t give them the opportunity to actually creatively contribute to whatever they’re building. In Agile, the approach is a little bit different. You present your ideas to the team, and then they estimate them, and then you see that your idea is going to take forever to implement. And that’s when you are going to negotiate with the team. Like okay. Like this solution is going to take forever. How about we do something else? And then the team starts creating the solution, with you. And there is this saying that like, If they build it, they own it.

0:33:32.0 IP: So when they are going to understand that the plan is also based on their contribution. They suggested to do it this way. And then they’re going to own that plan. So you will not have to force people to work. You will get a genuine commitment and genuine participation. But that requires a change of mindset. Because again, when you’re embracing Agile, you will also have to understand what servant leadership is, so you are no longer the person who tells everyone what to do. You are the person who asks everyone what we should do. And then you have to make decisions and pick between the options that are presented to you by the team. That’s probably one of those key topics that don’t get enough credit.

0:34:21.1 WB: What are you engaged in at the moment? I know you’re putting a lot of time into content creation. Last time we spoke, you said you’re heavily invested in creating a lot of content. Are you still that way, yeah?

0:34:37.7 IP: Well, it’s a never ending battle. As part of marketing, I need to create the content.

0:34:44.6 WB: So Irina, where would people go to connect with you and what’s the best way to do that?

0:34:51.4 IP: I believe the best way to connect with me personally would be through LinkedIn. It’s Irina Poddubnaia, and I believe the spelling of my name is quite unique, so you’ll find only one. I hope so. Right.

0:35:03.8 WB: We will put it in the show notes, yeah.

0:35:06.8 IP: Yeah, thank you. And then if you are curious about e-commerce businesses or you are running an e-commerce business or you’re somehow involved, you might check out trackmage.com, and that’s where you’ll find also the social media channels that TrackMage is currently present on.

0:35:27.1 WB: Fascinating conversation. I’ve learned so much myself. I really appreciate having you on the show. I hope our listeners take a lot from this as well, and take the opportunity to reach out to you for anyone that is in need of somebody with your absolute talents and specific areas of expertise. So thank you for being a guest on the ET Project.

0:35:54.0 IP: Thank you, Wayne.

0:35:55.2 Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us on the ET Project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, e-books, webinars and blogs at coaching4companies.com.

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