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In this episode Frank Days and Roland Smart speak with Peter Eggleston about his work  getting a couple startups off the ground as well as work at Aptus Health. The episode covers some familiar ground as Peter compares his experience at small startups to his time at a larger company. In the former context Peter’s role converged the product management and product marketing function and helped him develop a deep appreciation for the role that Agile has to play as a platform for collaboration between marketers and product managers.

One topic that came up in this conversation speaks to a couple recurring questions—how to balance one’s Agile practice with work that either conforms better to a Waterfall approach or that is unexpected. Most Agile practitioners will, of course, immediately recognize that unexpected requests represent an opportunity to revisit the backlog to discuss whether or not the new request trumps what’s in process. But those pragmatists out there will also recognize that approach does not always work—especially when the requester is not an adherent of the Agile process.  Over the past few episodes we’ve heard about a few different approaches that can help:

  1. Set expectations with your team that some percentage of their time will be dedicated to Agile and the rest will be Waterfall.
  2. Reserve story points within each sprint to accommodate unexpected requests.
  3. Establish a stand along Agile team that is focused only on unexpected requests.

These are all mechanisms to support resiliency. While they all will add some overhead—or inefficiency—they have the potential to make you much more successful when it comes to making friends and influencing people within your company.

Finally here’s some information from Peter on a management framework that we had not heard of before called 4DX (four disciplines of execution). The associated principles are:

  1. Focusing on the Wildly Important
  2. Acting on Lead Measures
  3. Keeping a Compelling Scoreboard
  4. Creating a Cadence of Accountability

Point # 4 breaks into:

  •   Create a rhythm of frequent periodic meetings
  •   Same time every week
  •  Report on commitments, review and update scoreboards. make new commitments

It makes utilizing Agile tools very natural to implement 4DX. Or conversely, it makes 4Dx very agile-like. I recommend reading The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals to learn more. Or visit: