Agile Chicago Style Podcast (general)

Rick has invited Chris Coultas back to the show to discuss a few more DRiV reports, and his book Driven Not Drained .

Rick also invited Marcelo Lopez back to the show, because Rick and Marcelo are both DRiV Certfied Coaches.  They ask Chris to go a little deeper into what indications from DRiV reports mau give us some insights into how teams might perform.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep41_DRiVReportswithChrisandMarcelo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39am EDT

Matt, Mike, and Rick talk with Dr. Chris Coultas about the amazingly accurate and helpful DRiV report that helps you understand why you are affected the ways you are, by the things that happen around you.  

The DRiV goes beyond telling you the things about yourself you already know, it tells you what behaviors you will be prone to engage in, and what type of environments or behaviors will DRIVE you, and which will DRAIN you.

Rick happens to be a certified DRiV coach, and can provide the DRiV assessment to you, and help you analyze it.  If you would like to explore the DRiV report with Rick, please contact him at

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep40_TheDRiVWithChrisCoultas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25am EDT

In this episode, Mike and Rick chat with Howard Sublett on the ever-changing world of work, and the changes and challenges he's seen at Scrum Alliance since he became the Chief Product Owner.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep39_WithHowardSublett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:16am EDT

Dawn Nicole McIlwain has created a Social Media platform for Agilists.  She joins Rick, Mike and Matt to talk about how it is helping the Agile community come together, without the 'noise' that other Social Media platforms distract us with.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep38_AgileConnex_With_DawnNicoleMcIlwain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:19am EDT

Mike Marchi and Rick Waters sit down with Joshua Jack, from Matrix Resources, and talk about the partnership approach to finding great talent in the Agile world.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep36_-_FindingAgileTalentPart2JoshuaJack.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:15pm EDT

Matt Beam and Mike Marchi sit down with Matt Vuckov of Talent Craft to discuss the fine art of matching agile practitioners to client needs in the digital marketplace.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep35_-_FindingAgileTalentPart1MattV.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05pm EDT

Rick, Mike, and Matt talk with Jack Walser about his new book The Agile Thinker.  The Agile Thinker takes Agility and introduces it to the layperson, so they can use the benefits of Agility not only at work, but also in their personal lives.  And, honestly, nowadays, it's difficult to tell the difference between work and personal lives.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep34_-_TheAgileThinkerWithJackWalser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:33pm EDT

Rick, Mike, and Matt explore the textbook version of Scrum's Product Owner, and contrast that with the patterns they've witnessed in real-world Scrum instances.
We welcome all listeners who are, or have been, Product Owners, to contact us for the opportunity to discuss the role with us.  This underserved role deserves some explanation from those serving as Product Owners.  If this is you, contact us at or
All Agile Chicago Style listeners qualify for a huge discount in Rick's Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) classes from July to September 2020.  Use the Discount/Coupon Code ACS when registering for the following classes:Aug 13-14:
Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep33_-_Exploring_Product_Ownership_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:02am EDT

Mike Marchi and Matt Beam host this episode, with Jeff Singleton talking about the behaviors of traditionally managed organizations and their tendencies toward ruling with a clock-shaped fist.  To find out what we mean, have a listen.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep32_-_No_Time_To_Think.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:44pm EDT

Maria Matarelli (Woman-of-all-trades) and I talk about some visualization techniques we've used in the classroom.  Both of us discovered Neuland markers at different times, and put off learning how to use them to their full potential.  Using Bikablo examples and techniques, we've learned that art will engage the learner much more readily.


In the second half of the episode, Maria and I tackle some Coaching questions we get quite often:

  • The Team is just not estimating right
  • We can't POSSIBLY get anything done in a 2-week timebox!
  • There are a ton of Process Cops already, why do we need a ScrumMaster too?

HyperDrive's Agile Camp - Chicago: May 6th, 2019

Agile Professional Learning Network (APLN) Chicago Chapter's 3rd Annual Conference: May 9th, 2019

AgileCon - Indianapolis: May 10th, 2019

Big Apple Scrum Day: May 10th, 2019


Upcoming Chicago Classes

Certified Agile Leadership 1 (CAL1) March 18-19th, 2019, by Michael Sahota (Chicago Loop)

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) March 25-26, by Rick Waters (Chicago Loop)

Scrum@Scale March 27-28th, 2019, by Brian Levy (Chicago Loop)

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep22_VisualizationAndCollaborationWithMariaMatarelli.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:23pm EDT

At the Agile Professional Learning Network - Chicago Chapter's 2017 conference, I caught up with Dave Saboe and talked with him a bit about ScrumMasters.  Paul Madison joined in and we talked about how personality traits in ScrumMasters evolve over time.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep18_DaveSaboe_5ScrumMastersFromHell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:57am EDT

At the Agile Professional Learning Network - Chicago Chapter’s first Conference, I caught up with Doc Norton. He spoke about the Host Leadership model and its role-based examples, instead of character based traits of Servant Leadership.

Listen as Doc explains several of the roles that anyone can take on in Host Leadership.

Doc also has a book on Lean Pub right now, Escape Velocity, where he explores more useful metrics than Velocity.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep17_StartsWithAnInvitation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:42pm EDT

From national elections to ditch digging, Matt and Rick use the recent US Presidential election results, to springboard into some great examples of how national politics and business events can mirror each other. Moreover, how do we, as Agile professionals, react to internal politics.

The idea for this episode was influenced by a tweet that Rick saw the day after the US Presidential election. Rick, being a wartime US veteran and fierce patriot, was immediately infuriated by this tweet, which called the United States the ‘dumbest country on Earth!’ After some time had passed and Rick calmed down, he organized two Agile Politics podcast episodes - this being the second in the series.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep16_AgilePolitics_Part2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:47am EDT

If you've been around Chicago long enough, at least in the Agile community, you would know that the company currently know as HERE (formerly Navteq and then Nokia) has a great reputation for being an Agile company.  The truth is, the Agile movement there started as an experiment - as most things in Agile should.

I tag along while Allen Rutzen and Jorgen Hesselberg describe the best example of a true Agile Transformation.

Direct download: 08__Jorgen_and_Allen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:23am EDT

I recently got the most wonderful opportunity to talk with a couple of legends in the Agile Community - Chet Hendrickson and Ron Jeffries!  They're partnering with Brian Levy to bring a 5-Day, dual certification, public CSD class to Chicago for the week of 14-18 March, 2016.

Ron, Chet and Brian discuss many of the XP Practices we grown to love and integrate into our Scrum implementations.  Brian also adds a dash of SAFe to the conversation.

The class, in downtown Chicago, combines a 3-day Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) class and a 2-Day SAFe ScrumXP class.  Class attendees will be awarded the CSD via Scrum Alliance (assuming they already have other pre-requisites covered), and the Scaled Practitioner (SP) via Scaled Agile.


Details for the class can be found at these sites

Scrum Alliance 

Rome Agile

Scaled Agile


About the Trainers

You can find more about Ron Jeffries here.

You can find more about Chet Hendrickson here.

You can find more about Brian Levy here.

Direct download: CSD_With_Ron_Chet_Brian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:19am EDT

Introducing Matt Beam!

Matt will become the show's new co-host and technical editor.  Don't worry, you'll still get to hear me inject more than a few um's and stutters :)  But, you will also get Matt's level-headed observations and ideas!

In this episode, we talk about things we are seeing in the Chicago Agile space as far as Agile implementations, attitudes, practices, and how we've adapted to them.

We talk a little about Doc Norton's presentation at Agile Day Chicago 2015.  Doc has a great new take on the Shu - Ha - Ri  maturity model.

Rick gives a little detail about an experiment he's looking into with crossing the CSM training class and young students.  This gives way to a great discussion on training/educating students.


Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep10_Introducing_MattBeam.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:05pm EDT

Aakash Srinivasan is an Agile Coach and Trainer, in the Washington DC area, who speaks quite often at Agile events, conferences and Gatherings.  Aakash and I sat down last month and talked about a great range of topics.  

Besides name-dropping (Mike Cohn, Dhaval Panchal, Roger Brown, Catherine Louis, Maria Matarelli, Dave Prior, Mike Vizdos, Arlen Bankston, Tom Mellor), We actually talk about topics like why Agile Coaches are needed when ScrumMasters are intended to be the team coaches; 'Pure Scrum' vs Reality; DAD, Scrum, Scrumban, and Kanban comparisons and where/when they fit; training, co-training, and being CST candidates; Scrum Gatherings and Agile conferences.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep7_AakashSrinivasan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27pm EDT

Vivek and Rick discuss many different topics in this conversation ranging from Governance to Training certification, Agile industry diversity to Release Planning, etc.  We breifly touch on our career goals of CST and CSC, and where we are at in our journeys.

Direct download: AgileChicagoStyle_Ep6_VivekAngiras.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

Maria Matarelli, president of Formula Ink, Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), and author, talks with me about her experience in a recent CSM class where she brought in Suzanne Oliver, of Heart of a Fighter, to act as a real-life Product Owner of/for her non-profit organization. 

Maria's idea to have the CSM class focus on a real non-IT organization to help them realize their goals, yielded some very interesting results.  Listen to our conversation to learn more.

Mentioned in this episode:

Maria Matarelli, from Formula Ink

Suzanne Oliver, from Heart of a Fighter

Blaine Blanchard, from Camp Kids are Kids Chicago

Jan Mosier, from Lightreach Boy Scouts of America

You can contact Maria Matarelli on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, at, at, and check out her book at


Direct download: Ep1_MariaMatarelli.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53pm EDT