This is Mr. Bob Galen, a special guest at #Agiles2014

Bob GalenIf you’re looking for in deep experience in software development, in general, and agile approaches, in particular, this is the person you must ask for. Literally, Mr. Galen has devoted his life’s work to improving organization’s processes, early in the Waterfall and RUP spheres and now in the Agile domain of software development.

Bob Galen is an Agile Methodologist, Practitioner & Coach based in Cary, NC. In this role, he helps guide companies and teams in their pragmatic adoption and organizational shift towards Scrum and other agile methodologies and practices. He is a Principal Agile Evangelist at Velocity Partners, a leading agile nearshore development partner. He is also President and Agile Trainer & Coach at RGCG.

He’s published two agile related books: Scrum Product Ownership, in 2009 – 2’nd Edition in 2013 and Agile Reflections in 2012.  He’s also a prolific writer & blogger at www.rgalen.com and podcaster at www.meta-cast.com. He can provide coaching in such non-standard areas as: Situational coaching around Scrum ceremonies, Situational coaching and mentoring to Organizational Leadership in their agile transformation, and Assess more mature teams and jump-start accelerated improvement and performance.

He has just returned from his first trip to China where he attended the TiD 2014 Conference, which was a consolidation of 3 specific conferences: AgileChina, ChinaTest and SPIChina, and because of his background and interests, he was invited to speak at two of the three conferences: ChinaTest and AgileChina. In total, he spoke almost two days among workshops and talks. Still, he took his valuable time to answer a few questions I asked him.


[You help guide companies and teams in their pragmatic adoption and organizational shift towards Scrum and other agile methodologies and practices. What are the principal challenges you have faced in that journey? Do you think it is easy to transitioning from here (traditional) to the agile approach?]

I’ve personally always been well aligned with the agile values and principles, so my own journey has been quite natural for me. Have I seen challenges? Of course, but my base trust in the principles have helped me stay the course.

In my coaching, do I think it’s easy for most organizations to make the transition? No, it can be quite challenging. I think the biggest hurtles are things like:

  • Not understanding that agile is more of a Cultural and Organizational transformation, play rather than a simple, technology-only transition.
  • Agile at Scale, including distributed teams, can be a real challenge to get the balance right. It also requires more investment and patience to effectively support this scale.
  • There is always a challenge for an organizations manager’s & leaders changing their style and truly sorting out what effective agile leadership “looks like”.
  • And finally, so many organizations think of it as a one-time initiative and they plateau or regress in their results. So keeping a focus on Continuous Improvement in the long term can be a real challenge.
[What do you think are the primary drivers a person or company must have in front of in order to achieve success while renovating his/its way of work into an agile one?]

I think first there needs to be some recognition that they have challenges and that agile will improve their competitive position. I think it helps to be customer-focused, value-focused, and people-focused in the companies culture. Ultimately, it’s about delivering products that are of high quality and value that serve the customer’s needs, while doing so in a humane and fun way.

[What are your expectations in coming to South America to the #Agiles2014 Conference?]

I work for a company called Velocity Partners who has an office in Medellin. So the first driver is to come down and meet my colleagues in the office. But the second motivation is to help support the local, South American agile community and meeting new agile colleagues and friends. I try to be active in the community and this is a wonderful opportunity for me. I was honored to have spoken at #Agiles2011 in Buenos Aires, and am honored to get this “return trip”.


In his book “Agile Reflections”, a sort of blog posts for BA Times and PM Times between 2009 and 2012, he shares, among other aspects, specific stories, lessons, and approaches surrounding the mindset of more mature agile teams. For example, in the essay “Do you trust your team?” he says: “If you think your team has underestimated their work and are leaving velocity on the table, just ‘trust the team’…” and he continues: “If you feel that the team isn’t working hard enough or are committed enough to their work, ‘trust the team’…” Of course, he provides more explanatory ideas on trusting your team. It’s a delightful.

He is Mr. Robert Galen and thanks to his associates at Velocity Partners in Medellin, he will be around this October, talking about his experiences in the agile arena. By the way, when we asked him what talk he was thinking to share with us, he said he was excited to participate in #Agiles2014 and that he’d love to “squeeze in” his two Essential Patterns talks into the program, and so we do.


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