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May 28, 2024 46 mins

Dan Lines is joined by Gil Broza, author of 'Deliver Better Results,' to discuss how you and your organization can achieve better results by focusing on processes. Gil shares his 20-year journey in the Agile field, focusing on product development, system thinking, prioritizing people, and mindful mindset adjustments.

The conversation covers the book’s target audience, the concept of the value delivery systems, and the roadmap for holistic improvement beyond traditional Agile methodologies. Gil also highlights common pitfalls leaders encounter, such as treating people as resources and the importance of a unified organizational mindset.

As a thank you to our listeners, we’re giving away the first chapter of ‘Deliver Better Results’ for free, check it out here.

Episode Highlights:

00:58 What led Gil to write ‘Deliver Better Results’, and who should be reading it?
06:20 Is there a certain size of team that would benefit from this book?
12:08 How can leaders identify the current state of their team?
17:01 How can engineering and product work better together?
20:49 What do leaders get wrong about people?
34:14 How can managers avoid finding someone to blame?
40:10 How can you avoid falling back to old habits after you make changes?

Show Notes:

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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Gil Broza (00:00):
If our listeners take something away from this is,

(00:02):
again, look beyond yourimmediate scope, right?
If you just try to improveengineering or just try to
improve product, or you letteams do their own, like, retros
and continuous improvement andwhatnot, you run the risk of
things not really sticking, thechanges don't stick, or you get
unintended consequences, or youjust get too much business risk.

(00:23):
You want to understand theboundaries, you want to have
this coalition of leaders whocare about the system and want
to improve it.

Conor Bronsdon (00:30):
Gardener just released their market guide,
showing that softwareengineering intelligence
platforms, help engineeringleaders significantly improve
both team productivity and valuedelivery.
Through Gardner's in-depthanalysis on the critical
features of sci platforms andhow they can be used to drive
engineering excellence.
Linear B was named as arepresentative vendor.
And therefore we're giving awaya complimentary copy of

(00:53):
Gartner's sci market guide.
Head to the link in the shownotes to download your
complimentary copy and learn howyou can unlock the
transformative potential ofsoftware engineering
intelligence for your team.

Dan Lines (01:04):
Hey, what's up everyone?
Welcome to Dev Interrupted.
I'm your host, Dan Lines,LinearB COO and co founder.
And today I'm joined by GilBroza, author of the book,
Deliver Better Results.
Welcome to the show, Gil.

Gil Broza (01:24):
Thank you so much for having me here.

Dan Lines (01:26):
It's really cool having you on.
And we were just chatting beBefore the show you're in
Toronto.
I'm in Rochester, New York.
We're actually pretty close toeach other.
Not too far away, which isawesome Usually I can't say that
for people that are coming onthe show.
But I have seen actually a lotof good stuff happening in
Toronto some startup companiesthat type of thing, which is

(01:48):
really cool.
So awesome to have you on.
Could we start out?
We know that you wrote thisincredible book.
We're gonna get into the book.
But, can we hear a little bitabout you, your background, what
you're all about, your career,and then we'll dive into the
book.

Gil Broza (02:05):
I have been specializing for the past 20
years in helping softwareleaders deliver better results,
hence the name for the book.
And they do that by upgradingtheir organization's way of
working.
And they achieve sustainableupgrades to their way of working
because we work on the threepillars.

(02:25):
Product development, thinking insystems, putting people first,
and being intentional aboutmindset.
Uh, like I said, it's been about20 years, um, I'm pretty well
known in the Agile space.
I've worked with about 100clients since starting my
independent practice 15 yearsago.
And, um, I work primarily with,you know, U.

(02:46):
S., Canada, and Europe, but Iwant to help the entire world.

Dan Lines (02:51):
So 15 years ago you started, you said like
independent practice, but likeyour own, your own business.

Gil Broza (02:58):
Yes, which is intentionally unaffiliated, non
certifying, giving my clientsthe best that they deserve.
And not just somebody else'sideas.

Dan Lines (03:10):
Very cool.
And what did you do before that?
Previous to the 15 years ago,you start your end of
independent business.
What happened before that?

Gil Broza (03:19):
Pretty common engineering track.
I started as a developer, seniordeveloper, team lead, R& D
manager.
And it was around that time thatI discovered agile methods.
I was.
So we're talking about like2000, 2001.
I was able to apply them in acouple of companies.
And it's then when I realized,you know, I want to help more

(03:42):
and more companies rather thanstay within the confines of one.

Dan Lines (03:45):
Gotcha.
Yeah.
So, you know, early, early twothousands, lots of companies, I
think.
Maybe thinking, well, I mean,that, that may be, may be even
the timeframe where it's like,Agile is a little newer, like,
how do I do this?
And then, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And so you kind of said, okay,let me go and make this, you

(04:08):
know, a career for myself, but Ican, I can help many, many
people.
That's what it sounds like.
Yes,

Gil Broza (04:14):
because the realization was that how we work
matters.
And for the longest time, we hadjust one way of getting work
done, right?
The traditional kind of projectmanagement approach.
And, you know, I sort ofhappened upon this alternate
reality where teams can becollaborative and cross
functional and planningfrequently.

(04:34):
And managers don't have to bebossy.
And I realized, you know, Thereis a lot here, and I want to
help others.

Dan Lines (04:41):
Yeah, that's a ton, and we're going to have to
unpack all of this stuff.
Exactly.
As much as we can in thispodcast.
So let's start with this.
So your book, Deliver BetterResults.
Who is your intended audience?
Who should read this book?

Gil Broza (04:59):
It is for leaders in software development who need
their teams and orgs to workmore effectively and
efficiently.
I've written it so that it'sreadable and applicable by
managers at all levels.
Okay, so it is written also forthe very busy CTOs and VP
engineering.
Although I do expect that we'llhave all, all roles and

(05:21):
seniorities read it.

Dan Lines (05:22):
Okay, cool.
And can you give us a littlebit, I guess, an overview of the
book or, you know, some of thefallout, like, what am I going
to find there in this book?

Gil Broza (05:32):
Okay.
So what you're going to findthere.
is a focus on something thatactually very, very little
literature focuses on.
And it's what I call the valuedelivery system.
It's this part of the company,both contributors and managers,
and how they work, all the wayfrom idea to delivery, to make
technology that benefits thecustomers.

(05:53):
Okay, so it is bigger than ateam or a set of teams, and it's
smaller than the company.
And bigger companies have morethan one.
The premise is that if you wantsuch a system to deliver better
results, basically make a biggerdifference to your customers and
your business, you have toimprove the system, not Improve
locally, like, you know, a team,an agile team, engineering,

(06:16):
product, design, test, butrather improve holistically.
And the book provides somethingthat's been missing in our
industry, which is a roadmap toimproving and optimizing that
system.

Dan Lines (06:29):
Ah, that sounds cool.

Gil Broza (06:30):
Yeah, because the industry has offered a bunch of
target states, like, you know,Scrum or Safe, right?
Without actually saying how youget there, and they may not be
right for you.
Right?
Uh, the industry has offeredpractices that you should copy
because some big player usesthem.
But of course the big playersuse different things.
Right?
So which one should you take?
It has offered leadershipmodels, it's offered continuous

(06:52):
improvement, retrospectives, butnot a roadmap to holistic
improvement.
So what I offer there is reallytwo kinds of things.
One is, um, how do leadersbehave and speak and enable and
support in order to makeimprovement possible and
sustainable?
Right?
And the second thing is a set of10 strategies, sequential and

(07:12):
incremental, to get there.

Dan Lines (07:15):
That's awesome.
And in terms of the audienceagain, is there a certain size
company or size productengineering team that would
benefit most from the book?

Gil Broza (07:27):
No.
It's actually useful for allsizes.
And the reason is that even thevery big, right, they have
Several of those systems inthere.
They might be a product line,they might be, uh, some form of
vertical, a program.
Uh, they're organized in such away that they already manage
their scale.

(07:48):
The thing is, within that, whatdo you focus your improvements
on?
So, for instance, you can go tothe head of engineering and try
to improve all of engineering,even though it crosses multiple
systems, and sometimes you getsome problems with that.
So the book is, you know, onesystem at a time.
For most companies, that'sanywhere between 10 people and
like a couple of hundred.

(08:10):
But if you have, I don't know, athousand people for sure, you're
going to have several of thosevalue delivery systems for sure.

Dan Lines (08:16):
Gotcha.
So it sounds like when you'vedone this and what the book
prescribes, you also said you'vedone this at a few companies.
It seems like you do maybe likesmall chunks of teams or like
system by system.
Is that the way to, to gothrough the change management
process?

Gil Broza (08:33):
Yes, it is.
So the first thing you need todo is actually understand where
the boundaries go and one reallyeasy way to think about this.
Um, and again, for all of ourlisteners, everybody is working
in one specific system, think ofyour product or solution.
Uh, as if it were a movie andthink to the end where the
credit role is and say, well,who contributes to this movie?

(08:56):
Who makes decisions?
Who enables this whole list ofpeople?
That is the scope you're workingwith.
So it's both ACs and theirmanagers.
It's not going to correspondneatly to the org chart.
Uh, people will report todifferent managers.
That's okay.
But everybody's decisions affectother people's decisions.
That's a system, and thereforeyou have to improve things

(09:19):
holistically.
And by the way, chances are, alot of our audience uses the
term value stream.
That is the closest thing tothis.
My concerns with this term, justbased on what I've seen, is that
it connotes that work flows onlyone way.
Kind of like it did inWaterfall.
But then, realistically, whenyou think about, Stuff happening

(09:41):
in the system, which is again,all, it all boils down to
decision making.
Decisions have ramificationsthroughout the system and not
just in a linear fashion.
So there is a stream here inthat work keeps coming in and we
keep delivering, but whathappens inside is more like a
network.

Dan Lines (09:57):
That's really interesting.
I definitely agree.
When I think of stream, I thinkone way, right?
Value stream.
I'm creating something.
I'm just sending it out.
It's done.
Much more complicated than that.

Gil Broza (10:12):
Uh, or some would say even complex, right?
Because it's really hard topredict all the results of
actions.
And so, the book really, um,encourages, um, The reader is to
take a system thinking approach,not in the sense that everybody
should be able to draw, youknow, all sorts of causal loop
diagrams and this and that.
No, just think, you know, beyondyour immediate scope.

(10:35):
If you decide X or you decide Y,what might be the ramifications?
How might things in the system,people's behaviors, choices,
whatever, compound your changeor fight it?
That's basic system thinking,right?
So there's reinforcing, right?
And there's balancing.
Or in other words, you might getvicious loops, vicious cycles,
all sorts of things that canhamper your efforts.

(10:58):
So just think about that.
Okay.

Dan Lines (11:00):
So, before we dive in more, I do want to let the
audience know, Gil, you'reoffering our listeners the
book's first chapter.

Gil Broza (11:11):
Yes.

Dan Lines (11:11):
For free.

Gil Broza (11:12):
Yes.

Dan Lines (11:12):
It's called The Big Picture.

Gil Broza (11:14):
Right.
Yes.

Dan Lines (11:15):
And I just have a little blurb on it.
It sounds like it's a concisepresentation of the main ideas
and advice in the book.
For our listeners, and I'm surewe'll include this in our links
to receive that chapter, go toheardonpodcast.
deliver.
com.
BetterResultsBook.
com.
Of course, we'll, we'll includethat information.

(11:36):
Um, did what we just cover hereoutline kind of that first
chapter you know, is thereanything else to say kind of
about that big picture to startthere?
Yes.

Gil Broza (11:47):
So that chapter actually has more things it's
written in such a way that likeif you want to hand the book to
your boss and you want your bossto read this, the boss says, I
don't have time.
Because just read chapter one,it's 20 minutes, you'll know the
main things.
So for instance, one of thosethings is that when we want to
deliver better results, whatwe're really targeting is for

(12:08):
the system to work better.
And what we're hoping toincrease is the system's fitness
for purpose.
How well does it help thecompany achieve its mission and
objectives?
Uh, and it turns out that thereare five levels that systems go
through.
In real life, this is not someacademic theory, this is based
on observations.
And that in order to, you know,choose which strategies to

(12:32):
apply, you need to know whatyour current level of fitness
is.
And that chapter has a quickassessment, intentionally
designed to take 10 minutes orless, so busy people do it.
It doesn't require metrics, orbig surveys, or big consulting,
or anything like that.
And it's also not reallygameable, usefully.
And so you assess your currentlevel, and that shows you which

(12:53):
strategies to employ.
And you're off to the races.
The rest of the book digs intothat and gives the specifics and
ideas and whatnot withoutprescribing anything.

Dan Lines (13:03):
That's really cool, actually, because what was on my
mind is, you know, we talkedabout the system, we talked it's
a network, we talked maybe it'sa little complex, like, how do I
identify, like, my currentstate?
Do you have a process that I cango through to even, like, think
about that?

Gil Broza (13:19):
Absolutely, and I I've really taken pains to
explain this in the simplestlanguage possible, right?
Uh, because I'll tell you this,almost every treatment of system
thinking that I have, that Ihave come across, uh, it got
really technical and jargonheavy, and, and it felt like a
lot, very quickly.

(13:40):
You know, if our listeners takesomething away from this is,
again, look beyond yourimmediate scope, right?
If you just try to improveengineering or just try to
improve product, or you letteams do their own, like, retros
and continuous improvement andwhatnot, you run the risk of
things not really sticking, thechanges don't stick, or you get

(14:03):
unintended consequences, or youjust get too much business risk.
Okay, so, you want to understandthe boundaries, you want to have
this coalition of leaders whocare about the system and want
to improve it.
Okay, so like in a smallerenvironment it might be VP
Engine, VP Product, in others itmight be a bunch of directors,
it varies.

(14:24):
And for them to kind of workfrom a model, and the book
presents a model that they canfollow.
As opposed to saying, hey, Iheard Scrum's awesome, we should
do Scrum.
Or, in my previous company, wedid Safe, we should do Safe.
No, this is, this does notprescribe anything, but it gives
you ideas and explains whythings kind of go the way they

(14:45):
do and what might improve them.

Dan Lines (14:48):
That's really cool.
One of the things that I alwaysthink about our listeners, so
the people listening to ourpodcast is, I have my career on
my mind.
You know, how will this help mycareer?
Is this for me?
You know, everyone wants to havea great career journey, you
know, and it's wonderful to dothat.

(15:10):
How do you think this bookrelates to someone that's
interested in improving theircareer?

Gil Broza (15:16):
Okay, so I treat every reader of the book as what
I call their an improvementleader.
And what this is, it really goesback to one Responsibility that
leaders have and by leader I itcan be really anyone from team
lead or scrum master or coachall the way to C level and you
know you're already supposed tomanage people, objectives,

(15:40):
budgets, planning, execution,whatnot, but something that we
don't talk about enough is toimprove how work gets done
Right?
So that you achieve more for thecompany given what you have.
And sometimes that is in theblind spot due to inertia.
Sometimes it's just kind ofnarrowly defined as, you know,
look for efficiencies.
Which is not the best lens inwhich to view product

(16:01):
development anyway.
Sometimes we look for automationor AI or whatever.
But this will give you thelanguage and the models and the
advice to carry out thatresponsibility.
And this will help your careerbecause, uh, your company will
get more from you.
You will be a lot more valuablefor your employer, for your

(16:24):
client, in the sense that you'reable to achieve more.
Without compromising, you know,the team's health or your future
delivery, things like that.

Dan Lines (16:37):
Yeah, that's really nice.
And I think also if it soundslike to me, if you're interested
in improving your career, you'rereading this book, you know,
it's taking this holistic lookat your system.
I mean, even going through thatassessment can probably give you
a little bit of anunderstanding, I assume.
What, you know, what's working,maybe what's not working, that,
that type of thing, um, which Ialways find, find is like a

(17:01):
great exercise, you know,regardless of any leadership
position that you're in,probably going to help you out a
little bit.

Gil Broza (17:09):
Yes.
And once, one super importantthing is that we want to manage
the whole, but usually when wework, you know, work never
stops, there's always more todo.
Always more planning, alwaysmore this than that.
It's very easy to lose sight ofsome things.
So for instance, we might be.
Uh, I don't know, leading anengineering team and really
taking a lot of interest in ourdelivery metrics.

(17:32):
Nothing wrong with that, butit's only one part of the
picture.
What about, are our deliveriesmaking a difference to people?
Or to what extent do they dothat?
Now, you might say, well, that'snot my responsibility, that's
product.
Well, But product, product needsyou to succeed and you need
product to succeed.
So maybe you should talk to themand come up with something that
matters to both of you.
And that's really the anglethis, this book, this book

(17:55):
takes.

Dan Lines (17:56):
That's really interesting.
I want to dive in there.
So we're talking aboutengineering and product
relationship.
One of the most, I think, alsocomplex relationships.
What have you seen there, someof the pitfalls, like you've
worked with companies, what arethe common issues you see with
that communication?

Gil Broza (18:16):
Right, so those relationships are all over the
place, right?
The relationship I see mostcommonly is the order taking
relationship.
Engineering does what productwants them to do.
Another relationship I see a lotis kind of being afraid to raise
issues.
Not wanting to be seen as atroublemaker.

(18:37):
Um, another one is really kindof let specialists do their
thing.
So let products do their productthing and let engineers do their
engineering thing.
And without realizing thatnobody's choices are entirely
context free.
Or ramification free, right?
Again, system.

(18:57):
So I can tell you where I'vebeen working.
Results were really, reallygreat.
There are some things theleaders did.
One of them is that theengineering leaders and the
product leads, they took sharedresponsibility, not just for
what will we deliver, but howwill we get better at doing it?

(19:20):
They spoke to each otherfrequently.
They, they had trust.
They collaborated to, to someextent.
They made it possible.
for everyone in their respectivegroups to, to own things.
Not just in theory, but actuallyown things.
And also made it possible forthem to speak with other people

(19:41):
in the system who were dependenton that.
Okay?
Uh, you know, a counter exampleto that is from way back before
I started, uh, you know, kind ofcoaching, uh, in Agile, uh,
contexts.
I was, uh, leading a serverdevelopment team and my manager
was awesome in terms of, youknow, empowering me to do
things.
I mean, this goes back a longtime, but if I needed anything

(20:04):
from the front end team, I hadto go through the channels.
I had to go up the hierarchy.
He would talk to his counterpartand he would talk to his people.
And like, seriously, thesepeople are sitting across the
hallway from me.
That makes no sense.
And product, nobody even talkedto them.
They just gave us documents,right?
Now this is, of course, oldschool, but I see the same

(20:25):
dynamic continue to play outthese days, still.
And part of it is the pressurethat everybody's under.
The race to be dominant has notrelented.
Uh, we get more things.
Hey, AI now, right?
But the race just got harder,okay?
And so, we still need toremember that what our customers
care about is That's not how wedivide work internally.

(20:49):
They don't care who does what.
They don't care who reports towhom.
They care that the thing worksand does the job it's meant to
do and that doesn't upset themand all of that stuff.
And those are not just productmanagement calls and UX calls
and engineering calls.
It's everybody's calls.
Including the VP whodeprioritized something.

Dan Lines (21:08):
Yeah.
The way that you describe it,there definitely has me thinking
about the system, how everydecision and how it impacts.
And, you know, if the decisionmaking is only one directional
product tells engineeringeverything to do.
Obviously that's not a greatsituation to be in because
engineering has a ton of contextof their own.

(21:30):
Uh, and that, yeah, I, I can seethat, you know.
I've experienced that before.
I've seen that happen as well.
I wanted to ask you a little bitmore of like some of these
other, I guess, pitfalls or likewhat not to do.
What do you see, uh, maybe mostoften leaders are getting wrong?

Gil Broza (21:52):
Like in terms of, you know, unlocking organizational
potential?
Yeah, exactly.
Yeah.
Okay, so I'm gonna start with mypet peeve.
Okay.
Something I've written aboutplenty.
I think it's in every one of myfour books, and that is people
are not resources.
Repeat after me.
Do not call people resources.

(22:12):
Now, I know a lot of people say,what's the big deal?
I mean, we know they're people,right?
It's just a word, but it's not aword because it reflects how we
think.
So when we talk about, Hey, Igot five devs, you've got three.
Can we trade?
We're not thinking of them aspeople.
We're thinking of them as unitsof labor.
And when you know, by extensionthe entire company works this
way, then you, you're reallylooking for, you know, labor for

(22:36):
results as opposed to.
Basically our last remaining Youknow, um, advantage over the AI
we're building, which is we canthink and reason and generalize
and collaborate and come up withnew things.
So it's not just about, youknow, turning requirements into
deliveries.
There's something greater goingon here.

(22:58):
So that's one thing.

Dan Lines (23:00):
That's a great one.

Gil Broza (23:01):
Yes.
And, and also by the way, as, aslong as people are resources,
then the whole thing that we sayabout, you know, collaboration
or trust or safety, it, it, itdoesn't matter.
It doesn't matter.

Dan Lines (23:11):
Yeah, it's dehumanizing.

Gil Broza (23:12):
Yes, and everybody sees through that.
And, you know, the whole conceptof psychological safety entered
the, you know, the discourse 10,15 years ago.
It's still not entirely there,but everybody has always felt
it.
Okay.
And, and nowadays I think thingsare a little better, but not
enough.

(23:32):
So, okay.
Another thing is, uh, and thatgoes back to work I did a few
years ago on mindset.
And I know a lot of people kindof either see it as a vague
thing, or they look at it as,you know, it's just
psychobabble.
But the way I explain mindset isit's your choice making.
So when you do something, thereare certain principles and

(23:54):
guidelines in the back of yourmind that guide how you approach
the work.
Right?
So for instance, you, let's sayyou need to produce a spec.
You can do this collaboratively,or you can do this totally on
your own.
You can be perfectionist aboutit.
You can take your time.
Whatever it is, all those areprinciples that guide you.

(24:14):
And what happens inorganizations, for the most
part, is that they, they don'thave an explicit and intentional
mindset choice making.
They do stuff and they haveprocesses and procedures and
tactics, but they don'tarticulate clearly enough how
they want people approachingthem, so that they act

(24:37):
harmoniously and not work atcross purposes, and that they
get the results that they want.
So, for instance, as a seniorleader, I can say, Look, I think
we will be more successful ifwe're more collaborative.
That's a mindset type of settingstatement, but I also want to
act on it in terms of assigningwork and Checking progress and

(24:58):
metrics and a whole bunch ofstuff.
Okay, and so if you want todeliver better One very basic
thing you need to do is isbasically define How do we want
to be around here?
Not at the level ofpsychobabble, but at the level
of what are we optimizing for?
Are we optimizing for innovationor prediction?
You got to choose You Right?

(25:19):
And a lot of companies say,yeah, yeah, well, of course, we
need innovation, but then youlook at how they actually plan
and what they actually do andhow they actually talk.
No, they're optimizing forprediction.

Dan Lines (25:30):
Yeah, that's interesting.
Because it's cool to say, yeah,we're innovating.
Has

Gil Broza (25:34):
to be.

Dan Lines (25:34):
We're all, we're all innovating.
Or we're collaborative.
If you're, if you're notinnovative, you're looked down
upon.
Or,

Gil Broza (25:39):
you know, you wouldn't say, no, we want silos
here.
We want to utilize people 150%,we want everybody busy.
No, the cool thing to say is,no, we collaborate.
We tap into everybody's wisdom.
But what matters is what youactually do.
And then from this you can inferor reverse engineer the

(25:59):
principles and values that guideall of those behaviors and
choices.
And then you can say, no, you'reactually favoring individual
work.
That will get you some things,of course.
It will not get you the effectsof collaboration if that's what
you're after.

Dan Lines (26:14):
I think the, the mindset thing is always, like
you brothered up, it's a toughone because it sounds very soft.

Gil Broza (26:21):
Yeah.

Dan Lines (26:21):
Or maybe out there, but also what we're saying is it
leads to a lot of, depending onwhat the organization's mindset
is, we're making decisions everysingle, I don't know, hour,
minute, second, and you know,you brought, I think this was
your second pitfall, likeeither, maybe it's not having a

(26:43):
harmonious mindset or noteveryone in the same, uh,
direction of mindsets.
And I do want to ask you about.
Other pitfalls, but if we juststay on this for one more
minute, I always think it's,it's one of the hardest things
to get everyone thinking thesame way.

(27:03):
And I'm just wondering ifthere's any, about anything,
software development, anything,really.
Do you have any tips between aproduct engineering company
organization that helps, Withthat, once you have the mindset
that you want, like, do Iactually roll that out?

Gil Broza (27:20):
Yeah, well, it's actually what I do for a living,
right?
I mean, that's a lot of what Ido for clients.
It's actually not that hard, butit's something that has been in
the blind spot.
It's something that gets lostbecause we're always busy
executing.
It gets lost because we reallyhave this mentality of copying

(27:41):
what other people did that wassuccessful, or copying what we
did with our previous employer,and we go for best practices and
whatnot.
And we forget context, and weforget that copying things
superficially doesn't tell ushow they were executed.
Okay.
Uh, so in terms of making thishappen, yeah, so you start by

(28:02):
making everything explicit.
Hopefully you involve your team.
It's not just top down.
And the second thing is you keeplooking at what you say and
don't say, what you do and don'tdo, what you reward and punish.
Um, What messages you're sendingpeople through all of this?
And you say, does this supportwhat I want to accomplish?

(28:22):
For instance, if one of ourchoices is we want to be
collaborative, look at how youengage in team meetings and one
on ones, um, how you put planstogether and say, well, are we
collaborating here?
Are we collaborating enough fornow?
Or are we really just going, youknow, person by person?
And that will give you thefeedback you need.

(28:44):
And so you can basically startbuilding good habits.
around acting on what you wantthere to be.
But it starts with beingexplicit and in a lot of
companies, they don't have that.

Dan Lines (28:58):
I'm going to go through this assessment in your
book and understand my systemand my network a bit.
Right.
And then eventually I'm going toneed to go take action and make
a change, right?
I'll probably understand mysystem is not perfect and I want
to do something about it.
Have you found that, Like anengineering leader or product

(29:19):
leader or whoever's kind oftaking this initiative is, can
do this on their own?
Or does it require bringing inlike outside resources to help
with this change management?
Like what, what have you, whathave you seen?
Well,

Gil Broza (29:31):
look, obviously I am biased because I am the
outsider, right?
I'm, I'm the external one.
What I find is that yes, many,many leaders can do this on
their own.
However, first they're reallybusy.
Second, they're missing a modelby which to do this, as opposed

(29:52):
to, again, just here's a targetstate.
Take Scrum, do it.
Right?
And third, and that's really oneof the Value propositions of
having a coach or a consultant.
It's pointing out to you all thestuff that you have missed, the
stuff that you already know, thestuff that is in you, you know,
to do that.
And you know, it's good, but youhave missed it.
You have let it lapse orsomething like that so that you

(30:16):
accomplish what you need toaccomplish, right?
I have had wonderful clients.
Some of them are like the best.
Best enabling leaders I know,and even they have their
occasional missteps or theydon't quite know what to do.
And that's where somebody fromthe outside really helps.
You can do this with internalstaff, like internal coaches and

(30:36):
whatnot.
And what I keep hearing frommany companies is, yeah, but,
and the but is because I'minternal, they don't, they don't
pay enough attention to what Isay, or they think I'm biased.

Dan Lines (30:52):
Yeah, I think that's a good like, uh, thank you for
sharing that.
I think that's like a reallyhonest assessment.
What I would, I would say whatcaught me the most is it's hard
to make change when you don't,you feel like you don't have
time and there's so much goingon and you're trying to deliver
in product engineering and youhave timelines, but then you're
also supposed to Get mentalspace to say, let me look at my

(31:14):
system and make this change.
That's where I think bringing insomeone from the outside that
can kind of accelerate thatthinking for you to say, Hey,
I've already done this a bunchof times, let me like jump you.
Absolutely.

Gil Broza (31:26):
And that's exactly the value proposition I go in
with.
And that's why I charge what Icharge, because I can help you
accelerate and reduce the risk.
And so for instance, you know,there is a case study in the
book.
At the end, in one of theappendices of how I helped a
company go from like a reallytroubled value delivery system,
it was a product company, 40, 50people, all the way to like

(31:49):
really good, really, really goodin 10 months.
Typically in the industry, youwould need a couple of years
easy.
And it wasn't because of myawesomeness.
It was particularly because wedid things in a certain
sequence.
And when they had questions,they got answers, as opposed to
just relying on what theyalready knew.

(32:10):
And calling them out onbehaviors and issues.
Um, and the other thing thathappened there, which was
particularly lovely, is thatmanagement was so thirsty for
learning, and just, you know,They basically, they, okay, they
didn't entirely say it this way,but it was like, tell us what to
do and we'll do it.
And I'm not of the telling kind.

(32:32):
I don't want to prescribe what'sright for you because you're
going to have to live with it,not me.
But you know, through a bunchof, you know, coaching
techniques and whatnot, I, wecame up with suggestions and
they just went ahead and didthem.
And so when you have this typeof willingness and when they
care enough about the thing, youcan move really fast.
So then what remains is that youactually work from a model that

(32:54):
gives you a good roadmap.
As opposed to kind ofmeandering, like, you know,
let's just do a whole lot ofteam retrospectives and
eventually we'll be great.
No, you won't.
It will be locally optimized.

Dan Lines (33:06):
That's really cool.
I, well, I like what you said isthere's almost like a, a step by
step to go through instead ofkind of like, okay, everyone do
a retro, keep doing theseretros, eventually it will work
out like for the better, that'sthe point of a retro, we get
better after, after it.
Yeah, I've seen, I've seen itwork.
Over maybe a long period of timeor if you have incredible,

(33:28):
incredible leaders at everysingle team, which is really
hard to do.
It sounds like in the book orwith your, your coaching, we get
more of this step-by-step.
Is that the 10 strategies Yes.
Processes that you 10strategies.
Yeah.

Gil Broza (33:39):
But so, so they are kinda stepwise.
Yes, but they are high levelenough, so, so I don't actually
prescribe to you what you shouldbe doing or what that would look
like.
So to just, just to give you anexample, if you assess your
system as a level two.
There are two things to dothere.
One of them is you want to plugholes in decision making.

(34:00):
A system whose fitness is atlevel 2, uh, you know, some
decisions are kind of hazy oreasily reversed or things like
that, and they just need clarityon who makes them and when.
The bigger strategy at level 2is to stabilize the system so,
you know, it has demand and ithas supply.
The demand is like your roadmapand the supply is what you
deliver.

(34:21):
And at level two, therelationship is kind of erratic.
You can't really tell when stuffwould come out and in what
shape.
Uh, like with reasonableconfidence.
And, and the strategy is tostabilize it, right?
To get to a good balance betweenthe two.
And I give lots of techniquesand tips that have worked from
Kanban, from Agile, fromwhatnot.
Um, but it's up to you to choosewhich ones.

(34:43):
And you may find that three ofthem are enough for you and that
two of them, they will justnever fly and that's okay.
Okay.

Dan Lines (34:53):
Sounds like those, there will never be a one size
fits all.
How can there be?

Gil Broza (34:57):
Right?
Our business context isdifferent.
Our people are different.
The competition is different.
Our legacy is different.
Everything is different, whichis why we're not also resources,
right?

Dan Lines (35:08):
Absolutely.
Let's go back and I think we'llhave time for one more.
I like the pitfalls.
Do you have another pitfall?
Talk to us about that.

Gil Broza (35:18):
Okay, this is a juicy one.
Let's say you have someperformance issues in your team.
Let's say you have some behaviorissues in your team, or maybe
some faults.
Somebody brought out downproduction.
How do you think of that?
The pitfall is, and this is onus as humans, not just as
managers or leads.

(35:39):
The pitfall is we look forsomebody to kind of pin the
cause on.
I mean, sometimes we go as faras outright blaming, but even if
we don't, we, we want to knowlike, who did this?
Right?
And why did they do it?
And all of that.
And system thinking will tellyou that well north of 95, of 90

(36:00):
percent of what happens in yoursystem is because of the system,
not the individuals.
So let's say you have somebodyon your team who's just being
nasty to their colleagues, let'ssay.
Okay?
It's so easy to just say, wellthat's their personality,
they're a difficult person,whatever.
Or maybe, um, I don't know.

(36:22):
They didn't get the training.
Okay.
If we take a system thinkingapproach, we might say, well,
what is it about the systemthey, systems that they inhabit,
which are their team, theirfunctional group, um, their
family, their community, theirneighborhood, their city.
Those are things we don't knowmuch about, but they are there.

(36:44):
How are they affecting theirbehavior?
So without even getting, youknow, to, you know,
psychological stuff, like, youknow, what did, what happened to
them as kids and how, you know,what were their parents like?
We're not even going there.
But what we're saying is how isthat person responding to
something that's happeningaround them?

(37:06):
And maybe what's happeningaround them is that they get
tasks that they find boring andbasic, whereas somebody else,
um, gets the really juicy andinteresting ones, and that
someone else is gonna get thebonus, the promotion, the
treatment, the whatnot.
And so the person who's beingnasty is trying to kind of look,

(37:30):
I don't know, more important, ormore impactful.
Because they can't do thisthrough the tasks they're
working on.
So it's not a matter ofpersonality.
If, if they ended up in theright position, maybe instead of
being a developer, they need tobe a test engineer.
I don't know.
There are contexts in which theywould shine.

(37:52):
So it's not like they'reinherently broken.
So, so the, the takeaway here isattribute to the system before
attributing to the individual.

Dan Lines (38:03):
Got it.
Now it makes perfect sense whywe need to start with the
assessment of the system andchapter one.
No, that's actually really cool.
Cause that is like a, I think apretty juicy.
It's easy to say, well, thatperson, that's a, they're just a
jerk.
No, it's, you know, they'rejust, uh, they've never been
easy to get along with.

(38:24):
Yeah.
Usually I think like humanbehavior, you have all these
environmental factors coming onto you and it creates like an
output, whatever it is, whateverthat good, it could be a good
output.
It could be a bad output.
And it's not even

Gil Broza (38:35):
just the people, even stuff that happens within your
process.
Let's say a lot of defectsescape to production.
You might say, well, Um, Let'slook at how many defects are by
developer A, and how manydefects are by developer B, and
maybe we have a weak link there.
Now, that might be true.
Not arguing that, but it couldalso be that defects escape to
production because of otherthings that you do.

(38:56):
It could also be the technologyyou're using.
It could be the tests that youwrite.
It could be the go, go, gopressure, so we never actually
finish things properly.
So we might have really gooddevelopers who would otherwise
do really good work, but in ahamstrung.

Dan Lines (39:14):
Yeah, totally makes sense.
All right, Gil I think we havetime.
If you have another one for onemore pitfall, and then we're
going to, you know, startwrapping up.

Gil Broza (39:24):
Okay.
So I would also say it's reallythe whole thing about managing
in silos, right?
So I'm an engineering manager.
I manage in my engineering team.
I'm an engineering director.
I do the same for my set ofteams and same goes for product
and whatnot.
And yes, that's kind of how theorganization is built up.
And I get that.
But what happens is that peopleend up, they kind of default to

(39:45):
optimizing for themselves.
Right?
Uh, we have seen the samebehavior with Scrum Masters and
Agile coaches who, who basicallysay, you know, the
organization's not going to goAgile, but I'm going to do the
best for my team.
I'm going to remove all theimpediments so my team can be
great.
And by implication, I will havedone my work.
And this is well intended, butit's not helping us

(40:06):
holistically.
Right?
Because you may be optimizingfor your one team by, let's say,
forging great relationships withpeople outside the team who you
need sometimes, like your staffengineer, or your, I don't know,
somebody who kind of helps youkind of move things on occasion.

(40:27):
And instead of, you know,getting in line and asking for
their time, you kind of get themon the side.
But then you're hampering theprogress of other teams.
And it could be that in theaggregate, You're setting your
system back.
You mean well, but it's theoutcome.
And so even though people willcontinue to have local

(40:48):
responsibilities andaccountabilities, you want to be
really mindful of are youmanaging, measuring,
incentivizing in the localscope, rather than the system
scope.

Dan Lines (41:04):
Got it.
That's a good one.
The last question that I want toask you, so we talked, you know,
we talked about your book, wetalked about, hey, you can get
this first chapter for free, wetalked about a bunch of
pitfalls, now let's say thatI've done my system analysis, I
decided that I need to make achange, I brought in Gil, Gil

(41:27):
came in, 10 months later, thingsare, have improved.
How do you think aboutsustainability the next 10
months after that, or the nextyear after that?
How do I not like fallbackwards?

Gil Broza (41:39):
So if I have done my job properly, and I like to
think I do, then what happens isthat your understanding of what
to pay attention to is better.
Right?
You pay more attention to thesystem.
You, you do the assessmentfrequently, because at that
point it really takes you fiveminutes every time you do it.
So you can see if there's anybacksliding.

(42:01):
You have your ears and eyesopen, so that you know, um, you
can watch for signs, right, andsignals.
You have also, because you'vegotten your system to like a
really good level of fitness,you have also distributed
control.
We call this empowerment, right?
But you've basically enabledmore people to take

(42:23):
responsibility and behave andact.
And together with them, you'reall kind of looking at this
thing.
Okay.
You know, an analogy I can thinkfor this is family, right?
It's not the same when you'vehad your firstborn and the kid's
a month old, or you're, you haveseveral kids and there are now

(42:44):
in their teens, right?
You're in a different spot as aparent.
At this point, you kind of knowabout the warning signs and you
know what to look for.
That's really the big deal.
Okay, I definitely don't want tocreate dependence on me as a,
you know, as a consultant coach,but not, um, that would not be
ethical.

Dan Lines (43:06):
Awesome, Gail.
So, is there anything else thatwe should know about, anything
that you want to say about your,your book or any, you know,
final advice before we sign offhere?
Okay, so

Gil Broza (43:16):
you asked me about, you know, basically how I, I
help companies.
Because I come from the Agilespace, there is something that
has become A bit of anexpectation in this field, and
that is that if you need helpimproving things, you're going
to get somebody to kind of livewith your team, like embedded
coaching or something like that.
That if you need help, somebodycomes in and spends months with

(43:39):
your team, several days a week,maybe occasionally talks to
senior management.
That's an expensive proposition.
Okay.
Uh, I, I have a different model.
My model is you spread yourbudget over a long, much longer
period of time so you can haveaccess to me for months, but you
only see me, you know, onceevery two weeks, once a month.

(44:01):
You know, it kind of, uh, gets,uh, more spread out as things
get better.
And that is, it's a differentmodel than what's normal in, in
the space.
And I would especially love itin our day and age when, you
know, budgets are scarce, thatpeople realize that it's not
like either they pay six figuresfor something, or they do

(44:22):
nothing at all and they staywith their inertia.
No, there is a middle ground.
And the middle ground is superaffordable and it makes a big
difference.
It's like I have a leadershipadvisory service, stuff like
that.

Dan Lines (44:36):
That's really cool.
And thanks for, you know,sharing that model.
It's definitely a differentstyle model than I'm used to and
it's a, it's a little bit, uh,refreshing.
Yeah, you know, you

Gil Broza (44:46):
just, I know I mentioned the example with that
company went from, you know,troubled to really great.
I spent a total of 30 half dayswith them, with the entire
company over practically a year.
Yeah.
30 half days because we workonline, you know, after doing
some initial training and aninitial assessment.
And that was it because I workmostly with leaders.

(45:07):
And so, you know, things don'tmove on a daily basis at that
level.

Dan Lines (45:11):
Yeah, I love that you have the, uh, cost in mind, the
long term efficiency in mind,and Gil, you know, thanks so
much for joining us today andsharing all of, you know, some
of the, I know we only got tolike some of it, but some of the
knowledge that you have, and Ihighly recommend that everyone
goes and checks out Gil's, book.

(45:33):
Uh, where can listeners findyour book?
Uh,

Gil Broza (45:35):
so it's sold pretty much everywhere, both
electronically and in print.
For people who are not keen onpaying Amazon, there's Barnes
Noble.
Uh, the digital formats areeverywhere.
Uh, you can get them on mywebsite,

Dan Lines (45:48):
Excellent.
And listeners, if you haven'tyet, consider checking out our
Dev Interrupted YouTube channelto watch this episode and tons
of behind the scenes content.
Thank you everyone for listeningand Gil again, thanks for coming
on the pod.

Gil Broza (46:04):
Thank you so much.
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