Agile Leaders Interviews: Farzad Moshfegh - Senior Technical Program Manager
Farzad MoshfeghI: background is in engineering, seasoned by MBA in Agile Project Management from Golden Gate University, in San Francisco, CA. I love the city and all the interesting things you can do in SF. I help organizations to do more with less, while I always put people first. Managed major core transformations and scrum teams for Nokia, Siemens, Nasdaq, Expedia, Western Union, First Republic Bank, etc.
What have been the most unexpected changes you've encountered in your software development process and/or team post-COVID?
In the first quarter of 2020, at the beginning of COVID while we had planned for our second Program Increment (PI) in a recently adopted SAFe operating model.
As a release train engineer, I had to facilitate the communication between 3 Scrum Masters, 4 product owners, and a team of 70+ dev team, so we could redo our PI Planning Enhancement fully virtually. The new enhancement PI Planning was based on a new list of prioritization prepared by the portfolio team and was crucial in order to adopt one of the most painful changes that human beings have ever experienced. At that time, our knowledge about COVID-19 was limited and we still were debating and brainstorming around it.
We not only acted nimble and agile, but it resulted in a strong comeback response to the change, and also could push the revenue generated by digital platforms by 20% at Western Union.
We’re so proud of the teamwork we did. I cannot thank enough the collaborative psychologically safe environment that humans have created to manage such a massive change.
What have you learned from a full year of all (or mostly) remote development?
Still putting humans first, and coaching the team to properly adopt a culture of remote working, in a way that work gets done with a sustainable limited lead time and people also would be happy and enjoy learning while doing it.
What's one lesson that you want to apply (or thing that you want to do differently) in the coming year?
Dive into few things which I have on my list, most likely learning new technologies which can help human beings’ lives to be easier.
Any other lessons you must also apply (there's never just one)?
Grow as a human being.
There's a lot of talk about creating a blameless engineering culture. Do you agree with this as a goal? How is this currently supported in your organization?
I am a big fan of creating a blameless culture in all cross-functional units, top-down approach is outdated and impacts teams’ delivery directly and indirectly.
Retrospectives tend to be fairly qualitative. Would quantitative data contribute to sprint retros? If so, what would you want access to – and how could it assist?
Sprint Retrospective: voting for team mode, how many votes for a happy face, how many votes for frustration, how many votes for angry.