Molood Noori is the founder and owner of Remote Forever, and is behind the organisation of the worlds first fully web-based Agile Remote summit, the Remote Forever Summit. She’s also a certified scrum master and has worked as an agile coach with clients all over the world.
Luis Magalhaes: Greetings ladies and gentlemen. This is Luis, your host, for the DistantJob podcast and the DistantJob podcast is, as always, a podcast about building and leading remote teams who win. Today my guest is someone that I’m very happy to have, it’s Molood Noori, and if there is something that’s worth taking from my conversation with her, it is really the value of having these kinds of conversations with the professionals, because Molood is an expert agile coach and it really is impressive how she can articulate and give new perspectives on how to do agile on remote. I’m speaking as someone that has read pages and pages and books and articles about how to do agile properly in remote. But, there are some things that Molood had the capacity to articulate and crystallize in a way that no book or article that I had read have been able to do. So, she comes, obviously, highly recommended and it’s really impressive. You can see her work her craft on me when she uses a Jedi mind trick to completely shift my perspective on using Basecamp as an agile tool.
Luis Magalhaes: So, I was, obviously, a color me impressed, and this was an amazing episode. I’m very grateful for being able to talk with someone like Molood and hey, you get to hear it now yourself, so look forward to it. And, remember if you want to build that team, that team that you can then lead and manage following the agile way of doing things, hey, check us out. Check distantjob.com and we can find the best fit for whatever position you might need.
Luis Magalhaes: And of course, I’m going to sweeten the deal a bit, because if you mention this podcast for the next month, now this podcast is coming out on the 23rd of March, so from now until the 23rd of April, you will get 50% off on your employees first salary. That’s right. We will pay half of it on the first month, if you hire through DistantJob and mention this podcast, the Molood Noori episode. So, you do that, and hey, you’ll get an incredible person at the incredible value. Well, that said, please ladies and gentlemen, enjoy my conversation with Molood Noori.
Luis Magalhaes: Greetings ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the DistantJob podcast. Hi, I’m your host as usual, Luis, and this podcast that’s all about how to build and lead remote teams who win. My guest today is Molood Noori, and she is the founder and CEO of the Remote Forever and she has also created the Remote Forever Summit. I believe she will correct me later if I am wrong, but I believe it’s the first virtual summit for remote work. She is an agile coach and consultant and certified scrum master and scrum coach and really there’s … she also has the best photo ops team. If you want to be humbled in your profile photos, just go to her LinkedIn or to the Remote Forever website and you will see what I mean. So, I guess my first question Molood is, do you always have after you … do you always have a photo team running after you wherever you go?
Molood Noori: Good question you asked. Well, hello everybody out there listening. Great question to start with. Do I have a photo team to start with. So, I have had one colleague whose passion is photography and he shot everyone in our team on one occasion, so I have 20 pictures there, and another time, I hired a person who is a remote photographer. She’s a freelancer. She goes around in the world and she shoots people. She creates photos for people for their brand and this was the very beginning of her journey, and I thought, “I want to give this person a chance, so I invited her to Stockholm and she shot photos of me so I have 25 pictures of her, and that’s the entire photo catalog that I have. So, no I do not have a photo team follow me.
Luis Magalhaes: You took care of that all at once.
Molood Noori: Yeah, twice actually. But yeah, there’s a catalog.
Luis Magalhaes: It was absolutely worth it.
Molood Noori: I will send your regards to the photographers.
Luis Magalhaes: I would appreciate that. They do excellent work. So, I guess we can start with just … because you are busy with so many things. What is exciting to you right now?
Molood Noori: Good one. What is exciting to me right now is what I’m building next, that is what the products that I will be launching this year, that’s a school with a bunch of different courses to empower lots and lots and lots of people who work as agile coaches or scrum masters, leaders in agile companies, who learn how to really work remotely. Who learn all the best practices from good or high performing remote teams, and bring that to their organizations. That’s the most exciting thing in my life right. Now.
Luis Magalhaes: When is that due?
Molood Noori: The launch will happen after the next summit, so the summit is, as you said, is Remote Forever Summit. It’s not that the first summit in remote work, it’s the first summit about distributed agile. So yes, we do talk a lot about remote work, but the target audience for the summit is people in IT organizations who are adopting agile ways of working. So, the school will be launched after the summit.
Luis Magalhaes: So, what I thought it was the first one that was built online, because I definitely knew that there some that had been conducted offline and that’s something that I always find very funny, that people …
Molood Noori: Yeah, you’re correct about that.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah, people gather in the same room to discuss working distributive, which feels a bit ironic to me.
Molood Noori: Yeah exactly.
Luis Magalhaes: I like the approach that you took.
Molood Noori: Yeah, except that that was exactly my thoughts. If you want to talk about remote work and you ask people to take a plane and go to a physical space and be in a physical room, well, no not really. I’m going to create the experience of a conference connecting with audience, connecting with the speakers, all remotely. That’s what we do.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay. So, how is that going? What were your key takeaways from the previous one and what are you expecting for the new one?
Molood Noori: Wow, that’s a tough question.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay, we can go step by step.
Molood Noori: Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course. Takeaways is still hard. I’m still really trying to digest what is happening with this entire summit thing. So, the summit is around for two times and now that we’re recording this interview in 2019, the summits started in 2017 and we have a second edition in 2018. Lots and lots of things changed in between the two in terms of perception, in terms of how the world really started perceiving remote work as a natural state of work.
Molood Noori: When I started the first summit, it was not like that at all. People were struggling with how to make collaborations better between our US office and our India office. How do we make it work. Is it even possible to work in an agile way when you’re far away? And most people doing the work that I do as a consultant, the agile working, we said, “No, it’s not possible. You need to be co located if you want agile to work.” And after the summit, something really changed. It was like a tsunami that started. A good one, not the bad one. People started …
Luis Magalhaes: That’s a good point.
Molood Noori: Yeah, I didn’t find …
Luis Magalhaes: Another kind of tsunamis.
Molood Noori: No, it’s just I use that word for lack of a better word. But, it was a movement that started and people in the agile sphere started to see that remote work was no longer a block or a challenge. It was something to embrace and we had to be agile. We had to practice what we preach, which is being agile, for those people in the audience who don’t know what it is, in essence, it’s valuing people over processes and tools. It’s building processes and building relationships in the business so that your business can adapt to the changes in the market.
Molood Noori: So, we go out and we tell our clients, be agile, and we teach them how to be agile. Yet, there were so many people in the agile sphere who said, “Well, this remote work thing, we are going to resist that change. We’re not going to go that way.”
Luis Magalhaes: Exactly. I totally blank on the name, but there was the … the first book I read on agile years ago, was the one that I thought was more appropriate for me which was Agile Management for Dummies, so that was my starting point. I believe it was the appropriate one. And, it was actually written by one of the writers of the Agile Manifesto, and I’m blanking on the name. I’m completely blanking on the name, but this was someone that had the big pull in the agile world and just stated outright in the book that remote work is definitely optimal for agile.
Luis Magalhaes: If you have a remote work set up, certainly try agile, because it’s the best way that … it was very dismissive. Basically, you were saying that if you need to go remote, then by all means try agile, because agile will be the best choice for a bad situation. Yeah, for a bad situation, agile will be the best choice, but try to avoid the remote work situation altogether.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah, that was kind of a downer. I was starting on my remote career and managing projects remotely. I was like, “Wow, this is not good news.” So, how do you share … what’s your chief way of countering this objective? Let’s say … and I know that you probably have many, but give me your top three.
Molood Noori: Okay, let me give you a tiny little bit of background on the story you just shared and then tell you what is the biggest mindset shift that I create for my clients. What you read was probably written in the early 2000s. The Agile Manifesto itself was written in 2001. If you have lived long enough to have been an adult at the time, you probably know that the use of internet was not as ubiquitous as it is today. We didn’t have really good tools. Skype came years later, and people started using Skype.
Molood Noori: Right now, for recording this interview, we’re using Zoom, which is one of the best tools out there for having remote video conferences. But, it’s not just that, it’s also the concept of chatting, the concept of sharing information and writing, the concept of creating wikis together, wiki pages together. It didn’t exist then. So naturally, it was hard, it was really, really difficult for people to communicate effectively if they were not in the same room. So, people …
Luis Magalhaes: By the way, by the way, just so … because while we were talking, I looked it up because I didn’t look like … I didn’t know what I was saying and I checked the name, so it was written by the chair of the Agile Leadership Network and it was in 2012. So, seven years ago, so seven years ago, but you’re absolutely right. Seven years ago, we didn’t have Zoom.
Molood Noori: I haven’t read that book and it was written pretty recently I would say, so I …
Luis Magalhaes: There was no Zoom.
Molood Noori: … am going to take a part of my word back, but I know that there is literature in the world that talks about … dismissing remote work, dismissing this entire way that is possible to be effective even if you’re not in the same room. So, the main, the practice that I go out with when I talk about this, is the very essence of agile. What is agile? I just heard it here a few minutes ago. It’s to be able to be adaptive to the changes in the market.
Molood Noori: One of the changes is this shift in the world economy to the gig economy, to freelancers, to people who want to have the freedom to work from wherever they want. There are companies who are offering flexible hours, for example. That’s a very good step in the right direction, but then there is the next step that is work from wherever you want, wherever you are the most productive. That’s what I go out with. I say, you want to be agile, or you claim that you are agile, well this is it. This is a change. How are you going to respond to that change. So I go with that question and then we start having a productive conversation from there.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah. Absolutely. So, I guess that the follow up question to that would really be, how do you feel that the concepts of agile need to change to be more applicable to remote work, to work with remote work? And, I ask this not because I think that there’s something wrong with agile in general, but the reality is that the people offering the most push back against remote work and agile, are the authorities in agile. That is changing, but for the longest time, it was the biggest authorities that offered the most push back.
Molood Noori: It has definitely changed. I have seen it after the summit, I don’t know if the summit did something to do …
Luis Magalhaes: Good job.
Molood Noori: Had something to do with it or not, but we had a … sorry, we had some of the co-authors of the Agile Manifesto speak at the summit. We have had some of the biggest names in the agile world speak at the summit and tell the audience that remote work is possible, and it is possible to be agile working that way. Indeed, some of them actually do work remotely themselves. And, for a person … one of those people, he just had this revelation. He was like, “You know what? I’ve actually been working remotely for the last 20 years.” I’m like, that’s a wide avenue to preach co location if you yourself are working remotely.
Molood Noori: I think I actually meant to ask you to repeat the question before I answer it. I got so …
Luis Magalhaes: No, no, I got it. So, the question was, so the question really is, how do you think agile is changing or needs to change?
Molood Noori: All right. I think that there is a person called Joshua Kerievski who has created a new movement in the agile sphere, called modern agile. He spoke at the summit in 2018, and I had the pleasure of meeting with him as well. There is an idea that he shares that stayed with me, and I want to share that instead of sharing my own feelings or thoughts, because that really reflects in much, much better words than I could ever say what it is that I say.
Molood Noori: He said, he uses this example and says, “If you want to give someone a phone who has never ever used a mobile phone … they’ve never owned a phone, maybe your grandmother or someone, they want to start using a smart phone, would you give them one of those huge brick sized Alcatel or Ericsson phone and say, start with this and build yourself up to an iPhone or a modern android phone. Do you do that? Do you give them all those old practices and tell them to build their way up to it? No, we don’t. So, why do we go out there and we say, start with the scrum that was made in the ’80s and build yourself up from there. We don’t do that.” Yeah, go ahead.
Luis Magalhaes: No, but I can definitely understand that. From another perspective … we’ve talked about before. I’m very into video games, and video games started with a joystick with two buttons.
Molood Noori: Well, there you go. That’s a good example.
Luis Magalhaes: But again, my father could play with me back then, and I enjoyed playing with my father. But today, my PlayStation controller has 14 buttons and two joysticks, and I can’t play with my father anymore because I can’t … if I hand that to my father, it’s not something that he can pick up and go. He doesn’t have the skills, let’s say, to move a camera in 3D. He never made that transition … and I actually talk about that a lot because I don’t think that video games are accessible to people that have been outside of video games. Maybe it’s changing a bit with the iPads and stuff like that, but video games, as I grew up with them, not really. So, I think that there might be a … yes, I wouldn’t give someone a 20 year old Nintendo game to start with, because those have their own problems, but there is an argument to be made for creating a ramp for people to get up to the things as they are today, and I don’t think anyone is doing that properly in video games.
Molood Noori: Exactly.
Luis Magalhaes: You think people are doing that properly in agile?
Molood Noori: Not yet, but we have started to. I am one of those people who is building that slope to help people move up the slope and start with more modern tools. The positive thing, the comparison you made with the video games and agile, the positive thing that agile has, the advantage it has over the video games phenomenon, is that agile has embraced … not agile but remote work has brought us these amazing tools to collaborate and communicate effectively.
Molood Noori: So, agile preaches for effective communication and I think using those tools is actually easier to transform to agile ways of working, and agile ways of thinking if you want to start today. You don’t have to start with a physical white board and with a group of people in the same room and writing post its and putting it on the wall. Yes, you can do that, but it’s not necessarily what you need to do if you don’t have the means to have people in the same room. That’s all I’m saying. There are now digital tools who can do exactly that if you really need to.
Molood Noori: But, then again, going back to your video game example, I want to ask you a question. Your dad, who used to play with you using that old joystick with just a couple of buttons, if he wanted to … he dropped out of playing video games with you as you were growing up I suppose, and now he hasn’t played it while you have grown with the industry and now you are comfortable with those things.
Luis Magalhaes: Exactly.
Molood Noori: If you wanted to bond with your dad today, and you wanted to teach him how to play video games, would you still go back and play some old games and help him build his way up? Or, would you try to give him the new joystick with all those 14, 20 buttons and help him start using that new tool in a simple way?
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah, see, this is why I think that we need the slope, because in video games, I don’t think there is a slope. I think that you can get people that have been out of video games. So, actually, do you remember the Wii? The Nintendo Wii?
Molood Noori: Yeah.
Luis Magalhaes: That had the remote like controller, that was the best thing that they did. That was the best thing that the industry did because suddenly … what they did really, they still produced modern video games, but they reduced the complexity of the input. So, people could use something that they were familiar with, like a remote control, and didn’t have to worry so much about movement in 3D. I think that’s the biggest barrier for people that didn’t play video games for the longest time to start playing video games now. It’s movement in 3D. It comes naturally to me, but for someone that hasn’t grown with the medium, it’s really complicated, the concept of using one finger to move the camera, and using the other finger to move the character. It’s a bit like rubbing your tummy and your head clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time.
Molood Noori: It’s the same thing with agile really. So, when I want to teach someone who has never used agile before, obviously, my natural self, my natural agile coach stance is, “Hey, let me teach them how to use a scrum.” But, if I discover, or if I know that their team is not in the same location, I’m not going to ask them to just be on some video camera and then write physical post its on their desk with physical pens and show it to the camera. That’s not what I’m going to do. I’m going to share a tool with them that’s simple enough, that resembles the use of a physical white board as if we were in the same room.
Molood Noori: Now, this is a very delicate subject, because I personally, I don’t like to replicate everything that we do in real life, in the digital world, because I think there are different styles of communication in the digital world. But, for someone who has no idea about scrum, that’s how I would teach them scrum.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay, so can you expand a bit on that because actually, I find it very interesting that whenever I’ve heard people talk about agile, it’s always agile is joined to the hip with scrum, that you cannot have agile without scrum, but from what I’m hearing from you, your approach is a bit different. You just pointed out that scrum is like an old Ericsson phone. So, can you give me some more thoughts on that please?
Molood Noori: Okay. So, scrum is like an old Ericsson phone. That’s a good one. I’m going to use that. Did I say that?
Luis Magalhaes: Well, you compared it. You did the comparison. You didn’t say that.
Molood Noori: It is an old framework. That’s what I’m saying. However, it is a framework, and something that we forget to mention is the difference between frameworks and processes. People who do scrum wrong, more often than not, approach a scrum as if it’s a process. And by that, I mean they follow everything that scrum says step by step and then they get frustrated, or they get really excited because of the results it gives them.
Molood Noori: A fundamental definition of scrum is a scrum is a framework. What does it mean? It means it has pillars, and it gives you a playground. There are concepts you can take or ditch if they don’t apply to your organization. So, yes, personally, I think a scrum is fantastic if the company is small, if the product is rather new. If you want to create a product from scratch … it’s right over it and gets feedback from the market and have a quick release every two weeks or every three weeks, at the end of every sprint.
Molood Noori: You want to do that, sure, go ahead and do this, but remember that when scrum was created, we couldn’t possibly deploy every second we wanted. It was impossible to do that at the time. Deploying was a really, really huge and cumbersome process that required a lot of different people to make sure that the product is not going to break anything else in the legacy systems, it’s not going to break because of dependencies, but nowadays, we have continuous integration pipelines. We have continuous delivery pipelines. You can just push a button and poof, it’s there in production. We couldn’t do that then.
Molood Noori: So, if you’re using the scrum, and you have the ability to release anytime you want, why would you need to wait to release every two weeks? You need to change the mindset and adapt the mindset and remember that scrum is a framework. Ask yourself why, why do we need to have a daily scrum, every day. What’s the purpose that we’re trying to achieve here? Why do we need to have a retrospective? What is the purpose we are trying to achieve there?
Luis Magalhaes: That’s actually a great question. This is actually a great question. It ties with something else that I wanted to ask you because we came to that conclusion. We tried doing something scrum like for my marketing team. Again, I’m not a developer, never been, not dedicated on what development and what development entails. My area, that is an area where I was more into project management and marketing kind of things. And something that we find out that in terms of work, it was much more efficient to do the daily stand ups by writing. Every day, someone would go onto Basecamp or Slack and write what they did yesterday, what they were doing today, and if they have any blockers. And, that worked out fine when it came to the actual work.
Luis Magalhaes: What I found out, was that the team was much happier when they actually got to talk to each other every day. So, yeah, it seems that’s there’s definitely, and we can go into happiness now, if you like, but there is definitely … I find definitely a correlation that maybe accidentally, the daily standups made the team happier because they were less isolated. So, really, how do you feel about that? And, I guess, how do you feel about removing this kind of legacy meetings that don’t make so much sense on a synchronous workplace, when in reality, they might have some other benefits, other than being part of the framework as originally envisioned. Does this question make sense?
Molood Noori: Yeah, sort of. It was a long story instead of … but yeah, it does make sense. I can share what I think about it. You mentioned one of the biggest challenges of remote work that is isolation. There is a sentence written in the book Rework, or Remote. I don’t remember which one. I’ve read those books so many times. The concepts get intertwined. Both books are written by the founders of …
Luis Magalhaes: I’ve read them, but only one time each, so my knowledge of them is probably much worse than yours.
Molood Noori: Okay, so there was a sentence that made me think a lot, which is why do we need to find social context in our workplace? And, I found out that at the time we read it, none of my workers were considered my friends. They were considered my coworkers and I had friends elsewhere. I had friends in fashion and photography and I don’t know, architecture. I didn’t have that many friends who were software developers like I was at the time I was reading that book.
Molood Noori: And, it made me really think. I was like, “Let me look around,” and what I discovered was that most of my coworkers were also friends. They were the ones that said, “Let’s go for a beer after work,” and I was like, “You know, I actually have a coffee date with another friend of mine,” so I didn’t follow through, but I was the awkward one at the time, not that I’m not anymore, but you get the point.
Molood Noori: What I’m trying to say is that when we go remote, if we don’t have friends outside of the workplace, it becomes really, really lonely, so we seek for that connection with our coworkers as we are used to, in the co located work environment. So, it’s on us to make sure that we don’t lose touch with the social aspect of our life, that we actually create those social bonds with other people.
Molood Noori: But, I’m not saying that this is the only way to get social. It’s actually very, very beneficial for people to have friendships with their coworkers. Indeed, one of the results of the research that Google did on high performing teams, one of the words that people used to describe their team, was love. They said, “We love each other.”
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah, and that’s … that was what I was trying to get to. I 100% agree with you and with the Basecamp guys, that you don’t need, and in some level, you shouldn’t look for your social life inside your work.
Molood Noori: I’m not saying that, I’m saying that you need to be …
Luis Magalhaes: … but it’s better.
Molood Noori: You need to be deliberate about it. Just because you suddenly find yourself lonely, should get you to think, “What am I missing?” And, what I discovered, when I looked around, even though I wasn’t one of those people, what I discovered is, yeah, of course, if any of my coworkers go remote, they’re going to feel lonely because that’s all the social groups that they have. It’s their coworkers. For me, that was not the case.
Molood Noori: But, when you want to bring this to the coworking, to the working together in the scrum context, following those ceremonies, as you said, yes, it’s possible to have those daily scrums in your written format and it focuses the conversation on the work, which is a very, very good thing, but it makes you lose the social context.
Molood Noori: So, how do they compromise for that? There are so many different ways. If I were the coach, I would ask the team. I would say, “First of all, do you guys feel that you need that social contact?” If they say yes, or if they say no, I let them run with it until they say yes. Say yes, which was the case you discovered. You discovered that your team was unhappy, but when they met together, they were actually happier.
Luis Magalhaes: It’s because if there are too many meetings, everyone gets annoyed because no one is being able to focus on work.
Molood Noori: Exactly.
Luis Magalhaes: There’s definitely a balance.
Molood Noori: Exactly. So, you can create maybe every Wednesday, you meet instead of writing, or you do that on demand, or you actually make sure that you meet when you want to demo your product to your colleagues. You always need to create compromises for meeting together.
Molood Noori: And, the very good context that exists which we actually touched upon it before we started recording, is the cost of the Fica that we have in Sweden. Sweden is where I am based in. So, in Sweden, coworkers in an office, one of them suddenly says, “Hey guys, to you want to go for a Fica?” And that means coffee or tea with some sweets on the side and just socialize. You can have that in a remote working space too. You can just say, “Hey guys, would you like to have coffee together?” And, just go to Zoom or to whatever video conferencing tool you use, and just socialize. Just have your drink with you and talk to each other as if you were in an office.
Luis Magalhaes: So, I guess that … I’m going to jump around a bit, just because we’ve recording for 31 minutes and there’s way to many things that I wanted to ask you about, but your time is limited, so, I guess, what do you feel are the biggest challenges that the scrum master faces, or I guess, that scrum master is a bad word because we’re not really … you just told me that scrum might not be the best way ever. But, the person that’s responsible for keeping the team on track and helping them solve their blockers and all of that. What are their biggest challenges in a distributive environment?
Molood Noori: That’s a good one. What I have heard, it’s not my feeling, it’s really the things that I have heard from my students and people I have coached, is the fact that they don’t see the team and therefore they don’t know when to interfere, when to jump into the conversation and start taking someone’s hand and walking them with some teaching or mentoring or whatever that is.
Molood Noori: Another big challenge is facilitation. The people in these roles. I’m going to call them scrum masters, that’s just the standard …
Luis Magalhaes: It’s just easier.
Molood Noori: … title. Yeah, of course. And, then again, I want to emphasize, I didn’t say scrum is bad at all. Scrum is useful if you understand why we use it and if we don’t forget that it’s a framework and not a process.
Molood Noori: The second challenge that I’ve seen is facilitation. People learn how to facilitate … well, actually a lot of scrum masters have no idea what facilitation really is. Those who have paid some thousands of dollars and have gotten certified as a facilitator, they probably have some idea of how to facilitate meetings or conversations in a co located space, but there are very, very few people who understand and who know how to facilitate for most conversations, especially the ones that are not meetings.
Molood Noori: Just like you said, they need scrum in writing for example. You have made that decision, so as a scrum master, what do you do? Do you let the script to be the scrum master and just prompt people to write their daily check in? No. You can’t facilitate this. So how do you do that effectively? Those are the skills. Those are the challenges that I see people have because they’ve never learned it, but the most obvious one, the one that most complain about is the first one, that is I don’t see my team, so how do I know how to help them or when to help them?
Luis Magalhaes: So, how do you feel about that?
Molood Noori: You keep asking me about my feelings. I’m not very good in that department. I’m better at thinking …
Luis Magalhaes: Sorry, okay. So, what do you think about that?
Molood Noori: See, that’s much easier for me to describe. What do I think about that.
Luis Magalhaes: This is what I do, I’m a wordsmith.
Molood Noori: That’s good. There are several …
Luis Magalhaes: I just plop the words in.
Molood Noori: Yeah, there are several different ways to think about it. When you don’t see your team, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are putting a shield for you not to see them. It might be an indication of a lot of things. The first one being, that the conversations, the communication in the team, is no longer transparent.
Molood Noori: So, imagine, if you were in an office, and you were a scrum master, and you had a team seating area, whatever that is, in the office, if someone had a problem, and they wanted to ask, if Dave had a problem, and he wanted to ask Sarah for a solution, Dave would just look back at Sara and say, “Hey Sarah, I’m hitting this problem, can you come over and help me?” And, everyone else who is in that physical area would hear it. How do we replicate that? How do we get that in the remote way?
Molood Noori: The problem is, I’ve seen this too many times, so I’m bringing this up. If this happens in a remote team, that Dave would write a private message to Sarah. This is what you as a scrum master can bring up and can try to avoid at all costs. If you’re using Slack, you have channels. Ask people to write in channels, even if it is Dave who knows that Sarah has the answer and wants to directly talk to Sarah, talk in the open and talking in the open means writing in the channel.
Molood Noori: So, now the backlash of that is that people might feel that there is too much conversations going on and it’s becoming distracting and it’s becoming too many things I may stop following. Well, guess what? The Slack, they also work remotely in the company and they use their own product. They eat their own dogwood. So, they have discovered this to be a problem and they have created a new feature called … New as in almost one year old, actually a bit more than a year old now, the threads. You can have threads. It categorizes your conversations in threads so if people want to zone out and not pay attention they can do that. There are so many other ways too.
Luis Magalhaes: I am also reminded of something very useful in Basecamp, which is turned on by default actually. The Basecamp guys are very good at for using instructions. They also eat their own dogwood. And what happens is when you go to the Basecamp timeline, where it shows everything that happened on that day, it just says, so and so were chatting in the campfire. And then, you can click that and expand the conversation.
Molood Noori: Exactly.
Luis Magalhaes: It’s really smart.
Molood Noori: Exactly. Yeah, and I love Basecamp and I use it with my own projects. We, in the conference team, we organization everything about the conference in Basecamp, because that’s easier. Each of us is in a different country, so yeah, we have chosen this tool to be phenomenal for us. But, what we also use is Slack, so we haven’t really gotten into using campfire, but I have campfire that we use for another project of mine and I love the combination of tools that exist in Basecamp, because that’s so simple and so complete. It gives you everything you need in the simplest way possible.
Molood Noori: The agile people don’t like that. Guess why? Lists. Agile people like visuals. They like Trello looking tools.
Luis Magalhaes: You read my mind. So, how do you conciliate with that? Because that is my problem with Basecamp. I’m one of those people. And, I’ve been having trouble with that for a year. And that’s … I really miss Trello. I really do.
Molood Noori: I understand that. You can … if you think about it, fundamentally, Trello and Basecamp are following the same concept. You have lists or cards, and you drag those cards along at flow of development, or a flow of the work that is happening. Trello is very flexible, so you don’t necessarily have to design the board, the columns to be the flow of your work, but that’s how most people use it anyway, because that’s what is brought to us from the physical world. We used to have white boards, and in white boards you design the flow. You said backlog, to do, in progress, done, the simplest way, and Trello is giving you that … Basecamp is giving you that, so how do you create the same?
Molood Noori: In Basecamp you actually have the card view and make it simpler for you. The problem with that would be that you can’t save the state of a card. The cards can move around and you won’t get notified that they have been moved around, but a better way that will keep you notified about the state is to use the lists more a bit smartly than we use them now.
Molood Noori: So, instead of looking at them as typical with traditional lists, try to design them in a smarter way. You have groups, for example. Have you used groups in lists? In the to do list, you have the functionality of creating groups of lists and you can make sure that you do that.
Luis Magalhaes: I’m actually not sure. I’m actually not sure.
Molood Noori: Well, it is just another container for you to do items, really, so it’s not really that different. But, when you think about it, just try to imagine what can I do to be able to drag a to do item from one status to another. Maybe you can create lists that say to do, a list that says in progress, a list that says done and literally drag things forward, but make sure that you label them in a way that’s easier for you to understand, which was this related to in later, when things are moved. Do you understand what I’m saying?
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah, yeah, I absolutely understand. I hadn’t realized that you could create groups of lists. This is very interesting. I actually didn’t realize that. I need to check up on that. This sounds cool. This sounds cool. You are right, this really is a visual thing, because you are completely right in saying that it’s not like … if you imagine that a Basecamp list is a Trello column, and each task is a Trello card, that piece of mental jujitsu gets you very far. It really is a … but again, as visual people, it’s different seeing a square and seeing a line.
Molood Noori: Yeah, yeah, definitely.
Luis Magalhaes: It’s definitely, because we have the post it mentality. That’s exactly it.
Molood Noori: That’s the biggest fight I’m fighting. That is, we are going remote, start thinking differently. If you keep thinking, “How do I replicate this thing that I used to do in the real world in the digital world,” you’re going to hit blockers. First of all, because our tools, even though they are really, really good, they’re not super advanced to create a virtual reality for you all off the bat.
Molood Noori: You have to work your way through it. Our tools are still primitive or immediate. They’re not super advanced. If you want to think, “How do I create that same thing that I did in real world in the digital world, you’re going to get frustrated. You need to start thinking differently, and train your mind to think differently.
Luis Magalhaes: That’s a great message. This is actually a great message. So, going back a bit, because we got sidetracked, but it was very productive, I want to ask you … you mentioned facilitating conversations, facilitating discussions as the job of a good scrum master, so what are those skills? What are those skills that a good agile coach, or a scrum master should have to be able to facilitate the conversation remotely?
Molood Noori: Observation, self-restraint, and the ability to interfere in the right level and by right, I mean where people are. So, observation, if you don’t see what’s going on, it’s going to be very difficult to do anything really about the team. You’re not going to be able to help people who are not telling you that they need help, or they’re not showing you that they need help. You need ways to see how things are happening. What is happening in the team.
Molood Noori: So, help them from a teaching stance and teach them to have conversations in the open, as I mentioned earlier. Use tools that create transparency of information and transparency for the flow of information. Those two are pretty different in my book, at least. When you have transparency of information, that means for example, you know the product backlog. You know what’s coming in the future. You know the state of every card or every piece of work that you have to decide. I’m not calling them user stories, because it could be bigger or smaller. But, everyone can have access to the tool and can see the state of the information.
Molood Noori: But, also the flow. How is the information flowing to the team, from the team, between the members of the team. How is the collaboration going to be? Have those conversations early, as early as possible. If you haven’t had them, and your team is six months or one year old, have them today. Make sure that you get on a Zoom call, meet face to face, and by face to face I mean e-face to e-face, don’t get me wrong, and have those conversations and create those [inaudible 00:44:58]. Make sure that access is there, people see things and people understand the flow of information.
Molood Noori: The second thing I said is self-restraint. That is, a good facilitator is able to put themselves in a position of being neutral. That is, even though you have the solution to the problem, you need to be able to restrain yourself and not give the solution, and allow the team to find a solution on their own. If they come up with a solution that you know for sure is going to fail, but you know that the failure is not high cost or high risk, let them fail and learn.
Luis Magalhaes: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Molood Noori: Self-restraint is super important if you want to be a good facilitator, and that’s not typical to remote.
Luis Magalhaes: Absolutely. I actually talked about this Katie [inaudible 00:45:47], which is that the chief engineer officer at Buffer, and this was something that we agreed on, that sometimes even if you’re 99% something is going to fail, it’s better that people discover it for themselves, because then they learn, instead of you just telling them and being the person that didn’t let them do what they thought was right.
Molood Noori: Exactly.
Luis Magalhaes: That’s definitely a great point and also, you never know. You might be wrong. That thing might work and then you will learn something.
Molood Noori: Exactly.
Luis Magalhaes: I can definitely support that.
Molood Noori: And, the last point I mentioned was the ability to understand when to interfere and how, and at what level. If you’re familiar with the Tuckman team development model, I think a lot of people in the agile world are familiar with it. It talks about how teams go from forming to storming to norming to performing. Your team might be in the storming phase and they might have a lot of different arguments. If they are, see them where they are. Understand, acknowledge, at least for yourself. You don’t need to say it out loud to them, but observe and understand. Assess where the team is and meet them where they are. If they are in storming, help them create norms so that they can move to the norming stage, and from there they can move to the performing stage.
Molood Noori: If they’re in an earlier stage, if they’re in the forming stage, help them create … break those barriers, get them to get to know each other better, so that they can get into the storming phase and they’re there to share their opposing opinions and have constructive conversations.
Molood Noori: So, meet the team where they are and take them from there. Another thing to think about is it sits together with the same concept. I’m going to use a different model that Lisa Atkins, agile coaching competency framework. You have different stances for an agile coach, and when I say agile coach, in this model, I mean anyone who is an agile practitioner, anyone who has a say in how the agile work is being done.
Molood Noori: So, if you’re a scrum master and you have your remote team, you want to meet your team from the right stance. Assess and see whether your team needs you to be a teacher, a mentor, a facilitator or a coach. Choose your stance correctly, and if you are a facilitator, make sure that everyone knows you are being a facilitator. If you are a teacher, make sure everyone knows you are being a teacher. Do not mix hats when you’re communicating with your team. If you’re the lead architect and the scrum master, that’s really frowned upon, but if you have to keep those two roles, always make it explicit.
Molood Noori: In a virtual world, it’s so easy. You can change your status in the chat. You can say, “I’m talking to you as the chief architect. I’m talking to you as the scrum master.”
Luis Magalhaes: You can change the avatar.
Molood Noori: Yeah, exactly. Or, if you’re speaking, you can just say it out loud. Say, “I am talking to you as a scrum master right now, not as a chief architect,” and then continue, but make it explicit.
Luis Magalhaes: This is the big problem of talking to you is that everything you give me an answer, I can think of two more questions, but sometimes we will need to break for lunch so, let me try to keep this as simple as possible and then I’ll have some closing … number one. I have felt that problem in small teams, and that’s actually the majority of the people who work with this in jobs, is we are geared towards small and medium sized companies with small teams and a lot of the times I see the conflict that the person that is supposed to act as the scrum master, also has some other responsibilities and there is a conflict of interests.
Luis Magalhaes: So, what are some mental jujitsu tricks that let you, not really … so, you can display what you want to the other people by changing your avatar by saying, “I am talking to you as …” but how do you yourself can manage to compartmentalize those things?
Molood Noori: Okay, I personally have years and years and years of training in this, since my childhood, I’ve learned to compartmentalize. I just told you. You ask me how I feel and I’m not able to tell you because right now, I’m in a thinking rational mode. It’s hard for me to know what I feel. But no, just for the people listening, it’s …
Luis Magalhaes: People, here’s how you cultivate multiple personalities.
Molood Noori: There you go. Exactly. You need to learn to invest in your self-development. You need to learn about yourself. If you ask me what is my top value in life, I am able to tell you right away. If you ask me what I want to create in the world, I’m able to tell you right away. If you tell me what is my dream, I am able to tell you. But, for many people, that’s not the case, because they have not put the time and investment that they need, to understand themselves better. And somehow, it’s a really, really scary thing to do, to dig deeper and deeper, and to resolve your old childhood traumas and to come in peace with your own flaws, with the things that you’re maybe even ashamed of. There are so many different good tools, books, models, that you can use. One of the ones that I use, I’m going to bring you yet another tool that I use, but this gives me that understanding of where I am. It’s the responsibility process that’s advocated and promoted by Christopher Avery.
Molood Noori: He starts … do you want me to go through the model? That’s going to take a while. But okay, I’m going to give you a link so you can put it …
Luis Magalhaes: That would be perfect.
Molood Noori: Yeah, there are also videos on YouTube, so if you google, if you search for … I’ve learned that it’s wrong to say google as a verb, but if you search on Google for …
Luis Magalhaes: Is it?
Molood Noori: Possibility process … it is. You will …
Luis Magalhaes: I just think it’s good marketing.
Molood Noori: Oh yeah. I can also send you a link to Google’s terms and services, where it says you’re not allowed to use the google as a verb, but everybody does anyway.
Luis Magalhaes: So, it seems like we all owe Google some money.
Molood Noori: Yeah, exactly. There you go. Okay, let me tell you about the responsibility process very quickly.
Luis Magalhaes: Please do.
Molood Noori: The responsibility process helps me personally to identify the state I am in and deal with the problems or the situation promptly and appropriately. The responsibility process tells us about how we deal with difficult situations in life and not necessarily difficult ones, but it’s easier to describe the model with difficult situations.
Molood Noori: When we are faced with a challenge or a problem in life, we start from a state of denial. That is, somehow, they’re not even going to acknowledge that there is a problem going on. So, imagine if you come home from a really hard day of work and you just can’t find your keys. You look in your pockets, you look in your bag, you look everywhere. You take off your shoes and you realize, “Maybe I put it in my shoe,” and it’s just not here.
Luis Magalhaes: This had happened to me, yes.
Molood Noori: Yeah, it happens to all of us. You keep looking and you just can’t find the key. The thing is, your keys are not with you. That’s the problem. But, you are in the state of denial. You haven’t yet acknowledged that there is a problem. When you get past denial, the first thing that your brain, the mental state that you go into, the first answer that your brain hands to you is, “Who the hell has moved my keys?” You go directly to who.
Molood Noori: And, when you are looking for someone to blame, this is the state in the responsibility process that’s called lay blame. When you are in the lay blame state, that is where you’re looking for someone to be at fault and you have acknowledged that there is a problem, but you’re looking for an external person to be at fault.
Luis Magalhaes: Exactly.
Molood Noori: I’m going …
Luis Magalhaes: See, agile is also great for relationships.
Molood Noori: Yeah, agile is definitely great for relationships. The responsibility process is also great for relationships. It’s actually …
Luis Magalhaes: This would solve so many problems.
Molood Noori: Yeah, it does. It does. So, if you look at the responsibility process poster, you know that after lay blame, our brain takes us to another state that is justify. That’s where we try to say that this situation is just. Just like you said. You started from just. You said, “This has happened to me,” so my mental state would be, “Yeah, this is just. This is fair. It happens to anybody. It could happen to anybody. So, I’m not alone.”
Molood Noori: And, you try to find reasons and excuses for why it’s okay that you’re having this problem. So, why I’m telling you this model people out there listening to this, is that this model can help you identify which state you are operating from. Are you looking for an external person to blame? Is that how you’re talking to your team? Or, have you moved up to the state of justify and you’re looking for excuses and you’re saying, “That’s how management is around here.”
Molood Noori: So, when you go up the justify state, you enter a new mental state that’s called the mental state of shame. This is one of the most difficult states to get out from, because our society reinforces that. And, when I say our society, I’m not talking about necessarily the country I live in or the country you live in, I’m talking about the entire world. We have this reinforcement of shame and we mistake responsibility with shame.
Molood Noori: For example, parents, there are so many parents out there in the world who tell their kids, “Go clean up your room or else, XXX.” That could be anything. They say, “Kid, you need to take some responsibility and do this or that. They use the word responsibility to induce shame. It’s something that we have learned generation, after generation, after generation.
Molood Noori: The thing is, when you are in the state of shame, we put ourselves at fault, so we’ve moved away from lay blame, where we put someone else at fault. We move up from justify, where we look to the situation being wrong and we go to shame and we ask ourselves, our internal talk becomes, “What’s wrong with me?”
Luis Magalhaes: It’s ironically, it’s a weird form of arrogance, because we say that, “Yeah, it’s my fault, because I’m so important that if it’s not the other people’s fault, then it certainly is mine.”
Molood Noori: Yeah, you say it that way, but I think that a lot of people who are in the state of shame, they don’t feel powerful or important. They actually feel less so.
Luis Magalhaes: No, it’s not important, but it’s self-centered.
Molood Noori: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. It is. I think it is, but then again, I understand or empathize with people who operate from this state. They say, “I am stupid. I forgot my keys. I am forgetful. I always forget my keys.”
Luis Magalhaes: The [crosstalk 00:57:18] there is the I. I, it’s I, I, I.
Molood Noori: Yeah, it’s very I centered, because you go inside. You stop seeing what’s out there. So, you ask me how to compartmentalize. Well, when you are in the state of shame, you are naturally compartmentalizing. You are putting yourself at fault, and the rest of the world is this glorious place that was not at fault at all and you put all the blame on yourself.
Molood Noori: The thing is, that when we are operating from the mental state of shame, our language changes. Our language becomes weak, even though they think it’s strong. But, let me just go through the model quickly so we can get …
Luis Magalhaes: Move on.
Molood Noori: So, from shame, you go up to obligation. That is where people, their mental state is obligation. That is, when you say, “I have to do something about it, but I really, really don’t want to.” So the key example, it would be, I have to get into my home, and I have to go back to the office or to the coworking space or to whatever, I might have left my keys, but I just wish I didn’t have to do that right now.
Molood Noori: So, you start doing things despite your will. That’s the person going, riding to the office every day and feeling horrible about that commute every day, but they have to do it because they need the paycheck, so they convince themselves to do that. It’s still a little self-centered as you put it, but it’s only after obligation, if we can allow ourselves, if we can help ourselves to move up from obligation, that we get to responsibility.
Molood Noori: When you get to this mental state of responsibility, everything changes. Your language changes, your understanding of yourself and the world around you changes, the understanding of your team changes. Responsibility is a mental state of resourcefulness. You look for solutions. You don’t put anything or anyone at fault. You don’t put yourself at fault either. You start looking for ways to resolve the situation, to overcome the challenge. So, how I learn how to compartmentalize and how I learn how I as a person, as a team lead, as a scrum master, agile coach, whatever that is, I’m going to help my team, is having this model, the responsibility model in the back of my head all the time and checking myself with it.
Molood Noori: This is not a model to use on other people. This is a model to use for yourself. So, if I am in my mind, looking for a person to be at fault, I know I am in lay blame, and I know I need to move quite up to get to responsibility. If I am in shame, I understand, I acknowledge it and just that acknowledgement is the first step I need to take to be able to move up to responsibility.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah. And, that’s actually a very good point, tangential point. A lot of times when people learn this framework or any other kind of framework, they immediately start applying it to others. And, they start trying to mind read and to find the problem with others, which is … which ironically just means that they’re in the lowest state themselves.
Molood Noori: Exactly. Exactly. If I go to a person and say, “Hey dude, you’re operating from the state of shame, or you’re operating from the state of lay blame, you know the responsibility process, why don’t you use it?” Well, guess what, you do that, you are in lay blame. That’s wrong. You should not use this model on other people. This is a model to use on yourself to understand where you are coming from, so that you can adjust your language and your way of communicating with other people.
Luis Magalhaes: So, I love that you advise us on so many frameworks, and clearly you’ve studied a lot and you’ve tried a lot of these. When I was going to your writings, by the way, you are a very good writer. You write very clearly.
Molood Noori: Oh thank you.
Luis Magalhaes: I was reading your blog and your LinkedIn posts and you were explaining one of the cases where you were coaching a team on how to work better remotely. Maybe I read wrong, but I believe that you wrote that in a synchronous communication process, and you actually did retrospectives about the process itself and evolved it periodically. It strikes me as a very good idea, but it got me thinking too, how do you strike a balance between spending time building and improving and searching for new processes, and actually doing the work that the company needs to develop, because I know from personal experience that it’s very easy to get caught in what I call productivity porn, when you are just concerned about learning and applying and finding new tools and etc.
Molood Noori: Oh yeah, definitely. Definitely. That’s why there are people like me and there are other agile coaches in the world, because our job is to look for all these solutions and improvements and create that balance. So, if you give the role of an adjunct coach or scrum master to someone already at your company who has not just studied these things, who has not spent the time to learn and grow and see different types of companies and clients, you just say, “You know what? Do 50% coding and 50% scrum mastering, because we don’t have budget,” you’re doing a disservice to your company.
Molood Noori: That’s the situation for a lot of companies.
Luis Magalhaes: Oh, I know, but I would say for the majority, don’t you think?
Molood Noori: Yeah, yeah, it is the majority. I’m just telling those people who are in decision making positions, to understand that the title agile coach is not just a fancy title. Yes, there are a lot of people out there who might not really know what they’re talking about. They just passed an exam and that was it, but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about a really, really good collaboration that you can have with a person who’s entire life is this.
Molood Noori: If you ask me what do you do when you are on vacation, I say, “Well, I probably read a book about business and do some writing about agile. That’s my passion. I know other people like that. I know people who are in that same boat. So, as a person, as an individual, in order not to get into productivity porn and go after what app to use or what tools to use, use the simplest tools at your disposal.
Molood Noori: If your company does not have the budget to pay for a license of, I don’t know, something fancy, go with what you have and try to make that work. If that is not going to serve you, that is not going to block you either. Try to understand what tools you have at your disposal and use them to your advantage. Remember that the first line of the agile manifesto, if you think agile is going to be helpful anyway, is to value processes … I totally blew that up. So, it’s value people and interactions over processes and tools.
Molood Noori: And, that means, use tools and create processes that serve people and their interactions. So, you want to have meetings? Make sure you have as few meetings as possible. No meetings at all would be ideal, but that’s impossible. So, if you can do something that you normally do in a meeting without that meeting, try that.
Molood Noori: If you can asynchronously make a decision, do that. Don’t waste people’s time in meetings all the time, so that they would be taken away from their state of flow of productivity. And, remember that developers work the [inaudible 01:05:03] for managers. So, if you’re a manager or a salesperson or a marketer or someone who does not code, someone who is not in the creative part of the product development, your calendar looks super different from the calendar of a person who is a developer or creator of the product.
Molood Noori: The person who is a creator, their calendar is divided in two. It’s before lunch and after lunch. They need that big chunk of time to get into the flow and be productive. But, as a manager, your calendar is divided into the hours of the day. You can do a different thing every hour and you get used to that and as managers, as leaders, we sometimes forget the people we’re inviting to the meeting do not have the same calendar and that they actually need the time to get into the flow and have access to a big chunk of time to be productive.
Molood Noori: Be mindful of other people’s time and needs.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah. And this is actually something that several guests in the podcast have brought up, that when they started being managers, they wanted to do all of these. They wanted to do all of management, all of creative and they had to sacrifice the creative because it wasn’t working out. If you want to be a manager, you need to commit to a totally different kind of organization for yourself.
Molood Noori: Well, I do both actually in my organization, in my company.
Luis Magalhaes: So how do you …
Molood Noori: That’s a good one. I already started doing that, because I’m going to be away for two weeks from my client work, so how I do that is that I block a full day every week to do creative work. Nobody can book me and I will not book anybody. When I work as a scrum master, I do the same thing for my team. I make sure that one day of the week is blocked in their calendars, so that they have at least that little time to be completely focused and away from any kind of distractions.
Molood Noori: So, in your teams, you can maybe have agreements, that if you’re in different time zones for example, during the time that you’re overlapping, maybe make sure that only four hours of those overlapping hours are available for coaching meetings, and if that’s the only overlap that you have, if you only have four hours of overlap, even make that shorter. Say all meetings need to happen either at the first hour of the overlap or at the last hour of that overlap so that the creative people can have at least a two hour chunk of productive work.
Molood Noori: So, block the calendar so nobody can book them. That’s my advice.
Luis Magalhaes: Sounds good. Sounds good advice.
Molood Noori: Don’t block them for the full week. That would be impossible, then you won’t be able to collaborate.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah, I know. Absolutely. Sounds like great advice actually and again, we’ve been at this for an hour. I want to respectful of your time, but I did want to make you quick questions that I nonetheless think you will have interesting answers to. So what is the book that you have most gifted?
Molood Noori: That’s a very easy question to answer. Do you want me to bring it and show it to you on camera because you can see me but the audience can’t see me. It’s the Icarus Deception by Seth Godin.
Luis Magalhaes: Oh, okay. Yeah. So, can you care to elaborate that. Why do you think it’s so useful, among the dozens. It has to be now dozens of books that Seth has written.
Molood Noori: Yeah. I love this book because Seth Godin is an amazing writer. He writes a blog every day and I read it every day. It’s one of those very few emails that I read. Actually every time it’s sent to me, I open it and read it. So why I like this book …
Luis Magalhaes: I actually took up his challenge to write every day. Been sticking to it for three months now.
Molood Noori: Oh wow, congratulations. That’s amazing.
Luis Magalhaes: He’s a great inspiration. But you’re right. He’s an amazing writer. Sometimes he only writes three lines and it …
Molood Noori: And it makes you think. Yeah.
Luis Magalhaes: How can he produce something that’s three lines?
Molood Noori: Yeah, exactly.
Luis Magalhaes: It’s great. Go on. Please, sorry I side tracked you.
Molood Noori: No, no, it’s okay. I like to hear your stories too. Maybe I’ll interview you one day.
Luis Magalhaes: I would love to.
Molood Noori: Yeah, of course. But Seth Godin, Icarus Deception, I love it because it changed my perspective about creative work. And it changed my understanding of the world economy as it’s changing and as it’s shaping the world that we live in today. It helped me be more agile in a sense, even though it has nothing to do with agile. But, he talks about art and he talks about how everything we create is considered art, because it’s the result of what we and our brain and us, the entire background that we come from creates in the world.
Molood Noori: So, if you think that you’re not an artist but you write code, well guess what, you are an artist because you do creative work. If you think that all you do is to go to sales meetings and try to sell a product to other people and the product you don’t care about, guess what, you are an artist because you convinced those people, you use creativity in your words and in your work.
Molood Noori: So, everything we do is art and that was a big shift for me, and I think that this book can help a lot of people to get out of their perceptions and labels that they put on themselves and the way that they perceive their careers and their work in their life. So that’s why I gift it a lot to people.
Luis Magalhaes: That’s great. That was a great answer as I predicted. But anyway, so my next question is, if you had 100 … or right, you’re based in Sweden, you people have crazy money. Let’s say 100 euros, because I don’t know the rate for the kroner. Let’s say you have 100 euros to spend on each one of the person that works on your team, what would you give them?
Molood Noori: That’s a good one. I haven’t thought about that like this before. 100 euros is not a lot of money, but it’s not little either. I’ll give them experiences. I’ll probably ask every individual what is the experience that they have wanted to do that could cost less than 100 euros and then see what they say and talk to them for a while to figure out what they want, and then buy a present card for that particular experience. But, I will definitely personalize it. That’s something that I would do.
Molood Noori: I wouldn’t buy the same thing for everyone.
Luis Magalhaes: All right. So that sounds … so clearly you’re into talking to people and finding out what’s best for them. That is very consistent. That is very consistent.
Molood Noori: Well, thank you I’m glad to be a person of integrity.
Luis Magalhaes: I just described [inaudible 01:11:52]. Okay, so let’s say that you are hosting a dinner on a Chinese restaurant where the top technology execs of Silicon Valley go, and they are going to, during this dinner, discuss remote work and the future of remote work and you get to decide the message that comes inside the fortune cookie. What are you writing in the message?
Molood Noori: In the fortune cookie.
Luis Magalhaes: Yes. They crack open their fortune cookies, and they all get the same message. What message is that?
Molood Noori: The future is here. It’s on you to make it great.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay. That wraps it up. Thank you Molood, for your thoughtful answers. Please let the listeners know, again what you are up to and where they can continue the conversation with you.
Molood Noori: Well, if you want to get in touch with me personally, I am mostly on Twitter and on LinkedIn. I’m really trying hard to also be on Instagram. On LinkedIn, I go with my personal name that is Molood Noori. Right now, you can probably find me if you google Molood, I am probably the only woman you find with that name, because it’s technically a guy’s name, but [inaudible 01:13:03]. Instagram is Remote Forever, Twitter is also Molood Noori and on my website as well, naturally, so it’s remoteforever.com.
Molood Noori: And, if you are interested in attending my next summit, I hope that the summit keeps going, so even if you’re listening to this podcast much, much later than we recorded it, the summit will still be on the same domain and you can find it. You can find it at remoteforeversummit.com.
Molood Noori: At the time we’re recording this, that’s 2019, the plan is to have the summit for free again, so you can sign up for free and attend it and there will be an option to purchase a pass to be able to access everything else and some premium experiences in the back end.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay. So, that sound a great deal for anyone. So, definitely check that out, definitely check the summit out, check out Molood’s writing and yeah.
Molood Noori: Thank you so much for having me on the podcast and thanks everyone who listens so far. I know it was a very long one.
Luis Magalhaes: Oh, it was great. It was great and I enjoyed our conversation a lot Molood. See you around.
Molood Noori: See you around Luis. Have a great day.
Luis Magalhaes: So, ladies and gentlemen, you’ve just heard the Distant Job podcast, and today’s guest was Molood Noori. Thank you Molood. If you want to continue the conversation with Molood, or know more about how she can help your organization, check the show notes. All the links are there and if you want to support this podcast, the best way to do so is by sharing it on social networks or leaving your review on iTunes or your podcast service of choice.
Luis Magalhaes: You can also go to our blog, to the podcast page, actually. You can find a link on the website on distantjob.com right in the top right corner of the website. There’s a button that takes you to the podcast pages where you can check out all the previous episodes and subscribe and by subscribing, you get the transcript. You get the show transcript.
Luis Magalhaes: And, of course, as long as you’re at the distantjob.com website, if you’re planning to build an incredible team and you want to find the best people in the world, you need to think differently. You need to think global. You need to think remote, and all that means, you need to think Distant Job. So, get on that website, fill out our form and we’ll help you find exactly who you need. And guess what? Until the 23rd of April, 2019, mention that you’re reaching the website through the Distant Job podcast, the Molood Noori episode, and you are going to get 50% off the first salary of whatever employee you hire through Distant Job. And so, with that offer, I bid you adieu. This was Luis with the Distant Job podcast. See you next week.
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How can you follow Agile principles with a distributed / remote team? Several high-profile coaches and speakers in the Agile world say it isn’t possible. But in this episode, Molood Noori points out that the whole ethos of Agile is about embracing change, and being unwilling to adapt to the future of work is, in that sense, the least Agile thing you can do.
Welcome to the DistantJob Podcast, a show where we interview the most successful remote leaders, picking their brains on how to build and lead remote teams who win.
In this episode, we dive deep into a conversation about why Agile practitioners have been historically reluctant to embrace remote work; what are the problems of trying to replicate the real world office and its way of working in the digital real; and in what way scrum can be like an old Ericsson phone if you’re not mindful of the real purpose of using frameworks. There’s something here for anyone wanting to embrace the ethos of adapting to change by thinking differently.
Molood’s most gifted book: “The Icarus Deception” by Seth Godin
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