Episode #224: The Science of Lean, DevOps & High Performing Organisations with Nicole Forsgren

October 3, 2018

Today, I am speaking with Nicole Forsgren.

Nicole is an IT impacts expert who is best known for her work with tech professionals and as the lead investigator on the largest DevOps studies to date. She is a consultant, expert, and researcher in knowledge management, IT adoption and impacts, and DevOps. In a previous life, she was a professor, sysadmin, and hardware performance analyst. Nicole has been awarded public and private research grants (funders include NASA and the NSF), and her work has been featured in various media outlets, peer-reviewed journals, and conferences. She holds a PhD in management information systems and a master’s degree in accounting. Nicole is CEO and Chief Scientist at DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA).


Her first book, Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps explores the topic of Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations.


I had a great time chatting with Nicole and learning about, not only her Swedish ancestry, her favorite ice cream flavour and her love for working out - which might have something to do with the ice cream, but learning more about what makes a high performing team tick.


You will learn lots in this conversation, including:

  1. Why traditional performance measurement metrics such as utilisation and lines of code are flawed and what to use instead
  2. What characteristics differentiate high performing teams from low performing team and how to start embedding these characteristics into your organisation; and
  3. How to effectively drive culture change


This just scratches the surface of what we discussed so please sit back, walk, run or whatever it is you do when you listen to podcasts and enjoy my conversation with Nicole Forsgren.


Topics Discussed:

  • What DevOps is and why it matters
  • Waterfall and stage gate versus agile and DevOps
  • Why speed is fundamental to success
  • The research behind the book
  • What differentiates high performers from low performers
  • How to effectively measure performance
  • Flaws in common measurement approaches
  • Maturity models v capability models
  • Change advisory boards
  • How to do QA in a fast-moving team
  • Breaking down silos
  • The power of cross functional, self organised teams
  • How to drive culture change
  • Continuous delivery
  • How to build a truly engaged organisation
  • How to avoid burnout
  • Simple things companies can do to transition


Show Notes:

  1. Get the Book: Pre-order on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/2wtaIW9
  2. Web: Nicolefv.com
  3. Twitter: @nicolefv
  4. DORA: http://devops-research.com  
  5. The Business Case Alternative ebook: http://bit.ly/bizcaseebook/
  6. Nudge (book): https://amzn.to/2Nh9ofX
  7. Thinking Fast and Slow (book): https://amzn.to/2LruWVI
  8. The Undoing Project: https://amzn.to/2BO8IO9


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About steve glaveski

Your host and occasional cybernetic organism, Steve Glaveski, is committed to helping people better navigate the growing uncertainty that technology change brings, in order to survive, thrive, create more value for the world and lead more fulfilling lives.

Steve is the CEO and co-founder of innovation accelerator Collective Campus, founder of children's entrepreneurship program Lemonade Stand, author of Amazon best-seller The Innovation Manager's Handbook and the Wiley book, Employee to Entrepreneur, investor in blockchain based fractional property investment platform Konkrete and is a keynote speaker and startup advisor.

When not fighting T-1000s Steve can be found in the gym, hiking, skating at the beach, attempting standup comedy, at a heavy metal show or socially lubricating at a whisky bar.

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