Meet Andy Spamer, Delivery Lead/ Business Agility Coach.
Cutting his teeth in a small IT team, Andy learned early on that technology should serve the business, not the other way around. He's a man of varied tastes, whether it's enjoying a cuppa at Perth's hole-in-the-wall coffee shops or fine dining at Wildflower. Passionate about Agile methodologies, he's seen first-hand how a fun and open work environment can drive high performance. So we've put him on the spot with a Q and A! Andy is also offering free 60-minute Agile assessments - book now.
Biggest lesson from your first job?
My first job was working in a small IT team for a company building large generators for the power industry; There were 6 of us and we had to run the entire IT operation. While my job title was Programmer, we did everything from understanding user needs, writing software, installing computers, and even running the mainframe the whole company . I learned early on that IT is there to support the business, and we needed to do whatever was required to ensure the engineers could build the bread and butter things that kept the business operating. It was a great lesson in user centricity.
Fave coffee spot?
Perth, and Australia generally, have a fantastic coffee culture. I love to find little ‘hole in the wall’ type coffee shops and these provide top class coffee. That said, and coffee lovers might want to cover their ears here, I often frequent Dome. I know it’s not the worlds best coffee, but it is predictable and a reasonable price.
Best weekend getaway in Perth?
Not quite a weekend getaway, but my wife and I both love The Wildflower restaurant. We try to visit at least once every couple of months as they often change the menu because it is based on seasonal local produce. The degustation menu is fantastic.
Book that's changed your life?
Early in my Agile journey I discovered “Scrum and XP from the Trenches” by Henrik Kniberg. This was a great guide on how Henrik implemented Scrum at a client while he was on his learning journey. It cemented me on my Agile pathway. The really cool thing? Henrik gave this away as a free eBook!
Go-to podcast or playlist?
I’m not a huge podcast listener, but I do listen to a lot of music. I use Apple music a lot, and my ‘Andy’s station’ is often playing in the background with an algorithm-based playlist based on songs I mark as *liked*. I’m a bit of a rock fan and when people ask what music I like I usually respond with “anything with a guitar”. The last three artists on the list were Foo Fighters, Killing Joke and The Wedding Present!
Most memorable networking experience?
I was doing some work for a startup in the UK during the .dotcom boom. On their board of Directors were CEO of FTSE 100 companies. I remember an event that was held after a round of funding was secured, and I was casually explaining to one of the Directors how we were going to develop the software using short feedback loops, real customer feedback, and test automation. Over the next 10-15 minutes around 3-4 of the directors were listening to what I was saying and hanging on every word. At that point I realised I could talk with authority and confidence to C-Suite executives and they would actively listen to the guidance I was providing.
Tips for work-life balance?
I don’t know, but if you find out please tell me!
Biggest changes you predict in agile ways of working?
Agile is definitely entering the mainstream. It is now no longer about simply ‘doing Scrum’. Agile ways of working are not the goal; building valuable user-centric products and services is. Agile has to have benefit for the business, and I think many companies are seeing this as hard culture shift that has to be addressed.
If you could have dinner with a celebrity, past or present, who would it be?
There would be so many Bill Gates and / or Steve Jobs for visionary thinking in the technology space, Stephen Hawkings would just blow my mind with his knowledge, Bob Geldof for his compassion in highlighting food inequity, and Malala Yousafzai for the incredible courage to standup up for womens education despite death threats from the Taliban.
What skill are you mastering next?
For the last 18 months or so, I’ve had a bit of a background goal to learn Python, machine learning and data analytics. I’m not looking for a career change but this does satisfy my inner geek. As a programmer I love the creativity of having a machine solve challenging and complex problems. Away from that I’ve been growing my Bikablo skills, as I love presenting and facilitating.
What is high performance and happiness to you?
Fun. If we have a fun working environment then we foster psychological safety. If we have psychological safety then we can be open about what is not working and what is impairing performance. Fun just makes everyone feel better, but unfortunately too many organisations stifle fun and then wonder why they don’t perform.