Breaking Down Agile Enterprise with David Asch of 10xPrinciples (Scaling Tech Podcast Ep31)

May 21, 2024 | Agile, Tech

Agile is more than just a buzzword. It’s an intuitive methodology that offers practical solutions to enterprises by simply breaking a big thing into smaller, more manageable chunks. Today on the Scaling Tech podcast, Arin welcomes David Asch to take a deep dive into agile methods.

David is currently the Founder of 10xPrinciples, a consulting firm helping technology companies navigate the transition from startup to mid-stage. He produced robust, Enterprise Software-as-a-Service, cloud-based products in all his managerial positions throughout his 36-year career. He also introduced Agile philosophy and methodologies to each of his companies, enabling his teams to meet their goals. During this time of rapid growth and change, teams typically find that the “wearing many hats” behavior from their startup days is no longer the best approach to honoring commitments, David helps these companies weave Agile practices into the fabric of their cultures.

In this episode of the Scaling Tech podcast, we discuss the key agile principles, how to apply them in practice (in and outside of software development teams), how to manage sales in smaller agile bites, and so much more!

Ready to learn the true potential of Agile Entreprise? Then, don’t miss this episode packed with practical and real-life examples from David Asch himself.

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Key Insights with links to jump ahead are below

About Guest

Name: David Asch

What he does: He’s the Founder of 10xPrinciples, a consulting firm helping technology companies navigate the transition from startup to mid-stage.


Noteworthy: David is the author of The Agile Enterprise (…, which is a practical and entertaining book full of real-life examples about applying Agile principles to drive organizational success.

Where to find David:   / davidasch1 

Key Insights

⚡Agile methodology offers practical solutions to enterprises. Agile methodology breaks a big thing into smaller, more manageable chunks. This allows software development teams to focus more on collaboration and value. David explains, “As companies grow and as they hit certain inflection points, there are stresses that come in that kind of change how companies need to work. […] So, I found that focusing on some of those areas of stress was valuable and in many of the consulting companies and mainly the customers that I’ve dealt with in my consulting, have enabled me to kind of try out agile ideas across the company and I’ve found that it’s really worked interestingly and people have intuitively flocked to it. And I don’t use any of the agile buzzwords when I’m dealing with them. It’s really just a matter of, how do we break this big thing?”

⚡Some organizations are doing Agile without even realizing it. Even outside of software development, some organizations unknowingly embrace agile principles. For instance, good sales teams are often the most agile. David explains, “Just like a software project has, as time moves forward in a sales process, there’s more clarity about what’s going to close and what’s not going to close, and you can take actions appropriately based on that. So that’s sort of, I think how sales can be agile in a big way. In a small way, I think sales groups are already doing this where they kind of are tracking. Sales is probably the best metrics because they kind of have built-in hard metrics about the number of meetings they have, about the number of conversions from pilot to closed, all those kinds of things that they do keep very good track of.”

⚡Agile methodology helps deliver customer value more quickly and consistently. Agile helps teams adapt quickly and build products that meet users’ needs. By staying flexible and closely involving users throughout the process, Agile enables faster and more reliable delivery of valuable software. David shares his experience with Agile. He says, “My history is primarily as an engineering manager and somebody who’s really kind of been on the hook to deliver software that solves customers’ problems, and I learned about agile pretty early in my career, just because things happened to dovetail that way. And what I found was that really delivering small chunks of functionality actually worked. It wasn’t always easy to do, and it’s not easy. It’s hard to do that and more so to deliver something that actually is of value to users and listening to them and understanding what it is.”

Episode Highlights

How to make the hiring process more agile?

Small changes within a process can have a huge impact on the entire organization. David explains how breaking the hiring process into smaller steps helps companies save time but also bring on board valuable talent. He explains, “What they found is that they were able to get really good candidates, the people who they felt they would want to work with on a day to day turned out to be really good employees. And, it was just a matter of kind of managing this in a way and kind of paying some attention to it. One of the things with hiring is that people who need to hire the most tend to be the busiest, and it’s hard to take their time so there needed to be a triage process up front where skilled people who weren’t necessarily the hiring managers could actually assess candidates upfront. So it was really just taking a big problem that this company had and compressing it into actionable pieces along the way and with metrics in place to figure it out.”

How to effectively apply Agile to your sales processes?

Good sales teams are the most agile. They don’t look at sales as a single event but rather break it down into smaller manageable tasks while also staying flexible and focused on delivering value at every single step. In this episode, David explains how agile sales teams can better meet customer needs and achieve success. He says,

“We need to cultivate this relationship. We need to provide some sort of demonstration of something to them. We need to keep them warm, and we need to continue to kind of manage to that. So, it seems like there in terms of the phases to get to this big thing that, if you think sale is is the thing, I think there really are ways to chunk up that whole process and there really are well-defined stages. Just because most sales of any big size don’t just happen, they happen over some span of time that they can be managed to. I think really in some ways, good sales teams could be the most agile in a company if they’re sort of looking at things that way.”

Do we still need managers in Agile?

Despite what some people think, managers are still very much needed in Agile methods. It’s just that their role is now shifted to big-picture coordination instead of micromanagement. David explains,

“A lot of people have asked me kind of on the managerial side, well, if agile teams are self-managing, I’m a manager, what do I do? Aim I out of a job? And that kind of thing… And my response is, no, not at all. In fact, your role is actually even more pivotal in that you’re not necessarily telling the team exactly how they’re supposed to work or what they get done because they’re agreeing on that. But, you need to kind of lift your head up when they’re working heads down and figure out, well, how do these things fit in? How do we how do we communicate with other teams that are building things? And if things are finishing at different times that are dependent on one another, how do we manage that from an interface perspective? ‘m not just talking about engineering and software. I’m talking about other things like if marketing, for example, is out of sync with with what product is delivering, how do you how do you manage that?.”