Advanced Agile Masterclass: Attendee Interview - Andrew Dodgshun

Later in the week Alistair Cockburn leaves Australia until his next visit. In the time that he has been here, we've had him involved in a number of things. 1st Conference this year was a highlight, training courses Advanced Agile, Use Cases and User Stories and his Heart of Agile/CSM Training as well as taking him along to different organisations to speak about Agility.

Recently Alistair completed his 3 day Advanced Agile Masterclass here in Melbourne. We've taken the opportunity to speak with and interview one of the attendees, so that you can understand more about the course and the overall experience being taught by one of the creators of Agile himself!

Andrew Dodgshun comes from a wealth of experience. (In his words) he spent almost 10 years on projects that were running overtime and overbudget, writing requirements/technical/testing/user documentation for up to 75% (or more) of the time before writing one line of code and releasing quarterly, if they were lucky!

Around 10 years ago, he had the major ‘light bulb’ moment and spent the next 10 years working with Agile delivery teams as a developer/scrum master and eventually full time Agile Coach.

Andrew had a stint in the US, working for companies like Amazon, Kodak, OpenText and Nordstrom. He is now a bigger believer than ever that the benefit of Agile can come from the ways that you work, but also the simplicity of what it offers in terms of uplift to people, teams and work environments.

Andrew presents a good opportunity to learn about this course from someone with strong experience in some of the more progressive tech companies in the world.

If you're interested to talk more about the benefits of this course or have any questions you want answered please reach out to me on

To learn more about the courses, click this link. Alistair is expected to return later in the year!

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Alistair gives everyone a voice but is fiercely determined that people learn not just what he is delivering but to consider the content from multiple viewpoints and on multiple levels of complexity.

Ringo: How did you first come across the Advanced Agile Masterclass?
Andrew: After working in Seattle for 4 years I returned to Melbourne (about a year ago) and I really wanted to take some time out for professional development. Having done plenty of certifications and conferences I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the Masterclass through the vibrant network of agilists I discovered on my return to Melbourne

Ringo: What do you feel like you got out of the three days?
Andrew: Attending an event like this is like soul food for an Agile Coach. Most of those attending have been involved in and have been working with Agile for some time, so bringing these minds together to be challenged, pushed and cajoled by the sometimes twisted (in a good way!) mind of Alistair Cockburn is a special type of goodness that goes beyond just sucking up information. Specifically, I gained insights into levels of practice that only the likes of Dr Cockburn has the time and inclination to investigate and the unique capability for passing on such learnings. I found the discussions and workshops both engaging and ultimately extremely simple and practical in purpose giving me new directions to explore both personally and professionally.

Ringo: Are there any key learnings you took out of the training you’d want to share?
Andrew: Many learnings but the key one really was the theme of the workshop which is” The Heart of Agile”. Stripping away all the decorations and padding often associated with methodologies and frameworks we are left with the simplicity of just 4 concepts – Collaborate, Deliver, Reflect and Improve.

Ringo: How would you describe Alistair’s teaching style?
Andrew: Alistair’s teaching style is relaxed, eclectic and at times feels like you are in some sort of anthropological experiment. He gives everyone voice but is fiercely determined that people learn not just what he is delivering but to consider the content from multiple viewpoints and on multiple levels of complexity. It can be exhausting but is also a lot of fun and energizing!

Ringo: How would someone know they were ready to complete the training?
A hard question as I think there is something there for everyone but to get the most value a good grasp of both Agile principles and the common methodologies and frameworks under the Agile “umbrella” is recommended. This is not a course to teach Agile so coming to the course with a good history of practical work experience around the principles of  Agile as well as the theory would be a good indicator you are ready to take it to the next level.

Ringo: How would an organisation know it was valuable to put their staff through the training?

Andrew: Any organisation that has realised they need to move beyond merely implementing frameworks and methodologies and aspire to seriously embracing the principles and values of the Agile Manifesto would have to consider putting their staff on such a stimulating journey with Dr Cockburn for a few days as a very special opportunity.