Agile Interview – Robb Farris (SPC)

Agile Interview – Robb Farris (SPC)

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Welcome to the Agile Interview Series.  As part of this series, we ask agile practitioners 7 questions, focused around agile and agile related certifications.  Our goal with this series is to give you multiple perspectives from a variety of practitioners within the agile space.

How did you get into the agile space?

Back in 2008, I was seeking new opportunities and was invited to attend a Scrum workshop. This was my first real introduction to the concepts and it truly inspired me to manage my work activities using the concepts I learned in the workshop. The workshop itself was a valuable experience in that it allowed me to learn and actively participated with others in executing a small project. From that point, I was hooked!

What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile?

Early on, my focus was managing projects and keeping my self sane with managing my workload. Later, I began to apply the concepts to help build teams to allow them to focus on getting work done versus getting stuck in processes. Now, it is really more of a focus on coaching teams and having good conversations around agile concepts.

What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not?

Honestly, I have never been a huge fan of certifications. However, one of the benefits of having a certification is that it provides a sense of credibility and a sense of comfort to potential clients. I think people should be very selective on which certifications to obtain. If you have too many, an email signature with a list of all credentials tends to look like a person has spent more time in training than actually delivering value.

What certifications do you have and why?

I am a Scaled Agile Framework Program Consultant – SAFe (SPC).

Why a SAFe (SPC)? Partially is was for work purposes, but personally I feel it lends credibility to the space. I have also considered obtaining the Certified Scrum Master certification, but I haven’t started down that path yet.

What is your favorite agile related book?

There are quite a few good books out there, but lately I have been drawn to and keep going back to 2 specific books. Conscious Agility (by Si Alhir, Brad Barton, & Mark Ferraro)


The book brings appreciation for the business and human side of reality through Observation, Orientation, Decision, and Action (OODA). It isn’t on single part, but OODA as a whole can help people adapt to change. It is more of a “design-thinking approach for business”.

The second book I keep going back to is: Adopting and Sustaining the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) (by Si Alhir, Brad Barton, & Mark Ferraro).

Adopting and Sustaining the Scaled Agile Framework

They discuss adopting, scaling, and sustaining an agile initiative (no matter the process framework. It uses concepts in Conscious Agility and helps us better understand the all-inclusive viewpoint and brings the “humanity” to the forefront.

There are lots of other books out there, but having a foundation of core agile concepts will help people get the most out of the books.

Any final thoughts for other agile practitioners?

If anyone has the opportunity to work with other coaches on a project, absolutely take it! Remember it is really about the journey and the journey never ends.

How can people contact you if they have specific questions?

I am available via LinkedIn.


  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Robb. I really love this line…

    “If anyone has the opportunity to work with other coaches on a project, absolutely take it! Remember it is really about the journey and the journey never ends.”