Dr. Dave:

(singing).

Hello and welcome to the KnolShare with Dr. Dave podcast. I am Dr. Dave Cornelius, your host. I am hanging out virtually with my friends from Africa, and they are Patrick Taiwo, Elvin Assiam. He’s not here right now, but he’ll show up some time today. We have Grace Johnson. We have Nchimunya Kabunda. What we’d call ChiChi. And I want us to say welcome. Welcome to joining us here today. I would like for you guys to go around one by one and introduce yourself, maybe share something that your passionate about, maybe a minute each. Whoever wants to start.

Patrick:

Ladies first-

Dr. Dave:

Of course, ladies first.

Patrick:

… being the gentleman that I pretend to be.

ChiChi:

Grace, do you want to go?

Patrick:

Okay. Let’s start off with ChiChi.

ChiChi:

Okay. Like Dr. Dave said, I’m Nchimunya Kabunda, are my names. Speaking out of Ghana, and family brought me to Ghana. Ghana is like my second home now, and actually, third home. But being here has actually opened a new light to a lot of things, and one of them which is me sitting here with all of you and sharing knowledge about Africa and Agile in Africa.

            So what am I passionate about? I’m really passionate about children and education. And that’s a big thing for me. I have been working towards getting children to be educated by working with an NGO that provides school supplies to children across Africa who are actually across the globe. And I’ve been managing missions in Africa, that’s Zambia and out of West Africa. So, over to you, Grace.

Grace:

Thank you, ChiChi. I’m Grace. Grace Johnson, and I’m speaking from Nigeria. I’m actually a Nigerian as well. I’m passionate about a lot of things. First for me, it started with town planning and then I saw a need for social housing. I still am really passionate about social housing. I’m basically passionate about people having equal access to everything within their environment and space, be it education, health, housing. I just want to see people have access to the basic needs of life. And I’m really, really passionate about Agile as well. Thank you.

Patrick:

I guess I come in now, right, Grace? I’m Patrick Taiwo. I’m based in Connecticut. I’m your quintessential. I guess, African American. I’m Nigerian with an American mother, so I sit on both sides of the fences. My passions, very passionate about martial arts and cricket. And now I’ve developed almost an extreme passion for Agile, seeing the breath and opportunities that can be generated through Agile. So right now, my passion is not just Agile, but looking at ways in which it can change the continent which is the root of my existence.

Dr. Dave:

Beautiful. So let’s talk about social justice. What does that look like for you in Africa? And Patrick, you could talk about it from a Connecticut or maybe even a balance between the two worlds that you’re trying to look at. So what does that look like? What does social justice look like to you guys or social injustice looks like to you?

Patrick:

Looking at it from both sides of it, social injustice at least from the Nigerian perspective, which is mostly the African perspective, is the inequity between the haves and the have nots. And I believe it’s a legacy of colonialism that Africa is yet to shake. You witness it even in the forms of government. The colonial systems had a unitary form of control and even the polices forces that they developed were used to suppress the people. Those two forms are yet to be shaken in Africa, they’re yet to change. And you see that social injustice over there.

            On this side, I was fortunate enough to at least have a lot of understanding. And I’d always make trips over here, and my mom’s from Alabama. So I understood the racial tensions, the injustice, but when I finally started living here and working here, you see the subtle injustices in the workplace, in your relationships, in simple interactions. But what was so glaring was how so many people could be blind to it, not see it the way you see it, not see it from your perspective. And till recently has this nation woken up after the George Floyd incidence to really go, “Wow, so this is really what it’s like?” And all I could do was shake my head like, “You really didn’t see that before?”

            The bottom line is you come to realize that social injustice is based on those who have, really don’t want to share, and that’s where it all stems from, and then finally end up in your tribal buckets. And basically, it’s just a cover for you to be used as tools for those who have, not to share with those who don’t have.

ChiChi:

And maybe I could share my experience from a Zambian perspective. I’m based in Ghana, but originally from Zambia. I was born and raised in Zambia. And for me, social injustice, based on where I’m coming from is this lack of human welfare. And for me, when we don’t take care of humanity, then that’s a huge discrepancy.

            And when we look at the mindset of the leaders, for me, that’s where the problem is. It’s just the mindset of our leaders. If we change that mindset or if we educate… It may not be possible to change the mindset. If we educate, we may achieve greater things. And that’s where Agility comes in, how do we work around the mindset of our political leaders, our leaders in organizations, and we as leaders? How do we work around humanity and the welfare of a child, that education, health and all the other things that come with having a good way of living?

            And me working around children and providing those needs that are a child… basic needs, actually, basic needs that a child needs to gain an education. I have worked with people that have and those that don’t have. And when you see those discrepancies, you tend to wonder what the mindset of our leaders and how they can change their mindset to provide equity for all.

Grace:

If I may also just add. I see social injustice from the point of a lack of access. I’ve done quite a number work on social welfare and how income can be redistributed. But I also think that when you give people access to their basics, the mind has the ability to conceive anything possible and begin to be innovative.

            Take for instance, I did a lot of studies on land and access to land in Nigeria. And from my studies, land has always been the major… for houses. To really have a house in Nigeria, the access to land is the biggest bottleneck. And it stems from our Land Use Act. The Land Use Act was like a copycat of what the British handed over to us.

            And since 1978 that it was enacted, till date, nothing has been done to the Land Use Act. It’s still says, “All land in a state is held in trust by the governor for the entire state.” And I’m sure it’s not like that in the United States. So if you’re going to get a land to get to build just probably a two-bedroom apartment for a low income earner and his family, probably a family of four. You might spend money, real money. You will spend thousands of naira to get an R of O, that’s a right of occupancy, not to talk of the C of O. And then when you begin to build, to get your building plans approved is also a big bottleneck. There is a lot of corruption. A lot of basically corruption is actually the root of every other thing that prevents the poor from having his building plans approved.

            So if some of this laws just like Patrick has said, some of these things we inherited from our colonial masters, some of those things that were actually skewed to those that were in favor of those that were the mighty, if we begin to have a round table and have a discussion about how we can begin to make laws that actually applies to us Africans, and begin to be more humane and think of those people beneath and try to bring them up. I think that is where we’ll begin to have social justice and all of that. So my major is let’s have a way of creating access for the low-income earners, the middle-income earners to be able to become innovative, create and provide things for themselves, not just welfare.

Dr. Dave:

So what I hear is a lot about colonialism and the controller is really the creator of a lot of the social injustice that you have experienced and I have experienced. But let’s talk about what you saw in the United States and last year and still into this year, into 2020 and 2021, where we had a huge eruption, the people just going, “[inaudible 00:12:48].” Everyone. Not just African Americans or black people, but you also have other people who came along.

            So tell me, talk me about, how did you experience that social justice in the United States? Whether you lived here or you’re abroad, how did that impact you?

Patrick:

What caught my attention was the way the people mobilized themselves, which started more or less from the black folks saying, “You know what? We’re done with this. We’re not having it. We’re going to step up and tear down this place [inaudible 00:13:32] we have to.” And then what shook everybody was the way almost every other right thinking person joined with them and said, “The scales has fallen from our eyes, this truly is an injustice. I will match with you.”

            And to show you the impact of that, you now have to look at Nigeria where the End SARS protest took place. It was watching that reaction in the US that actually pushed people in Nigeria to that level, and they actually stood up. So for the first time, this nation, everybody was like, “You know what? Nah, you don’t just put your knee on someone’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Oh, that can’t happen.” But deep down, all I could think of was, “But this is a daily occurrence. I mean, it’s still happening anyway.” But for once, the conscience of the country was shaken and that has forced minor changes at some places, but we’re yet to see where it goes.

ChiChi:

I think for me, really, it touched my soul and for one big reason, we’re all human beings. Doesn’t matter what color you are. And it had a ripple effect across the world, it wasn’t only in the United States. It was across the globe. And what lessons are we learning from that? Are there any big changes that are coming out of that? Or what are you feeling about it? Is it going to change you as an individual?

            So for me, I feel it will affect not only me, it will affect my children and all the other generations to come. And it’s all up to each one of us to preach or to tell the generation that are to come what is it exactly, what is your purpose and why are we doing what we’re doing, whatever is happening, why is it happening in that sense. So it should begin within us to say, “Whatever is happening around us, how do we interpret that? How do we intensify what is happening? And how do we teach the next generations to come?” Thanks.

Grace:

And for me, I always say, “Don’t do things to the point where you push somebody to the wall.” And I see what happened with the George Floyd incidence as people have had enough and people just needed to stand up for themselves. And when you allow people get to that point, the mind is just, “I could do anything, I just lay down my life just to… And I could just burn down a place. I could just do this because I’m angry.” And I don’t think we should ever allow such kind of injustices to get to the point where people get fed up, get pushed to the wall.

            And that’s same thing in Nigeria, just as Patrick have said. Police brutality in Nigeria is… I wouldn’t want to compare what’s happening in the US. You still have law. You still have justice. You still have court and justices that have conscience. In Nigeria, it would… I can’t explain. The stories that have come out of the incidence with people and the… They call them the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. People get thrown, killed, thrown into the rivers.

            There’s a particular river we heard in the news where in a particular state in Eastern Nigeria where bodies are dumped. It’s unfathomable. You just cannot imagine that an authority, a law enforcing authority would be the ones to turn against the people and break the law. And so for me, what happened in the US actually sparked a lot around the world, and it’s still happening. I heard that… Is it Senegal? Senegal, also, is saying no to police brutality.

            I watched the youth in admiration, how they stood up to their leaders, stood at the Lekki toll gate and demanded for justice. But on top of that, there were [inaudible 00:18:38] injustice. And the case is still… It’s just a story state for Africa. I keep wishing that a generation of Africans will rise. When I saw the End SARS movement, in me, I felt this is the generation I know I could tell my kids of it. But I still believe it’s not ended. We could still do something.

Grace:

We were crying for justice but we were meted with injustice. I think one way of doing that also is to go to the polls, begin to sensitize our people, begin to sensitize our families. Enough is just enough, to injustice basically. All this has to stop.

Dr. Dave:

So, let’s talk about Ubuntu, and I think someone brought that up. But I wanted to know how would Ubuntu, the spirit of Ubuntu, would be implemented using agile practices to reduce say, social justice in Africa? That’s a big vision, right?

Patrick:

Well, Ubuntu is about community, right? Integrity and honesty, and when you put that in one sentence, that really is the problem of Africa. Even when there’s an attempt for community, it’s based on my tribe, my people, as against community in itself. It becomes a tribal thing. Ubuntu [inaudible 00:20:18], the ability as a community to… And what baffles me is, if you even look at the traditional historical aspects of the African community, was self-organizing.

            Just take the typical village, it was self-organizing. You had the hunters, you had the farmers, they exchanged goods. So these things already exist in us. The corruption is the mindset that needs to change. And that’s where if you apply the principle of agile in that setting, it gels with Ubuntu because basically what you’re trying to say is, let me deliver something good to you in a short while, or something that’s valuable.

            And if you look at Africa now, even when they try to do good, you’re talking about projects that are usually, I call them white elephant projects, it’ll take them 10 years to finally get the project up. By the time the project is up, the value to the people is not there. It’s time to do a turn around maintenance on that project and then you turn around.

            Now, what’s the Africa’s biggest problem? We have no maintenance culture. We just want to go there the first day they lay the brick and cut a ribbon. It’s going to be corruption through the 10 years to complete the project, because basically the cost of that project, what it should really cost, one guy intends to at least take that piece home. The guys under him feel he can’t be the only one that takes that, so they’re going to take that. So basically, project is going to end up 40 times its cost. And then at the end of the day, you’re going to find out that things have moved. The project really is not worthwhile to the people anymore.

            So, that sense of bringing agility to the mindset, where now I can say, okay, for example it’s a small project in a village, I can look and go, “Okay, what’s missing here?” Let me go and sink a bunch of boreholes to create a water supply, run some pipes through it to their farmland, right? So that’s a quick project that just happened. Using the principles of agile, I have delivered value to you quickly.

            After that, once the yields of the crops increase, they’re going to realize, okay, we all in the village can eat this food. So, now you bring in the second part of your project because you delivered fast, now you see other possibilities. You think of storage, storage comes up. Then you now say to yourself, “Well, we can’t just store this stuff here. How much space do we have? So how about we process it and get it to the next village?” And then you build from that.

            So, if you have that sense of community and you start to apply the mindset of agile, you start to grow from that small little village, you expand into other communities, and then you actually start to deliver the value of the things you need.

Dr. Dave:

All right. So let’s hear from Grace and Chichi.

ChiChi:

For me, when you talk about Ubuntu, it’s really the spirit of togetherness. There’s a saying in Africa that, “When you want to go fast, you go alone. When you want to go far, you go together.” So, when you look at the basic values, African values, we’re always thinking about everyone around you. But what has happened is, that mindset. People have lost the focus and they have lost that mindset of togetherness, that mindset of humanity.

            And the biggest thing I believe is, the lack of agile principles. If we incorporate all these agile principles in whatever we do, we will get that spirit of togetherness, and we will go far as countries, as Africa as well. Because when you look at what happens…

            I worked with the government, my whole career I worked with the government of Zambia. And when you look at how things are done, how governments run things, there’s always that lack of openness, transparency, and that brings about a lot of issues. When I say a lot of issues I’m probably even underestimating. You can’t even fathom how corruption works, just over a small thing it will turn into something big.

            So how do we make sure we bring all those values back and get that spirit of togetherness? Because we already have it, nobody has to teach us how to know each other, how to love one another, how to care for one another. We have it within ourselves. And for me, I am a strong believer of everything begins within ourselves. It has to start from you. So, Africa has that spirit of togetherness, but how do we enforce the agile values to accomplish that holistic spirit of togetherness?

Grace:

You guys have said a lot. Yes, Ubuntu is African, like ChiChi just said. In Africa, I don’t need to call you before I decide to come to your house. I just show up at your door and knock, and you have no choice but to open the door, and I will come in and dine with you. So, that’s the African spirit. But over the years, I don’t know, I just cannot trace it. I don’t know if it’s colonialism, but the fact still remains that our values started eroding.

            We stopped looking out for one another, we were more concerned for who is up there. We became power drunk. We wanted more power, more control, and you can see it across Africa. You can see the leaders, the president in most African countries, the prime ministers, they seem not to want to leave power. Power has become so sweet that after one passes, he would want his son or his wife to take over, and then the dynasty continues in the family.

            But that is not how we all started. I’ve read quite a number of, maybe a few African history on tribes, and I knew quite a number of them were democratic. A quick convergence to cities, we wanted to be more Western, and today we forget where we started from. In the bigger cities in Africa, you can’t just go to a neighbor’s house and knock again and say hi, and they ask you, “What are you coming here to do?”

            And so, Ubuntu and agile for me, someone would do all he can to just convince me that that is not the approach that will solve Africa’s problem. I believe Ubuntu and agile is key, is key, is fundamental to solving the problem of corruption, the problem of injustice, the problem of the drunkenness of power. How we’ve become drunken with power.

            One thing I like about agile, is the fact that… In fact if there’s nothing I like about agile, I like one thing. The one thing I like is that, it breaks down that control, that quest for power and control. It basically disseminates it, it breaks it down and ensures that everybody comes to the table equal. The values again, is totally African. Openness, transparency.

            And then you look back, you respect, you adapt, you grow incrementally. You take baby steps and you’re growing, and you’re spreading. And so, that for me is the key to solving Africa’s problem. I still do not believe, even though it’s possible, we could have a revolutionary leader that would come in and probably thinks we need to change in a country or in a society.

            The problem again will be continuity. But if you take the approach of starting from the grassroots, building communities, bringing back that mindset of, I am because you are, looking out for your neighbor, having the respect, just those values, those agile values. That is just the key to solving Africa’s problem. You have to bring some other theory to really convince me otherwise. For me, agile is the way to really solve our problems.

Dr. Dave:

That’s a great place to settle. But, I’m going to ask you another question about your vision, and maybe we’ll start with ChiChi or Grace talking about fufu agile spirit. What is that all about? What’s your vision for that? Tell me.

ChiChi:

Dr. Dave, For me it touches my heart when you talk about fufu agile. It’s something that we all understand in our African context. And for me I believe for us to Penetrate Africa, for us to get to my grandmother’s village and make my grandmother understand, is to create agility in the African context. And how do we do that? And that’s where fufu agile comes in. I think for me it opens my mind in the sense that, if everything we do is in the African context when it comes to agility, and you’re talking to Africans, if you do it in a language they understand, it will create more impact.

            How do I talk to somebody on the street? It doesn’t mean when somebody is on the street then they’re not educated, or they lack knowledge. How do I just break down things to the person on the street and tell them, “If you put this in a certain order, and if you put your priorities every day and work towards a goal, you will achieve great results.”

            And how do I do that? I have to break that down into a context that that person is going to understand. And I’m pretty excited that fufu agile is going to do that. It will have great [inaudible 00:32:15] for the African context. We have great minds around, so we’ll have all sorts of ideas, but we have to make sure that the Africans understand agility and Ubuntu in their own context.

Dr. Dave:

See, I asked you about fufu, but you didn’t tell me what fufu was. So someone needs to explain so that anyone else listening could say, “Oh, what is fufu? I don’t know what fufu is.” So tell. Grace, jump in, tell us what fufu is.

Grace:

Fufu agile just came up I think when we were having a conversation with ChiChi, Patrick, and Terrance, right? And then Terrance just shouted, “We could have fufu agile, we could have jollof agile.” We settled for fufu agile. Fufu is actually a West African dish. I also believe Ghanaians also eat it. It’s made from cassava, fermented cassava, right? Taiwo I’m in the right, right?.

Patrick:

You’re right. You’re right. You are correct.

Grace:

Yeah. So, in the English word we could say it’s a dumpling. It’s in the form of a dumpling and you get to eat it with soup, any kind of soup. So we have a number of soups in Africa. And so the idea of fufu agile is to make agile really contextual to Africa. Yes. So that’s basically the idea. And ChiChi has said a lot.

Patrick:

So we credit Terrance.

Grace:

Yes. Terrance, right?

Patrick:

In most cases when you meet the African, or someone who’s met an African, or went to college with an African, the first thing they ask you of is, “Oh, do you make fufu?” I ate something the African, and it could actually not be fufu itself, but because it’s that pile that you eat with your hands and stuff. The person, the first thing they say is, “Oh, do you make fufu too?”

            So when he said that it was catchy, and it made a lot of sense. So now if I walk up to the average person, then they hear fufu agile. They may have heard agile 20 times, even the guys in the corporate setting and just go, “Ugh, another project management fad.” But if they hear fufu agile, they’re going to stop. That moment that you stop is really what we want, because it gives us the opportunity to be able to say to you, “Now, let’s talk agile and how it can benefit us as a people.”

            So really the fufu is just to catch you, it’s the bait. Once you hear it your interest is going to be piqued, and then we can sit down and say, “You know what? This is agile. This is what agile does.” It tells you, small deliveries first. Fail first and you can course correct. That’s what agile is. The fufu is the bait, it’ll catch you. It’ll catch any African.

Grace:

I must also add, in the past years my work had allowed me to go through a lot of government documents, policy documents, laws, and all you see are big big words. Forgive me for using that. Grammar, beautiful English words. I say Nigerian policy documents are the sweetest and the best in the world. They’re well-crafted, well structured, beautiful, but the language is not the Nigerian language. The context is not the Nigerian context.

            You go to England, you go to the United States, you go to Canada, you see something, a model that is being implemented there, and boom, you think when you bring it down to Nigeria, you can implement. For it never works. I have gone through a lot of documents in housing and you find out that a lot of it, it doesn’t even talk of the local. It talks of the local materials, use of local materials in the context that we will encourage the use of local materials, but what are the local materials in Nigeria?

            What kind of housing are you going to provide for the average Nigerian that really looks Nigerian. And, Taiwo you’ll bear me witness, you stay in Abuja, right? You go to Abuja and you see the gigantic, beautiful, probably some look like medieval houses.

Patrick:

Mansions.

Grace:

Yes, mansions, and a number of them are empty. Nobody is going to go in there. It doesn’t look Nigerian. The roofing are like-

Patrick:

70 to 80%.

Grace:

Yes, it beats my imagination. The kind of roofing materials we use in Nigeria, is not fit for the weather. But we go to the Netherlands, we import them to Nigeria, and because we want to have this feeling of power and the feeling of being the upper class, we use those roofing kind of materials. The building materials we use is not fit for our weather, but we still use it because probably we want somebody to continue to amass wealth.

            It’s appalling. So, the idea of fufu agile is to make everything, let the policies, let the education, let every other thing be really contextual

Grace:

Well for Africa where you respect the principles, we respect the values. They’re bring universal, but when it comes to implementation, let’s make it contextual to our environment.

Dr. Dave:

So, Grace, I mean, ChiChi, you wanted to add one more thing before we move forward.

ChiChi:

Right. And what I wanted to add was that actually for across Africa, everybody it’s Fu Fu, in a different form. In Nigeria, it’s called FuFu, in the Eastern part of Africa, it’s called Ugalley, in the Southern part, it’s called Pup, in Zambia it’s called inShima. So that’s a common thing already. So how do we use that commonality to solve bigger issues? So like Patrick said, just that name is going to be catchy, and that name is going to create great impact on our local people.

Dr. Dave:

Yeah. Cool. So, I’m going to stretch your imagination just a bit more right. Where I would like to see, how would agile practices change if you implemented an African agile version? Instead of using the agile version that we have today, how would it change if it came from an African perspective?

Patrick:

If you look at agile it’s principles, as they are, what is regarded as the performance measurements, what you call success, all this values and success markers are based on the Western society. So when you choose, when you tune agile to the African setting, the main difference is going to be what you regard as successful. What you see as your performance measurements, what value do I gain that says we succeeded?

            That’s what, more or less changes, because when this way, when you speak agile, now you speaking in terms, in most cases of that modern society, everything is supposed to work every … You’re supposed to have this values. I mean, it’s the same thing with the project management values and code of conduct, the PMI code of conduct and stuff. I mean, I read this things. I looked at them and I go, “Okay, so a good deal of this really is in the Western concept, because if you stick to some of those principles, you would never be able to move a pin in an African society.” So it’s been able to take … I mean, most of the principles of agile and the mindset would not change what you is, what will change is what you see as success, the goals and the way you go about it, that I believe will be the kind of thing that changes when you are agile in the African mindset.

ChiChi:

For me, Patrick, I think when you look at Africa, I think the big thing that speaks to me is the culture. And when you create agility around the different, there’s so many different cultures that we, as Africans embody and embrace. There’s so many different cultures that we have. And if we work around those different cultures, I think we’re going to be produce more success or have a successful impact when it comes to agility. And the reason why I speak about culture is I have moved from different countries in Africa, and I have experienced the different cultures. And the only way I have managed to get into the community, be a part of the different communities that I’ve lived in is to embrace the culture, learn the culture, and embrace the culture. And at the end of the day, life has been more gracious to me by learning the different cultures.

            So when it comes to the African context of agility, I think culture has a very huge part to play. And the different values. When you try to implement the different values, I think we have to look at the African culture. What other people, the audience that you’re speaking to, what do they believe in? How do they see the world? And for me, agile has mainly been, we’re all trying to implement agility in the biggest cities. What about the people in the smaller cities? We have people living in smaller cities. How do do we include everybody in this agile agenda? And for me, I believe it has to begin by understand their culture. How do they do their things and how do we make sure they’re not out from all these things, all these agility, things that we’re trying to implement. So culture, very big thing for me and anything that we do in Africa, or even across the globe, you have to understand the culture of the people.

Grace:

Okay. Let me just add that in Africa, I love the values of a betterment festival and what in Africa are, the bulk are respect above respect is really, really high up there. So when we are saying the code of conduct or all of the things have to really be from an African perspective as well, we are saying, we also think that we value respect. Even though if anything, we respect elders. We respect our societies. When it comes to morality, we are really up there in Africa. That’s the Africa I know.

            For me, I see that if you’re going to bring agile to Africa, the world, that really probably the West has really gone on a fast pace with agile over the years. And for us, we’re really just probably working out following. So we really need to have begun to have to take baby steps and begin to implement it, and maybe big organizations governments may come in, but we really need to start from education.

            We really need to … The mindsets, we pushed it to where we know the mindset can easily shift. And for me, education, it could be education in an how to do business education schooling at attorney black actually gave me an opportunity to bring a lot of people. I knew that the educational sector on board, so they could benefit from events that education centered. And so it’s part of my belief that if we can get agile to education in Africa, we can start a revolution from there and begin to shift the mindset from those children in, we call it the secondary school, primary schools, the universities, get them to understand that when you’re coming out, you’re coming out with an innovative mind, you’re coming out with … Your values are up there. You’re ready to really bring changed to the society. For me, that’s how agile perspective is in Africa.

Dr. Dave:

Okay. So what did we talk about individually, and let’s see if we could shorten this up, but what are you doing currently to bring about change and how work is done in your community using agility? I mean, so what are you personally doing?

Patrick:

Right now, I’ve had the opportunity to start to engage. I mean, I guess this agile 20 festival was a good thing because it did get me in touch with my African sisters and brothers, and to realize there was a growing, agile community in Africa that was beginning to write its own manifesto and goals how to change that continent. So just involving myself in that community now would spore more activity. Because I mean, I realized that this, the growth of agile with this like-minded individuals is going to be one of the keys to Africa success in the sense that we finally might be able to emancipate our minds from mental slavery, like brother Bob said, that was when we do that, then we’ll see progress, one that I’ll give you an example.

            One of the main problems in Africa, even project-wise, is when they do a project that has to be massive. If you bring the agile mindset, then you miss that to realize that small projects that deliver value on time can add up to be that huge project that you’ve chosen to want to do over decades. I mean, Grace was talking about act texture that the African architecture has gradually started to be wiped out. I’ll give you a good example. If you look at the architecture of buildings in the old NEF where it is hot, as it can be … I mean, it’s Arizona with a little touch of extra, they built buildings.

            I mean, what they use with some form of hay mixed with more than stuff, those structures, from what I’ve read and stuff, when you’re in them, this is without an air condition. They are so cool. You don’t feel the heat, but now if you get a little money, the first thing you want to do is build a house that looks like it’s from the streets of Perry or big struck. That’s … So we have to use agile to change that mindset. And Chichi was saying, it’s the cultural thing. You have to go back in there, merge both. And then, agile has to become little small projects that deliver value on time to better the lives of the people.

Dr. Dave:

So, let’s talk about you. What changed … Thanks Patrick, but Chichi and Grace, let’s talk about what are you currently doing? I know Patrick, you tied it back to the agile 20 and moving into that community. So I wanted to make it a bit more personal in our response to this question.

ChiChi:

My impact really is directed towards the youth. And Africa is a growing population, fastest growing population. And when you look at the stats, we have 77% that are younger than 35 years old. And how do we make sure the people that are growing into a world, they are growing into a world that is uncertain. That has a lot of vulnerabilities. And how do we make sure they have that mindset to be able to be flexible to all these changes? So apart from being the ambassador to Zambia, for the agile tinny reflect, I’ve been working with the youth as a mentor, and trying to get more girls into STEM. My background is IT, and every place I go to where always it’s either two, three women out of a hundred men or 10 women out of 500 men.

            So I have that passion to get more girls into STEM. And I brought that with me. When I came to Ghana, I had been volunteering to get some demented girls to get into STEM and with when it comes to agility, I am trying to get into a program where I will train more startups to be agile because it’s the youth in Africa that I’m driving the agility agenda. And how do we get the youth to think, to have that agility mindset and the youth at a very innovative and they’re moving to urban cities or they’re [crosstalk 00:52:41] their ideas or trying to be more innovative. So for me, I think when I be a part of that mind shift to make youth more agile, I think we’ll have a greater impact for the Africa that we want and a better Africa for tomorrow.

Grace:

Okay. Mine started with an event I actually did. I trying to reflect, and I think … I said to myself, “You could take this further. Take this further and further until the event was on a green organization of business agility or startups and SMEs.” And so after that event, I took it upon myself that this will continue as a serious cause. My idea is always to enlighten the mind, if it can be to enlighten the mind gets because even going through the statistics, we have a growing an astronomically growing number of tech ops in Nigeria.

            They’re basically no jobs, the government jobs, that’s everybody’s … Almost every youth in Nigeria is eyeing schools back to the children of the high and mighty. And even the multinational organizations in Nigeria that gets out of the ones that used to be the ones that are owned by us and get to, have a fair and transparent method of employing people are now demanding for overhead is because I have some access. You would have to have a second degree in a university abroad, and so knowing that all 70% of the Nigerian population live below $2 per day, how then can be every Nigerian flawed, a second degree abroad.

            So the idea is to really empower the startups and the startups are mostly mostly owned by Nigeria. So if my idea is to add attorney reflect, that’s actually exposed me to a number of people around the world. So get this knowledge, yes, this people have a monkey talk, have a provider’s knowledge for free. And then to scale, this idea also to providing agile knowledge like full agile knowledge, as much as I can probably get the platform to provide this knowledge for three, to this group of people, not just this group of people to a larger group, that is my bigger goal. I’m already working on it. And so yes, just get the mind educated. Let’s have a shift. So the witness, this people, this larger population have a mindset shift. They will not go to the polls to elect a power drunk person.

            They will demand for if not just a document, come and have a conversation with us, come and have a debate. Tell us what is your short term goals? What will you be doing in the next month? What will you be doing in the next two months? What then is your bigger vision for Nigeria? You will not have youth that will just go to the polls and vote for somebody that basically gave them 500. Now that’s how much Taiwan for four years, you take a dollar and what somebody power that will basically take your Commonwealth destinies are suppressed. People cannot move forward year in, year out. So, that’s the idea. Let’s begin to educate this mind. That’s my biggest goal. Let me, whatever, whatever we supposed to have, I would commit to bringing this education in different sectors, as much as I can to these people that actually my generation.

Dr. Dave:

All right. I mean, those are great things. I love to hear the vision and the inspiration. So what type of support do you need that you’re not getting to bring agile to Africa? I mean, I’m sure people listening to this may have ideas that may be able to lend right. Something to help

Dr. Dave:

Help you move forward. Right? So, tell us.

Patrick:

I think right, now you don’t want to support were the external Agilist converge and tell you what to do. Basically the interaction, is all the support you need. So you’re gaining that knowledge. I believe the Africans have to fashion out this journey themselves, they have to plan it, they have to see it. All the support they need is just the interaction with the external Agilist staff, get ideas, trade, barter. But the process of growing agile in Africa and fine tuning it towards the African goal, the picture has to be done by Africans themselves. Only they know their culture, only they really see their needs.

            Now the good friends [inaudible 00:58:20] who are trending towards returning home. So they bring a lot with them and then the good thing too, is Africa’s in their spirit have always still had a connection to home. So now that I have this forums and seminars and webinars popping up and there’s the agile that has the African theme, that African spotlight coming up, it’s going to grow, the amount of Africans that’s going to go, Oh! Wait a minute! I mean, I’m an agile coach in Texas. I’ve been doing that for 29 years. And then I love a sudden, I pop up on the seminar and I see, wait a minute, I’m a meetup for Agile in Ghana. You know, topic is this. They will start to come and start to interact.

            It’s that interaction that more or less, because the truth is to really, really implement Agile in Africa. You have to go down to the roots, you have to uproot a lot of stuff. I mean, the ill effects of colonialism are so deep into the roots that, Africa is a good example of where that has changed, but you can’t do that in every African society as Rwanda, but think about this, it almost took a genocide for a mind shift. You can’t do that in every African country, you know we can’t go to war. So I think that’s support that you need is just that external interaction, but you don’t want the solution for the African mindsets and Agile, to be dictated to you from external support, you have to do that yourself.

            So I think the only support you really need is just the interactions, because then you can learn from some of what they’ve done. You can see where they’ve improved on a process, how they understand it, and you can take that knowledge and evaluate your African setting and see if it applies. That’s the way I view the topic of support.

ChiChi:

When it comes to, what kind of support do we need in Africa. I will speak for my brothers and sisters that need the skills, and how do we empower people with the skills that they need as Agile practitioners? I will give an example, if you are in Africa and you put up a title to say, you’re a Scrum Master, you will get so many questions of what a Scrum Master does, who is a Scrum Master? It’s the opposite, I did a job market research for the United States and because I had to change my career. When I just typed into any website, like a job seeking website and I see Scrum Master, or my goodness! There are loads and loads of jobs about a Scrum Master. When you come to Africa and you type in Scrum Master, even when we were dealing with looking for people to volunteer, for the adult 20 reflect festival, it was difficult to get hold of people because, there have very few people that have the skills.

            Even when having those skills, what context are those skills, they are based for the market out there. They work pretty well in Africa, but what about the brothers and sisters that need those skills and can’t afford to pay for a certification that, those big organizations are providing for the world? I know people that are working towards creating certifications for Africans, but we need to empower those certifications, to be in line with the certifications that are provided outside. So that if I get a certification based in Africa, I could still use that certification elsewhere. So that’s the first one and the other thing, I think that we need help with is, how do we work with Governments? For me, I think in Africa, you have to start with the Governments.

            When you start with the Government I think, once one department adopts Agility, then it will trickle down to all the other departments. So we need to create a platform where Government workers and Government Executives can come and train and gain knowledge about Agility. In that way I think we will have a huge impact starting from the Government and when the Government leadership understands, we will have more Servant leaders. I think once we change the mindset of the Government leaders to have that mindset of a Servant leader, I think we’re going to go very far.

Grace:

I will say that, ChiCHi for me, I really fear the African Government, sometimes. I fear that when you take something noble to them, they tend to corrupt because the mindset really takes them to change and so that’s why I’m always for let’s empower people, lets empower communities, lets empower. Sometimes when the private sector tries this, Government has no choice. Like we’re trying to do the National Identity registration in Nigeria, where everybody has an Identity Card and the Government Agency in charge, basically their website is outdated. The private company, Telcos that wanted to go into the website and extract information and could not do that, because the website was actually basically outdated and so it had to take extra effort from them. I’m sure probably there may have been, help coming from the private sector funding and then registration was able to flow.

            I fear that the Government might end up corrupting it and their idea would now be the goal or the focus, to now go and get certifications and it’s quick for them to get certifications. The money, they know they will budget money, and then you see them fly abroad. They go for trainings, one week training on their budgets? Huge chunks of money and they sit on business class and they go abroad. They do the certification but they wouldn’t do it in my country. For instance, they wouldn’t do it in Nigeria. They fly abroad, go do the training, do the certifications there and come back and it’s just a piece of paper. So that’s my problem with certifications, it has become like a gate, that prevents a lot of people from entering into Agile. Meanwhile, what’s Agile converted first of all, is the principles and the values.

            One of the barriers for me is that you have to want it, Because when you’re talking to people about Agile, the first thing is you begin with, is now you have to talk about Scrum Master. How do I become a Scrum Master? Then you are told you have to go do a training, will probably be , I have to pay some money. How many people can afford that? My husband had to support me, to do my first two certifications and I will always refer back to adapt to and reflect. I just applied as a volunteer, I basically did not have Agile knowledge. Okay, I had Agile knowledge, but I had not practiced. I had no practice in Agile, I had been a Project Manager all my life. All I’ve worked in, is in Project Management and I’ve kept on adding to my knowledge, did a Masters in Project Management, did my PMP and then have been working in Project Management.

            Then when I sent in my application, nobody asked me if I had an Agile knowledge, they gave me the benefit of doubt to put my skills to work, my abilities to work and for an African, for somebody that has no comparison to the Agile community. I really basically didn’t know anybody in Agile, I didn’t know the other community in Nigeria and then you’re given an opportunity to head the Woman ambassadors across the world. I dealt, I mean I searched for a job in Africa. I’ve searched for jobs, I’ve put in applications, with my certifications and everything, it will probably take over 10 years, 20 years for anybody to get to look at my application. Well I was given this opportunity to do this and to put my skills to practice and while doing that, I was learning from people. Looking at how Agile is implemented, looking at how Agile is done, reading books and on the way I was learning and it has exposed me to all of you.

            Agile gave me an opportunity to meet Chichi, to meet Dr, to meet Taiwo. You know, [inaudible 01:08:40] there is a mass of top talent in Nigeria. I’ve been opportune to do some Governments kind of sponsored trainings like that in Nigeria. I’m sure Taiwo. You know I think win at some point, where they give you like 10 Million Naira and you begin your startup and that money was never released and all the Government came with the officials, to do was to tell her that we were not capable enough. Probably we didn’t have a second Degree abroad and the people I saw there are capable, are more than able to turn Nigeria around and so you see.

            The problem now is the access, if we want people to be more Agilist, do we sell certifications to them, do we tell them, cool find as much knowledge as you can and we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Probably when you begin to work and you earn some money, you may then have some certifications and maybe it might give you an access, to probably the world, or to people in authority or give you access, to probably be a person of influence. Do we then sell certifications to people in Africa? That’s I think that’s the debate we should begin to have, should we sell the certifications or should we tell them, who read as much try and probably volunteer and then, just puts you to practice in your startup, in your SMEs and all of that. So for me, that is the barrier to really lifting Agile in Nigeria.

            I see a lot of people, a lot of Agiles actually springing up in Nigeria. What then are we doing? Are we trying to cut this knowledge with a price? Or are we trying to make it accessible? Are we trying to really lift Nigeria? What are we basically trying to do with Agile that will come to you? So that’s basically it.

Dr. Dave:

Let’s wrap it up. Sorry, let’s wrap it up with something from Chichi and then we’ll wrap up our conversation.

ChiChi:

So the other bigger thing that just crossed my mind as everybody was speaking, I think we need an educational platform that will educate the masses, about what Agile is all about. I think more and more people are becoming more tech savvy, and if we have that education platform, we will connect so many people using that platform to the knowledge that they need. So creating that platform should be, I think, should be one of the things that we can work on. Once we do that, that will reach so many masses and that platform will not only be for Nigeria will not only be for Zambia it won’t only before Ghana. It will be for the whole of Africa, so we can start from there.

Dr. Dave:

Right? Yeah, so let me close out here. You had something quick to say, Patrick?

Patrick:

That I was just going to support what she was saying. I mean, basically the support we really need, is the guidance on creating that kind of platform. Where we can converge and generate the ideas, that are native to solving problems in Africa. So that will be the kind of good support the Agile Community can render.

Dr. Dave:

All right. So, thank you, Patrick, thank you, Chichi, thank you Grace. So let me close out here by saying thank you for listening, to The KnolShare with Dr. Dave podcast. I hope this learning experience would also prompt you to seek more and discover how, you could contribute to positive experiences for BIPOC lives. It doesn’t take much, all we need to do is tap into our own humanity.

            You will find, the Agile for Humanity, Social Justice and Impact Series on the KnolShare with Dr. Dave podcast, on iTunes, Google play, and Spotify. The Agile for Humanity, Social Impact Series is also on the following websites, Agile alliance.org, KnolSharewithDrDave.com, rockshare.com, KnolShare.org and also Agileforhumanity.org. So look for the sharing, black indigenous and people of color BIPOC stories on the Agile Alliance website, under webcast.

Music by Kyanna Brow-Hendrickson.

Copyright 2021. Knolshare and Dr. Dave Cornelius.

So until next time, stay safe and connect soon.

Thank you so much for your time today with sharing your knowledge and experiences.

Patrick:

Thanks for having us. We really appreciate it.

ChiChi:

Thank you for having us.