Extreme Makeover with Ty Pennington is Pure Agile

When Ty Pennington, Michael Moloney, and Paige Hemmis grace our TV at home on the Extreme Makeover Home Edition on ABC at 9pm Sunday night, I am always astounded at the end of the show, during the great reveal. When the bus moves away and the tears begin to flow from the guests it is amazing to see what was built in a mere 7 days.

We can learn a lot from Ty and Extreme Makeover.

How is Extreme Makeover a Great Example of an Agile Team?

Let’s set the stage, beginning with the Team. Ty Pennington has a fantastic team of individuals and contractors.

Ty, Michael, Paige, and the other hosts are:

  1. Great communicators, fantastic collaborators, and flexible with changes and issues
  2. Knowledgable about their specific functional areas (design, architecture, construction)
  3. Approachable and available to help anyone
  4. Fully engaged in the tasks at hand
  5. Surround themselves with like-minded fully supportive help (volunteers)
  6. And most importantly, passionate about what they do

Ty Pennington and his band of rockstars are the perfect Product Owners.

The contractors (vendors, consultants) are:

  1. Fully invested in the project – (They have a deadline to meet of 7 days)!
  2. Fully cooperative with the needs of Ty and his team of Product Owners
  3. Fully engaged in the success of the project
  4. Have the right skill-sets and subcontractors to get the project done
  5. Contract negotiations, plans, and vendor tools? Forget about them. It’s all about collaboration, responding to change, and a fully working house at the end of the sprint.

The contractors are the perfect Agile development team.

[Read more after the jump]

The special guests who are lucky enough to have their dream house built are:

  1. Always happy and smiling because they know their product is being built on time
  2. Are pure chickens, they just drop in now and again to get a quick status
  3. Know that the top priority features of a house will be met, all extra features (unknown) are icing on the cake!
  4. Are always on time for the demo

The special guests are the Agile stakeholders.

Every day we see Ty and his team meet together (standing up):

  1. The hosts speak quickly. They know what they want.
  2. They stand up to ensure a sense of urgency in what they are communicating. No sitting down anywhere!
  3. They fully understand the game plan and communicate it concisely.

At the end of the project the entire team does a demo:

  1. The special guests are always on time
  2. The entire team attends the demo
  3. Both the Product Owners (Ty and team) and developers (contractors) share during the demo
  4. Since the demo is (always) successful, the teams have positive emotions about the success of the project, which in turn invigorates them to want to do the next sprint (next home) with just as much quality.

After the demo, the team does a retrospective:

  1. A question by Ty is always: “How do you like your new home?!?
  2. The answer is always a happy one!

Ty Pennington and his team are fantastic. You’ll easily notice is that there is 0% re-work. Meaning, when the team demos the house, it’s “done” fully. They have baked quality into the release of the production of the house, and that means that when the family arrives to demo the house, they can immediately use and live in the “shipped” product.

If Ty knew software development, I’m sure he would chose Agile software development. It not only fits his style of work, but the fast pace work would put him in a comfortable and familiar environment of productivity, speed, and fun.

Ty! We salute you!

[Image from ABC]

10 Replies to “Extreme Makeover with Ty Pennington is Pure Agile”

  1. Just a few thoughts:

    1) Budget is never discussed (I don’t think this is all done for free) and the PO never has to worry about it;
    2) Is there really no plan for how the house is to be built, where materials are coming from, etc.;
    3) The house is so over the top compared to what the PO had that it can hardly be expected that theywould have any (immediate) disappointments;
    4) There seems to be a lot of overtime (i.e., nightime lighting) involved;
    5) They don’t start the next day with the next “sprint” to build the next house.

    It’s a clever analogy and I don’t mean to denigrate it, but perhaps we don’t exactly have full transparency into what happens?

    1. Scott, nice points. Breaking it down like this certainly gives us a (more full) perspective. I like to look at the positives! There is a lot to learn from just some of the basics!

      1. Absolutely, there is no doubt that the enthusiasm and commitment of both skilled and just very willing volunteers makes this work as well as it does in the time frame. And the leadership role of the skilled workers and Ty’s team is crucial. Finally, regardless of who it is and where it comes from there must be some substantial “management” support behind the scenes committed to making this all work by providing the budget/resources needed for the people to apply their skills.

        Perhaps a more day-to-day example might be a Habitat for Humanity project which incorporates many of the same elements but has less behind the scenes support so takes a bit longer to complete and is usually nowhere near as lavish a result.

        1. Yep. What I do like about the Stakeholders (guests) is that they know what they “need” they know what they “want” but they let the teams pick the tools and let them build it.

          Stakeholders in companies could learn a bit from this. Let the teams decide on the best methods and tools to build the product.

          1. Ha! Right? I need a house built for me. My wife and I always ask the question: “How the heck do these poor people pay the new electric bills and pay for watering grass when they didn’t need to before??”

            We looked it up… and found that some (probably more than advertised) have left those grand homes because of overhead costs. Sad really.

  2. TV has such a wonderful way of promoting the “free lunch” idea. All those prizes won on game shows, etc. are also very taxable. I’m sure people have had to refuse or sell off some of the loot to pay for/avoid the tax consequences of having won.

  3. Dear Ty, and crew,
    I am not sure if this is where and how i reach you. I have never done this before but I need to talk to you all about a very special family. (The Guerreros). A couple of years ago my sister gina and her husband ralph were told by doctors that ralph’s mother had cancer and was not going to make it. after hearing that my sister did the best thing she could ever do was make room in her three bedroom house and her then family of 7. moving my boys (nephews) xavier and octavio to the living room. to make room for her mother in law paula and her father in law jose guerrero. mrs. paula guerrero having close to 11 or 12 children herself wept because none of the others ever came to help her or to help my sister gina. on the day she passed away she cried because everyone that was never there all showed up. as the years passed by in early 2008 her father in law jose who we all call grandpa. got very sick on us and we rushed him to the hospital only to get the worst news ever that he was diagnosed with cancer this was very devostating to all of the kids and even to me grandpa was always sweet and kind play full and some what of a big kid!! In feb 2008 we also burried our grandfather jesse martinez who we both took turns taking care of. but mainly my sister and my aunt mary who stepped up to the plate while i helped my brother in law ralph guerrero work and cook for the kids. you see my sister did not just open her door up to mr. jose and mrs. paula guerrero she opened it up to everyone who needed a place to stay that means even me. in august of 2010 she was notified by her landlord that her house was up for sale he did not give them a full 30 days to find another place. he made them pay their last months rent and he had alot of damage done to the house prior to my sister living there. and of coarse like any landlord that is out for money did not fix things. i lived in a one bedroom apartment and i took my neices and nephews to stay with me for a while until the water lines at their house unthawed. in august of 2010 we offered my sister my trailer house to live in it’s only three rooms my husband and i and my daughter and my step son all moved into one room to help make them feel at home. i can recall my sister’s comments that day look all the people that we helped and nobody came to help us but my little sister. that hurt my feelings. you see in april of 2010 we lost our brother ralph a aguilar. he passed away on easter sunday. he is the youngest boy and i am the youngest girl of our small family of 4. i know that you get alot of emails or phone calls every day. but i am asking you from the bottom of my heart please help my sister and her family. i recently had a baby boy so my sister moved in with my mother which is a two bedroom and is very small.When i asked her why she was moving she said because they had found a house. i had no idea she was moving in with mom. just so we could have the room that we needed for our now family of 5. Team guys i have seen your show so many times. i know what you guys do. i am just asking that you help my sister and her family get a house of their own. till this day they still reside with my mother. did i mention that right now we are still paying for my brothers funeral arrangements! yeah our dad and my brother’s wife decided not to help with anything. so my brother in law ralph guerrero has taken on the responsability. our mother is also disabled lives on a monthly income of only 400 dollars and that 400 dollars is what she pays for rent that’s not including her other bills. my sister was sapposed to have surgery a week ago but due to she could not come up with enough money for a payment she was not able to have surgery to extract the tumor. please please please hear my cry knowone has ever helped my family out and they really really need it. i am begging you i will even help do what ever it needs to be done. i’ll pay you i’m just asking for my sister if i was to lose her it would be like i was all alone. i have another brother but we do not talk to eachother he was the one responsable for my brother ralph a aguilar’s death. so if i lost my sister it would be like the end of the world for me. please help her and her family they have always been there for everyone it’s time that someone steps in and helps them out and i can only try.
    these are here family members
    Ralph Guerrero-Husband
    Georgina (gina) Guerrero-Wife
    Gabriella M.(Gabby) Aguilar-Rodriguez- Oldest Daughter
    Audriana G. (Audy) Aguilar- 2nd Oldest
    Xavier J.(X) Aguilar- 3rd Oldest, 1st Boy
    Mariah F.(Rya) Guerrero- 4th Oldest
    Tiffany H.(Tiff) Guerrero-5th Oldest
    Octavio J.(Tayo) Guerrero-6th Oldest, 2nd Boy
    Destiny L.(Dot/Det) Guerrero- 7th and the baby

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