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Episode 14: Moving Faster with SAFe

Ten Thousand Feet Podcast Episode 14

While we’ve used many different delivery frameworks over the years, OST has grown quite fond of SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise) as a way of bringing business and IT together to move faster and create value.

If you’ve done any research on this methodology, you might be a bit overwhelmed with what it is, how it works and how to get started. So we recorded a quick episode to break it down for you.

This episode features an interview of Elizabeth Wilson (Wilson, as we call her) who has helped implement SAFe at several companies while also helping 30+ OST employees get their SAFe certifications.

Here is the book Wilson mentions toward the end: The Phoenix Project

We have experienced the first-hand benefits of working in this cross-functional way and think it’s worth considering for your organization.

Enjoy!

 

 

This episode is sponsored by:

Dell EMC logo

Transcription

Lizzie Williams: Hey everybody. On this episode of Ten Thousand Feet, we talked with Delivery Lead Elizabeth Wilson about SAFe. That’s Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise. Elizabeth is our resident Agile expert and has helped over thirty OST-ers receive their safe certification over the last few years. Since then, we’ve implemented this technology at over twenty OST clients. We talked through the benefits of using this agile process and some ways companies have adapted it to make it their own. Enjoy. 

[tone] 

Andrew: Hey Elizabeth Wilson, how are you doing? 

Elizabeth Wilson: Good. How are you doing Mr. Andrew? 

Andrew: I’m doing great, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. I want to talk to you about Agile, about SAFeabout SAFe Agile, about–  

Elizabeth: All the things. 

Andrew:Practical Agile, about all those things. Yes, I don’t fully understand them and I don’t understand how they are the same or different but rumor has it, you’re an expert, yes? 

Elizabeth: We’ll go with that. I do go by Agile Coach, so, I get a little expert– you know I don’t like to brag. A little humbleness there. 

Andrew: There’s a thin line between expert and coach right? 

Elizabeth: Yes. 

Andrew: I feel like if my coach isn’t an expert, they’re probably not a good coach. 

Elizabeth: Okay, fair, fair. It’s just a humbleness I guess, we’ll call it that. 

Andrew: So you’re a humble expert. 

Elizabeth: I’m a humble expert. [laughs] 

Andrew: So to do a little prep for this episode, I went to the Scaled Agile Framework website. 

Elizabeth: How did that go for you? 

Andrew: Oh my gosh! I encourage our listeners to go to scaledagileframework.com and check that out. That is overwhelming. Is that fair to say? That’s an overwhelming website. 

Elizabeth: It is. There’s a lot of information that has a very interactive almost board game feel, that home screen, all different ways you could navigate or labyrinth. Maybe labyrinth is a good word for that. No? 

Andrew: Yes, no. I’m sure you’re right. At first, I thought I was being pranked. I thought, “Oh this can’t be the right website,” Sure enough, it is. It is. It’s just a little overwhelming. I was trying to do some research to get my head around what we were going to talk about today. Most people notice about me, I’m obsessed with movies so I was trying to find movies where they talk about agile and there aren’t a lot. 

Elizabeth: I was going to say I was interested to hear what you found. [laughs] 

Andrew: So I did find one of the movie quotes just to show in our intro. I did find the 2000 movie Remember the Titans, remember this one? 

Elizabeth: I do remember. 

Andrew: Denzel Washington. 

Elizabeth: The Titans. [laughs] 

Andrew: Yes. Oh nice. I see what you did there. 

Elizabeth: Was that good? 

Andrew: See, the movie is called Remember the Titans but then she said I do remember because she remembers the Titans. 

Elizabeth: Dramatic pause, the Titans. 

Andrew: I ruined your joke. 

Elizabeth: I know because you had to explain it which means it wasn’t that funny. 

Andrew: No, no. I mean I ruined your joke when you are delivering it because I just talked right on top of you. Sorry. 

Elizabeth: It’s okay. This is what we’re going to do, okay? 

Andrew: Yes, yes. 

Elizabeth: This will be fun. 

Andrew: Maybe fun to somebody. So in 2000, Denzel does this movie Remember the Titans. He plays a coach, kind of relates? 

Elizabeth: Yes, a very good coach. 

Andrew: Coach of a sports team but when you think about it, isn’t software development the same as sports? 

Elizabeth: There’s a lot of teamwork. 

Andrew: Yes, yes a lot of teamwork. A young Ryan Gosling was in that movie, too. 

Elizabeth: I do recall. [laughs] 

Andrew: Yes, yes there you go. Who can forget Ryan Gosling? Anyway, in one of his little motivational speeches, he teaches the team to shout these three words back at them. That’s who they are, do you remember this? Who they are is mobile, I like that like you develop mobile software, that scene I was like, “Yes, this is my quote. Agile, I was like, “Yes, I’m on to something. Mobile, agile this is great.” Hostile, that was the favorite. So how hostile do you think SAFe is? 

Elizabeth: Well, you know, when a company is trying to transform there is a lot of hostility, but we’ll get into that later.  

Andrew: All right, we’ll get into that. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk first about you, Wilson. Did you bring SAFe Agile as a knowledge-base that you had coming into OST or is that something you developed here? 

Elizabeth: I brought that into OST after I got here and established my client base and realized that there was a real opportunity for a lot of our partners and clients to benefit from it. 

Andrew: All right. I don’t want to get too serious too fast so let’s talk for a minute before we dive in, about other famous Wilsons. You are of course the famous-est Wilson I know. 

Elizabeth: Famous-est. 

Andrew: Let’s talk about other famous Wilsons. 

Elizabeth: Okay. 

Andrew: How do you feel about Wilson the volleyball from Castaway? 

Elizabeth: I love it. I actually received a volleyball as a gift from somebody that I trained in SAFe from a group. That’s what they gave me as a thank you parting gift. 

Andrew: Did they cut their hand open and make it a body and give you a nice red hand print on it too? 

Elizabeth: They haven’t. I supposed Liam’s supposed to do that. I just haven’t found the right reason or opportunity to purposely slice my hand. [laughs] 

Andrew: Okay, all right. All right. Let’s see, how about Wilson from Home Improvement. Do you remember this one? 

Elizabeth: I do, the Fence. It’s funny I actually have a Slack channel with other SAFe peers and it’s called Wilson’s Fence because of that. 

Andrew: Oh, did you create the Slack channel or someone else created and they’re like, “Oh, we’re going to name this after you.” 

Elizabeth: Somebody else did. This is just a way for us to stay connected. 

Andrew: So then you are famous. 

Elizabeth: Yes. 

Andrew: What’s SAFe? I know it stands for Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise. 

Elizabeth: Correct. 

Andrew: I know the “e” is lowercase. I don’t understand why the “e” is lowercase and I don’t understand anything else about SAFe. Go. 

Elizabeth: [laughs] I’ll just jump right in with that. That’s perfect. So really Scaled, I would say, is the keyword for this. It’s something that’s small all the way up to large enterprises can adopt and see a lot of benefit from. 

Andrew: Okay. So when we say Enterprise, what do we mean? Is that a small company would be a small enterprise? 

Elizabeth: Could be small, could be large, Fortune 500. They could be private or public, a lot of– even government agencies have really found a lot of benefit from Scaled Agile. 

Andrew: All right. When you described it, you called at Scaled Agile, you don’t call it SAFe? 

Elizabeth: No, I usually shorten it to SAFe. 

Andrew: Okay. Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise. Why is the “e” lowercase? 

Elizabeth: It’s a great question. I’m not sure why it’s lowercase. 

Andrew: Because the SAF are all uppercase. 

Elizabeth: Yes. I think that’s because that’s the actual name in the framework itself and then for Enterprise is just a little add on. 

Andrew: Is it just because I’m a sci-fi geek that I naturally think that this is Scaled Agile Framework lowercase “e” for enterprise there’s probably like a Scaled Agile Framework for voyager and a Scaled Agile Framework for the next Generation? 

Elizabeth: Correct. Maybe, maybe there is and I just haven’t rolled it out yet. Maybe the next version will have voyager.  

Andrew: I couldn’t find anything about it on the Scaled Agile Framework website. 

Elizabeth: Maybe they’re announcing it at the summit this year. We’ll find out. 

Andrew: Are you going to the summit? 

Elizabeth: I am going to the summit. It’s going to be in San Diego in October. 

Andrew: Nice, nice. That’s a good time to be in San Diego. 

Elizabeth: Yes, that’s a great time. 

Andrew: So, talk to me a little bit about Scaled Agile. How is this different than just regular old agile? How is it special? 

Elizabeth: How is it special? It really gives companies a processor framework to follow that allows them to plan and get engagement from both the business and other areas within the company outside of IT. The IT relies on to have proper information to develop what’s going to deliver value faster to the end-user. 

Andrew: So, it’s broader. If we were to say Agile is really a framework for delivery, for developing something. This is about how you integrate that into your business and maybe that’s the enterprise piece then. This is not just about making something. It’s about making it successful in your enterprise. 

Elizabeth: Because a lot of companies have started working towards going Agile but what they focus on is really the team at a sprint level. How you plan your work every two weeks and how that is managed. SAFe as layers on top of that, they’ll allow a funnel process to how that information is coming down to the teams that’s vetted through either IT leadership and business leadership to determine what that area of focus should be. 

Andrew: So if I’m new to Agile, I might not be ready for SAfe. 

Elizabeth: Correct. 

Andrew: I might first need to get that team cadence down and begin to see some value in sprints and getting the team functioning. Maybe the next phase is SAFe? 

Elizabeth: Potentially, yes. Some companies adapt to– all of the companies adapted differently. Some were able to make the decision and they get to that tipping point and they all pivot and adopt SAFe. They have that engagement from all levels of the business. However, some companies struggle to get that engagement, especially from the business side. They view it as an IT problem and IT solution, let them figure it out and make their changes without impacting me, when really you need buy-in from both sides. Sometimes though what that requires is IT to start showing some successes in running it independent of anybody else before they start to get that attention on why more people should focus on moving towards SAFe. 

Andrew: I got you. I got you. So, do you have a role in that? Do we have a role in that? Do– 

Elizabeth: Yes. As an Agile coach, what you’re doing is you’re evaluating when that tipping point is. For instance, just recently, I’ve been working with a connective products client for a very long time. We have dabbled a variations of elements of SAFe that have really benefited them. However, we finally got into that tipping point where we need to make some more dramatic changes to see faster time to market more predictability as well as profitability which are the three key things that a business is really looking to improve on. Predictability, profitability and time to market. Within that, we recently went to a SAFe Dev-Ops course. It really seemed to be that light switch on seeing the benefits of how one, they could focus on a Dev-Ops element of SAFe within IT and make improvements there to then have widespread benefit across the organization to really improve those three items I mentioned with their engineering team, with marketing and business, product development and IT can all come together. That’s what we’re working towards now. 

Andrew: That’s got to be transformational for some businesses who never really thought through these processes broader than just an IT problem. 

Elizabeth: Correct. Yes. It’s very easy for them being anyone in thisany company to really just say, “Oh, that’s IT, they got to figure it out.” They’re the ones developing the software, they’re the ones developing with firmware and that’s really the crux of a lot of the problems that they run into. A lot of people say, “You know what, we just need to get their buy-in.” Well, buy-in is very ancillary, it’s thin, right? I get it. Yes, you have my buy-in, here’s some money, go get training. That’s not engagement. We need engagement for people that really have a vested interest and to see the value and to lean and on what the teams are trying to actually accomplish. That’s on us. 

Andrew: How does SAFe translate that buy-in to engagement? What does that process look like? How do you do that? 

Elizabeth: So a lot of times, I’m going to all circle back to IT starting to get those small wins to show the success which usually ties back to time to market. They’re going to see a higher velocity. They’re going to see more reliability and the days to IT is coming back to them with. They’re going to have, with the predictability and I like the word predictability because that’s not necessarily a guarantee but it’s giving you a good idea of a rhythm that the team can fall in, in kind of more broader strokes of dates that they feel that they can commit to. It gives the business more confidence in what they’re delivering. Starting there but then in addition, SAFe has what they call LACE which is Lean Agile Center of Excellence. 

Andrew: Oh no. 

Elizabeth: Oh yes. 

Andrew: Is that capital L, capital A, capital C, lowercase e? 

Elizabeth: Nope, capital E. They’re all capital, just to throw a little twist in there. What that is, is the representatives from the areas of the company. So you have Marketing or areas of the business, IT, maybe if you have a systems team, whoever those folks may be, they come together as one unified team, a representative from each. They’re the ones that are going to drive that transformation to SAFe and that’s where you’re going to start to get that additional engagement. Now, rightfully so, it may take a while to get those business partners to attend that meeting. But you take what you can get. Once you can see them leaning in and start asking questions, that’s when you know you’ve finally piqued their interest and you can start to pull in some more of their engagement. 

Andrew: I’m with you. So, is that what you do? Am I correct in understanding that really, you’re the one who can go in and help the company connect those pieces? They might not otherwise be able to see the connections on their own. 

Elizabeth: Right. A lot of it is balanced, it’s a lot of soft negotiation, right? You don’t want to push anybody too hard to where they, like they put their hands up and like, “No, I don’t want to do this. This isn’t for me.” It’s a lot of figuring out the right time and figuring out those that are willing to get their hands dirty and try it to start to see those wins to then we can start to convince others to take another look at it.  

Andrew: I’m with you. I’m with you. So, let me apply this to what we do at OST. In our professional services consulting practices we do connected products, you spoke of this earlier, we do application development and design, data analytics work, we do enterprise services that a wide range of things, sort of cloud space consulting. Does this apply across the board to all of those areas? 

Elizabeth: It does, in different ways sometimes but yes, it can apply to all of those. There are some companies or departments they have utilized it that don’t touch software development. They’re not handing over any code but they’re starting to take on those process elements that SAFe can provide to help organize and put some fine tune, definition to the work that they’re doing. 

Andrew: Yes. When I hear you talk about reliability and profitability as sort of measures or benchmarks, seems like that applies anywhere. We’ve got work being done in IT that traditionally has been far too disconnected from what the business is trying to accomplish. 

Elizabeth: Right. 

Andrew: Being able to bridge that gap, being able to lace those two pieces together. 

Elizabeth: Nicely done, nicely done. 

Andrew: Thank you. It seems valuable for sure. So, where do we go from here? What are your next steps and sort of as the SAFe Agile coach’s coach at OST, are you working on making more coaches? Are you working on– 

Elizabeth: Yes. We do have three additional coaches right now working on a fourth one as well. It’s a practice area that we’re really building up. We do have training opportunities, meaning we will go to our clients on-site and offer training courses and so quite a few– 

Andrew: So, we’re making them coaches, too. 

Elizabeth: Uh-hmm. 

Andrew: Okay. 

Elizabeth: Well, not our clients, we’re not making them coaches but we are training them as a product owner, product manager. How SAFe works at the team level so everybody knows their role and what’s expected of them and how it works along the side of the program side of SAFe 

Andrew: Yes. 

Elizabeth: We’re also doing leading workshops meaning we’re helping leadership determine if SAFe is the right approach for them, is the timing right, is there something that they want to tackle right now? So we’ll do workshops that could be a half-day to a full-day to help educate them on things that they need to think through. 

Andrew: Are we using these same principles here at OST? Do you envision or are you using sort of SAFe methodologies to think through how we organize ourselves too? 

Elizabeth: Yes. We are working down that path as well. We’ve gotoeat our own dog food? Is that how? Is that the right phrase? 

Andrew: We’ve got to eat our own dog food? 

Elizabeth: It doesn’t sound appealing so I was hesitant to say it. But do we have to eat our own dog food. 

Andrew: We have to eat our—could we– let me just think about this. Could we– we get to enjoy our own cupcakes. Let’s go with that, I feel like that’s better. 

Elizabeth: I love that. If it can be like the ones with the sprinkles, I love the birthday cake sprinkles.  

Andrew: Yes. We’re making really fancy beautiful cupcakes for our clients. 

Elizabeth: I was sprinkling there, nobody can see my hands but I was sprinkling the sprinkles. 

Andrew: I feel like everyone heard it. I feel like that sprinkle was clear. 

Elizabeth: They could picture it. 

Andrew: Maybe we’ll add in some sprinkle sound effects right there just to make sure everyone knows. No, but I think we get to eat our own cupcakes. I’m going to stick with that. I feel like we’re doing really great transformation work for our clients, beautiful helps them see their business in a different light, helps them feel like they have predictable results, measurable successes, that’s all great stuff. We get to use those same skills internally, too. You have the freedom to help, OST figure out how we implement that here, too, right? 

Elizabeth: Yes, correct. 

Andrew: All right. So, if you imagine a year from now, two years from now, do you think every project OST does is a SAFe Agile project? 

Elizabeth: I wouldn’t say every project now. I mean it’s just not going to be something that will fit everybody, every time. But we’re definitely considering it. Especially with large scale projects or programs and partnerships that we have, what makes sense and fits for them.  

Andrew: Is this something that in your mind we enforce or encourage or allow? How do you decide whether or not a project is right for SAFe? 

Elizabeth: It depends on the scale and depth of the work that we’re doing with a particular client or partnership and how they are structured on their side of the business. A lot of clients aren’t necessarily coming to us yet being on our door saying “We want to transform to SAFe and we want– that’s what the methodology we want you to use when you develop our product. A lot of times we’re getting into the weeds of it, unraveling a lot of the work, we have deadlines we have to hit, so we’re starting the project out that way and then determining, if there are some tweaks that could be done from our side working with them as well as from their side in the long-term. Kind of a mindset that I always have is, I’m kind of working myself out of a job when I’m inside the client. It’s not my– 

Andrew: But in the best way possible.  

Elizabeth: –in the best way possible. It’s not my intention to be there forever. It’s my intention to coach and teach them as much as possible, not to go to all these little quotes, right? But you got to teach them to fish. I’m not going to bring them fish every day to eat because nothing is going to change in the long-term. We have to teach them to fish so that they’ll know how to sustain their business and start to improve it out on their own. Because everybody has their own uniqueness and challenges that they have to work through and if they can’t within their context start building upon their skills and pull these changes in, it’s not going to improve in the long run. 

Andrew: Yes, yes. Yes. That’s a fascinating thing. It’s almost like one measure of success is that they don’t need you anymore. 

Elizabeth: Correct. 

Andrew: Sort of like parenting. 

Elizabeth: That’s true. 

Andrew: One way you knew you were successful as a parent is that your children don’t need you anymore. 

Elizabeth: Gosh, thanks. Second day of school is starting. Let’s get teary-eyed, they don’t need me anymore. 

Andrew: I’m sorry. My youngest is the second day of sophomore year of college. 

Elizabeth: I know. You’re in a good spot. 

Andrew: Oh, you’re saying I’m old? Is that what you’re saying? 

Elizabeth: No. You’re in a good spot like you’ve gone through, they’ve been out of the house now, so you’ve moved on. 

Andrew: So, if I want to learn more, seriously Wilson, what do I do? Because that website– I’m not ready for that website. Can I say that? That’s a fair thing to say. 

Elizabeth: Yes, I mean, it’s overwhelming, I won’t lie. I mean, there is a lot there. It’s something that they refer to in every training course I’m at because it’s very interactive but it’s a lot to get lost in. I would say that your best bet would be to really reach out to OST myself as well as the rest of our practice because we can even if it’s just for a conversation to help point you in the right direction. Maybe you’re looking for white papers to read or hear our stories that may point you in the right direction. I feel like one of the biggest stories that is a trigger for a lot of companies especially in the IT side is they get frustrated because they have this technical debt. But business never wants to wait for them to address that technical debt to make the future stronger and more stable. Within SAFe, the great thing is there’s a lot of team unity with the business and with that, the business starts to understand the benefit of clearing out and not having that pile of tech debt and make those conversations a lot easier. We purposely bake in time within what the team is doing to allow them to bring that tech debt down and allow them to innovate. One is a morale booster but it just builds up that relationship from IT in the business that tends to be lacking. 

Andrew: I’m with you. That sounds exactly like what every business needs as they figure out how to transform, especially your enterprise businesses that have been in the IT space for a long time. When we look at our IT future, it’s very different than our IT past, for us and for our clients– 

Elizabeth: It’s always evolving. 

Andrew: Yes absolutely. Absolutely. So, let me ask you this question speaking of evolution. Can a robot do your job? 

Elizabeth: No. 

Andrew: Do you foresee a day that a robot will be able to? Can a robot be an Agile coach? 

Elizabeth: I don’t. I feel like there’s a human element there. There is dramatic pauses and when I say that I mean there isn’t a checkbox that you check, a line of to do’s and tasks that you just go in that order and that means okay, they’re transformed. Every situation is unique and it requires a level of tact and patience to determine which piece that you move. If this was a game of chess, right? You’re sitting back and you’re thinking about what is the right piece to move next to where you can have a victory. It may be a small victory but you have to look at it from that point of view. It can’t be, “Well if I do these five things it’ll be fine and it’ll work itself out.”. 

Andrew: Yes. I think if you just described consulting in a nutshell. If what a consultant did was just walk down a checklist then we could just publish the checklist on a website and no one would need– 

Elizabeth: Us, yes. 

Andrew: –us. What a coach does is figures out the nuance of the individuals involved and how best to set them up for success while helping them see that the problem you’re solving is larger than any one player. 

Elizabeth: If we really want to close the loop on Remember the Titans, right? 

Andrew: Yes, I was going there. Go ahead. I’m so excited that you’re going there. 

Elizabeth: Yes, were you? 

Andrew: Yes. 

Elizabeth: Yes. There’s X’s and O’s, right, on every coach’s game plan. But it’s not the same for every team that they play. They’re strategic– they study the other team and determine the right plays that are going to make sense that is going to bring them closer to victory. That’s exactly what we have to do. 

Andrew: Absolutely. Absolutely. Fantastic. I’m so appreciative of your helping me understand SAFe better. Should I call it SAFe? Is that the right way? 

Elizabeth: SAFe is the right way. 

Andrew: SAFe, all right. So, real quick, can I play a little game with you? I’m going to ask you some questions. 

Elizabeth: Yes, please. Okay. Why am I the most nervous about this part? 

Andrew: I don’t know, I don’t know. 

Elizabeth: Rolling my shoulders back, I’m getting ready. Okay. 

Andrew: The Beatles or Elvis? 

Elizabeth: Beatles. 

Andrew: Why? 

Elizabeth: I just love them. I just love the tone. 

Andrew: I mean I love them too. But what’s wrong with Elvis? 

Elizabeth: There’s nothing wrong with Elvis. 

Andrew: Burger King or McDonald’s? 

Elizabeth: McDonald’s. 

Andrew: Why? 

Elizabeth: Burger King is just not as good anymore. That was my high school jam. 

Andrew: Burger King has the impossible Whopper now. 

Elizabeth: They do. I saw that this morning. 

Andrew: It’s way, way, way better for the world, I guess. 

Elizabeth: Is it? 

Andrew: That’s what they say. 

Elizabeth: That’s what they say, because it’s the impossible? 

Andrew: I mean, because it’s all plant-based. 

Elizabeth: Oh. 

Andrew: I’ll tell you, just for reference, it tastes exactly like a Whopper. Which is to say it tastes like artificial flame grilled flavorings, plus ketchup, plus lettuce, plus [crosstalk] 

Elizabeth: Well, maybe let’s order our lunch today, you and I. 

Andrew: All right. I’m all for it. Coke or Pepsi? 

Elizabeth: Coke. 

Andrew: Superman or Spider-Man? 

Elizabeth: Spider-Man. 

Andrew: Nice. You got that one right. What’s your favorite food? 

Elizabeth: It’s Marvel. I’m all-Marvel. [laughs] My favorite food? I would say carbs. Is that a food? 

Andrew: Oh yes. 

Elizabeth: Can I just say carbs versus bread, spaghetti– 

Andrew: Any carb? 

Elizabeth: Any carb? Cheese and olives, we’ll add that on the side. 

Andrew: Sure. I’m with you. 

Elizabeth: And red wine. 

Andrew: Oh-oh, red wine is a carb. I mean, just–I don’t want to spoil anyone’s–  

Elizabeth: [laughs] I just felt like I had to distinguish that one a little bit. 

Andrew: Favorite movie or book? 

Elizabeth: Favorite movie or book. Okay, so, the nerd in me, I love business books, okay? I love the idea—let me take that back. I love the idea that I could sit and read a business book all the time. That’s not true, okay? So there’s a book that came out to me that was a lot easier to read which was the Phoenix Project which mashed IT and business ideas around with the evolution of how you need to run an IT business, with a, in a more of a fictional story. To me, that was very enjoyable. I was able to– 

Andrew: Sort of parable-y. 

Elizabeth: Yes. 

Andrew: Excellent, excellent. 

Elizabeth: Context and stories area big thing for me. 

Andrew: Okay. So, let’s wrap up with this. What’s your favorite game? 

Elizabeth: Favorite game? I’m going to say, it’s not a board game, it’s a card game.  

Andrew: Okay, that’s fair. 

Elizabeth: That’s Uker. 

Andrew: Oh my gosh. So you’re a Michigan native then? 

Elizabeth: Obviously. 

Andrew: Yes, yes. Michiganders love their Uker. 

Elizabeth: Yes, we do. 

Andrew: Now I’ve spent most of my adult life in Michigan but I moved here in high school. I went to my freshman year of college, I’ll never forget this, and I come to my first class and I went to hang out in the lunch area, a cafeteria. Everyone was playing Uker and I had no idea what this game was. I was like, “Is this a cult?” Like, all these people doing this thing with cards, and it doesn’t even use a whole deck. It only uses nines and up. What the– Now, I understand– 

Elizabeth: Are you a master? 

Andrew: –the draw of UkerSo, just Uker, just classic Uker for a person that’s your jam? 

Elizabeth: Yes, that is my jam. It’s a good– we do a lot of camping as of recent and that is a great camping game. 

Andrew: Yes. I envisioned I would teach my kids how to play Uker and then– because I have two kids like you do. Then my wife and I as our two kids, we got ourselves a little foursome. But at nineteen and twenty-one it does not work out that way. 

Elizabeth: No. right. We don’t. That’s not what they want to do. 

Andrew: Yes. I forget sometimes that simply because parents like it is a reason enough for kids to think it’s not cool. 

Elizabeth: [laughs] That’s fair. I’m getting close to that time but right now they still think I’m cool so I’ll capitalize on that. 

Andrew: Yes, milk that as long as you can, Wilson, seriously. 

Elizabeth: I will. 

Andrew: As long as you can. All right, thank you so, so much for joining us in the podcast. 

Elizabeth: Yes, thank you for having me. It was fun. 

Andrew: I feel like I know so much more than I did when we started. 

Elizabeth: Good 

Lizzie: OST, changing how the world connects together. For more information, go to ostusa.com/podcast. 

[end] 

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