Vaco team

Jim Grundner

“Agile gives some people, for the first time in their career, the feeling of accomplishing something new every day.”

About Jim

Jim has spent his professional career focused on learning, understanding, and attempting to create great value from the definition of the customer. He has a deep belief that organizational agility is achieved by engaging all levels of a business starting with the senior leadership team.

Over the past decade he has looked to further his understanding and skills in enterprise Agile delivery and transformation primarily related to digital technology in the financial services industry. His belief system is to bring the best of Agile, including Lean, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and test automation, to bear agile teams backed by agile software.

Jim has led Vaco’s Agile Practice since 2018. Prior to leading this team, he led the Enterprise Agile Transformation for an organization with more than 15,000 associates and over 300 scrum teams as well as the website and mobile app API middle tier. His experience includes Agile practice leadership and consultation with several fortune 500 companies in the pursuit of their Agile transformation journey.

How has it been since the practice launched? It feels great to “give back.” I legitimately feel the pain these companies are experiencing. Decades of learning have given me valuable experience, and I use it every day when I meet with clients for Vaco.

What core beliefs do you have about the implementation of technology? I have a few, but these are probably most important: You need to listen to your clients at the leadership and individual contributor levels and work on the issues they describe as critical, not on what you think they should be working on, and finally, you don’t fix ten things at a time. You fix one, and then you move on to the next problem.

Why Agile? Agile has several tools that help teams accomplish great results.  It is a very specific discipline that breaks down organizational barriers – often for the first time.  It yields great collaboration between teams, transparency of work and the ability to truly prioritize what is important to get done first.  Finally, the team retrospective process let’s each team member contribute ideas on how to continuously make the team better.  All of these items together make for much more engaged team members and effective organizations.

What are you most excited about? Here, this practice is ours. We define what great looks like, and we execute to that goal.  Our team is fantastic and made up of the best Agile Coaching Talent you will ever find.  Our ultimate leader Sid Mitchener is an incredibly special person, and an incredibly special leader. The culture at Vaco is a great place for an Agile practice to launch.

How does Vaco Agile look in three years? We want to build a practice that we are proud of, one that is truly client success centric and doesn’t look like milking them for their last dime. We are focused on one goal for our clients — for our work to become self-sustaining. I truly believe if we eliminate the need for our help on any given engagement, we will never be without a significant set of clients looking for our perspective and engagement.

Favorite people or pets to spend time with — my wife and two daughters at Lake Auman

Favorite book or movie The Vince Flynn series and The Jack Reacher series

Favorite Movie all of the Star Wars movies

People don’t know this about me– My two best friends growing up were also named Jim.

College or professional team? Michigan and all the Detroit professional teams

View Jim’s Agile Certifications

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