Getting to Know A4A: Bob Hartman

Continuing our Getting to Know A4A series, we’re talking with “Agile Bob” Hartman, trainer, coach, and the venerable founder of Agile For All.

Bob Hartman TeachingWhere are you from?

I usually answer this question by saying “seat 3B on a United Airlines flight”, but in reality, I grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey (exit 9 on the Turnpike for those that care). A blue collar family. My father worked as a maintenance mechanic at UPS for a very long time and was a member of the Teamsters union for all that time. I’m not sure he knows where Jimmy Hoffa is buried, but he definitely knew Jimmy Hoffa!

Interesting Teamsters tidbit: As a high school senior I won a Teamsters college scholarship. My scholarship payment checks were always late because for a while they were being signed by a Teamster officer that was in jail! Yup, Anthony Provenzano (aka Tony Pro) was the one that signed my scholarship checks for a while and he did it from behind bars.

If I’m not with a client, I’m…

Hopefully golfing if the weather is nice. I currently have an 11 handicap and hope to get that back down into the 5 range again. I was a much better golfer before having two hip replacements, but now that both hips are functional again, my game is getting better.

Favorite restaurant?

Hmm, this is a tough one. At Agile For All, we have something we call a “BHM” which stands for Bob Hartman Meal. It is basically a really nice meal. I tend to eat a BHM at least once per trip because I struggle enough with my overall diet without having to enhance it all the time with fast food. My favorite Denver area restaurant depends on the type of food, but probably Del Frisco’s overall. We go there very rarely because it is crazy expensive.

Bob Hartman GolfingOutside of my work, I’m surprisingly good at…

I guess I’d have to say golf here. It is my only real hobby/sport I do right now. I used to be a decent bicyclist and have done 7 different rides of over 100 miles in a day. I also used to be a good bowler and had the 3rd highest average in New Hampshire one year, including bowling a perfect 300 game once. But in golf I have two hole-in-ones, so it’s hard to top that (they were on the same hole, the same club, exactly 4 years and 4 days apart!).

If I could sit down for coffee/drinks/etc. with anyone, alive or dead, it’d be…

In the golf world this is usually phrased as “Who would be in your ideal foursome?” so I’ll answer that instead.

I’d definitely have Arnold Palmer because he is one of the greatest golfers who ever lived, but also because he was an amazing business person that the world revered.

The second person in the foursome would have to be Larry Bird. I lived in New Hampshire when he and the Celtics would battle the Lakers every year for the NBA Championship. He was the most amazing basketball player I’ve ever seen. He could take over a game without being athletic! And the trash talk – wow!

Lastly, I’d invite Jony Ive from Apple. I’d love to pick his brain about how he sees the future through the Apple lens. He has created such world-changing products it would be amazing to see if there is something about what he does that could help more companies be successful. Hmm, going for coffee/drinks/etc. with this group would be almost as fun as golfing with them (I don’t eve know if the latter two even golf!).

Where would you take them?

This is fantasy land, right? If so, I’d take them to Augusta National where the Masters is played every year. I’ll never get to play there any other way! If it isn’t fantasy land, then I’d take them to Pebble Beach golf course because it is absolutely spectacular (and the food is good!).

The best part about my city is…

The fact that every single month there are days with temperatures above 50 degrees and the golf courses are open! Certain months of the year you could easily snow ski, water ski, golf and fish all the same day. I also like that people think it is much snowier and colder than it really is – we’re crowded enough so those myths keep some people away.

What’s your best travel tool or tip?

I tell everyone in my family, for their own well-being, plan on everything taking a long time, and eat whenever the opportunity presents itself because you don’t know when you’ll eat again. This is especially true on long trips with airport layovers.

In the past few years, I’ve also started making a lot of friends by bringing a plug in USB charging hub and a 1 outlet to 3 outlet adapter. Both allow the small number of airport electrical plugs support more people and those people are very appreciative!

Favorite learning hack?

I tend to read about something from several different sources before trying it (or trying to improve it). It is just what helps me make sure I fully understand it prior to trying it.

If I had to choose a totally different career, it’d probably be…

If we consider agile trainer/coach my current career, then I’d likely be a software developer. I loved software development when I did it and I still dabble in doing some if it once in a while. My son is majoring in computer science and when we talk about computer things I still get pretty excited!

Favorite thing about your work?

Seeing people truly believe hope at work can exist!

Book you’ve gifted the most?

The Scrum Guide? Only kidding. I don’t usually give books to other people. Most of my friends play golf so I’ve probably given out more copies of Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul more than any other.

Go-to movie quote?

I am EMBARRASSINGLY bad at movie quotes (and song lyrics)! Although one of my favorite movie quotes comes from the movie the In-Laws (Peter Falk version) when he yells “Serpentine, Shelley! Serpentine!” That whole scene is so ridiculous it always makes me literally LOL.

Advice to your 25 year old self?

Like most people my age the most appropriate advice to our younger selves would be “Save more money!” Apart from that, I’d probably encourage my younger self to spend a bit more time earlier in my career learning about leadership.

I wish I had the ability to…

Be motivated to create more content. It is constantly pushed to the bottom of my list of things to do, even though I know doing it would help me and others in so many ways. There just always seems to be something more important at all times. OK, not quite true. Most of the time it is just something that will be more fun—and I’m ok with that!

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