Agile games – are they too much fun?

I’m here again, coaching – and trying my best to ensure I meet my commitment of making the transition ‘fun’.   I got to thinking about some of my fellow coaches and Agilist’s and the use of games-like events and realised that often the efforts in setting up and playing such games doesn’t result in any kind of value for the business.  (XP Game excluded of course- this is an essential for delivery teams)

Games are fun and may provide some feeling of Agility however I’m coming to the realisation that my preferred way to coach is by example in a delivery type situation.  I find (as do my clients) excessive games puerile and usually have identified more valuable work I could be doing for my clients where I can make some actual difference to their business vision.

In the past I’ve coached under the guise of Delivery Manager to Lead BA and found that setting examples, doing the job and growing the folks around you is more effective and cost efficient than having a coach sit around, giving advice, sometimes being ignored and in general not really contributing to the production of working software. Perhaps this is because clients often don’t know how to leverage coaching skills and experience, not setting the role or expectations properly within the organisation we are trying to coach?

Also standalone Agile coaching often detracts from delivery – we forget that coaching is not an end unto itself, indeed most clients these days simply want to ‘be Agile’ without fully understanding why, or indeed what it means in terms of commitment to change.

In the future I’m sticking with a real job title and getting rid of ‘Agile Coach’ which has become synonymous with ‘Cheerleader/trainer’ – Pigs Unite!

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