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What is Agile Coaching?

All too often people forget what was learned in a training session or struggle to apply what they have learned to real-life.  Coaching enhances and extends training by helping people to understand what they have learned and how they can leverage it to their advantage in a real-life situation.  Coaches work closely with you and your people, pulling information from across the organisation and supporting you in defining what success looks like.  An Agile Coach will help you set goals and support you in discovering the right way for your organisation to use Agile to your advantage.

Coaching can be effective for short and long term purposes.  Short term coaching is usually focused on specific activities, for example coaching a team’s planning meeting or helping groom

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Scrum Values and The Tale of the Cowardly Cow

Today I was self-respecting – as I often do towards the end of an engagement – and found myself looking for inspirational quotes around opportunity..of which plenty abounds in India.  As I considered everything I happened upon in the last six months, both professional and personal, I realise that I have been lacking in something.  Courage.

As I tried to focus on when and where and how to improve I began to correlate with Scrum values.  Over the last several years these ideals became so embedded in my way of working that I simply forgot about them..and recent exploration has confirmed my fears – that most people who are actively pursuing or practicing Scrum are also lacking in conscious knowledge of these core ideals.    I only recall ever seeing these in black and white in the very first Scrum book I read by Ken Schwaber Read More

Agile Ah-ha’s

I spend as much of my time reading and investigating the coaching side of my business, as I do in keeping up-to-date with Agile.  I also spend a considerable amount of time learning about psychology, anthropologies and general management theory..and all of the above play an integral role in shaping how I chose to interact with teams or individuals  I coach.

Take Agile games for example… Read More

Agile Principles in Practice @ Scrum Bangalore

Thanks to Isense Prowareness for another fabulous Scrum meetup. It seems that Scrum and Agile continue to grow exponentially here in India, I could swear the crowd doubled from the last meetup!    For those of you in Bangalore it’s worthwhile signing up to come along – lunch is even provided!

This time I was one of the main presenters, alongside Jesse Fewell and Sanjeev Kumar Mishra – who ran a mean marshmallow challenge!

Anyway I digress – it is early Sunday morning  – I decided to present on the Agile Principles and thought I’d share it for posterity. Read More

Scrum Alliance could be more Agile

I am a CSM and CSP for 4 and 2 years now and I started my application to become Certified Scrum Coach about a year ago.   The 25 questions and case studies scared me.  I found some questions very odd – for example when did planning poker become a coaching technique?  Isn’t that an Agile practice instead? And how can I define advisory and consultation skills vs facilitation skills vs leadership – aren’t these all facets of a good coach..i.e. the coaching skills asked about earlier.

In addition I suffer from acute procrastination when faced with documentation.

I picked it up again this year with fresh vigour and spent approximately 40 hours of hair tugging, brain dulling recantations of every Agile and Scrum experience over they years.  I was then forced to distill these into the top three style question that permeates the CSC app.  So far I have managed a grand total of 15/25 questions and the ubiqitous case study.

Still on high with the prospect of what I see as a valuable opportunity to get feedback from my peers I received an email prompting about my CSP renewal.. Read More

Agile Doesn’t Work

All too often I read or hear ‘Agile doesn’t work!”

It’s an interesting one to ponder.  Over the years I’ve found when traditional programs fail people tend to blame other people not the process.  In fact I don’t recall a single person blaming waterfall, or any of its constituent parts, for their failure – instead they typically focus on blaming the project manager or the architects or even their customers.

I suspect the reason behind this is because Agile really is about people and not process – aka Mushy Agile.  Agile promotes communication, collaboration, courage and change (when needed).  And it’s much more difficult to blame your colleagues when you’ve been getting to know them as people too.

Really – take look at the Agile Principles and try to find one that you think would directly contribute to failure.  Can you fail because you supported motivated people? Or by delivering working software?  Or how about if you seek to improve your technical excellence?  How about continually making improvements as you learn more?   Can any of these could possibly be deemed the path to failure?

I believe not …

Agile Warfare

Smell: how to get boys on board and explain key concepts to them..I often find trying to explain collective ownership, courage, respect and communication can get a few funny looks from the fellas – I can tell they think I’m a hippy!

So how do I convince folks Agile is not simply a love-in but a dyed-in-the-wool way of working better?  I use an analogy of an airforce mission..this exercise takes a short time and has a good impact on how team members work with each other:)

Airforce missions are typically small units of highly trained individuals who all do what they can to ensure success

The team are fighter pilots…pilots deal with life and death..our teams typically deal in software (not always..that is for a later post) Read More

Why Agile? The Top 3 Key Questions to Ask Your Customer

Agile coaching can help companies make valuable changes in their business practices, sometimes even reaching into peoples personal lives in a positive manner too.  However I’ve come to realise that preaching the Agile principles and consulting, are not easy bedfellows.

Many of us in the Agile space have struggled when faced with the realisation that Agile may not benefit a team or customer at all, indeed in some it can even cause detriment (particularly so when faced with a lack of sponsorship, value or direction). Many consultants will carry on regardless, trying to force their particular brand of Agile onto organisations who just plain aren’t ready for change. Worse still are the Agile consultancies who preach Best Practice and continue reaping fees, all the time knowing they are adding no real value.

It may be difficult in these times to turn down regular well paid consulting work, particularly when Agile is seen as the next big thing – eager faces and enthusiasm can be very alluring, as can a regular paycheck.  However all successful coaches pick their teams just as much as their team picks them, and to this end here are my top three questions to consider asking your next customer. Read More

Agile Retrospectives Wiki-Wonderful

I found an exciting place today to share ideas and learn new Agile tips and tricks on holding retrospectives…in my opinion these are the most powerful tool in our Agile arsenal and often forgotten!

For those of you who are interested in improving how you work I’d recommend you pay a visit http://agileretrospectivewiki.org/.
Real people sharing their experiences and ideas – for free too!

My apologies for the short post 🙂