Scrum Values and The Duality of Openness

The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness.   
Niels Bohr 
 
Openness is synonymous with transparency, and this requires candid and frank communication.  The most important word in the previous sentence is communication – if this isn’t happening then openness is simply impossible.   This can be a challenging value to hold dear and is particularly difficult to achieve if respect and courage are not yet instilled, and even more difficult it trust is yet to be established – this is probably why Commitment is the first value!  Anyone affected by conversations and decisions must be made aware as soon as possible – and without disrupting their current focus.   Openness needs to be considered at the highest levels of the organisation. Consider distributed, multiple teams facing a common impediment. There is little opportunity for passive communication and it’s probably something that is not within a single team’s control – in this situation openness becomes essential to everyone. Continue reading

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 Continue reading

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… Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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.. Continue reading