Coaching Agile Teams and Moving to the Next Level

March 18, 2011

I had the pleasure of spending the first two days of this week in a Coaching Agile Teams course taught by Lyssa Adkins and Michael Spayd. The teaching was actually very interactive. There was absolutely no chance of nodding off, believe me! Lyssa and Michael provided just enough information to guide us; but a subtle reality is that they coached us into self-discovery, and I came away my own personal learning. I’m sure it was the same for others.

And when I say subtle, I mean it. During the week I’ve had a chance to reflect more about the course, and I didn’t feel as impacted right after it was over as I did two days later. I’m feeling like I need to make a more profound shift in my style, but this has been more of a gradual realization than a sudden, transformational shift.

The class was attended by a group of open-minded individuals, and we all had a great time together. The course offered us a chance to share real-life experiences and reflect on our own styles as we learned, explored, and grew. The material was relevant to those new and experienced with Agile, and the contrast in experiences and perspectives was genuinely interesting. I came away wishing that we had more time to talk about our own challenges as a group.

I read Lyssa’s Coaching Agile Teams book prior to taking the course, and it was great to make use of the tools and information provided in the book. And it was fantastic to observe Lyssa and Michael conduct coaching sessions of their own with a couple of brave souls. (Sorry, what happens in class stays in class!)

My big takeaway: I need take something that I’ve already been doing to another level. I’ve been disciplining myself to implement a questioning, non-directing style, but I need to actually need to stop a fair amount of the advising that I’ve been doing.

I’ve invested a great deal of time and effort in developing my understanding of Agile development, and I feel confident that I can pinpoint pain points fairly quickly, but that’s not what our teams need right now. Not if they are going to move to the next level.

Most of the time, things are going right with our teams. But there are times when I’ve helped them out. Sometimes people come to me, seeking advice. Other times, I happen to be right there anyway, observing a problem. Our teams have a great grasp of the roles and responsibilities of Scrum, but I need to coach people and teams into seeing things for themselves. This means that I’ll need to slow down and invest more time and effort in helping others see the issues and solutions for themselves, even in the face of pressure.

It was a pleasure meeting Lyssa and Michael – and I’m delighted that I came away with an autographed copy of Lyssa’s book! I wish them well, and I hope that everyone in the class came away with some new tools and energy to apply to their own Agile universe.


Lyssa Adkins said...

Dave -

Thanks for sharing the impact of the class on you. It's wonderful to get your viewpoint on what happens in the course and after. I look forward to the follow-up and support call with your peers next week when you'll be able to hear what has happened for them and what they've tried (and share your own insights).

Journey ON!

March 18, 2011 at 8:36 AM
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August 9, 2011 at 8:01 AM

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