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Attaining Agile Fluency: Coaching Techniques - Focus on Goals Over Process

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What is coaching?
“It is helping to identify the skills and capabilities that are within the person, and enabling them to use them to the best of their ability” — wikipedia

Individuals and Interactions over Process and Tools.

The above is one of the 4 values espoused in the manifesto but yet it is common to see many agile coaches engage with teams and organisations advocating more and more processes. This is a common sight with new teams and also with teams on the path of agile transition from few months to few years irrespective of the competency, skills and maturity of the teams. Agile Fluency model created by Diana Larse and James Shore highlights the focus on value over compliance and practices at any given level

“ Team fluency depends on more than just the capability of the individuals on the team. It also depends on management structures, relationships, organizational culture, and more. Don’t make the mistake of blaming individuals for low team fluency, or assuming that one highly-skilled individual will guarantee high team fluency ”

An agile coach responsible for building high performing teams will need right set of powerful tools and techniques to leverage while working with teams and also to set the right expectations to both management and teams. This talk will draw from experience using few such powerful tools mentioned below while coaching teams attain fluency.

1) Using Agile Fluency @ High Level to Set Expectations
2) Setting Team Norms & Working Agreements
3) Deliberate Practice
4) Creating Enablers for a Learning Organisation
5) Simple Measures

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Attaining Agile Fluency: Coaching Techniques - Focus on Goals Over Process

  1. 1. Attaining Fluency Coaching Techniques - Focus on Goals OVER Processes Ravi Kumar ravi@agilefaqs.com March 27 2015 Print only if necessary
  2. 2. Setting the Stage COACHING ? ROLE OF AN AGILE COACH ? 1 Minute “…helping to identify the skills and capabilities that are within the person, and enabling them to use them to the best of their ability” — wikipedia 1 Minute Print only if necessary
  3. 3. Individuals and Interactions over Process and Tools Print only if necessary
  4. 4. Agile Fluency Model Team Culture Shift Start: Building Code A Team’s Path Through Agile Fluency Focus on Value ★ See progress from business perspective Redirect teams when needed Deliver Value ★★ Ship on market cadence Capture value frequently Reveal obstructions early Optimize Value ★★★ Make excellent product decisions Eliminate handoffs Speed decision making Optimize for Systems ★★★★ Cross-pollinate perspectives Stimulate innovation Optimize value stream Team Skills Shift Organizational Structure Shift Organizational Culture Shift For more information, visit: agilefluency.com © 2012 James Shore and Diana Larsen. You may reproduce this diagram in any form so long as this copyright notice is preserved. Where do want the team to BE? What INVESTMENTS are you ready to make? What TIME FRAME are you looking at? http://martinfowler.com/articles/agileFluency.html Print only if necessary
  5. 5. Attaining Fluency Key Necessities Benefit Investment Customer Engagement Business Impact Greater visibility into teams’ work; ability to redirect. Customers involved in the review process Value delivery Low defects and high productivity. Understand realistic market cadence requirements. Define IR that map to market cadence Higher value deliveries and better product decisions. Validating market fitment Monitor ROI for achieving business success Alignment with organizational goals; synergistic effects. Synergy in laying out future product direction. Strategize business growth Print only if necessary
  6. 6. Team Norms & Working Agreements Driving Empowerment & Self Organization makingadifference.typepad.com Print only if necessary
  7. 7. The 4 Ps People (Goals) Product (Outcomes) Plan (Success Strategies) Process (Enablers) Individual Behaviours, Goals and Aspirations Accountable: Agile Manager Responsible: Team Understand Customer Expectations, Competition … Accountable: Product Owner Responsible: All Understand current constraints and engineering needs. Accountable: Agile Manager Responsible: Team Execution mechanics and measures Accountable: Scrum Master Responsible: Team Print only if necessary
  8. 8. Distill Into Working Agreements People Goals) Working Agreements Team Goals Release Goals Acceptance Criteria Sprints Sprints Sprints … Print only if necessary
  9. 9. Key Considerations WHY WE NEED? (OBJECTIVE) WHAT SHOULD IT BE? WHEN SHOULD WE ESTABLISH? WHO CREATES? Print only if necessary
  10. 10. Driving Working Agreements (As a Coach) Team Retrospectives Deliberate Practice Observations from Sprint Execution 1:1 Meetings Product Quality Business Objectives & Customer Satisfaction KEY INPUTS WorkingAgreements Print only if necessary
  11. 11. Look Out For These !!! Are these guidelines driving right BEHAVIOURS (Commitment, Responsibility, Accountability…) Are these guidelines consistently VIOLATED What OBSERVATIONS you notice when the team or individual violates. It’s ok to call out but ensure this is done without breaking SAFETY & TRUST Print only if necessary
  12. 12. Deliberate Practice Practicing Software Craftsmanship www.lifehack.org Print only if necessary
  13. 13. Mandatory Expectations: Self Motivated, Strong Desire to Hone the Skills, Open Minded, Willingness to Fail Fast and Learn. People with skills at all levels- testers, developers, leads and managers. We are not worried on the completion of task but more focused on the best approach we can take to solve the problem. Problem to Solve: Conway's Game of Life http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway's_Game_of_Life A Complete Day of Deliberate Practice!!! Print only if necessary
  14. 14. Key Objectives (As A Participant) Honing technical development skills. Writing Self Documenting and Expressive Code. Explore alternative ideas and design techniques in a ‘safe fail’ environment. Importance of unit tests. Test driven development basics. Improving self-organising capability Better collaboration and communication across team. Ability to solve problems by slicing work. Eliminating key-man dependency. Embracing uncertainty. Print only if necessary
  15. 15. Key Objectives (As A Coach) Understand team dynamics and self organising capabilities. Observe key behaviours of individuals Open minded and strong influencers Passive aggressive Fence sitters Understand cross functional abilities of individuals. Understand communication and problem solving abilities of people. Understand the depth of skills on agile development practices such as TDD, Refactoring, Expressive Code etc. WHY DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND? Print only if necessary
  16. 16. Observations Participation People are skeptical initially Unlike code retreat people are subjected to a day long exercise Lack of inclination to learn and experiment. Individual Influencers ( specially the tech leads and architects ) Passive pairing Uncomfortable in pairing(with certain individuals) and dropping code Similar design and approach Lack of understanding and capability on unit testing. Print only if necessary
  17. 17. Experiences Skill set gap was one of the factors which was lagging for us is what I believe and due to this kind of sessions we can assess how much we have to improve and the manner in which we have to think - Developer I was amazed by the number of solutions we could think off in the little time we had. It was possible because we paired with different people - Scrum Master Importance of having Test Driven Development and unit tests in place. The session helped me in learning a technique to fail fast and learn to become successful. - QA For any team being introduced to pairing, deliberate practice exercise is a pre-requisite - Scrum Master Print only if necessary
  18. 18. Scaling Agile Creating a Learning Organization dartington.org.uk Print only if necessary
  19. 19. Learning Organisation 1 Minute Learning in organizations means the continuous testing of experience, and the transformation of that experience into knowledge - accessible to the whole organization, and relevant to its core purpose. - The Fifth Discipline - Fieldbook Print only if necessary
  20. 20. Brown Bag Sessions Create community of practitioners. Enable peer learning Role specific communities to learn and share harnessing mutual interests. Forum to discuss issues and challenges Informal sessions that need very little organisation support Print only if necessary
  21. 21. Brown Bag Sessions Weekly or Bi-weekly Role Specific (Scrum Master, Product Owners & Functional Managers) Cross Pollination Experience sharing of Team Coaching outcomes New techniques Team Improvements Presentations, Talks & Small Workshops Lightening Talks / Open Space Print only if necessary
  22. 22. Beware - Things go wrong Sacrificing lunch time is a big ask. Weekly sessions may be overwhelming. Throwing FREE LUCNH as bait to learning may not yield right behaviours and results. Sessions are often thought of as training/ workshops Lack of motivation Challenging to commit over and beyond work responsibilities. Answers to specific questions Varying customer contexts and challenges Print only if necessary
  23. 23. Key Measures Motivators Ensuring Self Organisation www.epa.gov Print only if necessary
  24. 24. Accomplishment & Fun How are teams doing? Work PROGRESSION increases motivation Team A Team B Print only if necessary
  25. 25. Accomplishment & Fun How are teams doing? FUN @ Work equally important !!! Team A Team B Print only if necessary
  26. 26. Accomplishment & Fun How we measure? No Fun It’s OK Good Loving it !! None Something Useful Totally Useful Awesome !! Print only if necessary
  27. 27. There’s no ONE W A Y … . i t ’ s important for a coach to have few techniques and understand context. Print only if necessary
  28. 28. Thank you ? Ravi Kumar ravi@agilefaqs.com We explored the following techniques… Using Agile Fluency @ High Level to Set Expectations Setting Team Norms & Working Agreements Deliberate Practice Creating Enablers for a Learning Organisation Simple Measures Hope this was useful… Print only if necessary

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