Successfully reported this slideshow.

Everything I Learned About Agile Coaching, I Learned in Little League Baseball

1

Share

Loading in …3
×
1 of 42
1 of 42

Everything I Learned About Agile Coaching, I Learned in Little League Baseball

1

Share

What does teaching a seven-year-old how to hit a baseball have to do with agile coaching? After coaching Little League for eight years, and agile teams for ten years, I thought I was an expert at both. Last year, while attending a New York Yankees coaching clinic, I quickly realized that I had much to learn. Rather than focusing on isolated mechanics, the Yankees believe in coaching towards achieving measurable outcomes. Their approach allows players to learn the “how” at their own pace through self-discovery and experimentation, which allows for deeper learning and longer-lasting results.

The Yankees philosophy can be applied towards coaching agile teams. For example, rather than coaching Scrum teams to only improve their practices, I now help teams to achieve business outcomes. Focusing on outcomes frees teams to experiment with the practices that will help them deliver the results they want. This approach made me a better agile coach. I had less friction with my teams, and they achieved their desired results more quickly.

In this session, I will describe the outcome-driven approach taught by the Yankees, which includes techniques like Inquiry, Imagery, Extremes and Engagement. I will teach baseball fundamentals to a few lucky volunteers, who will hit real baseballs off a “tee" and learn to pitch. And I will demonstrate how to apply these concepts to make your agile teams more effective.

What does teaching a seven-year-old how to hit a baseball have to do with agile coaching? After coaching Little League for eight years, and agile teams for ten years, I thought I was an expert at both. Last year, while attending a New York Yankees coaching clinic, I quickly realized that I had much to learn. Rather than focusing on isolated mechanics, the Yankees believe in coaching towards achieving measurable outcomes. Their approach allows players to learn the “how” at their own pace through self-discovery and experimentation, which allows for deeper learning and longer-lasting results.

The Yankees philosophy can be applied towards coaching agile teams. For example, rather than coaching Scrum teams to only improve their practices, I now help teams to achieve business outcomes. Focusing on outcomes frees teams to experiment with the practices that will help them deliver the results they want. This approach made me a better agile coach. I had less friction with my teams, and they achieved their desired results more quickly.

In this session, I will describe the outcome-driven approach taught by the Yankees, which includes techniques like Inquiry, Imagery, Extremes and Engagement. I will teach baseball fundamentals to a few lucky volunteers, who will hit real baseballs off a “tee" and learn to pitch. And I will demonstrate how to apply these concepts to make your agile teams more effective.

More Related Content

Related Books

Free with a 14 day trial from Scribd

See all

Related Audiobooks

Free with a 14 day trial from Scribd

See all

Everything I Learned About Agile Coaching, I Learned in Little League Baseball

  1. 1. Everything I Learned About Agile Coaching, I Learned in Little League Baseball Steven Granese @sgranese
  2. 2. Steven Granese VP, Transform Practice
  3. 3. Consulting and Software Done Right BY THE NUMBERS 2004 Year Founded 4 Locations 440+ Consultants 11Consecutive Years Inc. 5000 3
  4. 4. Full Cycle Enterprise Services & Solutions TRANSFORM & BUILD PRACTICES Digital Transformation and Integration BUILD Enterprise Application Development Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Data Analytics and Business Intelligence Cloud Solutions (including Cloud Migration Factory) Development StudioUser Interface and Experience Design Collaboration TRANSFORM 4 System Integration and Digital Implementation Consulting Strategy and Organizational Design Training & Workshops Custom and Certification Coaching Teams and Scaled Programs
  5. 5. INNING 1: Background
  6. 6. 2015 Developer Dev Manager Dev Consultant Agile Consultant CSM Product Manager Little League College High School Coach High School Little League Coach Outcome-Agility Yankees Coaches Clinic CSP
  7. 7. Addison Marusza k
  8. 8. Inquiry Imagery Extremes Engagement Yankees Coaching Philosophy - questions - visualize - experiment - fun OUTCOMES
  9. 9. 2015 Little League College High School Coach High School Little League Coach Yankees Coaches Clinic Coaching to an Outcome Developer Dev Manager Dev Consultant Agile Consultant CSM Product Manager Outcome-Agility CSP
  10. 10. INNING 2: Coaching to an Outcome
  11. 11. What is an Outcome? The result of a series of activities. Activity Activity Activity
  12. 12. What is a Good Outcome? 1. Aligned to a bigger purpose or goal. 2. Understood clearly and easily 3. Measurable with simple tools
  13. 13. Example Outcome - Darts GOAL Win the game OUTCOME ACTIVITY Hit the bullseye Throw the darts Aligned? Understood? Measurable?
  14. 14. Individual Exercise 1 – Reflect on Outcomes What is an outcome? What makes up a good outcome?
  15. 15. INNING 3: Inquiry and Imagery
  16. 16. Inquiry – Ask Questions to Learn • Understand the real problem • Stimulates critical thinking • Design relevant outcomes
  17. 17. Imagery – Visualize the Outcome • “Show” rather than “Tell” • Watch someone that is successful • Combine with Inquiry to validate understanding
  18. 18. Balance Exercise
  19. 19. Goal: Pitch on All Star Team Outcome: Increase First Pitch Strikes Activity: Practice Balance Daily
  20. 20. Goal: Pitch on All Star Team Outcome: Increase First Pitch Strikes Activity: Practice Balance Daily CASE STUDY: KYLE
  21. 21. Goal Accomplished!
  22. 22. Agile Inquiry – Asking Questions to Learn • Don’t you think your Daily Standup is too long? • Would you like your Sprint Planning to be 2 or 4 hours? • Do you have a definition of done? BAD GOOD • Why does your Daily Standup last 30 minutes? • How does Sprint Planning help achieve your goals? • What is your definition of done?
  23. 23. Agile Imagery - Visualizing Outcomes Burndowns | Story Maps | Kanban Boards
  24. 24. Agile Imagery – Learn from Successful Orgs
  25. 25. Individual Exercise 2 – Write an Outcome What questions can you ask the team to better understand their situation? (Inquiry) Write an outcome that helps the team achieve its goal. How can you help your team visualize its outcomes? 1. Review “Your Situation” on your handouts. 2. Answer the following questions:
  26. 26. INNING 4: Extremes
  27. 27. Extremes – Experiment with New Practices • Stretch out of your comfort zone • Return to normal and see what has changed • Challenge assumptions about what is possible
  28. 28. Extreme Activity Example DESIRED REALITY EXTREME
  29. 29. Use Inquiry and Imagery to Protect Safety “At what angle is your bat?” “Where did you hit the ball?” “Is your bat still pointed to our target?” “Where do we want you to hit the ball?”
  30. 30. Hitting Demo
  31. 31. Extreme Hitting Activities! Problem Normal Solution Extreme Solution Wrapping bat around head Hold the bat upright Experiment pointing bat backwards Upper cut / top spin Level your swing Chop the ball down to the ground No body turn Remind batter to turn Knees touching, point toes inward, heels off ground Not using legs Bend your knees Three-step walk up drill; balance leg like pitcher
  32. 32. Extreme Agile Coaching Activities! Problem Normal Solution Extreme Solution Daily Standup takes over 45 minutes Conduct Daily Standup every third day Conduct Daily Standup 3 times / day for 5 mins Stories are not completed in Sprint Add less stories to the next Sprint Double story count and split size in half Action not taken from Retrospectives Add retro action items to next Sprint’s Backlog Take action on 2 items immediately
  33. 33. INNING 5: Engagement
  34. 34. Engagement – Make Learning Fun • Implement positive competitions & games • Celebrate achievements • Goal is for people to forget they’re learning
  35. 35. What game do many Scrum teams play?
  36. 36. CASE STUDY: SPRINT REVIEW Goal: Collaboration and innovation Outcome: Three new feature ideas Activity: Feature competition End of Sprint celebration
  37. 37. INNING 6: Table Exercise
  38. 38. Table Exercise How can your team experiment by trying new techniques? (Extremes) What game or competition can you recommend? (Engagement) 1. Select someone’s outcome from Exercise 2. 2. Discuss the questions:
  39. 39. Design an Outcome-based Coaching Plan Given your team’s discussion and knowing the organizational goal: 1. Write down a revised outcome. 2. Write down a recommended activity.
  40. 40. Assignment: Self-Reflection 1. I found a passion outside of work that helped me find ways to become a better agile coach. 2. My challenge to you: From where can you draw inspiration to improve your coaching skills? 3. Record your thoughts on your handout.
  41. 41. Everything I Learned About Agile Coaching, I Learned in Little League Baseball Scrum Gathering 2019, Austin Steven Granese VP, Transform Practice AgileThought Steven.Granese@agilethought.com @sgranese

Editor's Notes

  • Introduce myself
    My current role at AgileThought
    Introduce Becky and Sam
  • 2015 was a rough year for me.
    I had been an agile coach for several years, and I was very passionate.
    After working with some difficult clients, I was starting to get burned out.
    So much resistance and friction with clients
    In fighting in the agile community
    Having a hard time justifying my value.

    I was at a crossroads. I was looking for the next thing to do.

    In order to understand how I got to this place, you have to understand my background.
  • Left agile coaching for awhile
    Took a Product Manager role inside my company

    Attended Outcome-Agility session at Agile2015
    Instead of coaching teams to be good at agile, the idea was to help teams achieve business outcomes by using agile practices

    Soon after I attended a Little League coaches clinic run by the New York Yankees.
    This was no ordinary clinic.
  • One of the perks about coaching baseball in Florida, besides the weather and ability to play year round, is the access to facilities and professionals.
    Florida is the spring training home to roughly half of the teams in MLB.
    We have access to tons of ex-pro ballplayers, and the level of instruction is high.
     
    Addison was Derek Jeter’s understudy, and I got to know him through some college friends of mine.

    We had coaching clinics before, but this one was different.
  • The clinic was divided into two parts – classroom training and on-the-field
    Addison taught the classroom portion and he described the Yankees Coaching Philosophy

    Inquiry - ask questions to help the players understand what they are doing right and wrong
    Imagery - demonstrate techniques so players could visualize what they are supposed to do
    Extremes - get players out of their comfort zone by trying new techniques that challenge their own beliefs.
    Extremes - make sure players are having fun everyday
     
    The session resonated with me and I thought about it often for several weeks.
    Then I realized why I had connected with this session so much.
    The Yankees session was about Outcomes.

    I started using these techniques with my Little Leaguers and started having instant results.

    And I started realizing that their philosophy was not about baseball coaching only, but were universal principles about coaching anyone.

  • I started wondering if these principles could be applied to coaching agile teams.
     
    Became a better Baseball Coach
    Better results from my players
    Better experience for me – less friction and more enjoyable

  • I see many teams or coaches that measure agility based on how many practices teams follow.
    For example, if you have a 4 hour Sprint Planning, a 15 minute standup, and a 2 week Sprint, then you are doing Scrum pretty well.
    They are just looking at the activities. They are not measuring the outcomes.
    Outcomes would be if the team produced a working version of the software at the end of the sprint.
    Or if the customer received a few features that they could use, and they really love it.

    Question: If the team is regularly delivering software and features that the customers love, the team is happy and works well together, and the business stakeholders are also happy with the results, does it really matter about the activities that the team uses? Does it matter if that team has a 10, 15 or 30 minute standup? Does it matter if their Sprint Planning meeting takes a full day?

    As coaches, we need to raise the level of the conversation to make sure that the teams are focused on these business outcomes rather than just activities.
  • Here is an example of what an outcome is.
    If we are playing a game of darts, what is the purpose of the game or your goal for playing the game?

    Test the outcome

    Is it Aligned a bigger purpose, or goal?
    Is it Easily understood? Would anyone be confused what mean to hit the bullseye with the dart? Are their clear boundaries around the bullseye? Could there be a debate if a single dart hit or missed the bullseye?
    Is it Measurable? Can we measure how many darts hit the bullseye?
  • Mr. Miagi didn’t ask Daniel questions.
    In fact, Daniel had to ask him all the questions.
    The outcome for Daniel wasn’t clear.
    It led to conflict and frustration.
    He did win the All Valley Championship.
    But this is not the type of coaching relationship that most of us want.
  • The best coaches help the student select an outcome that is relevant and meaningful to them.
    We need to learn what is meaningful to the team and to the individual

    The Yankees have full days where there coaches are only allowed to ask questions.

    I started doing this immediately and got quick results.

    Need a story for agile teams where I learned by asking questions, and changed the outcome because of it.
  • It’s great to have clear outcomes.
    But people have to connect the dots to understand why the practices there are about to take on are linked to the outcomes.

    I see lots of baseball coaches just yell the instructions like “get your glove on the ground”. But they don’t show the player how do it or help them visualize.
  • Ask everyone (or about 10 people in the audience) to stand up.
    Then ask them to lift their left leg off the ground and balance on the right foot.
    Then ask them to lift their left knee above their waste and continue to balance.
    Optionally, ask them to close their eyes and continue to balance.
    Let everyone sit down.

    Imagine you are an 8 year old kid and I asked you to do this activity everyday for 20 minutes. How would you feel?

    Assuming some negative responses…

    I asked you to complete an activity but I didn’t connect the activity to your personal why.

    Ask the audience. “Why did I have you do this activity?” Get some responses.

  • The pitcher needs to learn how to balance.

    We constantly changed the activities. But we rarely changed the outcome and never changed the goal.

    How did I know his goal was to pitch on the all star team? (ask the audience for quick ideas). INQUIRY
    I did not impose the goal that I wanted for him as a coach.
  • Ask the audience why the bad questions are ineffective.

    Good questions allow you to learn about what is actually going on, and what the mentality of the team is.
  • Help teams visualize work with Kanban boards, story maps, and burndown charts!

    Digital tools are ok. But the real question is, can the team visualize their work? Can they see what the present state is, and what success looks like? Are these tools part of the daily conversation and helping guide decision making?
  • Ask the audience why the bad questions are ineffective.

    Good questions allow you to learn about what is actually going on, and what the mentality of the team is.
  • Inquiry – What are some questions you can ask to help your teams pick a better outcome?
    Imagery – What are some ways you help your team visualize the stated outcomes?
  • Getting people out of their comfort zone
    Let me understand what is possible
  • Use Inquiry and Imagery to assess
    Take and show photos to players to show current state
    Use a person to simulate a kid swinging
  • Use Inquiry and Imagery to assess
    Take and show photos to players to show current state
  • Take the boring, mundane activity of estimating work and make it engaging.
  • Each team learned to be accountable and they gained a shard understanding of the product
  • Inquiry – What are some questions you can ask to help your teams pick a better outcome?
    Imagery – What are some ways you help your team visualize the stated outcomes?
  • Inquiry – What are some questions you can ask to help your teams pick a better outcome?
    Imagery – What are some ways you help your team visualize the stated outcomes?
  • Picture of me in LL
  • ×