# Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Had another glorious day out with my nephew last week. This time I took him to Blakeney for a picnic, more crabbing and then we went out on Beans Boats to see the seals at the point. I love animals and going to see the seals has become like a pilgrimage each year for me. Disappointedly we did only catch 5 crabs, but I blame my brother who forgot the bacon. Fish heads just did not cut it!

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We also had the Agile Coaching Exchange (ACE) with Nigel Baker who presented his Optimus Prime and Change session. It addresses organisational evolution towards a Scrum Method. Nigel is one of the funniest people in Scrum I know and he didn’t disappoint me on the night, his humour was on form. Most amusing had to be the teaching of the pisello technique. Well you have heard of the pomodoro technique of time boxing for 20 minutes, well this is the time boxing of 20 seconds. It translates to Pea!

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So on the topic of changing organisations I want to talk about one of the key challenges that I tend to come up against.  When people ask me what the best part of my job is I say ‘people’. Ask me what the worst is and I say ‘People’

Every coach has faced people who are happy with status quo and don’t outwardly support the way the organisation is heading with its delivery method. So as coaches, how can we help them on the journey?

A few years ago I was introduced to the 3 zones model.

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The Comfort Zone

The comfort zone is where we are the majority of the time. It’s the location of the skills and abilities we’ve built up over our career. In the comfort zone we are the most ‘comfortable’ . However we cannot develop ourselves and build new skills when we are in this zone. It consists of the abilities we can already do easily.

The Panic Zone

Have you ever become so worried you can’t focus? Then you’ve probably been in the panic zone at some point of your life.  Activities in the panic zone are so tough that we don’t even know how to approach them. The overall feeling of the panic zone is that you are uncomfortable and possibly discouraged. Like the comfort zone, we can’t make progress or learn in the panic zone.

The Learning Zone

Between the panic zone and the comfort zone is the learning zone. You only develop yourself further by embracing activities that are in the learning zone. The skills and abilities that are just out of reach are in the learning zone; they’re neither so far away that we panic nor close enough where they’re too easy.

So how does this relate to organisational transformation?

When we go into organisation as coaches and come across resistance, it means that we have possibly pushed people into the ‘Panic’ zone. We have to identify what their panic is and then work with them to resolve it. Here are a few examples of ‘panics’ that I come across most frequently:

  • What does this mean to me? Will I still have a job?
  • What if I cannot do this new role?
  • I do not want to dilute my skills
  • I was a manager, am I not anymore?

There are many more examples, but we need to consider how we approach the change and not push people into ‘Panic ‘ and shut themselves down. We need to articulate the change through a vision and ensure that we know what the current end state is anticipated to be, and how people fit into that picture.

We need to anticipate that certain people will need 121 coaching to help support them through the change and consider how they can be incorporate into the change to help influence others.

People are at the core of our business and so we need to invest the appropriate time and effort supporting them through the change and our lives as coaches will be easier.

There is another category of people who do not openly show their fear with reluctance or negativity. These are the ones who claim to get and support Agile, but their behaviours tell you otherwise. They think they are being cunning to disguise their true feelings, but it’s pretty apparent. The above won’t work for them, but I reckon that's another blog in itself!

Final thoughts

I want you to consider your approach to working with individuals, teams and organisations and how you can coach them to be in the optimal place of the Learning Zone.



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Tuesday, August 27, 2013 2:06:31 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]


# Sunday, August 11, 2013

As a child my parents used to take me and my brother to Wells next the sea for holidays. I have to say it is my favourite beach and it brings back many fond child hood memories for me.

Faced with what to do with my parents, my nephew and the dog for 4 days recently, I happened to be cruising the internet and came up with the brainwave to relive my youth and booked up a caravan for us all at the very same site. This was my opportunity to take my nephew on the same adventures his dad and I had when we were younger.

Now, those that know me wouldn’t expect the words Helen and caravan to be in the same sentence, but I took the risk and ensured that I ordered the luxury version. I must say though that caravans have significantly improved since my child hood!

Wells has a fantastic beach, pretty woods and a little train to take you to the quaint town centre. Once in town, there’s time for the rock shop, fish and chips and a spot of crabbing. I whole heartedly recommend paying a visit if you have never done so.

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So whilst I was reminiscing and retrospecting with my nephew,  a couple of my friends were struggling to retrospect with their own teams. One was advised that ‘The team didn’t need a retrospective as nothing has happened’ and the other was encouraged to squeeze it into 30 minutes. Even the most mature teams would struggle in 30 minutes, but this team was only on sprint 3 and most certainly needed to discuss their issues.

This is not the first time I have seen these behaviours. Teams are not always seeing the value of retrospectives, and from my experience I would say the reasons are in the following areas:

  • They are not engaging for the team
  • Improvements or challenges get discussed, but nothing ever get resolved
  • Not facilitated well so the lose momentum and focus

Let’s tackle these one at a time.

Making your retrospectives engaging

It never ceases to amaze me how many people I meet who don’t vary their retrospective techniques, and still use the classic (What went well, didn’t go well, etc).

I encourage 3 types of retrospectives;

  • Team retrospective – A look at the last iteration from the Scrum Team perspective
  • Release retrospective – A look over a release or period of time and could include people external to the Scrum Team
  • Deep dive – A targeted retro to tackle a specific problem e.g. Why do we never complete all the stories?

There are great books and websites out there that host a whole plethora of techniques for every possible situation you find yourself in. Each team is different and will have their favourites, but variety is the spice of life. One of my earlier teams were extremely creative and so they got the most out of the drawing, word association and improve types. Others were more data driven around milestones.

Never be afraid to try out new techniques and if they don’t work, move onto the next. No one wants to be doing the same one forever! I also encourage that you get people up and active, no one wants to be glued to a seat.

Continuously Improve

Why wouldn’t you get demotivated if you are raising issues or improvements that never get actioned, and are talked about sprint after sprint. As ScrumMasters and Coaches we should be encouraging the teams to discuss these items, find solutions and take the actions into the sprint. We cap these at 2 or 3 per sprint to ensure that they are committed to and can be resolved. We need to ensure that we allow time to complete these activities as part of the sprint planning meeting.

We should also be encouraging those larger action items to be raised as user stories, and discussed with the Product Owner for scheduling as part of the Product Backlog.

Regardless of how we action them, all of the issues or improvements need to be stored, visible and brought to each of the retrospective meetings so they aren’t forgotten, and can be brought into play at any time.

Also as a ScrumMaster consider whether it makes sense for you to resolve any of these for the team yourself  E.g. Getting super sticky post it notes as the others fall off the wall.

Ultimately if the team see that issues are resolved and improvements implemented, it will encourage them to raise and resolve more. Leading to high performance  and self organisation.

Get organised

It is not acceptable to rock up unprepared. You need to prepare! Even seasoned professionals need time out to think about how they are going to facilitate the session, and help to drive out learning and information.

I usually book a timeslot of 2 hours for a retrospective and look to reduce this as the team matures. Conducting a release retrospective can take up to half a day depending on complexity of the release. Either way, leave yourself plenty of time to achieve the goal.

The book Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby & Diana Larsen gives a good structure for us to follow and the percentage of time suggested for each section.

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  • Set the Stage 10-15%
  • Gather Data 15-20%
  • Generate Insight 15-20%
  • Decide What To Do 20-25%
  • Close 10-15%
  • (Breaks 10-15%)

Using this structure,  slot in the format of the retrospective and maybe an ice breaker or closing game for the team enjoyment. Icebreakers are a great way to get people talking and can be used on teams that have been together for a while also. It is a fact that if you can get people to engage and speak in the first 5 minutes of a meeting, then their contribution to the meeting will be increased compared to those who did not speak.

Facilitation of this meeting is another important aspect. ScrumMasters need to be reading the unsaid word in the room through looking at the teams body language, and listening to what they are saying. Using these observations you can then interject with powerful questions to help draw out more information or feelings.

Sometimes I come across very laissez-faire ScrumMasters. There is nothing wrong with having a laissez-faire style of leadership, however some use it as an excuse to take a back seat. They can sometimes hide behind saying they want the team to solve their own problems. I agree that teams need to solve their own challenges, however sometimes the lack of facilitation by the ScrumMaster is not laissez-faire but lack of interest or they don’t understand the problem. Never be afraid to give options on how you have seen other companies solve similar problems. This can point them in the right direction, but ultimately they will implement what’s best for them.

Final thoughts

Retrospectives are a must have part of any team and the appropriate time and consideration need to be given to them.

I challenge you to take a look at your own practices in this area and see where you can make improvements.

Get in contact if you need any help or want to brainstorm techniques.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013 11:42:55 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]


# Monday, July 29, 2013

It is common knowledge of my dislike of snow, but what’s worse is this heat! Whilst I love going on holiday and basking in the sun,  It is normally accompanied by a pina colada and a dip every 10 minutes in the pool. Needless to say travelling on the central line in stifling heat has not been my preferred mode of travel. Don’t even get me going about sweaty people!

Apart from the heat the last couple of weeks I have been quite happy going about my usual activities. I am pleased to say that I have now completed my first course as an Accredited Kanban Trainer (AKT) and felt it went really well. All the feedback was positive and I got to sleep in a four poster bed for the first time.

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Last week we hosted the Agile Coaching Exchange (ACE) with Bob Marshall as our guest speaker for the evening. The topic of conversation was Non Violent Communication (NVC).

It was the first time we strayed into the more softer skills at the ACE and it seems to go down very well.

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So what is Non Violent communication?

So violence in this context is not about me physically assaulting someone, but it is about me getting others to do my will through fear, obligation or guilt (FOG).

So how many times have you been in a situation where:

  1. You went to the pub with your friend when you really fancied a night in, but they convinced you otherwise.
  2. Worked late or weekends to deliver a project when you really wanted to spend time with your family, when asked by a supervisor.
  3. Done a little extra at work as you are led to believe it will help you to secure a promotion or pay rise.

If you answered yes to any of the above, the chances are you have been subjected to a violent communication style.

It normally is delivered in the following key steps:

  • The Demand – “The board and I have been looking at your report and wondered if you can you get your team to work at the weekend as the project is running behind”.
  • The Resistance – You might ask if you can investigate other options, such as going to back to the stakeholders and reconsidering timescales or scope.
  • The Pressure & Threats – This request is met with reluctance and you are reminded that promotions and pay rises are coming up soon and getting this extremely important project over the line would be taken into consideration.
  • Compliance – If you don’t do this then your lively hood is threatened (even though this is not explicitly stated).

I can honestly say I have never used such as extreme examples as above, but I have used cohesion or blackmail to get others to do what I want. I am a woman of course Smile

I can only imagine though that the person on the end of the example feels as if they really have no choice but to comply.  How about if we had tackled the situation as follows:

  • Observation – “I see from your weekly report that the project is running behind”
  • Feelings – “ I am worried that we have made commitments to a third party and won’t be able to deliver on time. This could impact their impression on the company and it is important to us and our shareholders that we secure further business from them in the future”
  • The Need – “I need to understand how we can get the project back on track and can you help me to understand what the options are?”
  • The Request – Can you work with me to pull some information together to help us make a decision?”

Whilst these are extreme examples, in the second option the decision has not been made already and outside the control of the team. The team might well have decided to work the weekend but that would not have been through Fear, Obligation or Guilt. But through choice.

By using the 4 steps above we can really evaluate our communication style and start to consider what needs do I have, and what are the needs of the other person. When the needs of one person is put above the other, then violent communication is very much happening.

Another example of violent communication is judgement.

How many times have you judged a person by their size, shape, clothes or background?

It’s hard not to in many situations, but ultimately you are projecting your needs and insecurities on others and therefore you are acting violently towards them.

The subject on NVC is so broad and comprehensive, I have only touched the tip of the iceberg here and based on what I heard from Bob last week. There is a lot of literature out there and I know I am certainly going to be looking at this further starting with the founder Marshall Rosenburg.  I can only imagine that Bobs’ blog is a little goldmine as well!

Final thoughts

The term violent communication is extreme and should be used with caution in everyday life. As a coach I know if I start using the  term with my clients they are going to get turned off very quickly. But through subtle coaching I can get them to start thinking about the way they communicate with their people in a different way, creating an inclusive environment where mutual appreciation of needs is considered. Wouldn’t we all want to work in that environment? Productivity, quality and morale would surely follow.

I challenge you this week to think about how you communicate to your family, work colleagues and to strangers.

We have some really great speakers coming up at the ACE for rest of the year,  I recommend you pop by our page, have a look,  and get signed up.

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Monday, July 29, 2013 11:10:50 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]


# Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I have always had good banter with my girly friends that I am waiting for the right millionaire to come along and build me an enormous shoe cupboard. Alas, after some time I have relented in my waiting and opted to build it for myself, being the independent/impatient woman that I am. (When I say build it for myself, I mean pay some company to come in and do it for me Smile ).

Having a goal is really important to me and so for this particular project I set myself the following:

‘A sliding door wardrobe that allows the storage of all of my shoes, clothes and handbags. The finish will be of high quality and will fit in with the look and feel of the rest of the house’

I didn’t say it had to be a complex goal, but you need to know what you are trying to achieve so that you know whether you have met it when the project is completed. The goal will also dictate my response to impediments that come my way, such as when the carpet in the room needed to be taken up. Now I could have done this myself, but I choose to get a professional fitter in at extra cost to avoid compromising quality and going against my goal.

There have been two events recently that have made me really re-consider my views on setting goals, specifically in the work environment. They are:

  • Reading the book The Goal by Eli Goldratt.
  • Replaying the Get Kanban Game at the Accredited Kanban Trainer (AKT) Course with each team having specific goals.

Firstly The Goal is an awesome book and if you haven’t read it then I would seriously consider adding it to your literary backlog. It tells the story of Alex Rogo who manages a production plant where everything is behind schedule and things are looking dire. He is given three months to turn things around. Remembering a distant acquaintance he met called Jonah, he sets about putting things right in the factory by applying certain practices that we know by the name the Theory of constraints. To do this though he needs to really think about what the factory is trying to achieve. I won’t spoil it!

Secondly during my AKT course I replayed the Get Kanban game, but this time the two teams were both given different goals.

  • Team 1 - To make the most money
  • Team 2 - To have the shortest lead time

To me the goal was very clear, we needed to reduce our Work In Progress (WIP) limit to the lowest figure that was sensible and in this case that was 1. In real life you wouldn’t normally expect a team to have a WIP of 1, but as this was the game then fine Smile

What surprised me is how quickly during the game that people forgot what the goal was. An example being an expedite task has come into the queue and if we complete it by a certain time then we get extra money. Now if I was in team 1 then this expedite task would have been the highest priority for us to complete, however I was in team 2 and so an expedite task would only extend the lead time, therefore breaking our goal. This scenario was thrown at us several times throughout the game and each time the team fell into the same trap. I found myself having to re-iterate.

“ How will this help us meet our goal of having the shortest lead time”

Now in fairness this was a game and we were all excited to be playing it, but how many times does this happen in reality in organisation that we work in every day.

That user story that Spongebob thinks is really important gets argued to the top of the queue, but in reality it doesn’t fit with the overall objective of the organisation or feature.

If I am honest I have seen this behaviour a lot and I am guilty of this myself.

So what can we do about it?

  • Understand the goal of your organisation – Like in the book never be afraid to question whether that is actually the right one. Chances are you could have made the wrong assumption.
  • Understand the goal of the feature that you are working on and how it relates to the organisational goal.
  • Create sprint goals to keep the teams true.
  • Take a whole team approach to challenging when something looks to derail you – never be afraid to say no!
  • Take a personal approach to ask yourself ‘How will this help us meet our goal of X’ .

Final thoughts

It is very easy to be caught up in the moment and go with the flow, but what is the impact of this?

What changes do you need to make to ensure that you, your team or your organisation keep true to what it is trying to achieve?

Now there are 20 plus occurrences of the word goal or goals in this blog and so hopefully by now you know how important they are Smile

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:31:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]


# Friday, July 12, 2013

One of the best bits about working in London is the number of restaurants you have at your disposal. Being from Norwich I have pretty much been to every restaurant in the city so it is exciting to be faced with so much choice in London.

My most recent quest has been to find the best steak in London. Luckily, I have a couple of friends who help me indulge in this pleasure and we have been working our way around them.

Part of the experience at the end of a meal is a retrospective on where we think the restaurant rated on the Meek Scale. The scale is based on:

  • Taste
  • Cost
  • Ambience of restaurant
  • Service
  • Portion Size
  • Value for money

Taking all of these into account we rate the restaurant out of 7 and I have formulated my list of favourite restaurants. Being a geek I have not just done this for steak restaurants, but for all restaurants I have visited in the last 15 months I have been in London. As you can imagine it is quite a list Smile

I guess this information would be valuable to the restaurants as I would expect they continually look to improve the experience for the customers and best practice for their staff.

So why do we not do this for the teams we are working with?

Well firstly we would never want to rank teams or have the information used as a stick to beat them. But the concept of holding a team retrospective based on the best practice we see in really high performing Agile teams sounds useful.

At my last client I introduced something called Evolutionary Stages to of the teams. I cannot take sole credit of this as it was initially created by Steve Garnett, however the other RippleRock coaches and I certainly drove it to the next level of adoption.

The concept is a tool that enables teams to self-reflect on where their Agile, development and testing practices are compared to best practice and taking it one level further to the company’s long term goals.

I have written a user experience report on our journey and findings for your enjoyment.

Final Thoughts

Continuous improvement is vital in the tough and changing world that we live in. If organisations are going to continue being profitable and market leading we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. We need to be continually thinking about evolving ways of working.

Evolutionary Stages is a great tool to help you focus on team and organisational practices, tracking from start to the end point of your journey. We often forget about our starting point and fail to celebrate our successes along the way. Let’s stop and celebrate what we have achieved.

If you happened to be interested in my list of ratings for restaurants I have visited – then drop me a line and I will send it to you Smile

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Friday, July 12, 2013 9:39:58 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]


# Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Last week I was fortunate to go to Sapanca in Turkey with the Lean Kanban University (LKU) for the Train the Trainer (TTT) course. It was a little daunting to work with 7 other candidates that I didn’t know from all over the world; however we soon bonded as a community in a shared goal.

Class of Sapanca July 2013

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It was great to finally meet David and some of his team who came with him (Mike, Dragos, Janice, Agnes and Mihaela) and to hear the journey they have been on with Kanban. The stories and learning they shared were extremely valuable and really helped me to understand how others across the globe had gone about their adoption and the roots of Kanban.

The course also highlighted that no matter how much we think we know as coaches, there is so much more out there to learn. Whilst it was a challenging week, I definitely believe I have grown in my Kanban knowledge and feel confident to co-train my first course next week. I am actually excited about the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for Kanban as a newly Accredited Kanban Trainer (wooooo!)

Back to the Basics

I love the fact that Kanban (like other methods) has Values, Principles and Practices and this is something that I use and quote regularly to keep me true to what I am practicing. As practitioners & coaches we need to keep these close to our hearts and make them part of our everyday life.  You would not believe how many situations I find myself in day dreaming about flow optimisation. I can’t even go to Mc Donald's now after Kanban Dan ruined it for me with his drive through flow scenario Smile

Lets take a minute to remind ourselves what they are:

The Values

  1. Understanding
  2. Agreement
  3. Respect
  4. Leadership
  5. Flow
  6. Customer Focus
  7. Transparency
  8. Balance
  9. Collaboration.

There is an awesome blog by Mike Burrows in this area.

The Principles

  1. Start with what you do now
  2. Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change
  3. Initially, respect current roles, responsibilities & job titles
  4. Encourage acts of leadership at all levels from individual contributor to senior management

The Core Practices

  1. Visualize
  2. Limit Work-in-Progress
  3. Manage Flow
  4. Make Policies Explicit
  5. Implement feedback Loops
  6. Improve Collaboratively (using safe to fail experiments)

I challenge you on your perceived knowledge of Kanban . There are so many misconceptions out there that it’s just about visual management, but it is so much more.  Kanban is an evolutionary method that uses scientific theory to enhance the flow of work in the system. There is also a misconception out there that Kanban can only be used in manufacturing, but this is not true. It can be used in software delivery, but also any knowledge work.

Kanban doesn’t imply that it is the end to end solution and recognizes that we pull from many different tool boxes in its application.

Part of the TTT course was based around the AKTs bringing case studies for how we have  implemented it in the organisations we work for and so I have not only experienced this first hand for myself, but seen other organisations deliver great results also.

Final Thoughts

What beliefs have you formed about Kanban or any method without really understanding what is at the heart of them.  We are often dismissive on little facts or one negative experience. Like learning to drive, maturity comes over time and with practice. Chances are that we may have a prang or maybe even a write off, but we still continue to drive and learn from the experience.

Consider getting yourself on a course and see how an AKT can open your mind.

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Tags: Kanban | LKU

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 9:50:36 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]


# Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It’s been a pretty interesting couple of weeks with my adventures taking me to Kingston for a new client (note don’t get on slow train!), holding the Agile Coaching Exchange with Liz Keogh, and waving good bye to a client I have spent the last 15 months with.

For those that couldn’t make the exchange this month you missed Liz talking about complexity theory, and I have admit she managed what two others couldn’t do and that was to really help me to understand what Cynefin is. I think the breaking point was the inclusion of an exercise that made it seem real to me, and working in groups that helped to reconfirm the learning. I am not sure I am ready to write a blog about Cynefin yet, so I have included a few photos of the event and a link to Liz’s blog who covers it a whole lot better than I would. Thank you Liz!

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Next week I am pretty excited to be attending the David Anderson Train the Trainer Class as part of the Lean Kanban University. It will be the first time I have met David and I am hoping to extend my knowledge further to really support driving good Kanban in organisations. It doesn’t hurt either that it’s in Turkey. I am sure I am going to have loads of good stuff to blog about on my return.

Photo of actual place of learning (wooooooooo!)

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So my topic of the week is something that my colleague Mark Summers and I presented recently at both Scrum Gathering Las Vegas and XP2013 Vienna. It is also something that we both are very passionate about Growing ScrumMasters for the Future.

The challenge we faced was an organisation that was growing vastly in size and with an enormous intake of new ScrumMasters, who had a varied degree of experience and knowledge. We wanted to be able to support them in their knowledge and create a safe learning environment for them to put key skills into practice. From that point forward the ScrumMaster Education Programme was created.

Over the 6 month period that we ran the programme I put together an experience report of what we did and learned. I wanted to share with you that report so you can read and see the success that we had. Building this programme and watching our ScrumMasters grow was something that I took great enjoyment from and something that I am pretty proud of.

 

Click here for the ScrumMaster Education Programme Experience Report

Click here for the ScrumMaster Competency Framework

 

Even though I am leaving this client, I am happy in the knowledge that we have built a strong community of practice, and that they will continue to educate themselves without me. I have no doubt that we have been nurturing the Agile Coaches of the future.

Good bye guys, I am going to miss you all.

Final Thoughts

Learning is often something that gets pushed to one side when all hell breaks loose in the office. We practice Continuous Improvement in our teams, so why do we fail at doing this personally?

My mission for you is to learn something new this week.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013 9:05:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]


# Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I was very proud this week when one of my little fledglings got a fantastic new job. When I stop and think about the first time I met him over a year ago, the transformation I see in front of me is staggering and I get a real warm fuzzy glow.  This is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job, but It's also one of the hardest parts because now is his time to go out and forge his new career on his own. I wish him the best of luck and look forward to following his successes. Most of all I know I have made a friend for life.

I guess this maternal instinct over my fledglings is why I became known as 'Scrum Mum' in my current assignment. 

As I sat in my broom cupboard of a hotel room this week I reflected over a conversation I had with another one of my fledglings where I truly put powerful questions into practice. The use of powerful questions at the right time can really help people think differently about the situations they face. It can take away the emotion of thinking about their own situation by putting themselves in the shoes of another. My coaching style personally turned the corner when I started to use these more frequently.

At a recent Agile Coaching Exchange (ACE) we were very fortunate to have Rachel Davies come in and run one of her coaching dojos. For those who are not familiar I have added the instructions that Rachel kindly put together below. (Click for Rachel's blog on this)

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This was a real great opportunity to put your coaching and listening into practice in a safe environment and for you to get feedback from your peers and most importantly the seeker. In the dojo we managed to do a couple of rounds getting some great insight into different styles in the groups. Here are a couple of our groups hard at work!

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We can expand the coaching dojo technique further by combining it with well-known coaching models such as the ones I have listed below:

· The GROW Model - Goal, Reality, Options and Will or Way

· The SARA Model - Shock, Anger, Resistance and Acceptance

· The DESC Model – Describe, Explain, Suggest and Commitment

· Powerful questions

By getting the opportunity to put these into practice it arms our tool box with a model to pull out in the right situation. I would recommend playing several rounds with a different model in each so you commit learning to the brain.

I have named a few models that I tend to use frequently but there are a lot of well published models on the internet to use, so get Googling!

As with my little fledgling I have seen coaching really make a difference and so advocate getting as much practice as possible. With great power comes great responsibility.

Final thoughts

Next time you launch into telling someone what to do or how to do something, STOP! Observe and see how you can coach them to success instead.

If you get the chance to go to one of Rachel Davies Coaching Dojos I would highly recommend it! And why not give it a try for yourself back at your place of work.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013 5:45:25 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]


# Monday, June 17, 2013

I love being an Agile Coach! However it has its ups and downs, such as you inevitably end up coaching yourself into something you didn’t want to do or face.

My latest self-coaching started when ‘The boss’ brought up again about me blogging. I found myself making the usual excuses and moving on the conversation swiftly. It was only on my end of the day self-retrospective I asked myself ‘What am I afraid of?’ and so here I am blogging.

Damn I’m a good coach!

On further reflection I started thinking about all the good and bad experiences I have had and so this is the start of me telling you about them, but firstly I want to tell you a little bit about me.

So where did it all start? Well on June 3rd 197x…..…only joking!

My history is of an IT Project Manager working in a large insurance company. I was there for 12 years and I am thankful for the people I met and everything that I learnt. It was on one of these cold Norwich mornings that one of my developers said to me they wanted to do iterative development on my 'traditionally' led project. I look back and laugh now at my dismissive response and realise now how much I have grown and changed. I was that command and control Project Manager, a pretty fierce one at that.

It was a year later that I was introduced to the woman who would become my Agile yoda and change my belief of myself, how we deliver projects and how to structure organisations forever. It's through the coaching and mentoring of her and many others on my journey that have got me where I am today. I think that everyone who knew old & new Helen will testify to the massive change in me and it’s something I am very proud of. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks :)

So fast forward to 2012 and I was fortunate to become one of the Ripple Rock family and be given the opportunity to go out and do what I love and feel passionate about.

So what am I passionate about I hear you ask?

· Shopping  - I am obsessed and had to snigger when ‘The Boss’ told me I was thrifty this week. He has obviously not seen my designer bag collection or the massive wardrobe I am now building myself.

· People - My mission is to meet as many people and teams as possible and to really coach them to be the best they can be, Agile or personally.

· Organisations - I want lean mean feature team machines (nice ring to it!) My mission is not to sell Agile to organisations but to coach, guide and mentor them to realising the benefits that are important to them and their customers.

· Community - I am all about the Agile family and actively look to bring people together, share knowledge and to have fun. So I am one of the co-founders of the Agile Coaching Exchange (ACE). Look this up for now, but no doubt I will be telling you all about it in the near future.

So that’s a little taster of quirky ole me, hopefully you are still reading and might even want to pop back every now and again to see what’s going on in my world.

Final thoughts
I have faced my fear today. What fear do you need to face?

Helen



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Monday, June 17, 2013 10:57:18 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]