Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/gevjen/archive/2016/08/05/188603.aspx
Book Notes from 'Coaching Agile Teams' by Lyssa Adkins
Learning About the Team
- Launch into learning about the team
- The guiding lights for this product - the team - are a shared vision and team norms
Create a Shared Vision
- Teams need goals at multiple levels
- What's in it for me
- What's in it for us as a team
- What's in it for the company
- What's in it for the world
- Creating this vision starts from the individual out.
- 'when this project is over, I want to say I have…'
- Give people permission to talk about their personal hopes in the context of this new team.
- It opens the door for a continual conversation about goals and how best to support them for one another.
- Create succinct and meaningful statement of what they desire to become together.
- With a statement of who the team will become in place - move on to the third level of goals. -
- What is in it for my company?
Create Team Norms
- With the shared vision out of the way - the team can easily dive into creating the team norms
- Shared Values
- Come up with things they value as a team
- Ask for characteristics of the best teams they have witnessed
- Rules for living together
- Sharing a space together
- Core hours, sprint length, stand up time -
- Being together in conflict
- Prepare for conflict now.
Learn about the Work Ahead
- The final part of the start-up - learning about the work ahead
- Entails three activities, envision, review, product backlog
- Ensure that the team gets the learning they need.
- Invite the highest ranking person you can find to paint for the team a vision of the product to be created.
- Speak about the importance of the project at two levels
- How they expect the product to impact the company
- Why the product or business impact are important to the person.
Review the Product Backlog
- The product owner walks through the product backlog
- The product owner needs to have it stocked with enough items to get going with the first sprint
- Ensure the product owner has done so - represent the business goals of each item
- Product owner - what short phrase, like a newspaper headline, encompasses the goal for this sprint
- A sprint goal can also serve as handy shorthand for communicating what the team is up to.
- With the sprint goal created - you have officially begun the teams first sprint planning session.
Prepare for the Start-Up
- There are three levels of preparation for a team start up
- Good enough
- Using the guidelines in this chapter, create your own formula for a team start up
- While in the start up - follow your agenda and adjust the teams needs on the fly.
- String together activities that achieve the learning goals of the start up - plus any outcomes people desire.
- Design a targeted start-up, spend time talking with as many team members as you can.
- Notice people's ability to interact with one another positively and collaboratively.
- Notice common problems
- Restart teams when team membership or team goals change significantly
- If team membership changes, ensure that you Teach agile again.
- The ten minute whiteboard talk will do the trick.
Teach New Team Members
- Members come and go
- Keep the team membership as stable as you can
- Introduce or take away team members between sprints
- The people who made the commitment - deliver the commitment
- When a team member leaves - ensure the team acknowledges the person and their contribution.
- New team member
- Talk about the teams shared vision
- Rules, nature, the identity of the team
- Teach the new team member agile - the ten minute whiteboard talk
- Express agile at its most powerful by keeping it to the core.
- Teach the team member agile done well first - then teach the teams use of agile.
- Set the expectation that coaching conversations happen every once in a while.
Use Teachable Moments
- Teachable moments occur frequently and unexpectedly as the team works and converses together.
- The right learning at the right time.
- Remember that the team's job in the sprint - is to sprint
Teach Agile Roles All the Time
- Problems arise from poorly executed roles
- The biggest role problems come from people on the edge of the team.
- First teach people their role - anytime is a good time to do this
- Expect that people will fill their role completely - anything less gets called out as an impediment.
Teach the Product Owner Role
- The product owner has enormous impact on a team because direction setting and constant strategic decision making come directly from the person in this role
- A good product owner helps keep the team moving in the right direction
- A good product owner can help make a team.
- A poor product owner will certainly break a team.
- Teach them to be these things for their team
- Business value driver - gives the most business value now
- Daily decision maker - make decisions as they arise to the team can move forward
- Vision Keeper - keep the big picture of the product in the team's sight
- Heat Shield - protect the team from the outside noise and pressure
- The one ultimately responsible - be completely invested in the product.
- Help them firm up their understanding of the role and create a future vision of themselves as a great product owner.
Selecting the Product Owner
- As the Agile Coach - you may be asked to help select a product owner for a team.
- Committed - to the work and engaged fully in it
- Responsible - for the outcome so that 'skin in the game' is a reality
- Authorized - by the person paying the bills to make decisions
- Collaborative - a normal mode of interacting with people.
- Knowledgeable - about the business purposes.
Teach the Agile Manager Role
- There are a bevy of agile managers orbiting agile teams.
- Functional managers, stakeholders, managers of other teams
- This is not a formal role in scrum - or any other agile framework.
- Agile coach and organizational change expert.
- The illusion of certainty that schedules, status reports, and steering committee meetings represent
- Mangers boost agility - view their new role as
- Organizational change artist
- Boundary keeper
- Value maximizer
- Lean manager
- Organizational impediment remover
- Team champion
- Making things flow so the team delivers again and again is an honorable and challenging job.
- Mike Cohn offers this model (CDE)
- Containers - within which teams work
- Differences - between backgrounds of team members
- Exchanges - transformational exchanges - influenced by their differences/interactions.
- Managers can appropriately influence teams from the outside without hampering the teams' self-organization
- Open up the discussion with the agile manager about his role.
Teach the Agile Coach Role
- An agile coach is..
- Bulldozer - bulldoze impediments
- Shepherd - guides team back to agile practices
- Servant Leader - serves the team rather than team serving you
- Guardian of quality and performance - what the team produces and how they produced it.
- Helps the team navigate unpredictable waters and adapt as things happen to them.
- Promote team's self-organization
The Roles are Interlocking
- All three roles (Agile coach, agile manager, product owner) working together give teams a chance at creating astonishing results and unleashing agile as a competitive advantage weapon for their company.
- Bulldozing impediments takes two - a coach and a product owner - stronger together.
- Overlaps between the agile coach and agile manager
- They work together to move the organization through all the changes it will experience.
- Product owner and agile manager
- Single minded focus on achieving business value - they are business value drivers.
- Join forces as organizational impediment removers.
- All three roles have an element of team champion
- They all must believe that the team can accomplish anything.
- Support the teams efforts to produce real product in a short period of time.
- Dynamic tension provides the edge needed for creativity and truth.
- Agile roles are not titles
- They have nothing to do with the organizational structure surrounding the team.
- Multiple role title combinations
- Is this person speaking to me as the product owner, as my boss, or as my coach?
- Avoid role and title jumbles - use this rule when something needs to be done
- Am I the source
- Am I the one who should suffer if it goes wrong
- Does this fall within my area of responsibility
- Is this part of my commitment
- Powerful team start-ups are jet fuel to an agile team
- Teach agile during the team start-up
- Focus the team on the work ahead
- Teach agile when new people join the team
- Teach everyone about agile roles
- Expect the agile coach, product owner, and agile manager to interlock
- Constantly seek role clarity
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