Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/gevjen/archive/2016/08/03/188404.aspx
Book Notes from 'Coaching Agile Team' By Lyssa Adkins
Coach as Facilitator
- A healthy agile team works together in high-bandwidth, high quality communication.
- They know the plan on a release by release basis and on a daily basis
- Another voice on the team discussing todays problem, or I can step fully into this role of agile coach, helping them get better and better.
- The agile coach facilitates by creating a 'container' for the team to fill up their astounding ideas and innovations
- With informal conversations, the coach stays focuses on working within the team to increase the quality of their interactions so that they can increase the quality of their products.
Wield a Light Touch
- Support the team's self-organization, and enhance their ability to deliver real business value all the time.
Facilitate the Stand-Up
- To organize themselves for the day's work ahead, team members answer these questions.
- What did I get done since the last stand up
- What will I do before the next stand up
- What are the impediments blocking me or slowing me down.
- Devise a daily work plan, get help clearing barriers, make a commitment to the team.
- Some things to achieve when they do the stand-up well.
- Peer Pressure :
- Healthy agile teams experience peer pressure.
- All team members have committed to complete the work of the Sprint together.
- This makes the work interdependent and accountable to one another.
- Fine-Grain Coordination :
- Team members should have quick focused interchanges during the stand up
- Fine grain coordination lets the team members know how and when to count on each other.
- Agile team should expect zero wait time - waiting is waste.
- Focus on the Few :
- Everyone readily sees what's sitting in progress and what's really getting done.
- Daily Commitment :
- Each team member makes a daily commitment to the team
- Raising Impediments :
- Impediments can be brought up in the team at any time.
Facilitate During the Stand Up
- Reinforce the general cadence of stand-up :
- Fifteen minutes
- Three questions
- No long conversations
- Whatever other rules your team has come up with.
- As a guiding principal - don’t intervene during the stand-up, unless you are teaching or reaffirming how stand-up works
- During the sprint - it’s the teams job to sprint
Fixing the Stand-Up
- It is hard to determine when to fix the stand-up and when to leave it alone.
- Make a judgement call based on the interventions potential value vs. its disruption
- Don’t undermine the team's self-organization
- Two things that work as interventions
- Reinforce the purpose of the stand-up:
- Teach the team what we are trying to achieve using the stand-up
- How is stand-up working for you.
- Are you getting these things
- Ask for eyes and support.
- The accomplishments and bumps are theirs, not yours
- Agile works when they learn to rely on one another.
- Reinforce the purpose of the stand-up
Facilitate Sprint Planning
- A set of agenda questions or the list of things we are trying to achieve with sprint planning works well
- Ensure that it supports the purpose of sprint planning
- Know the Work
- For the team to get going on the work ahead, they must understand, choose, task, volunteer
- Get a Fresh Start
- No matter how the last sprint ended, this sprint is new.
- This sprint is the only thing the team can control.
- Commit to Shared Goals.
- All team members understand all the work in the sprint and jointly agree to achieve the sprint goal.
- Create focus and abundance
- Choose the right amount of work - creates focus
- Worry only about what you have committed to.
Prepare for Sprint Planning
- The coach has two jobs when preparing for sprint planning
- Get a structure together
- Ensure the product owner has prepared the product backlog
- The coach makes sure the product owner knows the importance of having the product backlog groomed and ready for sprint planning.
- Often the product owner will work with the team to groom the backlog
- How and when to prepare the product backlog and get ready for sprint planning
- The acronym DEEP
- Detailed appropriately
Facilitate During Sprint Planning
- Ask the team how long the timebox should be to complete sprint planning
- The timebox gives the team - exquisite focus and permission to think only about the immediate work ahead.
Teachable Moments during the Sprint Planning
- Teachable moments are often about the product backlog items the team has just taken into the sprint.
- Other teachable moments
- Harp on Business value - keep the goal of delivering value in the forefront
- Promote strong product ownership
- Product owner - what gets done - team - how it gets done.
- And how much effort it will take
- Uphold healthy role boundaries
- Between the product owner and the team.
- Work together for maximum propulsion
- Improve tasking
- Teams typically get stuck when the move to tasking.
Facilitate the Sprint Review
- The agile coach plays a background role when it comes to the sprint review.
- Show the products developed during that span
- Remember its purpose.
- The team made a commitment
- Show and Tell
- Show what was accomplished
- Get Direct Feedback
- Hear from the stakeholder, customers, users of the products just created.
- Offer Insights
- Ask for Help
- The team raises impediments that they need help eradicating.
- During sprint review - the coach is insignificant
- The coach sits back away from the main action
- Draw your attention to what is happening for your team and to the team.
- Make observations and take notes.
- Observe the sprint review in this way.
- Observations tend to fall into two classes
- The reinforcing ones - uphold agile
- Good for you
- Oops you missed that one
- Deepening observations tend to be one that reveal the inner workings of the group
- Offer your observations without being attached to whether they are right or not.
Facilitate the Retrospective
- The agile coach plays the starring role in the retrospective - especially for a new team.
- Since the coach focuses on being the guardian of quality and team performance
- Keep the purpose of the retrospective in mind
- Inspect and adapt
- Look back at how - not what
- Do even better next time.
Prepare for the Retrospective
- As the sprint goes on, the agile coach jots down observations about how the team works together.
- Hold back knowing the retrospective offers the best time for the team to consider them
- While in a sprint - the team focuses on their commitment.
- Notice how things are going during the sprint.
- Check in with a couple team members and the product owner to get their perspective
- Be careful - don’t start a mini retrospective during this check-in.
- With these observations and inputs - prepare the retrospective agenda.
Facilitate During the Retrospective
- An agile coach always makes clear the firm belief that the team knows the right thing to do.
- Regardless of what does or does not get done during the retrospective - coach keeps the timebox.
- If team members want to continue they may as long as they agree to a shortened timebox.
- The coach works toward a constructive outcome - using the agenda to bring them back to the retrospective purpose.
Facilitate After the Retrospective
- Pay attention to whether the current retrospective agreements get incorporated or forgotten
- Throughout the sprint - look for situations what allow you to hold the teams agreements up to them
- As time goes on, the team may be able to facilitate the retrospective themselves.
Facilitate During Team Conversations
- When the team converses, don’t join in and act as a team member.
- Help them improve their conversations so that they can come up with higher-quality ideas that translate into the products they build
- They generate insights and envision an amazing product.
- Three main tools you can use right now to help the team have quality conversations
- Powerful Observations
- Keep a running list of questions in your head as you observe a team in conversation.
- Keep your observations to yourself for a few minutes to see whether one of the team members picks up on the same thing
- Powerful Questions
- They work because they are truly open
- When you speak a powerful question - followed by dead silence - they are reflecting
- Reinforce your role as their coach because they carry no judgement.
- Powerful Challenges
- Challenging clients has long been a tool used by professional coaches.
- With a challenge the coach moves the team past where they would normally stop.
- Break through the assumptions and limitations.
- Get them dreaming a little bit - in doing so, watch them come up with something even better.
- Every agile meeting has a specific purpose that answers the question, "why do we do this meeting anyway"
- Intervene with the team more in the beginning
- Make a conscious decision before offering anything to a team
- Get good at being a keen observer.
- Get out of the content and get into the facilitation
- Become skilled at delivering powerful observations, powerful questions, powerful challenges.
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