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What is the Question?  Horse Crossing

Questions are a powerful tool for eliciting information, helping people grow, or leading people.  However asking questions often requires more than just opening your mouth and uttering the first words that come to mind.  Asking the right questions at the right time is a combination of art, science, and preparation. (more…)

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Asking Questions Implies Listening

As coaches, leaders, change agents and even parents, the act of asking questions can take on an almost magical power to guide and change behavior. As with any powerful tool, when the tool begins to take on magical attributes, the users of the tool begin to forget that a tool is just a tool.  At that point, to quote Ian Brown, “they just become a fool with a tool.” Questions are a useful tool for a coach because questions: (more…)

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WIP limits are needed to stop waiting in queues.

Recently a long-time reader and listener came to me with a question about a team with two sub-teams that were not participating well together. In a previous entry we began describing how kanban or Scrumban could be leveraged to help teams identify issues with how they work and then to fix them.  We conclude with the last two steps in a simple approach to leveraging kanban or Scrumban: (more…)

 

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Sometimes a process change is required!

Coaching is a function of listening, asking questions and then listening some more.  All of this listening and talking has a goal: to help those being coached down a path of self-discovery and to help them to recognize the right choice for action or inaction.  Sometimes the right question is not a question at all, but rather an exercise of visualization.

Recently when a long-time reader and listener came to me with a question about a team with two sub-teams that were not participating well together, I saw several paths to suggest.  The first set of paths focused on how people behave during classic Scrum meetings and how the team could structure stories.  However, another path presented itself as I continued to consider options based on the question.   (more…)

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Every moon, planet, and sun in the universe pulls on every other moon, planet and sun; the size and distance between the objects impact the degree of influence. Each object exerts a gravitational pull, the stronger the pull the bigger and deeper the pull, a gravity well. The organizational influence of that any individuals exerts is something akin to a gravitational pull. Each person is a gravity well and their pull influences those around them. How can we map the influence of a coach? The answer depends on whether we are talking about the influence on how work is being done or the influence on organizational goals.  Hierarchically, coaches fit between IT management and the business and Scrum teams. Coaches exert influence on IT and business management who control organizational goals. They influence the Scrum teams who control how work is done. The amount of influence a coach exerts depends on how they are perceived within the organization. Coaches are part of the Agile gravity well between teams and management, drawing them both closer to the values and principles of Agile. (more…)

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Why would a team and/or organization want an external coach? In previous entries we have discussed the attributes of a good coach  and what a coach delivers, all of which may have whetted your whistle. However, it doesn’t answer the question why you would seek out an external coach. An external coach brings new ideas to the table, different perspectives and a shot of energy. (more…)

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Agile Coaches help teams and organizations embrace Agile and help maximize the delivery of business value.  We use terms like enable and facilitate to describe how they help organizations and teams transform.  But what does an Agile Coach actually do?  If we unpack enable and facilitate what do we actually find?  We actually mean a variable mix of activities that includes: consulting, cajoling, training, arbitration and mentoring. (more…)