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Coaching, Coding and Learning By George Evjen

Book Notes from "Coaching Agile Teams" By Lyssa Adkins 

Coach as Teacher

  • An agile coach takes on the job of teacher many times throughout the life of a team.
  • Constantly coach teams to come back to the simple and powerful - where agile thrives.
  • Details prime teaching times and topics.
    • Teach agile during team startup
    • During restarts
    • During unexpected moments
    • Teaching roles in agile
    • Continuously holding people the best expression of those roles.


Teaching During the Team Start-Up

  • When a company wants to go agile -
    • How do we get teams started
    • What do I need to know before starting a team.
    • How much do teams need to know about agile.
    • What do they need to know about each other.
  • Powerful team start up transpire in a day or two.
  • Keep the start up short and specific
  • Address these main areas.
    • Learn about the process to be used.
    • Learn about the team.
    • Learn about the work ahead.
  • Allot more time for learning about the process and the work - less time for learning about the team.


Learn About the Process

  • Learning about the process to be used certainly includes the agile framework of choice
  • Help them decide how tools and ideas from other disciplines can fit within the agile framework.
    • They need to learn the agile framework first.
  • Getting on the same page
  • People who have worked on agile teams before think they 'know agile' and don’t need training on agile principles, practices, values and roles.
  • "I know you are experienced in agile. Let me take 10 minutes to show you my version of agile so we can make sure we are synchronized in our understanding of it."
  • Deliver a short whiteboard talk that trains them on the agile framework to be used.
    • Get good at your whiteboard talk.
  • Bring back the team of experienced agilists back to the core of agile.
  • Hold the position of one who knows the core of agile solidly and helps the team see this new start as a beginner - get agile right.
  • Whatever you do - light training or more in-depth, stick to the core of agile.
  • Keep it simple, knowing that agile has in it everything they need to face whatever comes their way.


Learn About the Team

  • 'The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery' - Mark Van Doren
  • Learning about the team starts with learning about each individual on the team -
    • Create a team identity.
  • Individuals shape into a team when they learn first about one another - then grow from that understanding into a sense of who they can become together.
  • This sets the stage for self-organization and cross-functional behavior.
  • Create an identity as a team.
  • You establish from the start - that making the team is a product in itself.


Learn About Each Other as Individuals

  • Learn about hopes, dreams, skills, perspectives and goals with one another in the group.
  • We use activities under 'team building' to help people learn about one another.
  • A few activities
    • Journey Lines
    • Market of Skills
    • Constellation
    • Values


Journey Lines

  • Deep understanding of each person's past - their accomplishments and disappointments, skills and talents.
  • Graphs a persons professional journey
  • Draw the ups and downs on a flip chart
  • Presents the journey lines - rest of group takes notes on things of value - skills for the project.
    • Each person will read aloud the notes they took. - affirm the person.
  • Builds a foundation for working cross-functionally because they know each persons background.
  • "There is nothing more empowering than being seen, celebrated, and known for who you are" - Karen Kimsey House
  • Plants the seeds by making skills, expertise and overall background of each team member visible.


Market of Skills

  • Highlights peoples skills and talents
  • Strengthens the teams awareness of their combined skills as well as the areas in which team members can support and educate on another.
  • Teammates understanding one another's skills so they can figure out how to share work.



  • Window into how team members like to work and don’t like to work
  • What motivates them and what kills their drive
  • What they aspire to become and what they'd rather avoid.
  • Stand around a center object - read statements - true for them, move closer to the object.
  • The purpose of the activity - to learn about one another.
  • Examples: I like speaking in front of people, I enjoy debates, I like to facilitate meetings.
  • These statements show the team what their teammates will and will not do, what they do and do not believe, and what they will and will not tolerate.



  • Discover and express those essential things that make them who they are
  • Explore their inner world in another way - through value words.
  • Cards - 50 or more - place cards in two piles, important to me / not important
    • Sort the important to me pile until there are only five cards.
  • Guide the group so that each person increases their understanding of their teammates and themselves.
Posted on Thursday, August 4, 2016 11:10 AM Agile | Back to top

Comments on this post: Coaching Agile Teams - 8

# re: Coaching Agile Teams - 8
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Having the role of the leader in a working group, there is a need to be efficient in everything that you do. - Morgan Exteriors
Left by Sean Templeton on Sep 01, 2016 4:04 PM

# re: Coaching Agile Teams - 8
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Nice Book Notes by the coach - Resep Ikan Bakar Kecap
Left by Fariell Fand on Feb 09, 2017 9:44 AM

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