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Coaching, Coding and Learning By George Evjen

Book Notes from 'Coaching Agile Teams' by Lyssa Adkins


Surplus Ideas Required

  • Needing a surplus of ideas necessitates a creative environment
  • Team members will not come up with the breakthrough ideas when under constant pressure to produce.
  • "The challenges in organizations start with the frenetic pace many people feel compelled to maintain"
  • Breakthroughs come when people take the time to stop and examine their assumptions.
  • The sprint review and retrospective build in the pause to crucial for breakthroughs to break through.
  • Assumptions are thought to be fact until one hears an alternative viewpoint and then realizes their fact is only one of many ways to view the previous sprint.
  • It becomes possible to see new ways of working - maybe even breakthrough ideas for creating products that make a difference.
  • Help each person see how they can best collaborate with the whole team.


Build the Team's Collaboration Muscle

  • Allows them to engage in the messy and joyful work of collaborating.
  • The team needs you to help them get collaboration going.
  • Collaboration behaviors
    • Build up instead of breaking down
    • Hear all voices
    • Play together
    • Nurture collaboration intimacy -- ect
  • Adopt collaboration behaviors


Start with Team-Level Cooperation

  • Help the team discover what they need to know about each other to achieve cooperation.
  • What each person brings to the team:
    • Skills
    • Talents
    • Desires
    • Work preferences.
  • Having a shared goal - puts them in each others business.
  • We want them to be interdependent - they must converse about the best ways to meet their shared goals and produce something that makes them proud.
  • Cross functional abilities of each team vary according to the current skills
  • Nudges the team in the direction of becoming more cross-functional.
  • We are pushing the edges of people's perceptions of themselves.
  • To produce more and better results together


Allow them to Speak the Unspeakable

  • Makes it acceptable for team members to speak out about things that make them feel vulnerable or uncomfortable.
  • Unexpected capacity but hasn’t mentioned it, teach the whole team to say "I have bandwidth to give today"
  • You notice some team members seem to be struggling alone for hours on end.
    • No one spends more than 30 minutes struggling with something before asking someone else to join them.
    • "Hey im spinning my wheels. I need help"
    • Result - more work done better and with a sense of 'being in it together'


Push Them to Build Up Instead of Breaking Down

  • Through re-conceiving - the team makes new unpredictable ideas.
  • Encourage re-conceiving wherein we build up ideas - not break them down.
  • Create safety for them to do so, specifically by:
    • Demonstrating tolerance for failure.
    • Refraining from punitive exercises of power.
    • Participating in team processes rather than imposing rules.
  • Two types of behavior kill synergy:
    • People saying more than they know
    • People saying less than they know.


Make Hearing All Voices the Norm

  • In team conversations an agile coach draws out the quite ones and shushes the dominating ones.
  • As long as what you offer the team supports openness and transparency.


Nurture Collaboration Intimacy

  • Cognitively intimate team members can sense and anticipate individual and group level misunderstandings in the perception of new material.


Model Faith in Emergence

  • To be of greatest service to teams, an agile coach must become free from personal agendas.
  • Collaboration works when one gives away one's own ideas to the group and allows that idea to be just a piece of a bigger idea yet to emerge.


Help Them get Unstuck

  • Help them get unstuck by offering ways for them to get back in touch with one another so the ideas can flow again.


A Refresher

  • Let the team grow -
  • Make a conscious decision with the team about whether they need collaboration to get their work done.
  • Focus on individuals first when you start to build cooperation.
  • Call it when teams slide back into non-collaborative behaviors
  • Step out of the center and let the team collaborate on their own.
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 1:57 PM Agile | Back to top

Comments on this post: Coaching Agile Teams - 13

# re: Coaching Agile Teams - 13
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I really appreciate this idea. It teaches the right characters towards working with other team members as part of a group. - Mark Zokle
Left by George Wallace on Sep 14, 2016 2:32 AM

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