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Agile Coaching: It’s Not All about What’s Wrong

Good agile coaches guide teams toward agile success without too much handholding. But in truth, most of that guidance—with or without handholding—is directed toward getting people to stop doing all the “wrong” things. In an article for Scrum Alliance, Arthur Moore makes the important point that focusing on the right things can be equally valuable for setting up an agile team for success.

Right Is Right

By instilling scrum or any other form of agile into a team, you are hoping to make them self-organizing, tightly-woven critical thinkers who make the right moves at the right times. Many agile coaches take what might be described as a “bumper bowling” approach to realizing this; they address when people are headed the wrong way and course correct them. And it is important to provide gentle course correction, yes, but a more effective long-term solution is to just more clearly highlight the correct direction to hit the pins.

Pointed knowledge and self-awareness are what allow a team to make the right decisions more often. Moore gives these particular examples of how you can help an agile team emphasize its “rightness,” and thus better orient it for success:

  • Individually demoing their contributions to the product at reviews …
  • Setting up meetings with clients who tell them about the value the product has for them
  • Using powerful questions not just to sort out a situation or relationship that needs fixing but to bring about awareness that a team member or the whole team just did something that was remarkable
  • In retrospectives, being just as rigorous about the root cause analysis of things that went right as about those that went wrong, and logging actions to reinforce them. Maybe nobody quite noticed that when the system was down and they took a hack day, they ended up with their most productive sprint ever.

You can view the original article here: https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2017/october/coaching-it-s-not-all-about-what-s-wrong

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid’s Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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