Friday, October 26, 2018

What Does an Agile Coach Do All Day Part 2

In my experience, there is no end of things for an Agile Coach to do. At times, the needs and requests will just pour in. And at other times, you’ll need to be more proactive. Let’s talk about what to do when things are slow. It may be that you are new to a team and they aren’t sure what to make of you yet, so they aren’t bringing you any requests. Or it may be that it seems like everything is humming along just fine. There’s no single way to discover the work that needs doing. Everybody has or will develop their own techniques. That said, there are only so many ways to discover the work. Here is a list of ideas to try. And remember, you don’t need to do this on your own. Consider finding co-conspirators that can help you look for potential problems and opportunities.

  • Go to a standup or any other ceremony and try to use “new eyes.” That is, ignore the exact stories or issues being discussed. Look for boredom, agitation, rote patterns. Pretend you are attending the meeting for the first time.
  • Schedule short 1-1s with folks to see what is on their minds. Don’t force the conversation, just see where it leads. Think of it as an informal session. Talk over coffee, perhaps at the local coffee shop.
  • Spend some time with people outside of the team. What are customers saying? What about support, sales, marketing, or folks on other teams? Bring anything you find back to the team and get their thoughts. 
  • Put together a special workshop for a team as a whole. Think of some interesting or unusual activities that will get people thinking out of the box. 
  • Organize an open space event
  • Think of a topic that may get people excited and put together a lunch and learn or book club. You don’t have to be the speaker. Perhaps there is somebody in the company that you could invite, or perhaps somebody from another company. Get people thinking in new directions. Hopefully, it will spark comments like “perhaps we could do something like that!”
  • Spend some time going to meetups, reading blogs, or joining an Agile Coaching Circle
  • Offer office hours 
  • Create some mechanism for people to send you requests. For instance, set up a Trello board that people can add requests to at any time.  
  • When you see somebody in need, offer to help. As a coach, you should be focused on helping people get to the point where they don’t need your Agile skills. But you may find opportunities to mentor people. For instance, if a Product Owner is feeling swamped and you offer to help write some stories, that may give you the opening you were looking for to introduce them to some new story splitting techniques. 
  • Assess where your teams are on their Agile Journey. Doing it with them is the most effective approach. But if they are too busy or uninterested, you can always do it on your own as you look for new paths to take.
Do you have other ideas? Please share in the comments!

Next: People Do What They Desire To Do - ADKAR

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