Notes from the secret agile playbook, creating a coaching agreement

I have been working with some good coaches recently, but the were not very comfortable with the agile paperwork and coaching bureaucracy areas of coaching.

coaching agreement

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Use the river diagram to communicate data

I run a lot of workshops, including planning workshops and retrospectives.  Sometimes the crew votes on things like “what is the best feature, or how did we go this time.”

But sometimes we collect data and then want to discuss it as a team.  And this presents a challenge – I like data in a spreadsheet and I like pictures on the wall but sometimes it seems hard to capture numbers in a useful way in the workshop.

But do not fear – the River Diagram is here and this is exactly what it is for.

river1

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Would you prefer coaching or coaching?

I ran an agile coaching course recently and, naturally, we spoke a lot about coaching.

We ran through a lot of different techniques and approaches to coaching people in agile teams, but we discovered that both “coaching” and “agile” might mean different things to different people in different teams.

Then someone asked how they would know when to apply different approaches to coaching. The answer we came up with was:

“It depends who you are coaching and what they are hoping to achieve.”

That left people a little confused about how and when to apply different techniques. So we came up with the following diagram that might help (although I have added a couple of bits based on previous conversations with people).

coaching types

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Notes on story walls – longer term planning

I have been writing about story walls and how agile teams might use them to manage their work.  But some agile teams feel rushed because, although they can see what needs doing today, they don’t know what is coming next.

So in this article, I will extend the idea of using a story wall to look into the future.

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Notes on story walls – story or task?

In my last article, I talked about “story walls” but in fact, I focused on task walls.  The difference is minor but choosing one over the other can help improve collaboration among the team.

Task walls, predictably, are about tasks – “today I will do task 1” while story walls focus on the thing being built – “today I am working on story 3.”

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Notes on story walls – simple task walls

Most agile teams use story walls – either physical walls or online tools to store their stories.

But a lot of those teams see the wall as a burden rather than a tool that makes life easier for them.  This is a shame because the only reason you want to have a wall is because it makes it quicker and easier for the team to get their work done.

From the perspective of the TEAM, the story wall makes their work visible so that they can more easily collaborate and get things done

Since different teams work differently, they are likely to want different types of story walls. This is the first in a series of articles that run through different types of walls that might be useful to different teams. There is no best practice – just things that suit different teams.

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