Agile Coaching series-part 3| Agile coach as a facilitator
Hello Agile enthusiasts,
Welcome to the third set of Agile Coaching series bytes.
The State of the Agile coaching report (2022) unfolds key aspects of Agile Coaching. 29% of the respondents says that OKR’s and KPI metrics measured coaching success while 2% measured “leadership style in use” as their success metrics.
It is also interesting to note that 65% coaches work as “employees” while 17% are “independent on direct contract” and 18% as consultants (on employer assignment). The 65% coaches working as employees gives a thought and need for “facilitation”. WHY? The facilitator’s main goal is to create a collaborative space, remain neutral of judgement on the topics being discussed in the meeting and encourage 100% participation of required members.
The Scrum Alliance’s on their 9 core skill competencies says that, “facilitating increases the effectiveness of a group of people to align in a collaborative way, to interpret their context, and mutually identify the most valuable outcomes desired. A facilitator has the skills to create a neutral environment of openness, safety, and innovation in a group setting”.
For all Scrum ceremonies, Agile coach observes for areas of improvement, best practices, working agreements at the basic level and make notes. Facilitating Agile frameworks meetings: For Agile framework facilitations to become fruitful, the coach should be able to convey the purpose and underlying Agile values/ principles for that meeting. This helps the Scrum ceremonies to be productive and not an empty ritual. During facilitation the coach wears one or all of these styles depicted in the pic 2:
Facilitating the daily Scrum call: The daily Scrum gives transperancy and helps team(s) inspect the Sprint (goal and backlog) in hand. These daily Scrum is the heartbeat of the team’s cadence. The Agile coach explains team(s) the importance of daily stand up and Scrum theory practices behind this recurring stand up meeting.
So, what does coach do? The Agile Coach helps team set a 15 minute time box and speak about the 3 questions. He/ she reinfornces with an activity that helps members understand the concept behind the activity and get a feel. This appraoch ALWAYS worked for me over the years with no misses from the team.
After briefing the team, the coach role is completed and steps back. He/she observes how team does and accordingly share his feedback, suggestions etc. Facilitating Sprint planning: Usually coaching is not required for this ceremony for an already established team(s). However, the Agile coach keep observing the team(s) and membes for any areas of improvements, best practices and or per management ask.
A coach ideally gives a struture or method of conducting the Sprint planning across team(s) or project to maintain uniformity across the organizational business units or per the management ask.
The struture or method can be:
A series of questionnaires team can consider, like- team’s capacity, readiness of user stories, concerns and dependencies they think would effect the Sprint, Business value or priority of the product backlog etc.
Set of planning tools and their usage.
Role play if team members wish.
Learn to define the Sprint goal (OR) see the user story format that appeals to members (OR) how to refine the backlogs.
Time boxing the ceremony etc… etc…
Facilitating Sprint review: Agile coach keeps more focus in this ceremony rather than facilitating. He/ she focuses on:
How the team members are collaborating among themselves.
How are they reacting to the stakeholders feedback?
Are they presenting (showing) the product in a meaningful way that get’s the stakeholders attention and participation.
Are they following the Agile values and principles or any conflicting situation makes them step back. etc.. etc..
Facilitating Sprint retrospective: The Agile Coach plays a key facilitator role in this ceremony. All the observations and notes he made from Daily Sprint till Sprint review, he prepares an agenda and put to team to focus on. When a team is matured, they eventually make their own observations and put it in the retrospective ceremony for actioning.
Handy tools for Agile Coaches: Jira Software, Confluence, Trello, Team retro Reference: My personal experiences; Agile Coaching Growth wheel; Coaching Agile teams by Lyssa Adkins