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Book Giveaway & Exclusive Chapter Download: Agile Coaching

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DZone and Pragmatic Bookshelf have partnered to bring you this exclusive chapter from 'Agile Coaching' by Rachel Davies and Liz Sedley. This excerpt was extracted from Agile Coaching, published in August 2009 by Pragmatic Bookshelf. It is being reproduced here by permission from Pragmatic Bookshelf. For more information or to purchase a paperback or PDF copy, visit the Agile Coaching homepage.

Leading Change

Sometimes you’ll be introducing new Agile practices; other times you’ll be helping a team fine-tune its process. Either way, you need to lead the team to make changes. It’s not as simple as telling people what they need to do. People need to understand what’s driving a change before they’ll throw energy into it.

So, how can you open their eyes to new possibilities? Start slow; give them some time to think about change before pressing them into action. Look for opportunities for them to learn about Agile. Then engage them in designing change by asking questions and building on their ideas.

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Introducing Change

Start advocating Agile techniques to the team, and you’ll soon find that people raise objections. Even when there’s a compelling reason to change, it’s natural to be concerned about the risks. Assure them that
it’s safe to become more Agile. Tell them stories about other Agile teams you have worked with to give them an appreciation of what’s possible.

Show your confidence in the ability of the team to change. Your belief in their success can give them courage to take the first step. Talk about “When we. . . ” rather than “If we. . . ,” and then make sure they know you’re there to provide support and help them keep going. Take care not to push a team into making changes too quickly. Allow time for new ideas to soak in. The team needs time to talk through a change before starting to implement it. This gives them a chance to think through the implications and to understand how they can adjust
what they do now.

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Meera Subbarao replied on Thu, 2009/11/12 - 5:46pm

Over the past two years I have worked with several clients to help transform their entire organization, using Agile techniques and also implement CI. It will be interesting to read this book, and apply some of the techniques to assist developers who show resistance.

I am hoping this book would help me and my team members to bring in the practices and be successful in coaching teams using agile practices.

Sudhakar Ramasamy replied on Sat, 2009/11/14 - 12:20am

I've been working in an Agile environment for a over a year now. The easiest part of Agile is the techniques. A lot of times we get the techniques down but lose sight of the essence of the Agile methodology. And we constantly need to remind ourselves to question the business value of what we do.

I've found that in a bottoms-up approach to Agile if we don't have the business on-board, sooner rather than later, the benefits of Agile plateau out. And you do not realize the true and full potential of adopting Agile.

It seems a book like this can address some of these challenges.

Sameh Zeid replied on Sat, 2009/11/14 - 11:41pm

Sometimes the Scrum Team or even the Product Owner can not appreciate the importance of implementing certain practice. I found advocation can be stressful to the team specially if they are under work pressure and they are already successful in the way they do things without Agile. A strategy I followed is till the team the best practice and explain the its importance and how it can help. If they disagree, do not insist, tell them no problem! The lack of implementing this practices can be shown as: - Cause for impediments communicated during the daily Scrums - Team realize early that they can not achieve the sprint goals I suggest to refrain from blaming. Just make the ship floating and try to resolve impediments. Our chance is during the retrospective. Choose a theme for retrospective (e.g. why we failed the sprint). Facilitate the team to explore possible causes. At this point the absence of the best practice can be sold as remedy for th causes. It is team learning and we may accept to fail a sprint or so before we as coaches or Scrum Master implement the practice we believe necessary. Some of the practices may not be in the standard Scrum. For example, you find delays happening, team members are waiting for inputs from others, lack of flow and inadequate communication. You might need to step in as a Scrum Master to identify the bottleneck tasks and ensure aggressive completion to them early enough to guarantee the flow of work to other team members.

john green green replied on Fri, 2009/11/27 - 12:02pm

So, how can you open their eyes to new possibilities? Start slow; give them some time to think about change before pressing them into action. Look for opportunities for them to learn about Agile. Then engage them in designing change by asking questions and building on their ideas.
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asoke hinko replied on Wed, 2009/12/16 - 10:07am

The coaching given here is too good and this information is well written to be understandable for all of us. Thanks for your informative post. Regards, best life coaching

Pradeep Sadashi... replied on Fri, 2013/03/08 - 8:50am

Its been a  while since I started exploring TDD and Agile practices and I would like to read this one.

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