The Agile Coach's Guide To The Galaxy

  • Feedback,  Leadership,  Personal Development,  Self awareness

    The EPIQ Feedback Model

    Feedback is a hot topic, but not everyone agrees about its usefulness. Some praise feedback as something fundamentally important, while others claim that, even with a well-intentioned feedback model, it’s directly harmful to relationships and self-esteem. I’ve spent many years learning about and observing feedback. I’ve seen how feedback can both unify us and divide us. I’ve also come to learn what distinguishes great feedback from mediocre or even harmful feedback. Over the years, I’ve distilled my observations and research into a feedback model, and in this post, I share that model. I call it “The EPIQ Feedback Model”. So join me and explore how Empathy, Position, Intention, and Quality…

  • Agile,  Personal Development

    6 Free Agile and Management Slack Groups You Don’t Want To Miss Out On

    If you’ve been following my blog over the years, you’ll know that I believe strongly in the importance of effective feedback. And while feedback is invaluable, it’s just one of many ways I try to improve my skills. In addition to feedback, learning from the people around me, whether formally via conferences and lectures or casually through one-off chats, has been a huge help in my own professional development, and many others I speak with feel the same. But when you’re running your own consulting business or are the only coach on a team, the cross-pollination of Agile, Management, and Leadership best practices takes a bit more work. To that…

  • Leadership,  Organization,  Personal Development,  Team Building

    Set Individual Goals With The Entire Team

    When we gather an entire team in a room and explore their collective knowledge gaps, interests, and their delivery goals or roadmap — setting individual goals together as a team will lead to increased performance and motivation. This is because individual goals become more relevant with the added context and because focus increases when there’s a clear and direct link between challenges, delivery goals, and learning objectives. If you straight up agree and would like to know how you can start setting individual goals a.k.a talent management with entire teams instead of with individuals I’ve created an exercise that you can run with your teams. Skip ahead to the exercise…

  • Feedback,  Personal Development

    The Four Intentions Feedback Model

    Two years ago I worked with a team that struggled with delivering feedback to each other. Team members would try to express something to either raise each others performance levels or to improve working relationships, but somehow something would always seem to go wrong and they ended up triggering each other. This damaged their productivity and morale to an extent that several people left the team. The remaining team members went through feedback training and coaching, and we looked at how the intentions behind feedback are the foundation for constructing constructive feedback. For example, feedback about performance and feedback about working relationships sound very different but the members of this…

  • Personal Development

    The Buckets Exercise

    In order for organisations to become conducive to high performing teams it is crucial that managers have time and mental capacity to engage in complex problem solving. Unfortunately many organisations place an emphasis on starting work which diminishes managements capability of building a high performing organisation. To help managers free up time and mental capacity I’ve run an exercise with them called “Buckets”[1]. In this exercise managers get to visualize and motivate why certain work needs to get done now and specifically by them. The bucket exercise also helps managers discover the work that needs to be delegated first. Here’s how you run it: Ask the manager (or who ever you are running the exercise with)…

  • Personal Development,  Team Building

    Experiential book clubs help people grow, and they’re fun too! :)

    In this blog post I go through the differences between conceptual and experiential book clubs. I also share some tips if you’d like to organise an experiential book club for yourself. A few years ago I coached a team that was making a huge effort to reduce their technical debt. I offered to organise a book club around the book Clean code but I was faced with some skepticism. Several team members had participated in book clubs in the past but those had not been valuable. I explained that this book club probably would be different from previous ones they’d attended because this one was going to be experiential. I…

  • Feedback,  Personal Development

    7 Things To Think About When It Comes To Feedback

    When I worked as an Agile Coach at Spotify, people were surprised to learn that, contrary to popular belief, Spotify was in fact very hierarchical (6 layers from CEO to developer). It was also true that we valued peer feedback and self-management within each of these layers. Effective feedback and feedback training were crucial factors in making sure we stayed lean despite the hierarchy that had accumulated over the years. In one of the feedback workshops I facilitate, participants are asked to discuss “things to think about when considering giving feedback to someone”. The following 7 points are the ones that come up most frequently in these discussions. I’ve long…

  • Personal Development

    Do you know your directs context?

    Whether you are new to 1-on-1s or have been running them for a while, at certain times you and your directs will become misaligned and the topics they bring up might come as a surprise to you. The better understanding you have of your directs context, the better prepared you are, or at least can be, for supporting them. Your support can of course come in many different forms e.g. through feedback, by challenging, partnering, mentoring, and coaching, etc., but understanding their context is the first step. With that said, you are aiming for a delicate balance. While knowing everything and never being surprised might mean that you are spending too much…