The Agile Coach's Guide To The Galaxy

  • Agile,  Coaching,  Team Dynamics

    The First Question To Ask When Building Teams – Is This Really A Team?

    Written by Stefan Lindbohm and Viktor Cessan. Have you ever wondered why so many organizations fail at building effective and high performing teams despite offering so much support in different ways e.g. by managing people, by managing the environment, and by coaching teams? You’re not alone. This is often something that frustrates teams, coaches, and managers. You’d think that given all the support that teams receive, they would have great chances for becoming high performing. What our experience shows us, and research, is that it’s more uncommon than common for teams to get to a high performing state. While there are many reasons to why this happens, in this article…

  • Agile,  Team Building,  Team Dynamics

    Spread Tribal Knowledge with History Lines

    To help teams share and document tribal knowledge I run/facilitate an exercise I call History lines[1]. In this exercise teams are asked to visualize how different things have changed over time and at the end of the exercise you’ve helped spread knowledge to everyone in the team, the team has drawn new conclusions about their past, and they’ve documented some parts of their tribal knowledge. I’ve found History lines useful when: Team composition changes e.g. when merging or splitting teams or when onboarding several new members in a short period of time Team members have come to rely on specific people for context Bootstrapping new teams Visualize what makes sense…

  • Coaching,  Team Building,  Team Dynamics

    How to use the Value Cards exercise to help your teams collaborate better

    Get the free DIY-version or buy Value Card packs. What do you think would happen if someone who values empathy, love, kindness, respect, and humility were to join the same team as someone who values boldness, success, fame, influence, and reputation? Do you think they would collaborate well from the get-go, making use of each other’s unique perspectives to complement and improve upon their ideas? Or do you think they’d be more likely to struggle, misunderstand each other, and face their share of conflict? You’ve probably seen the latter in action. And, to be fair, it’s a much easier pattern to default to. But it doesn’t have to be that…

  • Facilitation,  Team Building,  Team Dynamics

    Surface Silent Disagreements

    If you’ve ever worked in a team that makes lots of decisions but that struggles with making progress on those decisions, here’s a technique you can use to understand if your team is aligned on decisions or if people are disagreeing in silence. To avoid confusion and potential conflict it’s good to get your teams consent before trying this technique out. Build surfacing silent disagreements into your decision making process[1] Whenever your team has made a decision ask someone to repeat the decision then make the following three statements, one at a time, and ask the team to answer yes or no depending on if they agree or disagree with each statement. Three statements to surface disagreement I agree with this decision. I feel that…

  • Leadership,  Team Building,  Team Dynamics

    What happens when you send a dev team to a 3 day group development course?

    Are group development courses such as IMGD silver bullets when it comes to helping teams mature? That’s what Martin Wasielewski (also an agile coach at Spotify) and I wanted to find out. In order to find the answer we defined an experiment, and identified a 3 day group development course called S360 encounter that we would send a (willing) development team to. Our hypothesis was that: By increasing people’s self awareness, improving their self esteem, teaching them how to communicate effectively, and raising their understanding of other people’s needs, teams will become high performing. How we would evaluate this experiment Three and six months after our dev team had taken the course we would evaluate the experiment on the following:…