Cop-out or Capability? A coaching game for exploring advanced agility

Is your agile stagnant? Are your teams "stable", but uninspired? Have the fancy new frameworks left you wanting more? Then this session is for you.

When we started our agile journey, experts offered several warnings and checklists for bad practices. From seven agile sins to Scrum-butts, we all know what we must absolutely avoid. But what if the most common anti-patterns are a fertile ground for exploring high performance? What if the sporadic standup is a sign of deep democracy? What if your erratic velocity reflects a self-driven team that jumps on opportunities?

In this hands-on workshop, participants will confront their deepest held agile convictions, and discover which practices have been holding us back this whole time.

 
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Outline/Structure of the Workshop

This is immersive workshop

  • SETUP
    • Participants will sit at tables, each with a single chart paper canvas and a stack of index cards. The chart paper will feature a dotted line at the top, and a frowny face. There will be a "do not sit here" sign at the top of the table, to encourage people to sit with a shared perspective of the top of the chart.

Setup graphic

  • ROUND 1: Ideate Cop-Outs (15 minutes)
    • Seed the canvas with "Facts". At the table, brainstorm several common anti-patterns and write them onto blank index cards. Then place them onto the canvas. To help you get started, few pre-printed dysfunction cards will be provided, such as
      • Daily standup is irregular and unscheduled
      • Team's boss is also their ScrumMaster and Product Owner
      • Team lead shouts and berates others
    • After a set amount of time, debrief the room, by asking tables to share some of their favorites

Round 1 graphic

  • ROUND 2: Innovate Capabilities (15 minutes)
    • Announce the plot twist by saying, but what if each of these "Facts" was associated with the best team you've ever seen? What if they achieved hyper performance, by violating our most common community assumptions and norms?
    • Adjust the landscape by asking tables to rotate the canvas and the index cards "upside-down", such that the cards are now above the dotted line. Also, have the tables replace the cardstock frowny face icon with a provided cardstock smily face icon
    • Ask tables to examine each of these anti-patterns through a positive lens. For example, perhaps,
      • Daily standup is irregular and unscheduled, but they over-perform, because the team has multiple high-fidelity channels of organic communication, making the daily standup unnecessarily formal
      • Team's boss is also their ScrumMaster and Product Owner, but they over-perform, because the boss's overcommitment creates an absence and delegation that fosters self-organization
      • HOWEVER, if a dysfunction is too hard to stomach (e.g. Team lead shouts and berates others), then simply remove it from the canvas.
    • After a set amount of time, debrief the room, by asking tables to share some of their favorites

Round 2 graphic

  • ROUND 3: Investigate Experiments (15 minutes)
    • For a given "Fact", propose a plausible journey of experiments for how a team may get to that state.
    • Articulate at least 3 of those expriments using the Hypothesis User Story:
      • "We believe , Will result in , We will know we have succeeded when "
      • After a set amount of time, debrief the room, by asking tables to share some of their favorites

Round 3 graphic

Learning Outcome

Attendees of this session will leave knowing

  • How certain agile practices may be holding you back
  • How common anti-patterns may be more situational than universal
  • How to craft structured experiments to push the boundaries of your practice

Target Audience

Any deeply experienced agile champions, whether managers, engineers, testers, product owners, coaches, executives, or any other role

Prerequisites for Attendees

Attendees should bring:

  • Diversity of agile experiences
  • Familiarity with various techniques and frameworks
  • Open mind, willing to challenge one's own perspectives

schedule Submitted 7 months ago

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