What is the background situation/context for your probe?

The story goes ...

During the Agile Coach Camp at Agile India 2019, we had an interesting discussion driven by Woody Zuill around the concept of Organisational Inertia. This has been a topic of research since the early 80s with the newest research in 2000s as well. The research basically revolves around two aspects:

  1. An organisation's incapability to keep up with major shifts
  2. The resistance towards change

These don't necessarily stop change from happening but considerably slows down the shift. With organisations struggling to survive in a VUCA world, Organisational Inertia becomes one of the critical factors for consideration. Enter, an Agile Coach! Our industries have heavily invested in them in the recent past and continue to do so in order to help them survive in this VUCA world. Shane Hastie addresses this as the Golden Age of Agile Coaching in which coaches can help the poor souls navigate themselves during a period of turmoil. I respect that.

But my evil mind links the concepts of Organisational Inertia and the Golden Age of Agile Coaching differently; so during the Agile Coach Camp, I asked folks to run a Thought Experiment which I also mentioned in my talk during Agile India 2019.

What is (or has been) your hypothesis?

My hypothesis is: "We can deploy Agile Coaches in organisations and hopefully the organisations will overcome their inertia in 10 years to provide a better work experience to their employees. Contrarily, if Agile Coaches cease to exist, organisations may crumble under their inertia in 5 years and the ones left will be great places to work" ... from a Behavioural Economics standpoint, the second option seems better.

I decided to SLICE and probe this hypothesis and began my experiments on 3rd June 2019, the day after I finished my last batch of ICAgile's Agile Coaching training. At the time of submitting this position paper, I've been running the below mentioned experiments, and it hasn't been easy to deliberately take a step back from coaching interventions. The observations have been interesting (if not amazing) so far and this is my experience that I wish to share during Agile Coach Camp 2020.

What is the experiment you would like to run (or you have run) and how can this experiment validate or invalidate your hypothesis?

Below are the experiments that I have been executing, details and observations of which I would like to share and get views from fellow coaches.

  1. Hypothesis: Anyone can be an Agile Coach, not everyone should.
    We have recently seen an explosion in the number of Agile Coaches, a lot self proclaimed and a lot driven by certifications. This hypothesis states that although it's fair to teach coaching skills, not restricting coaching as a practice to a select few may do more harm than good.

    Experiment 1.1: The effects of having a Code of Ethics for Agile Coaches.
    Experiment 1.2: The effects of making the Agile Coach certifications obsolete or extremely difficult.

  2. Hypothesis: Not talking about agility improves agility for others.
    Although this takes a lot from coaching skills, this hypothesis states that just the act of limiting the propagation of information around agility can lead to an increase in agility compared to current rates.

    Experiment 2.1: The effects of social media on the knowledge of agility.
    Experiment 2.2: The effects of deliberate silence by experts around agile practices.

  3. Hypothesis: Degree of agility cannot be measured objectively.
    This hypothesis states that any metrics to assess agility will yield incorrect results and cannot be considered as the basis of any change / transformation initiatives.

    Experiment 3.1: The effects of assessment surveys and variation in formats.
    Experiment 3.2: The effects of objective goals for organisations / teams undergoing a transformation.
Is there a specific skill/technique you would like to learn/explore at this coach camp?

I'm particularly interested in learning experimentation techniques used by fellow coaches in order to see how it differs / concur with my own technique (SLICE).

Call for Papers CLOSED
Ended on Jan 25 '20 05:29 AM IST

Interested in attending the Agile Coach Camp on Oct 11th in Bengaluru? Read on...

It's been 12 Years and almost 110 viral Agile Coach Camps since our very first coach camp experiment. This year, Coach Camp co-creator Naresh Jain along with Jutta Eckstein and John Buck will lead participants in this Coach Camp in Bangalore, organized as part of the Agile India 2020 Conference.

Coach Camp Theme

As a coach, you're often the one who needs to drive and sustain change. Yet, how do you do this? What has helped and hindered you doing so and how can you best pass your experience on to other coaches or how can you best learn from other coaches?

This is the theme for this year's coach camp. To tackle this challenge, we invite you to try something new:

  • Currently, we face the following situation: Constantly driving change is getting more and more important for companies to survive in this VUCA world. At the same time, it is (or should be) the core skill of every coach – no matter if you coach individuals, teams, or organisations. However, sometimes it seems every coach has to come up with her own experience on how to drive change successfully.
  • Our hypothesis is that for driving change, every coach uses so-called probes, that are defined by small, safe-to-fail experiments based on hypotheses derived from reflection on the current situation as well as on theory. So, probing allows discovering (based on the hypothesis) what's working and what is not through one or several experiments. This allows to make sense of both the current situation but even more important of the situation we are aiming for. And if we create a knowledge base of our collective wisdom on probes we used (or intend to use) we can learn from each other.
  • Therefore, as an experiment we want to invite this year's coach camp participants to jointly discover, share, create, improve, and finally publish probes that help(ed) driving and sustaining change. As in a typical coach camp, we will use the Open Space format to explore different topics for driving change and we invite you to use probes to focus the discussions on these different topics. We anticipate as a result that the discovered and created probes will provide a foundation for such a knowledge base.

Registering for the Coach Camp

The coach camp is free of charge (financially) yet, for registration we ask you for the following:

  • Please click on the Add Paper button and submit your position paper. In your position paper, you will be asked to share an idea for a probe, consisting of a background situation (context), a hypothesis, and an experiment. This can be a probe you've implemented before, one you've discovered/heard of others implementing it, or you intend to implement. The probe should focus on the coach camp's theme: Driving Change.
  • The discussed probes provide a basis for a free and publicly accessible knowledge base.

Final Note

Please note, we want to invite you to use probes for the discussion and recording of the Open Space sessions. This is by no means an enforcement. We are well aware that there might be situations where probes are not the right means for discussing or/and recording a particular topic - and that is of course fine. After all, using probes for this coach camp is a probe in itself (and we are open to possibly invalidate our hypothesis.)

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