Agile Coaching Then and Now: Why We HAD to Update the Coaching Agile Teams Class


Agile Coaching Then and Now: Why We HAD to Update the Coaching Agile Teams Class

When we started teaching the Coaching Agile Teams class back in 2010, the field was different: it was more about teaching teams the basics of Agile, then standing back to watch the magic. Now, teams (and their coaches and ScrumMasters) are faced with pressures and complexities that make the job considerably more difficult. The pressure to increase organizational agility, the need to scale, management misunderstanding of Agile philosophy, many more roles than the basic three, team conflict and resistance; all these add up to a more difficult environment in which to coach.

This webinar — hosted by Lyssa Adkins (author of Coaching Agile Teams) and Michael Spayd (author of the upcoming Coaching the Agile Enterprise) — was recorded on March 31, 2015 and walks you through some of these changes, helps you understand why we updated our flagship course using the Integral Agile Operating System™, and offers a few practical tips on what you can take back to your own world.

Click to download the audio:  Agile Coaching Then and Now Webinar (stored on FilesAnywhere)

Guide to the Webinar

Use this guide to follow along with the webinar recording, or to skip to the part you really want to hear first. Click on a slide to open it in full screen. Please do not re-use the slides without permission.

Welcome to the Webinar!

0:00 – 8:50

  • Welcome
  • Who’s Here?  What Roles?
  • Who is Lyssa Adkins? Michael Spayd? Michael Hamman? Who is ACI?
  • A shout out for Michael Hamman’s work in helping develop agile managers.
  • Coaching Agile Teams version 1.0 vs version 2.0 vs version 3.0.

Someone doing agile coaching...
8:50 – 13:00

  • The job of the agile coach: what it was 5 years ago
  • Getting teams up and running + defining the role of agile coaching = “We’re doing agile now. Isn’t that cool?”
  • Nostalgic for the euphoria of early delivery
  • 5 years later: Now we have teams up and running and agile teams are almost the norm. Yet, not all is rosy.
  • Agile is revealing organizational dysfunctions, plus there is plenty to do inside teams. We haven’t cracked the code on that yet.
  • The agile coach’s purview has widened because agile is much more accepted now, yet not necessarily made easy in organizations.

Team Complexity Soup

13:00 – 15:00

  • It’s surely a soup, but how does it smell? Probably not as good as what Lyssa has cooking in the crock pot.
  • It’s a complicated, complex environment: both inside and outside teams.
  • This is the situation we’re all in.
  • Some of these things we have control or influence over, some we don’t.


What's New in CAT 3.0?

15:00 – 19:00

  • What’s new in Coaching Agile Teams version 3.0.
  • Bottom  line: Working more directly with complex environments.
  • Integral Agile Operating System™: huh?  A meta-model that does justice to everything out there.  It doesn’t choose this model over that model. Or this way over that way.  It’s a place to house everything and see the complex environment more clearly.
  • Integral Agile Operating System™ is the underlying organization of the class now.  It helps coaches make more choice-ful decisions of where to intervene, and where to let be.
  • Role complexity has really increased in the industry since we started teaching this class.  ACI has a lot to say about the role of managers and how they can be more agile-acting.
  • We also see a lot of benefit to understanding how group cultures evolve: at the individual people, team and whole org levels.  This, along with working with impediments to product flow, are now directly addressed in the class.

Agile Coaching Competency Framework

19:00 – 24:40

  • The Agile Coaching Competency Framework (creative commons license) has been used in the Coaching Agile Teams class since the beginning.
  • It is used as the basis of the first 1.5 days of CAT 3.0.
  • It’s not enough to be an Agile-Lean Practitioner as an agile coach.  Yes, it’s the biggest wedge because it’s “table stakes” for the game, so keeping current and practicing Agile-Lean is important. And, not enough by itself.
  • You need skills from both the content side (Teaching, Mentoring) and the process side (Professional Coaching, Facilitating).
  • Michael Spayd asks, “How has this model evolved for us?”
  • We’re surprised this model has remained so amazingly stable and continues to be so insightful for people when they encounter it. We keep finding more depth in this model.
  • People use this model to hone themselves as the instrument of their craft, to develop themselves.
  • Since we started teaching this class, the idea of Professional Coaching was not understood by most. Now, things like Powerful Questions, listening and other professional coaching skills are part of a commonplace agile community conversation. It’s been a change in the community; a recognition that the Professional Coaching skill set is important.
  • People see that their Mentoring gets better when it’s informed by Professional Coaching skills.  We get in touch with how we have created a new, and clear, Mentoring method.

Integral Agile Team View

24:40 – 36:25

  • This is a team-level view of the Integral Agile Operating System™.
  • Michael gives a tutorial of the 4 quadrants and their relevance to coaching at the agile team level.
  • The 4 quadrants are different perspectives on the same situation.
  • Any quadrant (perspective) by itself is not enough.
  • Each quadrant is a window to look through to “see” the complex environment. Each has different logic and techniques associated with it, and all four taken together give a more complete view.
  • We ask, “How healthy?” is the team in each quadrant.
  • All these taken together provide powerful ways to assess team health and increase it.
  • The CAT 3.0 class gives tools for each quadrant for the ultimate goal of sustainably increasing value flow, which is the purpose of agile.
  • The circles are the vertical dimension of the Integral Agile Operating System™. They represent the level of complexity within any quadrant.
  • Agile itself comes from a more complex level of development. Yet, sometimes the environment agile operates in is a simpler (less complex) stage of development. So, there is a mismatch, sometimes even a clash.
  • Having a wide variety of skills (look back at the Agile Coaching Competency Framework) and knowing how to look from different perspectives (through the Integral Agile Operating System™) gives coaches a full toolkit with which to be highly effective.
  • Base models of  Integral Agile Operating System™ are Integral Theory and Spiral Dynamics, from outside the agile community.

Complete Agile Coach Development Program

36:25 – 41:45

  • ACI now has a complete Agile Coaching Development Path.  (Jazz hands) We have been envisioning this for five years!
  • In-person classes on the left in the diagram; in the middle, the Certification Competency Cohort is a 10 month program to build real, demonstrable skills.
  • Both pieces yield the first-ever ACI certification: the ACI Certified Transformation CoachTeams. And, the ICAgile Expert – Agile Coaching, if desired.
  • The Competency Cohort is modeled after our Professional Coaching Certification experience, which was rigorous and competency-based.
  • A ScrumMaster would take The Agile Facilitator (TAF) once they have 3 months of experience on agile teams. Anyone can take it at any time, but that’s a logical place to start. And, it’s the most important skill set for ScrumMasters.
  • The Agile Coach Bootcamp consists of TAF and CAT in one 5-day retreat setting. It’s an intense transformation process and learning community.

Upcoming Classes41:45 – 57:24

  • We gave a shout-out for our upcoming classes that are part of the Agile Coach Development Program.
  • We took questions:
    • Brian: “How complimentary is the Competency Cohort and certifications to the Certified Scrum Coach (CSC)?” Lyssa reveals her plan to work with the Scrum Alliance to see how the rigor of this program might give people credit toward the CSC. At the same time, the CSC is more suitable for an enterprise coach, whereas our Competency Cohort is for a program level coach.
    • Steve: “When can we expect this Competency Cohort to start up? When can I sign up?” Description and registration will be up soon; first one to start in September.
    • Nicole: “How long is the Agile Coach Bootcamp?” Five days; people arrive Sunday night and leave on evening flight Friday. To get a flavor of what it’s really like, here’s a video of what alumni say about the Bootcamp.
    • Jeff: “What does Integral Agile look like at the practice level?” It doesn’t look much different than really well-done agile practices (however rare that may be; it attunes your expectations and actions to the altitude of complexity of the team you are working with. It gives you a different context for thinking about what to do.
    • Michael Hamman gives a brief overview of Managing Agile Environments which helps managers with their core question “Now what’s my role?”  This class helps managers shift from “managing to results” to “creating environments that produce results.”  Upcoming webinar on this: April 28th at 1pm Eastern. Stay tuned.
    • ACI continues to evolve, and we continue to grow ourselves as individuals.  You, our community, are our partners in this. You pull these new offerings out of us.


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