Featured Story

What follows is a featured story from a student of the Agile Coaching Institute, Sarone Thomson.

Impact from The Agile Facilitator course

The Agile Facilitator course has changed me forever! I am now living in a world of possibility. The team certainly has noticed a huge difference. I started facilitating on the first day back from the course, putting all the new ideas into practice.
The first game changer for our team was a Kickoff Meeting for the new year, where we created the Tree Metaphor (from the Coaching Agile Teams book) for the first time since I have been in Zeacom. Fourteen people, in a space of forty-five minutes, defined what the scrum values are in our context. Attached below is what we created, now displayed proudly on our scrum board.

SIP Team Tree Metaphor

My asking for a volunteer to produce the picture after the meeting, and having someone else take ownership to distribute it among the team was good for me. It showed me their buy-in and commitment, allowing me to move on.

Now, I am not trying to pull the wool over your eyes. There are still people confronted, as they feel this is a waste of time. They want to just get on with the “real work”. The product owner of this project has been very supportive however, and is reminding people we need to “slow-down in order to go faster”. This team has been together for 1.5 years, and with 3 months left until release date, we are feeling the crunch. We are still working on getting management buy-in, and management is watching this team very closely. Note that I am still the business analyst, not the Scrum Master. Our scrum master handed the facilitation of the meeting over to me for this instance to see how it goes.
The second game changer which is relevant to my role was a facilitated workshop with the project team, the business, and key stakeholders. This turned out to be sixteen people. I had such positive feedback! People reported they were engaged, and felt that they were heard. The key was placing a question at the top “Are you still getting value from this meeting?” I welcomed people to simply walk out and leave anytime that they were not getting value or it became irrelevant, no questions asked. Two walked out in the last fifteen minutes (the prioritization of the requirements were not relevant to them – understandable as they were on other projects). The improvements they suggested were perhaps a smaller number, and I am still trying to figure out if I agree with them.

This is the first time ever that I have facilitated a meeting such as this. It’s a shame really as I have been a business analyst for 2 years and this project has been going on for 1.5 years. Imagine if collaboration like this had been happening from the beginning instead of me conducting small interviews and relaying stories to the team….Imagine!
What did I learn from my experience so far?
The POWER Start was key. For both of these meetings my POWER Start needed improvement. So that is something I am working on. At least the collaboration and outcome was still great….so there is hope for me yet.