Grow a Solid Agile Team


  • BestBrains Sankt Gertruds Stræde 5, 3. sal 1129 København K Denmark

This workshop is like a 2-days, hands-on version of Gil Broza's popular book The Human Side of Agile. Learn how to effectively grow a solid agile team.


2-Days Course

Date: Monday April 24 - Tuesday April 25, 2017
Time: 9:00 - 17:00
Price: 12.500 DKK / Early bird 9.500 DKK (ex. VAT) Please note that the vat will be added to the price above.
Last day for Early Bird: February 28, 2017

Where:
BestBrains P/S
Sankt Gertruds Stræde 5, 3. sal
1129 København K.

Please contact us:
People have derived great value from attending with one or more peers. The tickets for the 3rd and 4th attendees in your group are at a 30% discount. If you want to sign up 3 or more persons at the same time, or if you want to be charged by invoice: event@bestbrains.dk.


You know your team is solid when you can safely go on vacation and expect that in your absence, they'll perform at least as well as when you're present. They will continue to produce great value in collaboration with their customer, and adjust to reasonable changes in expectations. (Rest assured, you are still needed past your vacation — solid teams still have good use for servant leaders!)

If you've read any of the popular Scrum/Agile books, you'd have seen an idealized picture of a team. Between the delivery side, the product owner, and the leader or ScrumMaster, these folks self-organize and collaborate to create an endless stream of whiz-bang valuable product. It's a beautiful, compelling picture... and not an entirely realistic one.

Agile is predicated on empowered, collaborative teams. Real-world Agile teams, however, experience various gnarly situations:

  • The members have a manager (or more than one), and maybe also a ScrumMaster, and maybe also a project manager. Who owns which decisions and activities?

  • They didn't get to pick their colleagues, and even their manager didn't have a complete say in their selection. Why assume that they would want to be mutually accountable?

  • Team members want more autonomy and decision-making power than their organization (which probably isn't designed for agility) will allow.

  • Their self-organization is rather basic, and most of their retrospectives result in minor changes, making the whole 'team power' thing seem a bit academic.

  • Their managers won't admit it to anyone, but their trust in individual members doesn't always extend to trusting the team as a unit.

These challenges are common, and usually result in mediocrity. But you can turn the situation around. And if results matter, you have to turn it around. That makes you a leader.

 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:

This workshop is particularly geared to active Lean/Agile practitioners who have the opportunity to apply what they learn here. I expect you to know the Agile basics and to have at least a couple of months' experience applying them. You don't have to be "an Agile convert"

 

BY THE END OF THIS COURSE ATTENDEES WILL BE ABLE TO:

  • Support your Agile team all the way from Forming to Performing (did you know that every stage requires different actions and strategies from you?)
  • Build up your confidence and skills as a servant leader (all the more so if your organization doesn't entirely understand servant leadership)
  • Put team autonomy, empowerment, and self-organization in your context, and specifically who makes which decisions when
  • Develop ways to share your expectations, needs, and experience without being seen as interfering or micromanaging
  • Get through to even the most resistant people without being “touchy-feely”
  • Discover how to coach both individuals and teams to grow and practice that in a safe environment
  • Lead useful, collaborative meetings (even if you can't be a neutral facilitator)

 

WHAT MAKES THIS COURSE SPECIAL

To get the results you want, you'll need to communicate well, coach folks, and facilitate conversations, among other things. While you can learn these skills in targeted courses elsewhere, they will not cater to your particular needs as a manager, leader, or ScrumMaster to teams that develop technology, and specifically Agile teams.

Moreover, many of those courses presume that you want to become a facilitator, or an Agile coach, or something else. I'm assuming the opposite; I'm assuming that you want to continue managing or leading practitioners, improve on the necessary skills, and to eventually be promoted.

Lastly, while facilitation and coaching courses impart valuable skills, they make another important assumption: to be a great team facilitator or coach, you must be neutral. But you and I know that as their manager, or staff ScrumMaster, complete neutrality is impossible. (Even in my frequent capacity as an external Agile team coach, with no skin in the product game, I cannot assume complete neutrality.)

 

THE EXPERIENCE YOU CAN EXPECT

We'll work experientially: there will be no slides, thick shelfware, or fancy models with mnemonics. Most sessions will involve some teaching, a lot of group discussion, and practice in pairs or triplets. You'll practice soft skills in a safe environment, with me and with your peers, so you can use what you learn back in the office. Your take-home workshop binder contains 30 pages of checklists, self-assessment tools, concise summaries, and supplementary reading. 

This workshop attracts people with a lot of commonality. You'll network with peers in similar situations: learn from them, bounce ideas around, collaborate with them, and stay in touch with them for extra support.

As you might know, I regularly speak in front of large audiences, live as well as virtual. The effect for each participant, however, is somewhat limited. I can't promise you a high-touch experience if you're sitting in a large room with 100 people, listening to me and watching slides.

I know first-hand the amazing influence the small-scale, experiential format has on learning. In order to serve you at the highest level, I picked a number that's small enough so you get lots of individual attention, and high enough so you can have a good cohort of colleagues to network with.

Join me and a small group of committed leaders. You'll come away from these two packed and engaging days with real answers to your real world problems. Expect us to go light on theory and heavy on practice and pragmatism.

This workshop is limited to 20 participants in order to keep this a high-touch experience for you.

Gil demonstrated a real talent in understanding people, their motivation and needs, giving valuable feedback and recommendations.
— Shirit Shachak Sibony QA Manager, Oracle Israel

AGENDA

1. Your mind-set, role, and responsibilities
Agile favors the servant leadership model; a great and elusive ideal, it means different things for managers, team leaders, project managers, and ScrumMasters. Clarity around this is also vitally important to their teams, especially those who are accountable to two or more of these authority figures! We’ll discuss both the ideal and the reality in the attendees’ context, and identify the qualities and actions that would make the most difference to their teams. Participants will increase their awareness of two key responsibilities of effective leadership: enabling motivation and supporting people through the emotional response to change.

2. Supporting the team's successful evolution
According to the well-known Tuckman model (which predates Agile but applies nonetheless), a team has to proceed through a certain sequence of three stages on the way to the stage that makes it all worthwhile, performing.

This model has several important implications for you. Team growth is evolutionary, and success is not inevitable. Even with the most suitable people using the best methods with good support, there is no guarantee they will graduate from the storming stage. Some teams may appear to have normed, but they merely put on a happy face, stifle all conflict and differences, and defer to their product owner and managers. And there’s lots more to say about the other stages too!

We’ll analyze the fundamental differences between great, good, and struggling Agile teams. Then, participants will walk through what it takes for a team to graduate from one stage to the next, what the risks are, and how, as leaders, they can help their team along the way to greatness. We’ll examine the participants’ most likely impediments to teamwork and discuss possible responses.

3. Powerful communication
“We need to communicate better” and “communication breakdowns” are popular observations in retrospectives and post-mortems. However, micromanagement, nagging, and more emails are not the remedy. Equally unhelpful is traditional communication training, which assumes you can pigeon-hole other people into “types” (e.g. MBTI, DiSC) and adjust your style to that type’s preferences. (Most people don’t walk around with labels on their foreheads announcing their types, and profiling other people is incredibly hard.)

In this half-day segment, you’ll learn powerful ways to get your point across in interactions with staff, colleagues, and managers. You’ll practice effective interactions, giving feedback, handling resistance, and difficult conversations — all without being “touchy-feely”. Along the way, you’ll get help (from me and your peers) for team- and leadership-related problems.

4. Coaching individuals and teams to grow
Leading others is about helping them succeed in their work, and includes an expectation to coach them, sometimes even daily. But what does that mean? What can you and can’t you do in an environment of autonomy, trust, and self-organization? When should you be teaching, facilitating, mentoring, or coaching? Why do logical arguments rarely work as well as you’d expect them to? And do you really have to ask for permission to coach?

We’ll explore the 9 stances of helpfulness and to increase the likelihood of your offers of help being accepted. We’ll then zero in on the coaching stance, study the GROW model, and bring it to life with useful techniques. The instructor will demonstrate expert coaching with one of the participants, and debrief the experience with the audience. Attendees will practice and receive feedback on their coaching. We’ll see what leaders do to support their team’s Agility in a coaching capacity, and discuss useful techniques for creating quick shifts in teams.

5. Facilitating team conversations
The #1 complaint about Agile is that there are too many meetings. In most cases, the complaint is less about the number of meetings than about their quality and value. But meetings, and all forms of conversation, are vital for a self-organizing team that values communication, collaboration, and consensus.

Whether in a formal meeting or in the hallway, whether in person or distributed, you must do certain basic things to make conversations meaningful and worthwhile. (And they don’t necessarily involve flipcharts, stickies, or markers.) You’ll practice with — and get tons of feedback on — two elements you must absolutely get right if your meetings are to succeed.

6. Optimal: Managing the frustration of leading change
The people you lead experience two types of change: product and work changes, and growth as an Agile team. As exhilarating as such leadership can be, it can also be frustrating. You will encounter blame, justification, guilt, and other coping stances. You’ll learn a useful model and perspective for identifying and overcoming the frustration. Along the way, we’ll examine a powerful technique to inspire people to take responsibility.

7. Closing
Mirroring our first topic — your role and mind-set — we’ll now explore your own personal growth path and specific steps forward


NOT YOUR STANDARD-ISSUE COMMUNICATION SKILLS, FACILITATION, OR COACHING COURSE

Going to this workshop will forever change the way I work with the team.
— Alon Sabi, CTO at Function Point Software

To get the results you want, you'll need to communicate well, coach folks, and facilitate conversations, among other things. While you can learn these skills in targeted courses elsewhere, they will not cater to your particular needs as a manager, leader, or ScrumMaster to teams that develop technology, and specifically Agile teams.

Moreover, many of those courses presume that you want to become a facilitator, or an Agile coach, or something else. I'm assuming the opposite; I'm assuming that you want to continue managing or leading practitioners, improve on the necessary skills, and to eventually be promoted.

Lastly, while facilitation and coaching courses impart valuable skills, they make another important assumption: to be a great team facilitator or coach, you must be neutral. But you and I know that as their manager, or staff ScrumMaster, complete neutrality is impossible. (Even in my frequent capacity as an external Agile team coach, with no skin in the product game, I cannot assume complete neutrality.)


THIS WILL DIRECTLY IMPROVE VALUE DELIVERY AND PRODUCTIVITY

Think about it. What greater value will your team deliver, and how much more productive will they be, if you make just one of the following a reality:

  • Getting the team's resident cowboy to share responsibility with the rest of the team

  • Inspiring the team to actively curb technical debt and stop creating instant legacy code

  • Increasing solution quality and simplicity through greater team member collaboration

  • Keeping one smart team member from jumping ship

  • Increasing the team's ability to make certain decisions without having to run everything by you

These improvements are hard to quantify, but you'll know them when you see them. If you want to use hard numbers, consider this. By improving team communication, collaboration, and alignment enough to avoid just one weekly 30-minute meeting, you'll save at least $10,000 per year in labor cost alone.


INSTRUCTOR

Gil Broza
Agile Development Mentor, Coach, and Author.

Gil Broza BestBrains Grow a Solid Agile Team

Gil Broza helps software organizations build and lead engaged, solid, high-performance Agile development teams. He guides teams and their leaders in creating effective, humane, and responsible work environments so they truly delight their customers and make a positive impact. He is an “all-rounder”, working at all organizational levels and coaching people in both technical and leadership behaviours.

Gil's recently published book The Agile Mind-Set exposes how practitioners think about work to get amazing results. His previous book The Human Side of Agile is the definitive practical guide to leading Agile teams in the real world. He has been a regular contributor and coaching track chair for the Agile series of conferences, a sought-after speaker for other industry events and groups, and a host of numerous public webinars about Agility. For a taste of his approach click here.


FURTHER INFORMATION

Date and time:
April 24. - April 25., 2017. at 9:00 – 16:30.
We will be serving a light breakfast from 8:30.
The course will be taught in English.

Price: 
12500 DKK (Early Bird Special: 9500 DKK until February 28. 2017). The price includes course materials, breakfast, lunch, fruite, coffee, the etc.

Please contact us:
If you want to sign up 3 or more persons at the same time, or if you want to be charged by invoice: event@bestbrains.dk.

The workshop will be held in BestBrains' cosy premisis in the heart of Copenhagen:

BestBrains P/S
Sankt Gertruds Stræde 5, 3. sal
1129 København K.

BestBrains Course Terms and Conditions


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