Book Notes: Coaching Agile Teams - Lyssa Adkins

Coaching Agile Teams gives agile coaches the insights to adopt this new mindset and to guide teams to extraordinary performance and environment.


Title: Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition
Author: Lyssa Adkins
Themes: Agile, Career, Cases, Technology, Management, Business
Year: 2010
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
ISBN: 0321660358, 9780321660350
Pages: 352

As an agile coach, you can help project teams become outstanding at agile, creating products that make them proud and helping organizations reap the powerful benefits of teams that deliver both innovation and excellence.

The subtitle of this book says it is for ‘ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers,’ however, its guidance and advice extend to anyone associated with an agile team.

"... The imperative to “constantly improve” means exposing ourselves to one good agile coaching idea after another and incorporating them into our daily responses as coaches to teams and people. This book serves up a wide variety of those good coaching ideas, some provocative and some practical. Some you will chew on for a long time, maybe even struggle with. Others you will adopt as yours right away. Expect both..." 

More and more frequently, ScrumMasters and project managers are being asked to coach agile teams. But it’s a challenging role. It requires new skills—as well as a subtle understanding of when to step in and when to step back. 

Migrating from “command and control” to agile coaching requires a whole new mind-set.

In Coaching Agile Teams, Lyssa Adkins gives agile coaches the insights they need to adopt this new mind-set and to guide teams to extraordinary performance in a re-energized work environment. 

You’ll gain a deep view into the role of the agile coach, discover what works and what doesn’t, and learn how to adapt powerful skills from many allied disciplines, including the fields of professional coaching and mentoring.

Chapters of the Book:

Chapter 1: Introduction to Agile Software Development
  1.1 Overview
  1.2 Objectives
  1.3 Study Questions
  1.4 Three Perspectives on Software Engineering
  1.5 The Agile Manifesto
  1.6 Application of Agile Software Development
  1.7 Data About Agile Software Development
  1.8 Agile Software Development in Learning Environments
  1.9 Summary and Reflective Questions
  1.10 Summary

Chapter 1: Will I Be a Good Coach?
  Why Agile Coaching Matters
  The Agile Coaching Context
  Let’s Get Our Language Straight
  Move Toward Agile Coaching
  An Agile Coach Emerges
  Native Wiring
  Make Agile Coaching Your Personal Expression
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 2: Expect High Performance
  Set the Expectation
  Introduce a Metaphor for High Performance
  The Destination Never Comes
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 3: Master Yourself
  Start with Self-Awareness
  Recover from Command-and-Control
  Prepare for the Day Ahead
  Practice in the Moment
  Be a Model for Them
  Support Yourself
  Always Work on Yourself
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 4: Let Your Style Change
  Agile Team Stages
  Agile Coach Styles
  Feel Free to Let Your Style Change
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 5: Coach as Coach-Mentor
  What Is Agile Coaching?
  What Are We Coaching For?
  Coaching at Two Levels
  Coaching People One-on-One
  Coaching Product Owners
  Coaching Agile Coaches
  Coaching Agile Managers
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 6: Coach as Facilitator
  Wield a Light Touch
  Facilitate the Stand-Up
  Facilitate Sprint Planning
  Facilitate the Sprint Review
  Facilitate the Retrospective
  Facilitate During Team Conversations
  Professional Facilitator and Agile Coach
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 7: Coach as Teacher
  Teach During the Team Start-Up
  Teach New Team Members
  Use Teachable Moments
  Teach Agile Roles All the Time
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 8: Coach as Problem Solver
  An Agile Problem Solving Rubric
  Problems Arise and Are Sought
  See Problems Clearly
  Resolve Problems
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 9: Coach as Conflict Navigator
  The Agile Coach’s Role in Conflict
  Five Levels of Conflict
  What Level of Conflict Is Present?
  What Should You Do About It?
  Carrying Complaints
  Unsolvable Conflict
  A Last Word on Conflict
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 10: Coach as Collaboration Conductor
  Collaboration or Cooperation?
  From Cooperation to Collaboration
  Build Individual Collaborators
  Surplus Ideas Required
  Build the Team’s Collaboration Muscle
  Reveal the Heart of Collaboration
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 11: Agile Coach Failure, Recovery, and Success Modes
  Agile Coach Failure Modes
  Where Do Failure Modes Come From?
  Recover from Failure Modes
  Agile Coach Success Modes
  Practice, Practice
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 12: When Will I Get There?
  Agile Coach Skills
  Beyond a List of Skills
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Chapter 13: It’s Your Journey
  Agile Coach Journeys
  A Refresher
  Additional Resources

Lyssa Adkins has taught Scrum to hundreds of students, coached many agile teams, and served as master coach to many apprentice coaches since 2004. Coaching coaches one-on-one and in small groups, she enjoys a front-row seat as remarkable agile coaches emerge and go on to entice the very best from the teams they coach. She teaches the “Coaching Agile Teams” training course, which allows agile coaches to learn, practice, and deepen the skills and mind-sets offered in the book.

Thank you! I hope you enjoyed!

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