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Coaching Agile Teams [Day 2] – Retro!

Day 2 of the Coaching Agile Teams course, led by Lyssa Adkins & Michael Spayd. Here are my main learnings and take-aways.

Conditions for a REAL Team
Us Agile folk are crazy about teams. We MUST have a cross-functional, self-organised team. But what if your team is not really a team? What defines a team? And most importantly, is it detrimental to label a group of people a ‘team’ when they clearly aren’t?

teamsWell apparently it is detrimental to have a psuedo team, as you can see from the diagram. (i.e. a team that doesn’t act like a team, doesn’t need to be a team, but is told to be a team)

So if having a ‘Psuedo Team’ is detrimental, what are the grounds for a real team?

Conditions for a Real Team:

  • A peformance challenge too complex for one person or for a group of people each “doing their part” to meet it; we have to synergize
  • A shared goal we can all articulate
  • Interdependence on one another; mutual accountability

Great Agile Coaches have a mix of competency & are aware of their weaknesses


During this day, we talked a LOT about the Agile Coaching Competency Framework. Lyssa’s Coaching Agile Teams course has a heavier focus on the right hand side of the wheel. We talked about what each of these wedges mean & why its OK to be weak on some of these areas (its unrealistic to expect an Agile Coach to be an expert in all of these areas).

Personally, I feel like Facilitating, Mentoring, Agile / Lean & Business are my strong areas. I’m now on a path to improve my Coaching (higher priority) & Teaching (lower priority) realms and happy to let the rest be my weakness.

Starting up or Resetting a Team: How are you inducting your team?
resetStarting a new team? (or conducting a reset?) Well here is a handy diagram to help you think about what to consider when planning activities with your team.

  • Product Vision
    Do the team understand what it is that they are building & most importantly, why? Get your Product Owner involved, perhaps a short (8 mins) presentation with a follow-up Q&A afterwards would help align the team.
  • Agile / Process
    Have the team talked about how they plan to work together? Are you introducing a process and if so, do they understand it? Try to consider an engaging way to ensure that the team understand the process and why they are using said process.
  • Team
    And most importantly, there is team building. There are a bunch of exercises that you could do to introduce a team to one another. Journeylines is a great example of an activity to break the ice. I also like “2 truths 1 lie”.