I am almost at the end of my journey towards the ICP-ACC learning path. To decode that – I am learning and acquiring new skills to become a better coach. My goal now is not to brag but to share a great thing I learned.
One of the stages of a coaching session is “Exploring.” As the title says, the goal is to help your coachee explore the problem area and get to the “aha” moment.
To do that, I guide them with a series of questions using the knowledge from the previous steps. I found one of those questions very powerful.
What would you do if you had a magic wand?
At first, I thought this was a stupid question and refused to ask it during my coaching exercise. Magic wand, right? Who am I? Gandalf?
Then I pushed myself to ask the question, and I was surprised by the result.
I asked the coachee why it happened like that. When he was in the middle of the problem root cause discovery, he realized he had some constraints set.
By asking this question, the coachee was encouraged to think wild, to forget about those constraints for a while. He was able to describe his ideal situation and path forward. He realized that those constraints are artificial, and he can ignore them.
We often set limitations like that for ourselves, and most of the time, they are why we don’t take the step that could make us more successful. So, what would you do if you had a magic wand?
As an RTE, I want to have a healthy and smart Scrum Master community, because I count on them to help me run the train.
In my current ART, I am working with fifteen amazing scrum masters from development, design, documentation, testing, performance, and globalization. As you can feel, they have unique skill sets, but they all possess the quality of an excellent agile leader.
Hand-picked content for Scrum Masters
One of the things I decided to do, so I can help them grow is to prepare a weekly dose of inspiration in the form of a newsletter.
I know it’s mainstream, but so far, I got a few great feedback entries encouraging me to continue with I do.
I always read the articles before sending them out, and I am picking up content that applies to solve the problems we know we have in our small world.
Also, I want to keep it simple and entertaining because I know this is one of the few thousands of e-mails they receive. I don’t want my e-mail to go to /dev/null immediately :)
This article is a part of series of articles on building a great Community of Practice (a.k.a CoP). I plan to write on that topic almost every week. If you have the same intent as me – helping your Scrum Masters grow – keep an eye here.
PI Planning is a high-priced event. You need to book a room, prepare the materials, order food, plan a social event, flight people over, pay for hotel and transportation and some meals, + even more costs.
The total price can go up to tens of thousands of euros and, in some cases, maybe more.
If you add on top of that the time people spend focusing on the PI Planning process – ~100 people for a few days, you get the whole idea.
That’s why it is very crucial to get feedback on:
How to improve the experience on the attendees
How to cut some costs
How not to repeat mistakes we did already
How to make the event more efficient
What SAFe recommends on collecting feedback
SAFe recommends having a retrospective-like event at the end of the Pi Planning, where all the attendees can put some stickies on the wall, and the facilitator will help to combine them in affinity notes, and then the RTE will create follow-up items in the backlog.
I see a bit of a problem in that since we tried it first:
The people were super tired and didn’t have the motivation to do yet another exercise.
They had feedback on their minds, but they didn’t like the attention to stand in front of everyone and put their stickies on the wall and explain why.
Some of the attendees shared verbal feedback with me during the day, but forgot to add it on the boards, thinking that the RTE will do something anyway.
What difference did I make?
I was reading a great case-study from Eik Thyrsted Brandsgård and Henrik Knibergand and based on something that they did, I decided to go even further and create a Feedback Meter:A scale from +2 (meaning this is super great, and I want this to continue) to -2 (meaning consider changing that in the future).
The board was there for the duration of the whole PI planning event, and the attendees could put their stickies on that scale. Also, I needed to communicate from time to time that the feedback board is there, and it can be used at any time.
What I have accomplished with this continuous feedback approach?
A mood meter: A quick view on the mood in the room at all time – you can see from that picture that we need some improvements :)
Act on time: A see something – do something attitude – if something needs improvement, don’t wait till the end of the Planning, but act now and add a sticky
Participation: An excellent way to read the feedback from others and to add your own to theirs.
Continuing after the PI Planning
There are 2 groups of attendees that you would miss if you stick to what SAFe recommends as a retrospective practice – those that are attending remotely and those people that love to share anonymous feedback for some reason.
I know you would tell me that this is behavior that I should not encourage, but in my case, I received surpassing feedback from that particular crowd.
To solve that problem, I have created a Podio survey and engaged anyone who could go and add even more feedback online.
What is your opinion on continuous feedback?
I am eager to learn more about how you deal with problems like that in the comments. Remember to start with +2 :)