Rules of Thumb for Agile Coaches

At the end of one of my Team Coaching workshops, a participant–an agile coach with years of experience– remarked, “I had no idea there was more to coaching than asking questions.” Another coach commented, “I see now why me teaching how to write stories...

Change Artist Super Powers: Patience

“It shouldn’t take this long!” John, the VP of Development, snapped. “Its just not that hard!” The “it” John referred to was a set of measures and metrics. He believed that if all the teams reported these, everyone would be better able to plan releases. He’d be better...

The Risks of Anonymous Feedback

In one of the online forums I participate in, someone declared that feedback between peers must be anonymous. His rationale was that people won’t be honest without anonymity. I have found that it is possible to be honest and not anonymous.  I’ve also found that...

Change Artist Super Powers: Empathy

Some people seem to think that empathy has no place at work…that work requires a hard-nose, logic, and checking your emotions at the door. But, in periods of change, emotions—which are always present, whether we choose to acknowledge them or not—surge to the surface....

Jobs don’t fit in neat little boxes.

Most job descriptions decompose work into discrete chunks, clearly defining what each position must do. Competency models list required behaviors, seeking standardization across contexts. In essence, these models are akin to specifications for machine parts. Complex...

Change Artist Super Powers: Experimentation

In my previous two posts, I wrote about curiosity and observation. In this one, I’ll share some ideas about experimentation— my third Change Artist Super Power.   Tiny changes, done as experiments, may feel like you’re dancing around the real issue instead of facing...

Change Artist Super Powers: Observation

When I was a kid, there was a party game called Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The game involved a large wall poster of a sad-looking, tailless donkey. Armed with a replacement tail and a pin, each child attempted to give the donkey a new tail—while blind-folded and a...

Change Artist Super Powers: Curiosity

In my work, I draw on models, frameworks, and years of experience. Yet, one of my most valuable tools is a simple one: Curiosity. In an early meeting with a client, a senior manager expressed his frustration that development teams weren’t meeting his schedule....

Forgotten Questions of Change

I’ve been thinking about and observing organizational change for a very long time. It seems to me that –in their enthusiasm for efficiency, planning, “managing” change– people often overlook some critical questions. A handful of questions...

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