Does a ScrumMaster need a technical background? Do they need to be able to read code and coach developers on their day to day work?
Agile Coaching has emerged as an essential role found in and around agile teams. New teams need basics, competent teams sometimes get lost, and great teams want to get better. Coaching has arrived. InfoQ caught up with author Lyssa Adkins and asked a few question about agile coaching.
Most organizations hire Agile coaches to carry out an organization wide Agile transformation. The intention is to have a lean and fit organization by the time coaches walk out of the building. However, it is very difficult to achieve transformation that improves the end-to-end delivery process and is sustainable if the transformation just begins at the team level.
Stakeholders of an Agile project often seek the help of a seasoned Agile coach to gauge the effectiveness of the Agile process and practices that their team is following. The intention is to plug the holes and make the team more effective. Recently, on the Scrum Development group, Scott Killen started a thread on how to do an audit on an Agile team.
Rashina Hoda is a PhD researcher who has been examining how self-organization actually happens on teams. She has studied teams in New Zealand and India and identified six distinct roles that emerge when teams effectively self-organize. She spoke to InfoQ about her research, which will be published at the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE2010) to be held in Cape Town in May.
The Agile community is developing consensus around three important areas of practice: requirements gathering, agile coaching, and open space formats for group learning. At the recent Scrum Gathering, these topics were prominent topics of discussion on Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 of the event. InfoQ explored each of these further to gain a better understanding of their place in Agile.
March 19 - 21, agile coaches will gather in Durham, North Carolina to share, learn, and improve their skills. Registration for this event costs no money, but each participant must write a position paper in order to qualify. The event will have no preset agenda of sessions. Instead, the Open Space approach will be used, and participants will create the agenda at the event itself.
Patrick Wilson-Welsh, Chris Beale, Gary Baker, John Huston, Daryl Kulak, and others are attempting to popularize the idea of a new role, the "Agile Team Lead", to supplant many of the existing leadership roles found in and around agile teams.
Discussions about agile's "decline and fall" have been a somewhat recurring theme here on the AgileQ, and in the community in general, centering around sentiments that people aren't adopting agile effectively, that they're doing it wrong and screwing it up. Kevin Schlabach poses the idea that the agile community itself, by not growing new leaders, has a hand in causing this.
Rachel Davies and Liz Sedley, co-authors of the book Agile Coaching, gave a fun session “Top Ten Tips for Agile Coaches”. The session could well have been called “Top Ten Things that Many Agile Coaches get Wrong”.
Knowledge transfer is characterized by transfer of understanding, about a context, from one unit (individual, team, department, organization) to another. In a series of interesting experiments, Steve Bockman tried to figure out the best way to transfer knowledge in an Agile project.
Increasingly there are reports of initial success followed by failures with Agile adoption. Sometimes these problems are inadvertently caused by Agile coaches.
A recent discussion on the ScrumDevelopment Yahoo! group discussed the different uses and misuses for velocity. Should velocity be used a metric for productivity? Should it be used for iteration planning? What about longer term release planning?
Ruby on Rails has been around for about 5 years and in those years developers have created a lot of applications. Many of those applications were created while learning Ruby and Ruby on Rails and may not have used the best practices but yet made it into production web sites. These web applications can be problematical but a new book focused on the solution is available.
Many people playfully credit the 3x5 index card as the "agilist's badge". In many ways though this is not an inaccurate or inappropriate; going through a stack of index cards is a often real hallmark of many agile activities. But what about using index cards to learn and remember agile? With their 'Agile In a Flash' project, Tim Ottinger and Jeff Langr want to help people do just that.