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Coaching a team perceived to be failing

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  • Thomas Reynolds
    Hi everyone, I have been asked to help coach a team that is perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can move forward on a firm
    Message 1 of 15 , Jul 16, 2009
      Hi everyone,

      I have been asked to help coach a team that is perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can move forward on a firm foundation.  The team currently believe they are being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it.  My initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and interact with the team.

      My initial thoughts on starting this process is to

      • Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
      • Conduct a workshop with the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying what is important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and then get buy in from them that they want to change.
      • Conduct a workshop with the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product, what they believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the delivery of product, also get their buy in that they want to change.
      • Based on this information we can work with them to start the change process. 
      I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of reservations.

      At the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the team and one for the PO's.  My gut however tells me it should be one workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view.  My reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere, although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.

      I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar in the past to help guide me through this process.

      Many thanks

      Tom

    • Thomas Reynolds
      Hi everyone, I have been asked to help coach a team that is perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can move forward on a firm
      Message 2 of 15 , Jul 16, 2009
        Hi everyone,

        I have been asked to help coach a team that is perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can move forward on a firm foundation.  The team currently believe they are being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it.  My initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and interact with the team.

        My initial thoughts on starting this process is to

        • Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
        • Conduct a workshop with the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying what is important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and then get buy in from them that they want to change.
        • Conduct a workshop with the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product, what they believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the delivery of product, also get their buy in that they want to change.
        • Based on this information we can work with them to start the change process. 
        I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of reservations.

        At the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the team and one for the PO's.  My gut however tells me it should be one workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view.  My reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere, although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.

        I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar in the past to help guide me through this process.

        Many thanks

        Tom

      • Doug McQuilken
        Tom, This is a curious phrase perceived to be failing - who perceives them to be failing and what is the agreed criteria for failure ? Regards, Doug ...
        Message 3 of 15 , Jul 16, 2009
          Tom,

          This is a curious phrase "perceived to be failing" - who perceives them to be failing and what is the agreed criteria for "failure"?

          Regards,
          Doug

          --- On Thu, 7/16/09, Thomas Reynolds <tom_reynolds70@...> wrote:

          From: Thomas Reynolds <tom_reynolds70@...>
          Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Coaching a team perceived to be failing
          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Thursday, July 16, 2009, 7:22 AM

           

          Hi everyone,

          I have been asked to help coach a team that is perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can move forward on a firm foundation.  The team currently believe they are being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it.  My initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and interact with the team.

          My initial thoughts on starting this process is to

          • Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
          • Conduct a workshop with the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying what is important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and then get buy in from them that they want to change.
          • Conduct a workshop with the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product, what they believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the delivery of product, also get their buy in that they want to change.
          • Based on this information we can work with them to start the change process. 
          I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of reservations.

          At the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the team and one for the PO's.  My gut however tells me it should be one workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view.  My reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere, although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.

          I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar in the past to help guide me through this process.

          Many thanks

          Tom

        • Thomas Reynolds
          Doug, I used the word perceived as I have no real view at the moment as I m not yet close to the team and therefore don t want to pre-judge the situation.
          Message 4 of 15 , Jul 16, 2009
            Doug,

            I used the word "perceived" as I have no real view at the moment as I'm not yet close to the team and therefore don't want to pre-judge the situation.  The view from elsewhere is that they are not deliverying fast enough and not deliverying the right things to the right quality and hence the reason I have been asked to help.  In addition the team say they are using scrum but in fact they are not, for example they have an analysis phase followed by design phase etc etc.

            This is all I know at the moment other than hear say and a few bits and pieces that I have picked up.

            Therefore I want to go into this from the very beginning to get everyones view and to get their buy in to move forward.  It could be for all I know that the team is doing a great job given their situation so I want to ascertain the current facts and situation and move forward from there based on the information that I obtain, the goal is to also get them to start to implement scrum correctly.

            I have some views on how I can start this process and am therefore looking for advice and guidance from people who have undertaken somthing similar.

            Cheers

            Tom


            From: Doug McQuilken <dougmcq000@...>
            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Thursday, 16 July, 2009 12:31:54
            Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Coaching a team perceived to be failing

             

            Tom,

            This is a curious phrase "perceived to be failing" - who perceives them to be failing and what is the agreed criteria for "failure"?

            Regards,
            Doug

            --- On Thu, 7/16/09, Thomas Reynolds <tom_reynolds70@ yahoo.co. uk> wrote:

            From: Thomas Reynolds <tom_reynolds70@ yahoo.co. uk>
            Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Coaching a team perceived to be failing
            To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
            Date: Thursday, July 16, 2009, 7:22 AM

             

            Hi everyone,

            I have been asked to help coach a team that is perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can move forward on a firm foundation.  The team currently believe they are being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it.  My initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and interact with the team.

            My initial thoughts on starting this process is to

            • Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
            • Conduct a workshop with the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying what is important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and then get buy in from them that they want to change.
            • Conduct a workshop with the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product, what they believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the delivery of product, also get their buy in that they want to change.
            • Based on this information we can work with them to start the change process. 
            I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of reservations.

            At the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the team and one for the PO's.  My gut however tells me it should be one workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view.  My reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere, although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.

            I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar in the past to help guide me through this process.

            Many thanks

            Tom


          • Doug McQuilken
            Tom, Assuming the team wants to do a good job , another approach would be to observe all ceremonies for one sprint as a coach - worked quite well for us.
            Message 5 of 15 , Jul 16, 2009
              Tom,

              Assuming the team "wants to do a good job", another approach would be to observe all ceremonies for one sprint as a coach - worked quite well for us.

              Regards,
              Doug

              --- On Thu, 7/16/09, Thomas Reynolds <tom_reynolds70@...> wrote:

              From: Thomas Reynolds <tom_reynolds70@...>
              Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Coaching a team perceived to be failing
              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Thursday, July 16, 2009, 7:42 AM

               

              Doug,

              I used the word "perceived" as I have no real view at the moment as I'm not yet close to the team and therefore don't want to pre-judge the situation.  The view from elsewhere is that they are not deliverying fast enough and not deliverying the right things to the right quality and hence the reason I have been asked to help.  In addition the team say they are using scrum but in fact they are not, for example they have an analysis phase followed by design phase etc etc.

              This is all I know at the moment other than hear say and a few bits and pieces that I have picked up.

              Therefore I want to go into this from the very beginning to get everyones view and to get their buy in to move forward.  It could be for all I know that the team is doing a great job given their situation so I want to ascertain the current facts and situation and move forward from there based on the information that I obtain, the goal is to also get them to start to implement scrum correctly.

              I have some views on how I can start this process and am therefore looking for advice and guidance from people who have undertaken somthing similar.

              Cheers

              Tom


              From: Doug McQuilken <dougmcq000@yahoo. com>
              To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
              Sent: Thursday, 16 July, 2009 12:31:54
              Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Coaching a team perceived to be failing

               

              Tom,

              This is a curious phrase "perceived to be failing" - who perceives them to be failing and what is the agreed criteria for "failure"?

              Regards,
              Doug

              --- On Thu, 7/16/09, Thomas Reynolds <tom_reynolds70@ yahoo.co. uk> wrote:

              From: Thomas Reynolds <tom_reynolds70@ yahoo.co. uk>
              Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Coaching a team perceived to be failing
              To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
              Date: Thursday, July 16, 2009, 7:22 AM

               

              Hi everyone,

              I have been asked to help coach a team that is perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can move forward on a firm foundation.  The team currently believe they are being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it.  My initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and interact with the team.

              My initial thoughts on starting this process is to

              • Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
              • Conduct a workshop with the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying what is important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and then get buy in from them that they want to change.
              • Conduct a workshop with the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product, what they believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the delivery of product, also get their buy in that they want to change.
              • Based on this information we can work with them to start the change process. 
              I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of reservations.

              At the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the team and one for the PO's.  My gut however tells me it should be one workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view.  My reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere, although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.

              I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar in the past to help guide me through this process.

              Many thanks

              Tom


            • Don Gray
              Thomas, The following is based on my impression of your comments for which you don t have direct observation. Doesn t sound like a solid place from which to
              Message 6 of 15 , Jul 16, 2009
                Thomas,

                The following is based on my impression of your comments for which
                you don't have direct observation. Doesn't sound like a solid
                place from which to start, but I'll try to be helpful.

                > The view from elsewhere is that they are not deliverying fast enough

                By what standard? Compared to whom? Why make this comparison?

                > deliverying the right things

                Not delivering the right things? Sounds like the PO might not be
                properly ordering the backlog. Is someone second guessing the PO?

                > to the right quality

                What is the definition for done? Why is the PO accepting stories at
                the sprint demo that don't have the "right quality"? Does the PO
                establish acceptance criteria for the stories?

                > for example they have an analysis phase followed by
                > design phase etc etc.

                How long do the sprints last? How big are the stories? Shortening the
                time and reducing the size should remove these ... not sure what to
                suggest for the etc etc. ;{)>

                > It could be for all I know that the team is doing a great job given
                > their situation so I want to ascertain the current facts and
                > situation and move forward from there based on the information that
                > I obtain, the goal is to also get them to start to implement scrum
                > correctly.

                +1 for Doug's suggestion. Observe what's happening for the team.
                Focus on what you see and hear. Use that to look for what it
                /MIGHT/ mean. Use the Rule of Three to expand the possibilities in
                your search for meaning.

                Let us know how it goes.

                --
                Don (336)414-4645

                He who knows others is clever;
                He who knows himself is enlightened.
                Lao-Tzu

                Learn about yourself at the AYE Conference, Nov 7 - 11, 2009.
                www.AYEconference.com
              • Nick Xidis
                I agree with Doug s recommendation. Your approach of opening communications with all parties is a good one. You might consider focusing your attention more on
                Message 7 of 15 , Jul 16, 2009
                  I agree with Doug's recommendation. Your approach of opening communications with all parties is a good one. You might consider focusing your attention more on looking forward to what success looks like rather than looking back and trying to work issues. I would suggest that once the team understands what's required to be successful, the team has the responsibility to address the issues. I find that addressing misses early in the sprint helps - don't wait till they've failed to deliver a whole story, discuss it as a team when a small handful of tasks are off track and challenge the team to find the fix.

                  Good luck.

                  NX


                  --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Don Gray <don@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Thomas,
                  >
                  > The following is based on my impression of your comments for which
                  > you don't have direct observation. Doesn't sound like a solid
                  > place from which to start, but I'll try to be helpful.
                  >
                  > > The view from elsewhere is that they are not deliverying fast enough
                  >
                  > By what standard? Compared to whom? Why make this comparison?
                  >
                  > > deliverying the right things
                  >
                  > Not delivering the right things? Sounds like the PO might not be
                  > properly ordering the backlog. Is someone second guessing the PO?
                  >
                  > > to the right quality
                  >
                  > What is the definition for done? Why is the PO accepting stories at
                  > the sprint demo that don't have the "right quality"? Does the PO
                  > establish acceptance criteria for the stories?
                  >
                  > > for example they have an analysis phase followed by
                  > > design phase etc etc.
                  >
                  > How long do the sprints last? How big are the stories? Shortening the
                  > time and reducing the size should remove these ... not sure what to
                  > suggest for the etc etc. ;{)>
                  >
                  > > It could be for all I know that the team is doing a great job given
                  > > their situation so I want to ascertain the current facts and
                  > > situation and move forward from there based on the information that
                  > > I obtain, the goal is to also get them to start to implement scrum
                  > > correctly.
                  >
                  > +1 for Doug's suggestion. Observe what's happening for the team.
                  > Focus on what you see and hear. Use that to look for what it
                  > /MIGHT/ mean. Use the Rule of Three to expand the possibilities in
                  > your search for meaning.
                  >
                  > Let us know how it goes.
                  >
                  > --
                  > Don (336)414-4645
                  >
                  > He who knows others is clever;
                  > He who knows himself is enlightened.
                  > Lao-Tzu
                  >
                  > Learn about yourself at the AYE Conference, Nov 7 - 11, 2009.
                  > www.AYEconference.com
                  >
                • Thomas Reynolds
                  Hi Nick and Don, Thanks for the comments. The more I think about it the more I feel that I will do some intial observation and fact finding and I agree Don my
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jul 16, 2009
                    Hi Nick and Don,

                    Thanks for the comments.

                    The more I think about it the more I feel that I will do some intial observation and fact finding and I agree Don my current position is not a good foundation to start from.  I also agree that looking at success for the future is far more benefical than dwelling too much on the past other than to learn some lessons so we can adapt and improve for the future.

                    My real concern is that there is lots of dysfunction for many reasons, for example I could observe the ceremonies but have a good idea that many of these don't take place, I also know that on the project people are given tasks and that the whole team do not estimate.  I also know that resource does get taken off to do other things so given this the team don't have much chance for success.

                    To answers Dons specific points

                    > The view from elsewhere is that they are not deliverying fast enough

                    > By what standard? Compared to whom? Why make this comparison?
                        > This is based on what the company believe should be happening compared to another project running scrum very successfully, it is also based on the         team not always meeting their commitments.

                    > to the right quality

                       
                    >What is the definition for done? Why is the PO accepting stories at
                           the sprint demo that don't have the "right quality"? Does the PO establish acceptance criteria for the stories?
                            > I think it is very unlikely their is a definition of done and confident that sprint demo's don't take place but I need to establish this as fact or not.

                    > for example they have an analysis phase followed by
                    > design phase etc etc.
                        > How long do the sprints last? How big are the stories? Shortening the
                        time and reducing the size should remove these ... not sure what to
                        suggest for the etc etc. ;{)>
                            > The sprints are 4 weeks long so I agree this should be shortened, this needs to be done anyway as I know that the PO cannot comit to leaving the             team alone for 4 weeks which is one of the problems.

                    and as for the etc etc, ummm I'll need to think about that one:)

                    Having said that maybe just by typing this it's given me a clearer picture.  I will observe to start with and then the reality is to get the PO and team to actually start to implement scrum correctly and get them to observe it's framework and just start to get good scrum practice in place.  Just by doing this I think that good steps forward will be made.

                    Thanks
                    Tom


                    From: Nick Xidis <nxidis@...>
                    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Thursday, 16 July, 2009 14:29:45
                    Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Coaching a team perceived to be failing

                     

                    I agree with Doug's recommendation. Your approach of opening communications with all parties is a good one. You might consider focusing your attention more on looking forward to what success looks like rather than looking back and trying to work issues. I would suggest that once the team understands what's required to be successful, the team has the responsibility to address the issues. I find that addressing misses early in the sprint helps - don't wait till they've failed to deliver a whole story, discuss it as a team when a small handful of tasks are off track and challenge the team to find the fix.

                    Good luck.

                    NX

                    --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, Don Gray <don@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Thomas,
                    >
                    > The following is based on my impression of your comments for which
                    > you don't have direct observation. Doesn't sound like a solid
                    > place from which to start, but I'll try to be helpful.
                    >
                    > > The view from elsewhere is that they are not deliverying fast enough
                    >
                    > By what standard? Compared to whom? Why make this comparison?
                    >
                    > > deliverying the right things
                    >
                    > Not delivering the right things? Sounds like the PO might not be
                    > properly ordering the backlog. Is someone second guessing the PO?
                    >
                    > > to the right quality
                    >
                    > What is the definition for done? Why is the PO accepting stories at
                    > the sprint demo that don't have the "right quality"? Does the PO
                    > establish acceptance criteria for the stories?
                    >
                    > > for example they have an analysis phase followed by
                    > > design phase etc etc.
                    >
                    > How long do the sprints last? How big are the stories? Shortening the
                    > time and reducing the size should remove these ... not sure what to
                    > suggest for the etc etc. ;{)>
                    >
                    > > It could be for all I know that the team is doing a great job given
                    > > their situation so I want to ascertain the current facts and
                    > > situation and move forward from there based on the information that
                    > > I obtain, the goal is to also get them to start to implement scrum
                    > > correctly.
                    >
                    > +1 for Doug's suggestion. Observe what's happening for the team.
                    > Focus on what you see and hear. Use that to look for what it
                    > /MIGHT/ mean. Use the Rule of Three to expand the possibilities in
                    > your search for meaning.
                    >
                    > Let us know how it goes.
                    >
                    > --
                    > Don (336)414-4645
                    >
                    > He who knows others is clever;
                    > He who knows himself is enlightened.
                    > Lao-Tzu
                    >
                    > Learn about yourself at the AYE Conference, Nov 7 - 11, 2009.
                    > www.AYEconference. com
                    >


                  • maxwell_keeler
                    Tom, Tough situation. I think your approach is a good one. Without having the specifics, I would think about your risk tolerance. The combined meeting
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jul 16, 2009
                      Tom,

                      Tough situation. I think your approach is a good one. Without having
                      the specifics, I would think about your risk tolerance. The combined
                      meeting approach definitely has a higher risk of failing but if
                      successful you'll be on much firmer ground moving forward. The separate
                      workshops will probably go much more smoothly, but lingering issues
                      could remain and rear their ugly head in the future. So what's the cost
                      of failure? Would you be kicked out of the door immediately if a
                      combined workshop melted-down or is there some tolerance for a second
                      try? Maybe setting expectations with other people about the workshop so
                      that there is some tolerance for failure. If there isn't a high
                      tolerance for failure, than small steps may be the way to go.

                      Good luck,
                      Max
                      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Reynolds
                      <tom_reynolds70@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Hi everyone,
                      >
                      > I have been asked to help coach a team that is
                      > perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can
                      move
                      > forward on a firm foundation. The team currently believe they are
                      > being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it. My
                      > initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in
                      > how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and
                      > interact with the team.
                      >
                      > My initial thoughts on starting this process is to
                      >
                      >
                      > * Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he
                      feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
                      > * Conduct a workshop with
                      > the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying
                      what is
                      > important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and
                      then get
                      > buy in from them that they want to change.
                      > * Conduct a workshop with
                      > the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product,
                      what they
                      > believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the
                      delivery
                      > of product, also get their buy in that they want to
                      > change.
                      > * Based on this
                      > information we can work with them to start the change process.
                      >
                      > I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of
                      reservations.
                      >
                      > At
                      > the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the
                      > team and one for the PO's. My gut however tells me it should be one
                      > workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view. My
                      > reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite
                      > confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere,
                      > although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.
                      >
                      > I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar
                      in the past to help guide me through this process.
                      >
                      > Many thanks
                      >
                      > Tom
                      >
                    • Michael Yip
                      Tom, If the PO and SM are not doing following Scrum framework and willing to improve in their roles, 2 suggestions - get the PO training and back to the
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jul 16, 2009
                        Tom,

                        If the PO and SM are not doing following Scrum framework and willing to improve in their roles, 2 suggestions - get the PO training and back to the fundamentals and the SM training, back to fundamentals. Otherwise, be forthcoming with the team/company, not do Scrum if there is no support from management. Otherwise, this may mean the company may need to restructure the company to make Scrum works.

                        Michael


                        --- On Thu, 7/16/09, maxwell_keeler <maxk@...> wrote:

                        From: maxwell_keeler <maxk@...>
                        Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Coaching a team perceived to be failing
                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Thursday, July 16, 2009, 4:37 PM

                         

                        Tom,

                        Tough situation. I think your approach is a good one. Without having
                        the specifics, I would think about your risk tolerance. The combined
                        meeting approach definitely has a higher risk of failing but if
                        successful you'll be on much firmer ground moving forward. The separate
                        workshops will probably go much more smoothly, but lingering issues
                        could remain and rear their ugly head in the future. So what's the cost
                        of failure? Would you be kicked out of the door immediately if a
                        combined workshop melted-down or is there some tolerance for a second
                        try? Maybe setting expectations with other people about the workshop so
                        that there is some tolerance for failure. If there isn't a high
                        tolerance for failure, than small steps may be the way to go.

                        Good luck,
                        Max
                        --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, Thomas Reynolds
                        <tom_reynolds70@ ...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Hi everyone,
                        >
                        > I have been asked to help coach a team that is
                        > perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can
                        move
                        > forward on a firm foundation. The team currently believe they are
                        > being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it. My
                        > initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in
                        > how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and
                        > interact with the team.
                        >
                        > My initial thoughts on starting this process is to
                        >
                        >
                        > * Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he
                        feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
                        > * Conduct a workshop with
                        > the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying
                        what is
                        > important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and
                        then get
                        > buy in from them that they want to change.
                        > * Conduct a workshop with
                        > the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product,
                        what they
                        > believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the
                        delivery
                        > of product, also get their buy in that they want to
                        > change.
                        > * Based on this
                        > information we can work with them to start the change process.
                        >
                        > I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of
                        reservations.
                        >
                        > At
                        > the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the
                        > team and one for the PO's. My gut however tells me it should be one
                        > workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view. My
                        > reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite
                        > confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere,
                        > although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.
                        >
                        > I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar
                        in the past to help guide me through this process.
                        >
                        > Many thanks
                        >
                        > Tom
                        >

                      • Petri Heiramo
                        Hi Tom, Can you combine these approaches? First talk to the different parties (either in workshops or just walking in and talking), then pulling these parties
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jul 17, 2009
                          Hi Tom,


                          Can you combine these approaches?

                          First talk to the different parties (either in workshops or just walking in and talking), then pulling these parties together to discuss these issues.

                          If the team is using Scrummerfall, you might also have to hold a small training session early on, because I think that is a fundamental problem the team must work through before they can see their challenges. Maybe the training should be held to everyone.

                          I don't know the authority that you walk in with. Who hired/asked you? Are you perceived as a positive force or a negative one with the team and the PO's? Do you have idea whether you will have the team's trust on your side (or the PO's, for that matter)? Do you know any of these people in advance?


                          Yours, Petri


                          ---
                          Petri Heiramo
                          Process Development Manager, Agile Coach (CST)
                          Digia Plc., Finland



                          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Reynolds <tom_reynolds70@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Hi everyone,
                          >
                          > I have been asked to help coach a team that is
                          > perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can move
                          > forward on a firm foundation. The team currently believe they are
                          > being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it. My
                          > initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in
                          > how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and
                          > interact with the team.
                          >
                          > My initial thoughts on starting this process is to
                          >
                          >
                          > * Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
                          > * Conduct a workshop with
                          > the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying what is
                          > important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and then get
                          > buy in from them that they want to change.
                          > * Conduct a workshop with
                          > the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product, what they
                          > believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the delivery
                          > of product, also get their buy in that they want to
                          > change.
                          > * Based on this
                          > information we can work with them to start the change process.
                          >
                          > I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of reservations.
                          >
                          > At
                          > the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the
                          > team and one for the PO's. My gut however tells me it should be one
                          > workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view. My
                          > reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite
                          > confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere,
                          > although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.
                          >
                          > I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar in the past to help guide me through this process.
                          >
                          > Many thanks
                          >
                          > Tom
                          >
                        • Thomas Reynolds
                          Hi Petri I ve already starting doing what you have suggested. I have discussed things with the SM and I m in the process of having the same type of
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jul 17, 2009
                            Hi Petri

                            I've already starting doing what you have suggested.  I have discussed things with the SM and I'm in the process of having the same type of conversation with the PO.  This is providing me with some great information and good insight into what peoples views are of the process and what the issues are from their perspective.  The next step may well be a wider workshop with the team.

                            I have been running training sessions recently on scrum of which most of the people in this team have been on including the PO so this should help with things and hopefully they are beginning to see for themseleves that they are doing scummerfall, from the SM and PO i've talked to so far they have been quite open with what they think the problems are and they do seem to recognise that they need to change so this I take as a positive sign.

                            The authority I have is to coach the team to implement scrum properly and I have been asked to do this by the development manager.  I have been asked to do this as I am perceived to be a positive force as my current project is very succesfully using scrum and this is now recognised throughout the organisation along with the desire to roll scrum out, I know some of the people in advane and the others through the course I ran so again I would expect that I can get their trust.

                            Many thanks

                            Tom


                            From: Petri Heiramo <petri.heiramo@...>
                            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Friday, 17 July, 2009 8:58:32
                            Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Coaching a team perceived to be failing

                             

                            Hi Tom,

                            Can you combine these approaches?

                            First talk to the different parties (either in workshops or just walking in and talking), then pulling these parties together to discuss these issues.

                            If the team is using Scrummerfall, you might also have to hold a small training session early on, because I think that is a fundamental problem the team must work through before they can see their challenges. Maybe the training should be held to everyone.

                            I don't know the authority that you walk in with. Who hired/asked you? Are you perceived as a positive force or a negative one with the team and the PO's? Do you have idea whether you will have the team's trust on your side (or the PO's, for that matter)? Do you know any of these people in advance?

                            Yours, Petri

                            ---
                            Petri Heiramo
                            Process Development Manager, Agile Coach (CST)
                            Digia Plc., Finland

                            --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, Thomas Reynolds <tom_reynolds70@ ...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Hi everyone,
                            >
                            > I have been asked to help coach a team that is
                            > perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can move
                            > forward on a firm foundation. The team currently believe they are
                            > being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it. My
                            > initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in
                            > how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and
                            > interact with the team.
                            >
                            > My initial thoughts on starting this process is to
                            >
                            >
                            > * Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
                            > * Conduct a workshop with
                            > the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying what is
                            > important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and then get
                            > buy in from them that they want to change.
                            > * Conduct a workshop with
                            > the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product, what they
                            > believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the delivery
                            > of product, also get their buy in that they want to
                            > change.
                            > * Based on this
                            > information we can work with them to start the change process.
                            >
                            > I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of reservations.
                            >
                            > At
                            > the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the
                            > team and one for the PO's. My gut however tells me it should be one
                            > workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view. My
                            > reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite
                            > confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere,
                            > although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.
                            >
                            > I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar in the past to help guide me through this process.
                            >
                            > Many thanks
                            >
                            > Tom
                            >


                          • Thomas Reynolds
                            Hi Michael, I m already in the process of trying to get CSPO training in place and we have already done internal scrum training recently so these should help.
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jul 17, 2009
                              Hi Michael,

                              I'm already in the process of trying to get CSPO training in place and we have already done internal scrum training recently so these should help.

                              From the initial conversations the SM and PO do seem willing to change so this is positive.

                              There are some organisational impediments that I'm coiming across during my conversations so I agree that the company needs to work with the teams to remove these and fully back what we are trying to do and this needs to be part of a wider education programme throughout the organisation of which there are some irons in the fire to help with this.

                              Cheers
                              Tom


                              From: Michael Yip <myip11@...>
                              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Friday, 17 July, 2009 1:40:29
                              Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Coaching a team perceived to be failing

                               

                              Tom,

                              If the PO and SM are not doing following Scrum framework and willing to improve in their roles, 2 suggestions - get the PO training and back to the fundamentals and the SM training, back to fundamentals. Otherwise, be forthcoming with the team/company, not do Scrum if there is no support from management. Otherwise, this may mean the company may need to restructure the company to make Scrum works.

                              Michael


                              --- On Thu, 7/16/09, maxwell_keeler <maxk@...> wrote:

                              From: maxwell_keeler <maxk@...>
                              Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Coaching a team perceived to be failing
                              To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
                              Date: Thursday, July 16, 2009, 4:37 PM

                               

                              Tom,

                              Tough situation. I think your approach is a good one. Without having
                              the specifics, I would think about your risk tolerance. The combined
                              meeting approach definitely has a higher risk of failing but if
                              successful you'll be on much firmer ground moving forward. The separate
                              workshops will probably go much more smoothly, but lingering issues
                              could remain and rear their ugly head in the future. So what's the cost
                              of failure? Would you be kicked out of the door immediately if a
                              combined workshop melted-down or is there some tolerance for a second
                              try? Maybe setting expectations with other people about the workshop so
                              that there is some tolerance for failure. If there isn't a high
                              tolerance for failure, than small steps may be the way to go.

                              Good luck,
                              Max
                              --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, Thomas Reynolds
                              <tom_reynolds70@ ...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Hi everyone,
                              >
                              > I have been asked to help coach a team that is
                              > perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can
                              move
                              > forward on a firm foundation. The team currently believe they are
                              > being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it. My
                              > initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in
                              > how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and
                              > interact with the team.
                              >
                              > My initial thoughts on starting this process is to
                              >
                              >
                              > * Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he
                              feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
                              > * Conduct a workshop with
                              > the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying
                              what is
                              > important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and
                              then get
                              > buy in from them that they want to change.
                              > * Conduct a workshop with
                              > the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product,
                              what they
                              > believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the
                              delivery
                              > of product, also get their buy in that they want to
                              > change.
                              > * Based on this
                              > information we can work with them to start the change process.
                              >
                              > I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of
                              reservations.
                              >
                              > At
                              > the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the
                              > team and one for the PO's. My gut however tells me it should be one
                              > workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view. My
                              > reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite
                              > confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere,
                              > although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.
                              >
                              > I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar
                              in the past to help guide me through this process.
                              >
                              > Many thanks
                              >
                              > Tom
                              >


                            • Thomas Reynolds
                              Hi Max, I think that I will use a combination of interviews and then a workshop to the wider group. I m thinking that I may run the workshop as some kind of
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jul 17, 2009
                                Hi Max,

                                I think that I will use a combination of interviews and then a workshop to the wider group.  I'm thinking that I may run the workshop as some kind of retrospective which I hope will allow people to be more open without creating as much conflict.

                                I can easily set the expectation of failure but the more i'm thinking about it and from the conversations that I'm having I think it can be turned into a positive thing where people can be open and honest and have their say without any fear, this is certainly the atmosphere that I would want to create.

                                If it did fail I wouldnt get kicked out as I'm not an external coach I'm an employee that works within the company on a project that is being succesful with scrum, hence the reason I;ve been asked to help.

                                So I think I will use small steps to start with building upto a workshop session when I have got good background information and have built trust, I may (and why wouldn't I?) conduct an interview type of session with all team members one on one, maybe this will help withthe trust and then give them the confidence to speak in a wider group.

                                Thanks
                                Tom


                                From: maxwell_keeler <maxk@...>
                                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                Sent: Thursday, 16 July, 2009 21:37:36
                                Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Coaching a team perceived to be failing

                                 

                                Tom,

                                Tough situation. I think your approach is a good one. Without having
                                the specifics, I would think about your risk tolerance. The combined
                                meeting approach definitely has a higher risk of failing but if
                                successful you'll be on much firmer ground moving forward. The separate
                                workshops will probably go much more smoothly, but lingering issues
                                could remain and rear their ugly head in the future. So what's the cost
                                of failure? Would you be kicked out of the door immediately if a
                                combined workshop melted-down or is there some tolerance for a second
                                try? Maybe setting expectations with other people about the workshop so
                                that there is some tolerance for failure. If there isn't a high
                                tolerance for failure, than small steps may be the way to go.

                                Good luck,
                                Max
                                --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, Thomas Reynolds
                                <tom_reynolds70@ ...> wrote:

                                >
                                > Hi everyone,
                                >
                                > I have been asked to help coach a team that is
                                > perceived to be failing and to help them get a new start so we can
                                move
                                > forward on a firm foundation. The team currently believe they are
                                > being agile and using scrum but in reality they are far from it. My
                                > initial view and from what I know is that there is also dysfuncton in
                                > how the product owner/s (yes there is probably more that one) work and
                                > interact with the team.
                                >
                                > My initial thoughts on starting this process is to
                                >
                                >
                                > * Understand with the scrum master the current process and what he
                                feels the current issues are and what is hindering delivery.
                                > * Conduct a workshop with
                                > the team to understand their frustrations and problems identifying
                                what is
                                > important to them and what they feel is stopping them delivering and
                                then get
                                > buy in from them that they want to change.
                                > * Conduct a workshop with
                                > the product owners to see what they want to achieve with the product,
                                what they
                                > believe the issues to be and what they think is hindering them and the
                                delivery
                                > of product, also get their buy in that they want to
                                > change.
                                > * Based on this
                                > information we can work with them to start the change process.
                                >
                                > I think that this would be a good way forward but I have a couple of
                                reservations.
                                >
                                > At
                                > the moment I'm thinking that I will hold two workshops, one for the
                                > team and one for the PO's. My gut however tells me it should be one
                                > workshop so that everyone can see everyone elses point of view. My
                                > reservation however is that this may turn out to be quite
                                > confrontational and end up in a blame game that will get us nowhere,
                                > although if there is bad feeling it may help to clear the air.
                                >
                                > I'd appreciate any comments from people who've done something similar
                                in the past to help guide me through this process.
                                >
                                > Many thanks
                                >
                                > Tom
                                >


                              • Petri Heiramo
                                Hi Tom, ... Sounds like you have most of the potential challenges already covered. Yes, the trust the participants have in you is one of the most important
                                Message 15 of 15 , Jul 18, 2009
                                  Hi Tom,


                                  > The authority I have is to coach the team to implement scrum
                                  > properly and I have been asked to do this by the development
                                  > manager. I have been asked to do this as I am perceived to
                                  > be a positive force as my current project is very succesfully
                                  > using scrum and this is now recognised throughout the
                                  > organisation along with the desire to roll scrum out, I know
                                  > some of the people in advane and the others through the course
                                  > I ran so again I would expect that I can get their trust.

                                  Sounds like you have most of the potential challenges already covered. Yes, the trust the participants have in you is one of the most important things that I see in being successful in what you do. I think also the success in your current project will help. :)

                                  All the best with your coaching!!


                                  Yours, Petri

                                  ---
                                  Petri Heiramo
                                  Process Development Manager, Agile Coach (CST)
                                  Digia Plc., Finland
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