We just finished the 2014 Raleigh Scrum Coaching Retreat in Chapel Hill, NC and I was lucky enough to participate. The event sold out months ago and was capped at 75 attendees so we could immerse in some intense working groups and Open Space sessions.

I suggested an Open Space session entitled as this post is. My inspiration was Adam Weisbart’s famous video by the same name, but targeted towards Scrum Masters. In that video, Adam and his band of actors demonstrated all of the things a good Scrum Master should do by demonstrating the things a bad Scrum Master did. He packs a tremendous number of anti-patterns into 3 ½ minutes.

Here’s what we did. We formed a rough circle. I handed out 3x5 cards and asked everyone to put a phrase aligned with the theme, one per card, which they could come up with. It took about 5-8 minutes to get a rich set of “sayings”.

Then we went around the circle discussing the “stuff” bad Agile or Scrum coaches might say.  They could say it to their teams, their peers, their stakeholders, and to their organizations.

More interesting than the statements themselves, we tried to “tease out”, how the coach could have better expressed himself or herself. Or how they could have approached things differently—without coming off so badly.

It was these counter-examples or patterns that seemed to be really useful to the group as we explored options for having “Crucial Coaching Conversations”.

The Open Space went on for 60 minutes, which I felt was a reasonable time. But we still had many statements we could have discussed. If you want to see a synopsis of the statements from the retreat, you can view them here. Unfortunately, we didn’t capture the alternative conversations that surfaced. Perhaps next time…

Stay agile my friends,