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Shu-Ha-Ri

Shock Therapy – Revisited: Bootstrapping Hyper-productive Scrum Teams

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Shock Therapy – Revisited: Bootstrapping Hyper-productive Scrum Teams

I remember it was approximately 2008-2009 when I read a blog post, then article/paper about this idea. At the time Jeff Sutherland mentioned it, but the leading voice behind the idea was Scott Downey who worked at MySpace at the time.

Part of the reason I was intrigued was that agile coaches were really struggling to find their hand or balance when it came to “spinning up” Scrum teams at this time. Quite often the approaches were really soft and non-prescriptive. The coaches often hinted at a combination of practices, perhaps giving the team a link to a basic reference (the Scrum Guide), and then the teams were left to fend for themselves.

Often the results were horrible. The teams picked the practices they were comfortable with and left behind the rest. Often they picked such a trivial combination, that the results were hardly agile and hardly effective. This was also the time when Ken Schwaber coined the term Scrum Butt and the Nokia Test was being used as a litmus test to see if you were really doing Scrum or not.

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What the World Needs is MORE Prescriptive Agile Coaches

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What the World Needs is MORE Prescriptive Agile Coaches

I was once working with a peer agile coach and we were discussing the role of the coach within agile teams. His view was that it was as a “soft, encouraging, influencing” role. That at its core agility is about the team. And the team in this sense is…self-directed.

He also emphasized that taking a more direct or prescriptive approach in our coaching would be anathema to good agile practices. That it was draconian and dogmatic.

He was actually a leader of this firms coaching team, so he had tremendous influence over a team of ten or so agile coaches. I was one of them and I sometimes struggled with his view and approach.

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