Thursday, June 30, 2016

Leaders are not combatants. They are people too!

This post was an absolute must-send based on something I heard and experienced this week (which will remain confidential).

Do you consider yourself to be in the agile coaching business?

If so... Do you use the term "Leaders" to describe an us versus them mentality?

Really... Look inside yourself...

Leadership is important for what we do. Making them enemies if there isn't an immediate acceptance of what you perceive to be "your" cause is harmful.

In fact, it really shouldn't be "your" cause if you're being paid by those same leaders as an agile coach to help them achieve their vision. Yes, I understand there is guidance involved and sometimes the leaders need some help or to be challenged. 

boxing image by Michiyo Kurosawa
image courtesty of
Michiyo Kurosawa through
a Creative Commons 2.0
 Share-alike license

Please.. If you disagree with the leader's approach, talk to them, or step away for a break. 

Do not insult absent leaders while in the presence of their people. This most certainly causes confusion with those that you wish to help! 

Consider that your behaviour may in fact be re-enforcing a bad habit loop and creating the problem you perceive. 

You may need to stand up for what is right as part of your job. This I get.

Talking badly about a leader while coaching their teams may to some be considered unprofessional.

Why not try getting to know the leadership instead of jumping right to bashing...

Leaders ...... are people too!

Mike Caspar
Passionate About agile

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Categorized Ideas Coaching Tool

The Categorized Ideas Coaching/Facilitation Tool is designed to help obtain common goals and ideas from people with different backgrounds or approaches to a situation.

I have been iterating on this tool for a while. Until recently, it has only been used at clients and with a few close friends.

I recently shared the tool at Agile Coach Camp Canada 2016 in Cornwall for the community as a whole.

A sample question used for this first canvas....

To all participants (as an example).

"The government has told us we have 1 month to move our business to another province.  We have 35 employees. 

I would like your help to ensure we are prepared for this and all of our thoughts and ideas are considered.  

For each  idea that you have, place it on a sticky and put it up on the board (canvas).
Feel free to talk to each other as you put them up".

- very little facilitation needed (caused by thick lines and colours)
- If necessary, could say "It might help to read each other's stickies as you put them up"

Step back. Things will take care of themselves...

A sample (real) question used for the second canvas (created by one of the participants)...

"I am worried about the future health of my family because we're all so busy.

 I would like some ideas about some possible steps and things to do to help keep our family healthy.  

We have 4 people in the family".

- very little facilitation needed (caused by thick lines and colours)
- If necessary, could say "It might help to read each other's stickies as you put them up"

Step back. Things will take care of themselves...

I have used the tool for many other types of sessions...

  • Jenkins CI session with multiple types of teams followed up with shared ideas on how Jenkins could be used in the organization
  • At a Manufacturing Company to consolidate thoughts from various departments to help prioritize plant upgrades and maintenance. 

You can share your own learning and uses for the Categorized Ideas Coaching/Facilitation Tool to this page...

Just send me the following information...

  • Name of Facilitator (with optional link to home page)
  • Name of Contributors (optional)
  • Question ? or Context ?
  • The image
  • Any specific observations you would like to share (what you learned or something we should know)

As long as it makes sense and I can keep it up, I'll add more uses for the coaching tool to the page.

To be included, simply reach out to me at  mike (-at-)  with the following information and I'll add you to the page.

Some last comments....
  • Please make sure you the have rights to any images shared on the site
  • I will reserve the right to restrict content.
  • Images and contributions will be licensed as Creative Commons (as indicated by the page)

I hope we see many new contributions, ideas and learning.

Have fun!

Creative Commons Licence
Categorized Ideas by Mike Caspar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.