Depth in Being Agile (EN)

13:00 - 14:30 Agile Transition

Speaker: Olga Kiss, Gabriella Peuker
Language: English


How to get deeper in agile transition to change your team members' ways of thinking together? How can you help them to be agile, not only to do it?


May your team lose essential information because your retro is not deep enough? Are you sure you really see the whole story to generate insights and improve?

The second step of a retrospective is gathering data. But what sort of data? Factual data are ususally highly appreciated. Interpretations supposed to be a softer part of data, which can cause disagreement and conflict. But do you really understand the words of the other well? Different interpretations can reveal different points of view. Sometimes presuppositions become visible, some patterns of thinking become clear for the participants, but even in these cases, it is usually not clear, what to do with them.

Moreover, in many cases, there is a hidden part of the story. Some retro faciilitators try to avoid “the f-word” - feelings. Some people do not like to talk about emotions and needs, although it is an integral part of the whole story. There are practices to help them to express these feelings, but it is only a starting point. As Norm Kerth put it: “In my experience, high-performance teams are fully capable of developing safe ways to discuss the feelings and needs of each member.” This is what we are talking about. How can a team get to this level of trust and self-awareness?

Why is it interesting at all? In retrospectives, we usually make action plans, and aim to change workflow, or something else on the behavioral-systemic level. But if we haven’t seen the deeper layers of the whole picture, the realization may be blocked by hidden resistance, or other dynamics of the group.

To go to a deeper level in a dialogue can be problematic for some people. Some of them prefer to hide, and some of them simply cannot see their own deeper emotions and needs. However, explicating everything that is important for the improvement of the group have a great benefit for a group.

Agile transition is often understood as problem of system or following an agile methodology. However, true transition requires a paradigm shift in mindset as well. The question is how to be agile instead of simply do agile. Our workshop show you tools to detect this problem and ways to help this transformation both on personal level and on team level.

We often see organizations stucked into agile transition especially because they use agile methodology on the tool level. As we see, they have technical-methodological knowledge, but it does not access personal level, not a deeper value system, a modus vivendi.

 For leaders of agile teams it can be hard to connect to their team members in a 1-on-1 on an agile way. What to do? What to ask? How to listen? How to give focused attention? How to get a deeper level from the tools to a true connection, and understanding the other's real motives? How to be there in the dialogue with a true presence?

Leaders frequently do not understand the true relevance of retrospectives.

Team members - as a result - cannot be connected to the idea of learning from their personal experiences. Even if they know a lot about retrospective practices, there can be a missing point in their connectedness to the heart of it. Real learning requires awareness of why they do it. Awareness requires much more than going through a ritual, because rituals can turn into empty series of actions.

Being agile means to live in the spirit of agile methodologies, which were discovered from personal experiences, to solve practical problems. To do agile, it is enough to follow rules and traditions. But to be agile, you have to give them personal meaning, to make them live, or change them to fit better. Many authors follow Cockburn in applying the idea of Shu-ha-ri when talking about this process. But when we work with leaders, it is not good enough to tell them “just do it, and later on you will see the whys”. Good leaders start from the why. This is why we jump with them to the “ha” level of reflection and understanding to support change. The deeper the better.

 The heart of agile is iterative-cyclical process of improvement based on collaboration, delivery and reflection The usual approach to this improvement focuses on actions, on changes in workflow, on a systemic level. In this workshop we would like to emphasize something else: the importance of a special quality of personal connections and understanding each other. This quality of presence makes the flow of communication and working together much more easy. To develop this presence one has to get deeper than simply the level of actions: to habits, patterns of thinking, values, emotions and sometimes to the deepest human needs.

In the workshop our primary aim is to give personal experience to the participants in working with various levels in reflection.

We call them to challenge their own hidden assumptions presuppositions, patterns of thinking, paradigms of emotional response.

We would like to give different points of view to support changes in mindsets.

We use our experiences and examples as coaches and team coaches and share our tools to work on a deeper level: with EQ, active listening, empathy, differences of frameworks.


Learning Objectives

  • Understand depth in team coaching, and how it is connected to supporting high performance teams
  • See, how it is connected to the person's own self-understanding and self-reflection
  • Understand the role of mindset and self-awareness in agile transition,

Participants will learn to

  • build cognitive intimacy
  • use the levels of reflection in practice, changing mindsets
  • help people to find deeper connection to get from cooperation to collaboration
Europasaal A