Today was another satisfying day at the conference in 'sunny' (I did see the sun this morning) Orlando. I started the day off with 11 other agilists going for a morning run on the paths and walkways around the Disney complex followed by a great breakfast. The catering at the Dolphin has been fantastic so far.
The first of two notable sessions that I attended was called "Effective Questions for an Agile Coach." The two presenters Arto and Sami from Reaktor were great and cleverly crafted the table discussions so that we would fall into common coaching traps and then helped demonstrate better alternatives. Here is a brief overview of some of the ideas from the presentation:
- By giving advice you are creating motivation from the outside. You need to ask effective questions to let them figure it out for themselves
- The four acceptance tests for good coaching questions are a) leads to exploration, b) aim at descriptive answers, c) avoids judgement and d) avoids unproductive states of mind
- Avoid the question 'why'. Try converting the question into a What, When, How Much or How many. For example, instead of Why, ask What benefit did you expect to receive?
- When trying to help the team solve a problem, follow the GROW model. Grow: first, find their goal. Reality: Second, ask questions to help them describe the current state. Options: Third, ask questions to find at least 3 options. Simply ask how would you solve this. What: Finally, ask questions to find agreement on a path forward.
Some other random thoughts:
- I attended an www.innovationgames.com seminar. After playing The Product Tree game and Scream, I want to explore how to introduce these games in my own projects.
- Dave Thomas was funny and poignant as the keynote speaker although I did wonder if his talk was targeted more at those not at the conference than those of us who have already 'taken the pill'. They videotaped his talk and I suggest looking for it in the next few weeks.
- I took some advice from other conference veterans and walked out of a session that was covering topics I was already familiar with. As a result, I had some great conversations about retrospectives and the intersection of agile and church.
- The 'soft skill' sessions at this conference have been great, but I wonder if there is room for more advanced developer topics.
- Played some beach volleyball at the end of the day with 2 other Canadians and a Swede. Are there any Americans at this conference?
More tomorrow... looking forward to the open jam on ATDD/BDD wording.