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Summary

The Advanced Scrum Masters and Kanban Online Workshop is based on the teaching technique called "flipped classroom." In each lesson, students learn a key aspect of being a great Agile coach, apply what they have learned  with their own teams, and then meet online with an instructor for questions and help. Just as important, the workshop is designed to help Agile coaches create a solid support system for the team. This includes creating a set of templates that will support the team's work.

Pacing

Sections and lessons are self-paced so there are no lessons to miss. Students should expect to spend two or three hours a week on each section. If you get behind, don't worry; just do the best you can.

Course Objectives: 

The curriculum is designed to take people knowledgeable in Scrum to be good Scrum Masters. It is the equivalent of a three-day course over 14 weeks. The advantages of teaching it at a self-paced, online approach, include:

  • Learning takes place best over time

  • Coaches learn by working with their teams

  • The time of the coach is not lost during the training

  • No travel time/cost is required.

This also allows for the coaches to build their own coaching materials from templates that we provide.

 

Learning Objectives: 

Here is what students will focus on.

  • Improving their coaching skills

  • Identifying specific behaviors and agreements that will benefit their teams

  • Creating a clear understanding of these behaviors and agreements

  • Continuously improving the effectiveness of the team they are coaching

  • Learning how to help their teams work in a more effective way with other teams

Outline

Week 1. Getting started

This week is about:

  • get to know each other by introducing ourselves and describing what we want out of the course

  • learn how to use the discussion groups

  • get an overview of what's going to happen in the course

  • have a discussion about what people think being a coach is

  • learn the Sailboat game

What you will do

  • get to know each other by introducing ourselves and describing what we want out of the course

  • learn how to use the discussion group for this course

  • get an overview of what's going to happen in the course

  • have a discussion about what people think being a coach is

  • learn and participate in the Sailboat game

Week 2. Team Agility as a tool box: Scrum as Example

Coaching is not about having your team follow a particular framework or method. It is about being effective. Team Agility is a tool box based on Lean-Thinking that contains practices from Scrum, Kanban and XP. Coaches must understand where practices are effective and where they aren't so that they can help teams work effectively. We present Scrum as an example of this thinking so that both coaches and their team members can start with something familiar.

This will become the starting point of the work we do in the course. By starting with Scrum we are not meaning to imply one should start with Scrum. We are starting with it because it is the most commonly known approach. Later in the course we’ll learn how to substitute practices when there are better ones available for your team.

 

Week 3. The mindsets of Business Agility

Long-lasting improvement doesn’t come from adopting new practices, but instead from adopting new ways of thinking and behaving. In this session you will review four mindsets we believe are fundamental to fostering such long-lasting improvements. They keep our eyes focused on the outcomes we want to achieve instead of blindly forcing practices, which would otherwise lead to dogmatism. By fostering these mindsets in their teams, coaches help their teams discover what they need to improve while establishing the right motivations for these improvements. These mindsets further help teams continuously improve their processes and practices because they’re focused on outcomes.

  • Minimum Business Increment. An MBI is the smallest chunk of work for which we can realize value. An MBI mindset is where we are always looking to see what is the smallest subset of the MBI we can build to move it forward.

  • Definition of Done. A Definition of Done mindset is one of not starting the implementation until you’ve determine how you’ll know you’re done. This includes not only functional acceptance criteria but can also include non-functional criteria such as documentation and adhering to certain standards. We’ve found that not making these criteria explicit before starting is one of the leading causes of unpredictability and re-work.

  • Definition of Ready. A Definition of Ready mindset is one of not starting the implementation until you’re ready to get it to Done. The previously mentioned Definition of Done mindset naturally forces a state of readiness to be achieved, which at the minimum requires agreement on the Definition of Done before starting implementation. Over time, a team’s Definition of Ready will expand to incorporate additional readiness elements that the team has found to cause failure, rework, and other types of waste when not attended to. The DoR mindset (coupled with the DoD mindset) leads to less waste and better predictability.

  • Optimizing Throughput of Business Value Realization. Our goal is to realize value quickly, predictably, and sustainably. Shifting a team’s attention from utilization to throughput (of value realization), allows the team to optimize how they work to improve this throughput. Forces that the team has to deal with, such as frequent interruptions and/or changes, can be taken into consideration by the team for process and practice improvement and, because they are focused on value realization throughput, the coach can show them how they can benefit from working on smaller items, reducing and limiting multi-tasking, and adopting the other mindsets listed here.

  • Outcome-Based Thinking. By focusing on understanding the original reason why a team is being asked to create a solution and thus setting their goal as the achievement of the outcome instead, they can limit the amount of spinning on a specific solution or even the problems they’re facing with creating a specific solution, while giving themselves a clear measurement of Done that can be agreed to by them and the relevant stakeholders/requesters, and enabling themselves to create innovative solutions. This is true both for development and for practices.

 

Week 4. Systems-Thinking, explicit workflow and agreements

Scrum is based on the premise that if you change your organization to follow the Scrum framework, Scrum theory, and Scrum values, then your organization will improve. We actually believe that if you can do this, your organization will improve. However, the cost of changing your organization may be higher and provide a lower return than taking another path that achieves the same objectives as Scrum, but in a way that fits your organization better.

 

We believe the right approach is to make a decision as to when it’s more effective to change the organization to fit a framework or when to follow different practices that meet the same objectives of the framework more effectively and/or efficiently. Of course, this may take you out of the Scrum framework, so you’d no longer be doing Scrum. However, we don’t think this matters. We should remember that we should focus on our objective and not worry about the particular method of getting there.

Systems-thinking tells us that the system is responsible for most of the errors that occur. While people have to be both responsible and accountable, the focus of the Team Agility Coach needs to be on helping create the best environment within which their team works. While the Team Agility Coach can’t tell the team what to do s/he is responsible for working with the team to create a great environment within which the team works. This includes the team’s agreements with themselves and other teams and roles.

 

Since we trust and respect our people, our focus turns to the system they are in. The premise is that improving the system will improve the work our people are doing. Making our mindsets, our workflows, and our agreements visible and explicit has great value.

Taiichi Ohno said that, “Without some standard you can't say “We made it better” because there is nothing to compare it to, so you must create a standard for comparison”1. He also said that, “standards should not be forced down from above but rather set by the production workers themselves”2. For a team to make their workflow explicit and visible, and to make entry and exit criteria explicit and visible, requires an agreement by the team on the workflow and the criteria. However, in order to reach agreement on these, they must be made explicit. The first attempts at doing either usually reveal the difference in what individual team members believe the workflow and criteria are, which then allows the team to gain agreement and alignment. Once agreed to and explicit and visible, it serves as a reminder, but even more so, allows the team to make improvements.

 

Furthermore, as the old proverb goes, “seeing is believing”. A team who has visibility into what’s being worked on, how much is being worked on, and what the work is linked with (e.g. stories to features, features to MBIs), is better able to make decisions that lead to optimal outcomes for the team and for the organization, than a team who doesn’t have this visibility.

 

So establishing agreement within a team on their workflow and criteria, and creating visibility for the team into this and their work, provides information that the team can use to improve their workflow, criteria, and decision-making.

 

Week 5. The Agile Coach and the Guardrails

Net Objectives uses a set of agreements, called Guardrails, that we’ve found effective that we’ve found effective for people across the organization to agree to. These are:

  • Work on items that will realize the greatest amount of business value across the enterprise.

  • Collaborate with each other in order to maximize the realization of Business value across the enterprise.

  • Ensure that all work will be made visible.

  • Take the necessary steps to sustain or increase predictability.

  • Keep the work throughout the value stream within capacity.

  • Encourage everyone to strive for continuous improvement.

 

Although the agreements are the same across the organization, how they are kept will be different. The purpose of a guardrail is not to tell people what to do but rather give them an objective and let them keep the agreement in their own fashion. The Agile Coach is responsible for both clarifying what keeping these agreements means for their team while also supporting their team in keeping them. The coach also is responsible for interacting with those outside of the team.

 

Week 6. The value of consistent objectives across teams

Many organizations attempt to have a single way to do things. Their motivations are often good such as:

  • Making it easier for teams to work together

  • Having a consistent on-board process

  • Enabling people to move from team to team when needed more easily

  • Ensuring management can see what they need to

  • Facilitating learnings from one team going to others

 

Unfortunately, teams often find themselves in different circumstance and have need for different practices. This session discusses both what different circumstances will require different practices and how to get the benefits desired without forcing teams to all work in the same manner.

 

Week 7. Using Business Agility as a guide to working with other teams

This session is an extension of the prior session where how teams worked within the bigger picture while retaining a degree of autonomy. In this session the Team Agility Coach looks to see how working with other teams can better work together when needed.

Realizing business agility is used as a guide so that teams can focus on how they need to work in order to optimize the bigger picture. This can involve many things such as creating core teams, loaning team members to others, using shared backlogs and how to work with shared services.

Week 8. Kaizen and retrospection

People have a limited capacity at which they can absorb information. It is tempting as a coach or trainer to provide more and more information in the hope that more will be retained. But in fact, the opposite is true. Throwing too much at teams can result in less learning and retention. This is also true in retrospections when a team tries to change too much. Learning in a small, but continuous manner (‘kaisen’) is usually best. Attempting too much change can result in no change as well as making it harder for future change.

Week 9. Creating a Process for on-boarding and levelling up

Most people attending the academy are sent from their company with part of the intent being to create an on-boarding and leveling up process for their company. You will review how to create a starting approach for your Lean-Agile teams. If you are an individual coach, use this session to help you determine how to select a Lean-Agile approach for different types of teams. Learn the skill of creating an effective starting set of practices and agreements for teams based on their circumstances.

 

Week 10. How to improve and change practices

There is no one-size fits all. Each team-level approach (e.g., Scrum, Kanban, XP) has advantage and disadvantages. Each has its own set of practices which may or may not apply to you. However, each of these approaches were designed as a whole. Just changing practices without attention to this can have adverse effects. In this session we’ll go over both how to add useful practices that you may not be doing as well as how to substitute current practices with new ones. Substituting practices requires care that the intentions of the practice being substituted is managed by the new practice.

The key here is not to abandon practices, but to find better ways of doing what you are attempting to have accomplished, getting to the root cause of the issue (which may not be where the problem is showing up) or take on a new practice. This ability to tailor our team level workflow will be used later in the course to create an on-boarding and leveling up approach for our team.

 

Each of the practices in Scrum, Kanban and XP have a certain intention. For example, sprints in Scrum are a way of focusing on what work will be done, ensuring small stories are worked on, giving a cadence to the team and more. For every practice there are other practices that could meet those intentions. Not all practices work everywhere, however. Therefore it is important that Team Agility coaches understand what alternatives they have to the common practices of Scrum and Kanban. This enables them to provide alternative practices when it makes sense to do so.

 

This session will introduce participants to a guidebook of practices so they can learn deeper what the intention of each practice is. They will also be taught how to find alternative practices when desired.

 

Week 11. Useful games and exercises

Games and exercises great ways to learn about things that are hard for people to face. For example, what they could be doing better or what challenges they are having. In this session we’ll learn the following games:

  • The Dot Game - a fun way to teach the essence of Scrum and/or Kanban in an hour or two

  • The Clean Slate exercise - is an easy to run exercise that puts out into the open how the environment/system people are in is failing them and what they could be doing but are not

 

Week 12. Understanding the science of coaching

Introducing change is not always easy. People don’t necessarily resist change even though we often hear that. Coaches must understand how people learn and approach problems. Many of us tend to believe others think the way we do. This is not the case. Some basic knowledge on human learning and behavior is essential to be an effective coach. This session also discusses how to foster learning and change when working with people who seem to be difficult or obstinate. We’ll discuss things like the fundamental attribution error, the Dunning-Kruger effect, double-loop learning, and habit-stacking. We’ll also talk about transformation approaches and get clear about how easy it is to overload people with new information and practices. Much of this session will be taught by seeing all of these characteristics in ourselves as well.

 

Week 13. Competencies and tools of an effective Scrum Master

What a Scrum Master needs to know. Different levels in what being a Scrum Master is.

 

Week 14. Summing up what you have learned and created

This final session will be used to:

  • Answer any questions

  • Review documents created for onboarding and leveling up

  • Point people to materials for further learning

Full Description

The Advanced Scrum Masters and Kanban Online Workshop is based on the teaching technique called "flipped classroom." In each lesson, students learn a key aspect of being a great Agile coach, apply what they have learned  with their own teams, and then meet online with an instructor for questions and help. Just as important, the workshop is designed to help Agile coaches create a solid support system for the team. This includes creating a set of templates that will support the team's work.

 

Why you need both Scrum and Kanban

 

Most people think of Scrum and Kanban as an either or decision. But it isn't. Both are partial implementations of Lean and each has value and works better in different situations. As Agile has spread to larger companies, most teams need a combination of the two.

Designed for both individuals and for companies

Many people become a "Certified ScrumMaster" to improve their resume. This workshop is significantly more advanced than the Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) course. An A-CSM merely means that people have taken four days of training and passed two tests. This workshop provides an Agile Team accreditation by the True North Consortium. The Agile Team accreditation means students have worked with Agile teams for three months and have the tools to support them.

 

Companies can use the workshop to train their own internal Agile coaches and achieve better results, at a lower cost, than bringing in external Scrum Masters or even Scrum Master coaches. This is because your own staff understand your products/services, your organization and culture better than any outsider. 

 

Note: We have a special licensing program for large companies where you can have as many coaches go through the workshop as you want for as little as it takes to train three or four Scrum Masters.  

 

Why you should invest in your own people

If you are kicking off new teams, there are two types of coaches you could use. You could use someone to actually help with the work such as a technical or ATDD coach; This can be good; however, when it comes to Agile coaches it is usually better to grow your own. Here are some reasons why this is more effective. Investing in your people pays off big dividends in many ways - morale, demonstration of a commitment to them, and a guaranteed returns.

  • Investing in your people pays off big dividends in many ways - morale, demonstration of a commitment to them, and a guaranteed returns.

  • It is harder to learn your own environment and product that it is to learn the essential understandings of Scrum.

  • You know what you are getting.

  • For the cost of bringing in an outside Scrum Master for a week you can get three of your own people become truly qualified Scrum Masters.

 

The workshop enables people with a good understanding of Scrum and/or Kanban to become good Agile coaches in 14 weeks. It does this through a combination of lessons, exercises with their own environment, and interactions with Net Objectives staff. It also provides templates and materials to support them in coaching their teams in Scrum.

 

Consider this: You could bring in an outside Scrum Master coach for three months. Or, by shortening the engagement by one week, you could pay for three of your Agile coaches to be in the workshop!

Please read Why you should grow your own Scrum Masters instead of bringing in outside Scrum Masters.

 

What it takes to be a great Agile Coach

The workshop is based on the premise that just knowing how to do Scrum is insufficient. An Agile Coach must provide support to their teams and coach them in continuous improvement. The workshop includes a Team-Agile support system that both Agile coaches and the development team can use.  It encompasses both Scrum and Kanban and is designed around Team Agility. Net Objectives believes that coaches should assist the people they are coaching to create new opportunities and better ways of working. The coach metaphor is used for someone guiding teams because, like a coach, they need to be proactive and encourage the people they are working with to make their own decisions.

 

Being a great coach requires an understanding of how to coach, of how to solve problems, and of the domain in which you are coaching. The curriculum of the workshop incorporates all three of these facets of great coaching. However, the workshop is not just about being a coach. Systems thinking tells us most of the errors made are due to the ecosystem people make. This ecosystem is not just how the team members work with each other but how they interact with the rest of the company. The workshop includes how coaches can identify and define the specific practices their team members should be using. Effective coaching involves a combination of coaching techniques and helping create a well-defined workflow their teams can effectively use.

 

The workshop goes well beyond teaching you how to be a coach. It includes understanding how to design a tailored Lean-Agile workflow and agreements for your team as well as how teach key mindsets that greatly improve team effectiveness.

 

There is also a module for Agile Coaches working in a SAFe environment.

 

Our promise

We promise to be responsive to your questions and promise that you will get value commensurate with the effort you put into this workshop. If you have any concerns or feedback, please send an email to info@netobjectives.com.

 

Pacing

Sections and lessons are self-paced so there are no lessons to miss. Students should expect to spend two or three hours a week on each section.

If you get behind, don't worry; just do the best you can.

 

Documents built during the workshop

The workshop is not just about creating better coaches, it is also intended to create an on-boarding and leveling up approach. Coaches will be creating documents to describe the approach they create throughout the workshop. Here is what the documents cover.

  • Practices to be used

  • Roles and their descriptions

  • Reports to be used

  • Agreements to be made

 

Templates for some of these documents will be introduced at the appropriate session and then updated throughout the workshop. Others should be created by the participants themselves as reminders of their choices. At the end of the workshop these documents will be reviewed to ensure completeness.

 

Here are some of the templates that are covered.

  • The Team Agility scorecard

  • Objective-Based Thinking

  • The workflow to use to identify and decompose Minimum Business Increments

  • Definitions of Ready and Definition of Done

  • Requirements for a good Scrum/Kanban board

  • Agreements being made with other teams and management and defining them within the guardrails system

  • Variations in workflow from team to team and causes of variation

  • Dependencies on other teams for building software

  • Teams depending on us for building their software

  • Parts of the organization needed in order to realize business value

  • Multi-team challenges and approaches to solve them

  • Types of retrospection to use for the team

  • On-boarding new people: How they can learn the workflow and other things they must know

  • Gaining agreement on new practices

  • Understanding the science of coaching

  • The coaches checklist for addressing challenges

Prerequisites

Participants must meet all of the following requirements:

Max class size

1000

Length

Variable

Level

Intermediate

Offering

Advanced Scrum Master and Kanban Online Workshop