Agile Coaching Dashboard, Iteration 3

Photo by A.Q. Mckenzie

Photo by A.Q. Mckenzie

After facilitating agile assessments for all 20 teams, I realized that my job was to coach an organization and teach 20 Scrum Masters to coach their own teams.  I needed to work on growing the skills of the Scrum Masters themselves, so I needed to reflect that on my coaching dashboard.  I wasn’t comfortable displaying their real names in my cubicle, so I gave them superhero nicknames.

For the y-axis of the grid, I thought about what skills a great Scrum Master demonstrated and grouped them into 5 categories (5 is a magic number because of the size of the cards and height of my cubicle).  In the matrix, I wrote notes about each Scrum Master.  A note in green meant a Scrum Master excelled at something, orange meant some help was needed, pink meant a trouble area, and purple meant I wasn’t sure and needed to spend more time with the Scrum Master.

agile coaching dashboard 3.jpg

With this dashboard, I was able to recognize what areas were weak across the group [e.g. conflict facilitation].  More importantly, I could see opportunities for the Scrum Masters to pair and teach one another based on their strengths.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

The Next Iteration of the Coaching Dashboard

Photo by Natalie Litz

Photo by Natalie Litz

Sometime after I developed my first coaching dashboard, I went from coaching 8 teams to about 20 teams, and I found it difficult to fill in the matrix for such a large number of teams.  The dashboard no longer helped me focus on what I needed to do next because it was more time-consuming to read.  I determined that I needed to facilitate the agile assessment with all of the teams, and I started to replace the note cards with the team’s maturity level for each focus area.  I could see which teams had gone through the assessment and which remained to be done easily, and I would tag teams that had an assessment scheduled with a sticky note.  I indicated the focus areas that teams chose to improve with sticker dots.  

As the maturity cards were filled in, I could again see similarities and differences across teams at a higher level.  It became clear that the teams were relatively close in their maturities—they seemed to move together in their agile adoption.  Suddenly coaching 20 different teams didn’t seem like the goal.  The goal was to coach the organization as a whole and teach 20 Scrum Masters to coach their individual teams!

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Agile Coaching Dashboard - How I Started

Photo by Darwin Bell

Photo by Darwin Bell

I was first introduced to the concept of an agile coaching dashboard at the Agile 2012 conference, and it was presented as a type of information radiator to help agile coaches and the teams they work with visualize coaching work and progress.  I work with a large number of teams, and there isn’t a single location where I could post an information radiator for most of them to see—I tried, and it flopped.  But I was still curious about how I could visualize my work with the teams for my own benefit, so I decided to house the dashboard in my cubicle.

At this particular client organization, the agile coaches use an agile assessment framework to help teams inspect and adapt their agile practices.  The assessment consists of 5 focus areas, which seemed like a good way for me to organize my work.  I wrote down each focus area on a 4x6 index card with some bullet points about what was included in that area and hung them vertically in my cubicle: I had my y-axis.  Then I wrote down the team names on cards and hung those horizontally; I think at the time I was coaching about 8 teams.  This formed a matrix that I could then fill in and looked something like this:

Within the grid, I wrote short notes about what I thought a team needed help with next.  Every 1-2 weeks, I would review the cards and evaluate what progress had been made.  I could see similarities and differences amongst the teams, which was helpful in determining what training needs existed.  It became easier to see what topics would be beneficial to cover in the organization’s monthly lunch and learns.

The coaching dashboard was helpful for me to reflect on my work, and it evolved over time (more to come).

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.