How to Prepare for a Scrum Master Interview, Part 1 – Scrum Knowledge

Photo by Joe Penniston

Photo by Joe Penniston

It seems obvious that a Scrum Master should know Scrum. Yet a number of people struggle to explain the framework in an interview setting. Maybe someone else originally trained your teams, it's been a while since you've talked about Scrum end to end, or your company has its own (related) framework it uses. A clear, concise explanation of the framework demonstrates your knowledge, gives a glimpse into your ability to teach, and will help you shine in an interview.

There are 2 resources that I recommend reviewing for preparation. The first is the Scrum Guide. It contains the definition of Scrum. Scrum terminology has changed over the years, and the guide is updated periodically; understanding the changes and using the latest terminology can show a dedication to professional development.

People sometimes bring up that their companies don’t follow Scrum exactly and might use “iterations” instead of “sprints” or refer to “backlog grooming.” Using your company’s terminology on a day-to-day basis makes sense—adopting the language of the land can be a way of building trust. I adjust my language at organizations using their own frameworks and switch back to Scrum in other environments. In an interview setting, we’re talking about how we can potentially work in another company that’s on their agile journey. They might not use the same jargon as your previous organization. It’s prudent to use the language of the Scrum Guide as it’s recognized across the industry.

The second resource I recommend is this video from Lyssa Adkins. In face-to-face interviews, you may be asked or find it helpful to draw Scrum at a whiteboard. Doing so confidently and clearly can make you stand out.

Practice helps here: draw and explain Scrum to anyone who will give you 5 minutes. My walk-through changes slightly based on my audience--a new team member will want to know how they will be working within the team whereas a business stakeholder may want to understand how the product is delivered incrementally and iteratively. I may elaborate or emphasize certain parts of Scrum to better address those "what's in it for me" questions.

You may be thinking at this point that someone could read the Scrum Guide, practice explaining the framework, and have no experience working with agile teams—you’re right. A good interview should not look for only answers that could come from reading books (even if they’re really good ones). And there may be people who are amazing with agile teams who cannot describe Scrum flawlessly.

In interviews, we want to share our knowledge and our experience. Solid knowledge of Scrum seems essential for Scrum Masters. Interviewers also want to know how you’ve applied Scrum. Connect your real-world experience to your foundational understanding of Scrum by telling stories. Describe how you used retrospectives to help a team improve or what you did to support a new Product Owner in their role. Talk about that team member whose skills and confidence grew as a result of your coaching. Speak to how Scrum helped improve delivery and build trust across the organization.

How important is framework knowledge in your Scrum Master interviews?

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.

Beginnings of an Agile Coaching Team

Photo by Tom Woodward

Photo by Tom Woodward

There’s been enough success with agile to justify forming a coaching team—congrats! Now what?

A few big questions come up:

  • How will we know if agile coaching is successful or not?

  • How will coaching be structured in the organization?

  • Which teams or groups will agile coaches work with?

That first question is a doozy! Agile coaches can be squeamish about metrics to evaluate how effective their efforts are because ultimately results are outside of their control. Yet we all like to know that our work adds value and makes a difference; when we feel we are not seeing positive results despite our best efforts, we will look to make a change in that coaching relationship. Metrics could support conversations with the people we coach about how things are going and if coaching should continue with them or not.

Coaching could be structured around working with groups for a particular timeframe or until a team reaches a particular set of capabilities. There’s often an underlying assumption that every team will need agile coaching, and that leads to agile coaches having more teams to coach than they can handle at once. Organizations typically need a diverse coaching group that includes technical skills, product/business skills, and organizational change/team dynamics skills—this is important in enabling longer-term benefits of agile. Hopefully these coaches are working together (rather than in silos by specialty or disparate areas of the organization) and are aligned with a shared goal.

Which brings us to the final big question from above. There are many options to consider in determine which groups or teams to start coaching:

  • Management/leadership so they “go first”

  • Teams that ask for coaching because they are open and motivated

  • Teams whose managers request coaching for them because they must be important and have management backing

  • Teams working on the highest priority products/work for the organization so that they are more likely to be successful and create visible wins

  • Teams who will be working on new products so they get started on a good path and we can make use of the fresh start from a timing perspective

  • Teams that are bottlenecks for programs/other teams because these will have a multiplier effect for the organization

Other options probably exist, and there’s no clear “use this approach in all cases” answer. In fact, some agile coaching teams offer different products or services based on those “customer” personas or needs.

Newly formed agile coaching teams need to take some time to think through these questions and create their own charter. It would be easy to just start coaching and become so busy that we forget to reflect on our efforts. Let’s get clarity about our plan to help the organization because doing so will enable us to replan later as needed. An agile coaching team that can pivot based on organizational needs is quite amazing.

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.

Clarity, Chaos, and Agile Coaching

Photo by Kai C. Schwarzer

Photo by Kai C. Schwarzer

Over a hundred development teams, multiple layers of IT management, several business units, and a culture of busyness. Projects and programs are “behind.” There’s a desire to modernize technologies and upskill employees. The potential investment for change is significant, and agile coaches see an overwhelming number of ways to potentially help teams and the organization at large.

As a coaching group, we may struggle to align on an overarching goal. Most of our time is likely spent with development team members, and we may “take their side” against the organization that has not empowered them. We may juggle training demands and coaching multiple teams, inevitably making trade-off decisions about which team’s events to attend because we cannot be everywhere for everyone. We may take on other people’s problems to solve because we feel compelled to be helpful. The current state of the organization can seem so far from our lofty vision of the future that we lose sight of the small wins.

There will be high stress throughout this process. There will be setbacks, emotional outbursts, and many times when people regret having started a transformation. There will be conflicts be- tween coaches and client staff. There will be disagreements among coaches regarding approach or methods. Even when things appear to be progressing smoothly, it’s likely that problems are lurking just below the surface. (David Nicolette, Technical Coaching for IT Organizational Transformation)

It is easy for the stress to creep in and deplete us. With double- and triple-booked calendars and a fuzzy goal to help people be “more agile,” agile coaches can struggle to show up and be present for all the relationships that need us—teams, their stakeholders, and our coach-colleagues. Nicolette shares a meditation in his book that resonated for me immediately: the eye of the hurricane. I have often called to mind similar imagery when working with groups that are spiraling with conflict, drowning in large amounts of work, or getting stuck in the face of big challenges. I take a deep breath to find the calm within myself so I can think more clearly. We must learn to take care of ourselves as agile coaches so we can best serve others.

From the eye of the hurricane, we may see when we’re operating from a common assumption that every team needs the same agile capabilities and proficiencies. Does every application or product require the utmost agility? Maybe not. It’s not for us as agile coaches to decide.

We can reduce stress on ourselves and others by having upfront conversations with leadership about what capabilities they desire from teams and the value those will provide to them and the organization. Gaining clarity on the target means we also discuss the investments (e.g., training, coaching support, infrastructure/tooling, organization structure changes, etc.) that may be needed. Rather than try to effect all sorts of changes under a general goal of “coaching teams to be more agile,” we can partner with leaders and enable them to make more informed decisions about how much to invest in their organization and understand the support they’ll need to provide. Trust is built when we clarify expectations and set more realistic goals for ourselves and for 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.

Sharing Experience through Speaking

Photo by Xava du

Photo by Xava du

A group of us sat in a row together. We wanted to listen to our friend Ryan give his presentation on retrospectives. This wasn’t the usual “how to facilitate effective retrospectives” talk either—this was his experience of focusing on one problem and using retros to experiment and learn from trying to solve it. Over the course of a year and a half. It was one line of code.

I LOVED IT. A humble and wise presentation on using retrospectives to do the very thing we dream they can do: enable a team to solve problems. It was honest and inspiring.

Ryan will be presenting this topic again at DFW Scrum tonight (July 16th). It’s an evening of experience reports in preparation for Agile 2019, and I’ll also be presenting the talk I co-wrote with Skylar Watson (“The Downfalls of Coaching in a Hierarchical Model”). Our papers have been published online here.

I hope you come support Ryan (and me) this evening at the meetup. More importantly though, I hope you’ll find your topic and volunteer to speak at a community event. We learn from reflecting on our experiences—good, bad, and ugly—that may inform what all of us can do differently tomorrow. Watch the below video for more of my thoughts on getting started as a speaker:

However how small, or mundane, or obvious it might seem, there is something in sharing your experience with others that can be incredibly powerful. We as a community grow stronger as a result.

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.

Looking at Location and Time in Open Space

Photo by Sharyn Morrow

Photo by Sharyn Morrow

As an Open Space attendee, I find myself wondering how different spaces may impact the sessions I convene or participate in. Over the last two months, I’ve attended 3 “unconference” events in different cities. One was held in a conference center, another in a sound studio, and the third in a navigation training facility. The locations provided different atmospheres. A conference center can be like a blank canvas. Sound studios are already a place for creative work to happen, and I enjoyed the jam-like vibe of sessions in the space. Noise from a session was isolated from other sessions downstairs, whereas sessions in the main room could be heard freely. Finding one’s way around a navigation training facility can be tricky, however, there are some nice gathering spots that can be found down the various hallways if you wander around a bit.

Organizers often help indicate which spaces may have tables or projectors for sessions that may want to use them; the marketplace may have icons to indicate this, or a map may be posted nearby with details. In many cases, the marketplace wall shows a grid of times and locations that leaves little (if any) room for deviations from the named locations. Organizers and facilitators take note: there might be other really cool spaces available nearby that have not been named explicitly in your grid. Leave possibility open in the marketplace for attendees to expand where sessions happen.

At a glance, the marketplace typically looks like firmly timeboxed sessions. Seeing that, my inner rebel wants to break through the perceived boundaries there. The Greeks had 2 words for time—kronos and kairos—and I long for the latter in Open Space. Let’s move away from the experience of sequential time, the time of clocks and calendars that can be quantified and measured, and choose to experience time that is creative and serendipitous. Embrace “time that is energized by the living dream of the future and presents us with unlimited possibility.” The marketplace does not have to be posted as a traditional grid:

Marketplace Setup at Agile Coach Camp Canada 2018

Marketplace Setup at Agile Coach Camp Canada 2018

In the past, I’ve attended sessions in a hallway, the bean bag chair area of an office, outside at a campground, at a brewery next to the facility, and at the Kurt Vonnegut museum that was within walking distance. Those conversations and experiences stand out for me as rich and engaging. I remember opting out from participating in unconference sessions that were part of a larger conference and going to the coffee shop within the conference hotel to hang out. There, I found others doing the same. We’d un-unconferenced and found ourselves together in the same space. We were then closer to the spirit that Open Space originated from: the rich conversations that happen in the hallways.

Coffee and snack areas are helpful, as well as other quieter areas for reflection. Personally, I end up being a butterfly for some period of time at many open spaces. Maybe I felt a need to hibernate (rest away from people), retreat to my own thoughts (and created a future blog post), or didn’t find a “thing” to connect to at that time (so I wandered around or read instead). I could be sitting back and taking in the energy of the room. I could be scanning for something to attract my attention further. I could be taking advantage of the location to do something really geeky like listen to my Spotify playlist while I’m at the Spotify office.

Martin and I at Agile Coach Camp US 2017 held in New York

Martin and I at Agile Coach Camp US 2017 held in New York

Reflecting on the influence of location and experience of time as an attendee highlights what makes Open Space special compared to other events. When we facilitate Open Space, our fundamental job is to honor the space for the people; putting care into the location, how time is modeled, and structure of the marketplace can have a significant impact on the overall experience.

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.

Reflecting as an Attendee on Open Space Events

Photo by Mark Faviell

Photo by Mark Faviell

Attending and participating in an Open Space event is quite different from facilitating one, and I think taking notice of our experiences as attendees can help us prepare to be better facilitators.

As an Open Space attendee, I show up looking forward to connecting with others based on the ideas that we propose—ideas that hold meaning for us in that moment. My brain may be wanting to further process concepts that I’ve been reading or I may be excited to share something I’ve found useful or an idea that might serve this newly formed community may pop up for me.

Bob Galen wrote,

I have mixed feelings about Open Space events and I’m not sure why. My personal experience with them is two-fold. Either they are wonderful and powerful or they are terrible. There is sort of nothing in between.

There is skill to facilitating Open Space such that attendees can be present to one another and to themselves. Saying the Open Space principles aloud can be like an incantation that sparks magic in the room (witnessed as creativity and passion in the marketplace creation). Or it can be like a recitation of the safety procedures at the beginning of a flight—the scripted message we’ve heard before and are likely to tune out. A marketplace still comes into being, albeit less energetically, less populated, or with less innovative thinking.

The notion behind Open Space was inspired by the hallway conversations that occurred at traditional conferences. Open Space organizers do work to take care of logistics for attendees—we are informed of where and when to show up, how meals will be handled, and that might be enough. Some groups plan for ice breakers, games, or lightning talks beforehand—I imagine this is to help me feel more connected and present as an attendee than (1) letting us gather naturally at a meal or (2) jumping straight into opening the space. Defining and stating a clear goal for these pre-Open Space activities can help both the facilitator and attendees connect them to the overall event experience. Provide enough structure to the activities to create the desired outcomes of building connections between people or priming creative thinking. Asking people to mingle openly can feel awkward for introverts.

Attendees often experience a strong sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) at conferences, and Open Space is not immune. Would I feel better to hear that experience is normal? What responsibility do I need to take as an attendee to further get what I want from the event? I often forget that I can ask someone to move their session in the marketplace to accommodate my ability to attend. There’s no guarantee they’ll do it, but I will have at least tried.

Attending an Open Space event can be exciting, inspiring, confusing, or even off-putting for people. Facilitators prepare a lot beforehand and can make what they do look easy—walking around a circle a few times and reading posters. There’s much more to it than that, I assure you. Thinking about the experience I want attendees to have gives me clarity on what I need to do as a facilitator. For resources to prepare as a facilitator, check out Michael Herman’s site.

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.

Coaching Agile Leadership

Photo by Marco Verch

Photo by Marco Verch

Leaders make a decision, change has been announced, and the agile coach wasn’t involved—what’s their reaction? Having talked to coaches all over North America at various agile conferences and open space events and heard their thoughts on management in general, it seems like the reaction is this:

  • If the decision clearly supports agile and the teams, the coach is elated and does a happy dance

  • If there is any doubt of the above, the coach is frustrated, angry, or depressed

Ouch. It’s tiring to be mentally recasting managers as friend or foe based on their decisions. And exhausting to think of them as villains or buffoons majority of the time. There’s this notion that persists—if only they (management) would get it (agile), then the culture and team issues would sort themselves out magically and a choir of angels would sing. Ok, maybe not the angels. Rainbows and unicorns would appear.

Agile coaches tend to be on the side of the teams, which somehow means they are against management. I don’t know if that’s serving us or organizations well. Is the safety to fail meant only for teams or for the organization? If we are to support culture change, what is our role in being a coach for the organization as a whole? Is that possible? Management implies privilege, which is not something to ignore. Those with privilege can be blind to it, and others may need real assurance to speak truth to management.

I just finished reading Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell. Campbell coached a number of executives in his unique style that included hugs, cursing, confidentiality, storytelling, and asking questions. He undoubtedly had a significant impact on those around him, and the description of his work didn’t always match my understanding of coaching. One thing was crystal clear though: he was a champion for those he coached and the executive teams to which they belonged. Who are we choosing to be if we do not champion those we coach?

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.

When DevOps is Inflicted on Business

Photo by Pacheco

Photo by Pacheco

Most organizations I visit have accrued technical debt and genuinely want to improve their technologies to better serve their business and their customers. The challenge is: how? Architectural and infrastructure improvements may be needed, new practices and skills may be required, and it’s hard to see where to fit in these efforts with business requests. Oftentimes IT projects and technical stories manifest. In many cases, transparency of development efforts decreases when this happens and leads to greater conflict with business stakeholders. Teams can feel caught in the middle as managers try to provide “air cover.” The use of a war-related metaphor here feels not-so-great.

Transparency is one of the early benefits of an agile approach; it is evident in the Focusing Value zone of the Agile Fluency model and enables organizations to better collaborate and save costs as they focus on business results. When IT chooses to invest more heavily in improving technology and the way they work to reduce defects and increase productivity, it can look like a slowdown. Teams may spend time on things that business folks don’t fully understand; their effort increases as they introduce new tooling, make architectural improvements, and adopt new practices. The development costs of new features can skyrocket. Good IT managers help insulate their teams from undue pressures to deliver and meet timelines—pressures that can cause teams to abandon improvement efforts. Great managers recognize the additional challenges being placed on product management and partner with business to keep focusing on value and learn to ship more frequently to customers.

Scrum describes the Product Owner as responsible for “optimizing the value of the work the Development Team performs.” When the effort of a feature is significantly increased by technical improvements, the Product Owner’s job becomes harder. And their role was already difficult! I’ve seen tensions shift and conflict become more productive when organizations learn to look at the product more. Looking at the product more means looking at status reports or release plans less—graphs and words miss the full truth and make it harder for us to find alternative ways to deliver value sooner. Inspecting the product (or the Increment, for Scrum aficionados) generates conversations about customer benefits and value; teams learn more about what customer problems may need to be solved and can think of new ways of doing so. A stronger understanding of value can be the key to a team figuring out how to deploy multiple times a week—or even a day! System resiliency can increase as a team learns more about potential risks. Plans to release to production are adapted as real conversations about the current state of the product unfold.

Investing in adopting DevOps or making technical improvements doesn’t have to be at odds with focusing on business results. Inspect the product, not the status reports or release charts. Build on the transparency and collaboration of agile methods.

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.

Mentoring is not Cloning

Photo by lorigami

Photo by lorigami

Years ago I attended an Agile Scrum Immersion class. My mentor was the instructor, and I’d been looking forward to learning how he taught the class; I hoped it might reveal new ways of explaining concepts or leading activities that would make me a better teacher.

He was incredible at creating a safe learning environment, engaging students, and telling stories. His energy was infectious as he dramatically explained how the Agile Manifesto came to be, jovially walked through Scrum in his own poetic yet plainspoken way, and imparted to us signals to be wary of in our agile journeys.

I remember a student asking a question, and I started thinking about how I would answer if I was leading the class. And then listened as my mentor spoke to his experience before agile and after. His answer was quite different from mine—I did not have equivalent pre-agile experience. That was the moment I realized I would never be my mentor. We could both certainly teach and coach, but our approaches would be different. Our own experiences would inform us in our work. To act like his clone or mimic his style would actually be detrimental—I’d be a fraud.

After presenting at the Dallas Agile Leadership Network recently, a friend told me she found herself thinking, “I want to be like Allison” for my ability to engage with an audience so naturally. Flattered, I knew immediately she would not be exactly like me. Another notion came to mind too: she would never be me but could channel her “inner Allison.” There have been times when I’ve sought to be more easygoing, extroverted, or authoritative and found help in thinking of role models of those qualities. I reflected on what they do that I admire and figure out where that may already live within me. I can try it on and practice being more of an external connector, for example. Engaging with strangers and warming up an audience for a talk. It reminds me of years ago when I first attended a swing dance; my best friend walked me up to someone and asked him to dance with me since I was new. I have no idea how red my face might have been in that interaction, but I learned quickly how to approach strangers on my own. Building that capacity has served me well in many areas now.

We learn so much about ourselves in relationship with others, and we can inspire each other to develop aspects of ourselves that might remain dormant otherwise. Borrowing from one another and trying new ways of being without full-on mimicry. Whether we are mentoring someone or being mentored, we must remember that cloning is not the goal. Personal learning and development is.

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 and Metrics – Measurables or Miserables?

Photo by alev adil

Photo by alev adil

Years ago, I talked to a COO about helping his organization adopt agile, and he asked about metrics. How would he know how teams and products are performing? Part of the desire for agile was to address their current lack of visibility into the teams’ work and to establish KPIs across IT in particular.

What metrics could the COO expect to see? Great question. Agilists often talk about using empirical process control—namely transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Yet we’ve seen issues arise when metrics that are useful at a team level are exposed to managers and stakeholders outside the team. Unfair comparisons of teams and assumptions about how to intervene can pop up. Education about the metrics and how to use them can help. Recognizing what kinds of decisions and support may be needed from those outside the team may encourage tracking and discussing additional metrics.

Ken Howard and I created a presentation about metrics a team might find useful and metrics executives might be interested in; it’s called Agile by the Numbers: How to Develop Useful KPIs and was a popular session at AgileShift in Houston. Slides are available online here. If you’re interested in us presenting for your group, please contact me.

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.