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Agile Coaching Tips: Reinforce your agility with the Agile Team Radar

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2010/10/19

The « AGILE TEAM RADAR » is a self assessment tool I like to propose during sprints retrospective to collect data, especially with teams new to agility.

The exercise is directly inspired by Diana Larsen and Ester Derby  (Agile retrospectives)

The problem

Teams don’t always understand the importance of agile values, and don’t perceive how they are intimately linked to their everyday practices.

« Thanks for the theory… Ok for the values but now… please tell me more about continuous integration  test automation and agile requirements »

An answer

The necessity and the opportunity to return to foundations again and again! A good way to start: the agile team Radar with its good focus on the core agile (actually XP) values !

Agile Values In Action

Agile Values In Action

How to proceed?

Step 1:  Introduce the activity (why, how… self assessment, collect data, measure progress ….)

Step 2: Write, introduce values to the team making a short description of each value and trying to connect them with everyday practices. Good definitions to start:

Communication: Everyone is part of the team and we communicate face to face daily. We will work together on everything from requirements to code. We will create the best solution to our problem that we can together

Simplicity: We will do what is needed and asked for, but no more. This will maximize the value created for the investment made to date. We will take small simple steps to our goal and mitigate failures as they happen. We will create something we are proud of and maintain it long term for reasonable costs

Courage: We will tell the truth about progress and estimates. We don’t document excuses for failure because we plan to succeed. We don’t fear anything because no one ever works alone. We will adapt to changes when ever they happen.

Respect: Everyone gives and feels the respect they deserve as a valued team member. Everyone contributes value even if it’s simply enthusiasm. Developers respect the expertise of the customers and vice versa. Management respects our right to accept responsibility and receive authority over our own work

Feedback: We will take every iteration commitment seriously by delivering working software. We demonstrate our software early and often then listen carefully and make any changes needed. We will talk about the project and adapt our process to it, not the other way around

Step 3: Let the team make it real and link these values to their current  practices… Let the discussion go !

Step 4 : Do the self assessment, anonymously,  with a scale of 0-10 : how well the team is doing with the 5 agile values ?

Agile Value Card - Rate each value - 0 (not at all) to 10 (as much as possible) - It's anonymous !

Agile Value Card - Rate each value - 0 (not at all) to 10 (as much as possible) - It's anonymous !

Step 5: Collect the cards immediately after the exercise, Do the average by axis

Step 6: : Discuss the results and use it to track progress: NEXT SPRINT WE FOCUS ON FEEDBACK !

Sprint 1 vs Sprint 2 : Do you notice the progress ?

Sprint 1 vs Sprint 2 : Do you notice the progress ?


  • Precious to reinforce agile values
  • Very useful to generate insights and discussion around practices / values
  • Quick and easy
  • Useful to identity strengths and weaknesses of a team in a « Kaizen » approach
  • Very good for retrospectives and intresting in training and everyday coaching

Return on Time Invested … A ROTI for your meetings !

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2009/01/09

VALUE, FEEDBACK & ADAPTATION, COURAGE, TRANSPARENCY: this is the Lean and Agile mindset.

More than ever focus on value and waste elimination are organizations’ high priorities : lean thinking must drive our projects. And it starts by your meetings !

ROTI (Return on Time Investment) is a quick and easy method to gauge the time spent on meetings or workshops, and to improve their effectiveness.

How does it work ?
Take 5-15 minutes at the end of the meeting to ask participants to rate their return on time invested, using the Fist of Five technique and this 1-5 scale:


If you receive a majority of 1 or 2 fingers votes, you know there is a problem. Anyway, discuss with the participants who rated 1 or 2, discover why and react, plan to do something else, better, the next time.

I use the Return On Time Invested technique intensively (meetings, workshops, conferences), and really appreciate it.  It’s VISUAL and provides you with IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK (but are you ready to receive it ?). The focus on what is really valuable but also commitment, empowerment, transparency, continuous Improvement are the key benefits I notice.

ROTI is quick, easy, sometimes funny, and works very well, even with top management.

Two good referrences (article and book):

Involve me and I’ll understand

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2009/01/08

Tell me and I’ll forget
Show me and I may remember
Involve me  and I’ll understand

A Chinese quote and a principle that we should apply everyday on our projects. So encourage good learning, seek maximum cooperation, stimulate interactions, raise the feedback… ENGAGE clients and stakeholders in order to make our intervention really valuable !