Growing Agile Teams

Resistance to change is inevitable part of human nature! But Agile Manifesto preaches, Embrace change. Not only our clients but we as individuals also want change, lets call it good change, without having to really make an effort towards it. Accepting change in Agile, is only possible when we write "good quality" code, improve throughput, or work towards Kaizen and of course a mindset which says, let me try this wacky thing!! Trying new things, working on changing requirements needs upgrading skills or GROWing teams.

Growing Agile Teams

The G.R.O.W model is simple yet powerful way of mentoring and coaching teams. Developed by John Whitmore, this framework helps teams, individuals and organizations identify mutually benefiting goals.GROW stands for Goal, Current Reality, Options, and Will or Way forward. A good analogy about the GROW model is to think how you would plan a journey. You initially decide where you are going (goal); understand where you currently are (current reality); explore various routes to your destination (options); and finally proceed on the journey (will), successfully overcoming any obstacles you may have along the way.

 

Initial planning is around current skill levels and practice GROWS, assuming everyone as novice to begin with. Each growth area, is driven around an experiment with assumptions and conditions in place, and with time you take feedback and evaluate steps further. Needless say, Experiments are time-boxed, which limits commitment and risk, unlike the “change,” which is permanent and open-ended. It’s very clear to all involved that this is not a practice yet, but just a experiment.

The use of experiments in GROWS helps you to understand that you don't have all the answers—and neither do we, and neither does anyone else. Instead, you answer questions with working software. 

Goal, first the coach and team/individual establish what exactly they need to change or what is the problem area they are exactly targeting. End Goal, should be supported by performance goals as this promotes ownership and inspiration. Besides supporting an end goal with a performance goal, goals need not only be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound) but PURE (Positively stated, Understood, Relevant, Ethical).

Once Goal is set, examine the current Reality. What, When, Where and Who these questions dominate. Like What is happening? Who is doing? When and where did this happen? What was the result? This helps coach get clear picture and provide better feedback.

Options, purpose here is not provide clear answers, but explore broad range of possibilities to chose from.Typical questions include
 

  • What could you do?
  • What if this constraint was removed? Would that change things?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
  • What do you need to change in order to achieve this goal?
  • What obstacles stand in your way?

Purpose of final step, establishing Way forward to convert discussion into decision.Typical questions include 

 

  • So what will you do now, and when? What else will you do?
  • Will this action meet your goal?
  • What could stop you moving forward? How will you overcome this?
  • How can you keep yourself motivated?

Once this is set, decide on date and venue on when you would want to review results.This helps team experiment by guided skill growth and opportunity to achieve Kaizen!

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