The Agile Manifesto tells us “Individuals and interactions are more important than processes and tools.” It also says that of course there is value in processes and tools. The three main pillars of my work focus on all aspects of agile already, but leave out the processes and tools side.
I consider both JIRA & Confluence as well as good moderation techniques as great additions and highly valuable to overall agile strategies. An easy-to-understand JIRA- and Confluence setup, that helps people get things done, can be one giant leap for a company. The success of Scrum ceremonies and other meetings depends strongly on balanced and solution oriented moderation. I don’t only do this myself, I also support teams in achieving excellence in these criteria.
Workshop/Off-site Planning, Structuring and Moderation
Running successful workshops or team offsites and achieving greatness together needs two things: Good preparation and excellent moderation. The preparation will strongly require your collaboration, since the main goal is to achieve outcomes that are valuable to you. Let’s plan this together!
While agile is what I’m most passionate about, moderation is what brought me there in the first place. Thinking back: The mix of desire and talent for moderation made me a good project manager during my studies and a good ScrumMaster right after. Starting with small teams, progressing to bigger teams running productive workshops all the way to running department offsites with several dozen participants, I’m proficient in the do’s and don’ts of moderation.
What do you need moderation for?
Change management, Project workshop, Team building, Themed off-site?
What all potential workshops or offsites have in common is the need for thorough preparation.
Depending on size and context we need to know participants’ expectations upfront, or we’ll gather it as part of the workshop. A consistent agenda is essential to workshop success. On the moderation level each potential session in itself has properties of change management:
- Motivation in general (Why are we doing what we want to do for the next 2 hours / 4 hours / 1 day / 3 days?)
- Motivation of each individual (Why is your expertise needed for this endeavor?)
- Knowledge (Find out, together, what to do.)
- Ability (Determine and/or agree on how to do this.)
In the preparation we will build an agenda, that will lead the team from
|any given input||across a first step|
|and a second step||to the desired result.|
Each of these four steps is executed using moderation techniques tailored to the individual step goal and audience. Depending on the duration of a session, I will spice this up with ice-breaker activities, energizing fun exercises and closure activities for cool-down.
(Effort: Event duration +100% preparation time, 2d off-site requires 2d preparation)
Of course I don’t need to be involved in planning and structuring a workshop or off-site in order to provide good moderation.
In order to lead an event towards a goal a moderator needs to have two things: A good overview of the topic and the planned (!) agenda of the event as well as a good feeling for the participants and their emotions. Over the course of an event like this, team members act, interact with and respond to one another – meanwhile the moderator needs to cater to everyone’s emotions and potentially change the course of the session be it publicly in collaboration with the group or situationally behind the scenes based on their own experience.
Sheer moderation bears the risk of either disappointing the participants, because their feelings and needs aren’t being catered to, or to disappoint the hosts (usually the moderators’ clients) because of deviations from the original agenda.
Aligned with my own values, I usually chose “Responding to Change” over following the plan. The short-term disappointment of the client weighs less heavily than the long-term disappointment of the clients employees.
Effort: Event duration + debriefing
How to become a better moderator? This training helps people in just about any role, be it ScrumMasters, Product Owners, developers on different levels, leaders of any kind, to moderate meetings and workshops better. “Better” means more solution oriented, more collaborative, more engaging, more interactive.
In the training I’ll qualify people to
- prepare/set better agendas and structure a session
- become aware of different types of decisions and how to achieve them
- keep control of the session even if participants are challenging
- increase engagement through more interaction with all participants
JIRA Training for working agile
Personally: I love working with physical whiteboards and I’m convinced they’re the single best tool for practicing agile ways of working. So why does an agile coach offer JIRA trainings? Only because people use JIRA, they’re not agile. However, with growing complexity in huge organizations and remote working we’re benefiting from using some tools. JIRA not only needs some attention in administering it – already just using it can be challenging at times. In this training I will help you avoid common pitfalls and teach you how to reconcile agile practices and working with JIRA to keep things simpler and be faster.
JIRA- and Confluence Administration
Setting up JIRA- and Confluence for collaboration is great, but administration of these complex tools is complex as well. As a tool JIRA needs to help the people in your organization and represent and support your processes. To establish this state is my goal. No company should bend itself over it’s tools. I can help you weed out an old system or set up a fresh install with you, customize it and teach you how to keep weeds out in the first place. Having worked as JIRA administrator for years has enabled me to professionally and pragmatically support you in JIRA administration.
(2 days+ depending on complexity)
Assessing where you stand in your agile journey and identifying improvements holds value regardless of your agile “maturity”. Are you already working agile? How is the understanding for agile ways of working among your employees? Do you see room for improvement and are looking for support?
Together we’ll use objective criteria to evaluate where you stand. I will observe your teams in and outside of meetings and conduct interviews about the development process. You will receive detailed feedback. Afterwards we’ll collaborate potentially even with more participants on where the biggest potential is and how to unleash it.
(2 to 4 weeks)