@TobiasMayer leading keynote games

I tend to write blog posts that are too long.  Which is why sometimes I don’t blog as often as I should.

But I really want to share everything with you that I learned at Agile Coach Camp US (#ACCUS) in Columbus Ohio last week.

So instead of a long blog post that I feel obligated to make perfect, I’m going to “blog tweet” a bunch of short thoughts…

Thanks first go to @Paul_Boos and the rest of the volunteers.  You did an incredible job – thanks for making it possible!

Friday AM was @TobiasMayer leading the keynote games.  “Failure Bows” were a big hit, and lasted through the weekend.

Failure bow: stick your hands high up in the air, wear stupid grin, and say something like “I failed!  This is a learning opportunity!”

He had all us walk around the room in that pose, greeting people.  Very funny.

Ideas for helping 50+ ppl projects from a @MichaelSahota session

He also led a swarming exercise to show how groups band together.  It was fun, but didn’t work as he expected.

So I love how @TobiasMayer took a “failure bow” himself and proposed an open space session for Saturday to try other ideas with this game.

@TobiasMayer also led “friends and enemies” exercise. Pick an enemy across the room, and keep a friend between you equidistant.  Hard to do!

Showed how it’s easier to coordinate large groups when we treat each other as colleagues than jockeying for political positions.

I had the pleasure of walking back to the hotel with @TobiasMayer once, and it was great to get to know him IRL.

@MichaelSahota led a coaching skills workshop where I met @DaveSharrock and @IndyAgilista and we formed a coaching team.

We rotated roles between coach, client, and observer, and coached each other thru real problems.

Very revealing for me.  It was a great chance for me to practice the “powerful questions” I’ve been learning from @MichaelSpayd

I realized doing this I was a better coach in that session than I have been with real clients.  I was less afraid. (virtual failure bow!)

A game of Failure Pattern Poker

Now I am giving myself permission to fail more (virtual failure bow!) and take more risks with my questions.

The best questions I can ask are those that question the client’s assumptions as well as my own assumptions/fears about what can be done.

“Describe to me what it would look like if you could solve this problem.”

@DaveSharrock and @IndyAgilista were great and I’m grateful to have made their friendship at #ACCUS.

@MHSutton led a very fun improv session. He delivered side splitting laughter as promised.  I felt like I was on “Whose Line is it anyways?”

@MHSutton had us do actual improv skits to loosen up and for team building.  Note to self: Bippitby Bippitby Bop! I was “garbage truck man.”

I brought “Dr Swiffer Wiper” into the game.  Best I could come up with, but it seemed to work!

In the PM, I led a session on failure pattern poker.  Very grateful to the people who joined in and we had two great tables going.

@GDinwiddie, @Paul_Boos, @S2IL, & others had gr8 ideas for game revisions, depending on its use for training or retrospectives. Thank you!

More Failure Pattern Poker

It was very fun and I hope to improve on it for future use.

I also attended some great open space sessions that gave me many good ideas.

@S2IL led an interesting discussion on the Half Arsed Agile Manifesto. How can we use sarcasm and humor with our clients?

I think the answer was carefully, and with their permission, but it’s a valuable way to mirror back behaviors to clients.

Just going over the Half Arsed Agile Manifesto created a lot of great discussion.

Also had an interesting discussion with @GerryKirk & others from smaller cities.  We discussed how to build agile communities.

Charlottesville already has an impressive per-capita agile group in AgileCville, thanks to the efforts of many excellent folks.

Discussion points on building agile communities in small cities

Gave me ideas for inexpensive one-day agile conf or pay as you can training. Perhaps get several biz’s to jointly bring in CSM training?

I had lunch at a table with @OlafLewitz who told me how we should stop talking about projects, and focus on product dev instead. Loved it.

The side conversations with @AgileToolkit, @DavidBulkin and others were always fun and fruitful.  It was great to see everyone.

The beers at night, networking, and discussions were also very valuable.  I wish I had everyone’s twitter name to thank for the good times.

@DerekWWade was hilarious marveling over Murphy’s waitress’s triple major at OSU and twitter. Didn’t write her twitter down or I’d shoutout.

Still waiting for people to start the tag #ShitThatAngelineSays after many funny talks with @AgileMeister. Scared to start it myself.

And of course there were quite a few hilarious conversations that I’m not going to be the first one to tweet about.

@DerekWWade and @DaveSharrock probably know what I’m thinking of.

In one last tweet, what did I learn at #ACCUS?

As an agile coach, you sometimes feel alone at the client.

Shouting into the storm, and bummed that people are slow to join you, even after you show them there is a better way to do things.

Agile coaches all face similar challenges and fears.  Facing them and questioning them for ourselves and our clients is how we bring value.

Okay, that was 3 last tweets.  😉  What can I say? I’m inspired.