10 months since I joined, and now the end of the year… Time for reflection, and a big Thank You.
I’ve become part of a great team of coaches. There’s a saying about Jazz: “Always be the worst guy in every band you’re in.” My amazing friend Mike Sutton gave me the advice to apply the Law of Two Feet to my job, and to go somewhere where I could learn, again. So that’s what I did, join a team where I was (in many ways, at least) the junior. I began to listen, and learn…
How it all began
Marion Eickmann, who prides herself being a Certified Scrum Impediment (CSI), approached me multiple times in recent years to join agile42. We had worked together for a year at my previous company, and she asked me to join Andrea Tomasini and her when they founded agile42 as an Agile Coaching Company. At the time, I was too comfortable being the most senior consultant in the place I worked at, and while she repeatedly asked me over the years, I was hesitant to leave my comfort zone.
Last year, in autumn, she finally was successful… So she’s the first person I need to thank, for her trust, tenacity, and drive to bring me on board. And the courage to cope with a Linchpin constantly challenging the status quo… I had interviews with Andrea and Dave Sharrock who barely knew me at the time, but did not hesitate to embrace me into their team.
My Year With the People of agile42
The first person I worked with was Ralf Kruse. He joined me at the AgileCoachCamp Norway in January, and we teamed up for my very first agile42 gig. Training and coaching together was a challenge I’ve learned a lot from, and I’ve been enjoying the creative tension between us ever since. Thank you, Ralf, for all the inspiration!
At that same CoachCamp, I met Sergey Dmitriev, Benjamin Sommer and Geir Amsjø, who now work with agile42 Norway. Just this week, we all met in Berlin for our third agile42 coach camp this year and developed our strategy for next year. Looking forward to work more with you guys next year!
Martin Kearns lives and works in Melbourne, which limits our chances to meet in person. He joined us for the first agile42 coach camp in March and inspired me with his experience, how he leads by example and for introducing me to David Bohm’s On Dialogue. Thanks, Kearnsey!
I was grateful to immediately have the chance to introduce my new colleagues to StrategicPlay—we’re using it increasingly often!
agile42 is not only about the coaches: we couldn’t do what we do without Nina’s gentle and patient assistance.
Bringing years of practical PO experience into our team, Franz Ivancsich from Vienna joined us shortly after me. We developed the Kanban training together with Ralf, and it was a pleasure to co-train with Franz. Awesome to have a whole-hearted hobbit on the team! And when I recently had a lot of pain with a slipped disc, his help as a yoga trainer came in very useful…
Teaming with Andrea has been inspiring on many levels. His experience in management and enterprise agile transformations was fully revealed to me when we co-trained the agile42 leadership and management training for the first time, in November. Getting the chance to practically apply our alignment exercise, the agile strategy map and our new Cynefin Lego Game and to be able to contribute my StrategicPlay facilitation skills has lead to an amazing outcome. Two people from that company gave us feedback on how substantially we have changed their lives…
Although we haven’t worked together (at a client) yet, Dave Sharrock coached and inspired me greatly this year. He seems to be inclined to bring me just that next step forward that I’m not yet fully ready to see on my own… Thank you.
In the last two months, I pair-trained with Lasse Ziegler from Finland on a number of Scrum trainings for a company in Germany—thank you, Lasse, it’s been a pleasure to work with you!
The regular coach camps we do make sure that I regularly meet inspirational coaches from abroad… I’m especially grateful that my friend Mike Sutton works increasingly often with us. Funny that he’s just as responsible for me working here as I am for him working with us… Paolo “Nusco” Perrotta lured me back into programming and inspired me to learn Ruby. And he greatly improved my English in unprecedented directions… Roberto Bettazzoni is the coach I can rely on to work wonders in C++, and for a totally different type of Italian humour… And I have immense respect for the gentle Hugo Laurenco, wo agilises Iberia… It seems we cover Europe from the far South to the far North… The most recent person to join us has been Gaetano Mazzanti from Italy, who shares my passion for Kanban (which shows, for instance, in these awesome slides).
What I Learned
When I discovered the term “Agile Coaching” less than two years ago, I thought it was just what I did at the time: Leading change in organisations towards agility without telling people what to do. Over time, my picture of Agile Coaching deepened as I met more and more people who brought diverse expertise and experience to the table, and who challenged my viewpoint again and again. What has astonished me most is the level of ignorance (and sometimes arrogance) many of us (including me) apply to the diversity of organisations out there. We think we have a lot of answers, where instead we should just enable our clients to phrase the right questions. And Agile (or Lean) and all the practices we know are just a small part of the possible answer.
agile42 has taught me humbleness. Humbleness about my own skills, and about the maturity of our agile/lean toolset in general. agile42 has also made me proud. Proud for the valuable contribution I can make to the team with my experience and expertise, and proud for the awesome team I am now part of. We’re one hell of a band…
Thank you, agile42, we are fucking awesome!