Agile Coaching

Agile Coaching is about building high performance teams and a high performance organization. Our goal is to help develop the people in your organization so they are able to deliver outstanding business results.

Why is Agile Coaching Needed?

Agile represents a fundamental shift in thinking. It is estimated that 75% of companies do not get the expected benefits from Agile that they expect. As a result, most organizations rely on coaching to accelerate the learning to improve corporate results and ROI. Of course there are alternatives to coaching that offer a lower ROI.

Certified Scrum Coach

Michael is one of about 50 Certified Scrum Coaches in the world. You get world-class expertise right in your back yard. It sure helps to have an expert when you are looking at organizational change.

Agile Coaching Activities

Planning

Observe and review the entire process, people and business context so we have a shared understanding of where we are currently.

Together with your team we review the results and plan the next steps. The model is to “Measure twice, cut once” so that we can have an effective start to the transition.

Agile Training

Transitioning to Agile involves a shift in thinking as well as learning a new process. Everyone involved in the development process will learn the basics of Scrum or Kanban through fun, interactive learning. We’ll use a series of simulations and exercises mixed in with presentations about various aspects of Agile. Please see Agile Training for more information.

Project Launch

In this phase, the product or products will kick-start or re-start as an Agile project. The focus is on forming healthy teama while working on vision, identifying work items (stories), estimating work effort and creating a prioritized plan of work.

On the Job Coaching

Actual work is where learning meets reality. Transitioning is hard work that takes effort over an extended period of time. In the beginning the coach directs the team in following the process and embracing Agile values. Over time, the coach does less directing and more guiding as the team and internal coach become more capable. Coaches will reinforce existing understanding and provide additional focussed training based on needs. Throughout, the focus is on delivering working software regularly. Some organizations request a coach for only a few extra days to get things going while others choose a longer timeframe to help establish new norms and provide for on the job training.

Sustain Organization

Now that teams are performing well and there are internal coaches/champions that are able to carry momentum. Focus is on continuing to support internal coaching, identifying and helping repair fallback to pre-Agile habits. This is also a time to explore options for spreading Agile across the organization.

Technical Practices

For a sustainable product, it is critical that team members learn industry standard technical practices including: Test-Driven-Development (TDD), refactoring, continuous integration, automated acceptance testing, etc. These can be undertaken right from the start of a transition to Agile or over time. For green-field products, it is best to start this right from day one to avoid technical debt. For most teams with a high debt-load, this is best staged over time to reduce operational impact.

Below are Coaching and Consulting testimonials. See also training testimonials.

Testimonials

Rogers Communications

“Michael’s passion, dedication and focus are what make him a great coach. His ability to listen and guide the team while keeping them on task were much appreciated as well. Michael is able to see the bigger picture and at the same time direct laser focus to seeing the root cause of a problem and helping to solution it. I also admire Michael’s ability to develop training and games to help everyone learn the key concepts needed to succeed in an agile world. I look forward to working with Michael again in the future!” - Sarah Klarich, Transition Lead

“Michael shakes things up! He challenges you to look critically at what is going on and to act decisively. He brings an abundance of thinking and organizational tools to guide both vision and practical next steps. If you want seasoned agile coaching with high-octane brain power and passion … call Michael.” - Declan Whelan, Agile Coach

CPP Investment Board

“Michael played a critical role in helping our company adopt Scrum for internal software development. He is knowledgeable, intelligent, articulate and passionate and these qualities make him a highly effective Scrum coach and agent of change. I whole-heartedly recommend Michael’s services to anyone looking to adopt and institutionalize agile or lean practices.” - Darryl Minard, Development Manager

“Michael was brought into CPPIB by Darryl Minard to introduce the concept of Agile to one of our development teams working on a key data and technology asset (kdb) at CPPIB. I was (and still am) the business sponsor and steward of kdb and also was the person who led the selection process for the tool. Michael brought in a new and fresh method of doing work and was persistant, evangelical, mindful of the stress of change, and able to obtain buy in from the team at a deep level. His approach and method has generated deep business value at CPPIB on a sunstainable basis. He ensured that team members including developers, analysts, product managers and the scrum master (agile manager) had sufficient knowledge and training to ensure that the processes and methods became self-sustainable.” - Jason Koulouras, Director Data Services

Infobright

“The office reorganization introduced by Michael was slightly controversial at first. But now I do not know how we could work before it. The communications level increased 10x. Good job Michael! It was pleasure to work with you and quite a lot of fun.” - Janusz Borkowski, system architect, software developer

“Michael is a genuine Agile expert. He was driving large and complex project in an agile way, and archived the goal in every iterations. Michael’s background make him understand the in-depth technical challenges and manage them through. He also has very good personality. It’s a pleasure to work with him in Infobright.” - Wayne Xie, Senior Quality Analyst

Destinator Technologies

“Michael Sahota streamlined the R&D department into a lean, agile and reliable team. He has a clear vision on how to strategically align the many engineering departments assets. His continually educating himself in software development pratices is a testament to how professional and dedicated he is. I have said it many times, Michael was the best investment the company had made.” - Chris Farrell, Team Lead – Software Engineer

“Michael’s impact was quickly felt at Destinator; his application of agile practices to our product cycle helped avoid many of the obstacles that had previously impeded us. Michael was able to unify competing interests within the product team behind our common goal of delivering quality software on time. He was also able to provide valuable technical insight. I would gladly work with Michael again.” - Graydon Armstrong, Software Developer

“Within 3 weeks of Michael joining Destinator, planning, communications and process dramatically improved. Stress levels dropped and productivity increased shortly afterwards. He was the strong leadership the R&D team had been seeking for a long time. His exceptional coaching skills improved the career skills of all whom he coached. I hope to work with Michael again in future endeavors.” - Dale Glandfield, QA Manager

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