Build Your Team’s Collaboration Muscle
We talk about collaborating to get great results from Agile, yet so few teams do it well (if they even try it at all). Sure, they cooperate, but collaborate? That’s a different story. My teams couldn’t collaborate, even when they explicitly tried. This failure led to such an epidemic of mediocrity that I turned to a professional for help. I turned to an actor. Come to this session to learn what I learned from the world of theatre and to practice the exercises that helped my teams build their collaboration muscle so that you can do the same with yours.
The session starts with some working definitions of collaboration and a framework to help coaches know how and when to coach for collaboration. It holds at its center the assertion that collaboration is not an art or a talent accessible to only the blessed few, but a skill that you can learn.
Most of the session follows a do-debrief-reflect rhythm as we move through collaboration exercises lifted directly from the theatre. Lee Devin, veteran actor and teacher of these exercises, leads us through them: how to introduce them, how to guide teams to do them well, and how to debrief them. Lyssa Adkins, Agile Coach, brings the Agile angle: she explains how these have worked with her teams and leads the discussion. The learning starts with us, but soon branches out and comes from session participants as together we unpack each exercise and discuss how you can use it in an Agile context.
Your guides for this session are Lee Devin and Lyssa Adkins.
Lee Devin taught theatre at Indiana University, the University of Virginia, Vassar College, and Swarthmore College. In 1975 he joined the artistic staff of the People’s Light and Theatre, acting, teaching acting, and doing dramaturgy. With Rob Austin of the Harvard Business School he wrote Artful Making; What Managers Need to Know about How Artists Work. It’s about using theatre techniques to do creative work in business: replacing restraint with release, compromise with collaboration, and industrial teams with knowledge work ensembles. He and Rob are at work on the next book: Reliable Innovation.
Lyssa Adkins is a coach of Agile coaches and a Certified Scrum Trainer. She has been practicing Scrum through various consulting engagements for the past 4 years and is learning new things to bring to the teams she coaches all the time. She is a recovering PM-command-and-control-aholic and has great compassion (and ideas) for others walking that bumpy road.
- This is purely a skills transfer session. We aim to teach coaches how to facilitate the various exercises so that they can take them back to their teams.
- Through direct experience, you’ll feel the purposes and outcomes of the exercises so that you can decide for yourself how to best use them back home.
- You’ll see that you can learn to collaborate and that getting good at collaboration is a skill you can bring to your teams.