Thursday, November 19, 2009

Agile coach, are you a meterorologist?

I'm learning the power of meteorology in my endeavors as an agile coach. As I influence the people in the organization I find that pressures are important.  Not pressures on individuals necessarily, but pressure zones in the organization itself.  

For example: I needed to find someone to fill  the Product Owner role for a business unit that wanted to start using Scrum. One of my ScrumMasters-in-training was worrying about finding the right person.  The conversation went something like this:

"What if we choose the wrong person?" he asked.
"Well, perhaps WE don't choose at all.  Perhaps we can get a volunteer.  It IS a hard role after all, and volunteers are better than conscripts."
"Ok, how do we do that?"
"Well, we are already creating a vacuum by spinning up Scrum Teams.  Let's produce a source to fill that vacuum, a pressure dome if you will."
He has a blank look.  "Uhm,  say what?"
I smile.  "Think of a weather map.  We have a low pressure system, spinning in place.  Let's build a high pressure system and move it close."
"Er, oookay.  I don't quite follow, but say we do; what will that accomplish?"
"We'll at least get some cool thunder and lightning."

We built a high pressure system by doing a series of Brown Bags on Scrum and the importance of the Product Owner role.  Some folks expressed interest in the P.O. role, and voilá! We had a supply to fill our vacuum.
So embrace your inner meteorologist, ye agile coaches and mentors.


Captain Arkansas said...

Sounds great, just have everyone watch David Finfrock ch5 so they understand what you mean :)

I do caution you to be careful that the high pressure/hot air center doesn't move too close too fast. Such an occurrence would place you above the cold, potentially stalling your progress or worse...

If your hot air mass happens to have a trailing cold front, then stalls it could possibly collapse and produce violent results. Think fuzzy dogs, flying monkeys, and little people...

Oh and watch for hail... ouch

Ken said...

Clever article...great metaphor. I look forward to reading more of your blogs.