Archives for the ‘Agile Fairytales’ Category

The Edible Birthday

Birthday Cake

I’m a September baby and this year, I treated my friends at work to the most scrumptious cake I’ve ever seen. What better way to remind us of transformative journeys along the Yellow Brick Road than with the Rainbow Cake by Hummingbird Cafe.

Folks ummed and ahhed at the sight of the multi-coloured layers of this beautiful cake only to be further and pleasantly surprised by the bubble gum flavoured icing as they savoured their slice.

“If I still wrote software, this would be the kind of software I’d create,” I mused, drunken on sugary goodness.

“Don’t you think that would smack of over-engineering?” remarked a fellow cake-connoisseur.

Of course, what I really meant to say is that I marvel at the thought of creating something so thoughtful and thought-provoking as the Rainbow cake. A work of exquisite (and, optionally, edible) beauty that would brighten the world and remind us of what passion, creativity and craftsmanship can produce.

All this serves as a timely reminder that we need to live our dreams to make them come true.

Here’s to enjoying the rainbows on your journey of a lifetime. Happy Birthday one and all!

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Coaches – Habit 6: Talk Less, Listen More

Exceptional Characters

Habit 6: Talk Less, Listen More

A coach listens more than they say. A coach postpones judgment on what they hear and lets others talk while they listen with care. To get to the heart of a problem or gain a deep understanding of a situation, a coach asks open questions, questions that cannot by answered by a mere “Yes” or “No.” Open questions begin with words like “What happened?”, “How would you do things differently?”, “Why do you think the same problem keeps recurring?”

Exercise: All Ears

Imagine all you can do is ask questions and listen. And, when asking questions is inappropriate, the only option is to listen.

What do you notice about the quality of conversations you have in comparison with your usual way of communicating? And what about the differences in the level of engagement you get from those you usually interact with?

My grandmother used to say, “There’s a reason why we have two ears and one mouth.” Help people answer their own questions and maybe they’ll help answer yours.

Give peer coaching a go with “The Yellow Brick Road—Fresh Insights Through Peer Coaching.”

The Emperor’s New Clothes Online

What's your "goto" stance?

Meaningful interactions in stressful situations

See the Emperor in all his glory! Which role do you play? We all interact with different types of characters in our daily lives which may lead to stressful situations. Together, we can learn how to communicate more effectively with others, especially at times of stress, by transforming our behaviour from incongruence to congruence.

Learn how to begin transforming your behaviour from one of incongruence to congruence by thinking about interactions in terms of Self, Other and Context.

Regain and maintain your sense of balance

Begin your happily-ever-after today

Jenni and I recently played this game with a bunch of friends at Play4Agile. Participants were surprised at how well the coping stances matched real-life behaviours when we’re put under stress. By applying the concept of Congruence in our everyday lives, we can all become more effective and efficient while reducing stress!

If you like this..

… You’ll love these. More Agile Fairytales at

Agile Fairytales go to Agile 2011!

Suits you sir

The Emperor’s New Clothes

The brand new Agile FairytaleThe Emperor’s New Clothes” will be making its first appearance in the US at Agile 2011 on Tuesday, August 9! It was first shown at XP Days Benelux 2010 and has been travelling around Europe with Jenni Jepsen and me ever since!

Meaningful interactions in stressful situations

See the Emperor in all his glory! Which role will you play? We all interact with different types of characters in our daily lives which may lead to stressful situations. Together, we’ll learn how to communicate more effectively with others, especially at times of stress, by transforming our behavior from incongruence to congruence. We’ll learn to recognise incongruence by role-playing the 5 Coping Stances based on the Satir Model, then learn how to begin transforming our behavior from one of incongruence to congruence by thinking about interactions in terms of Self, Other and Context.

Places are limited to 30 participants, so come early to play, de-stress and improve!

Agile Fairytales visits Disney World

You’re a mischievous wooden little boy who dreams of becoming a real manager. Now that your dream has come true, you find yourself stuck inside a whale’s stomach, stewing in a jacuzzi of digestive juices. The satanic little voice in your head says everything will be ok, but your protruding nose knows otherwise.

Welcome to Pleasure Island - the homwork-free place full of candy

Join us in the latest Agile Fairytale being told this Tuesday of ‘Pinochhio – On Becoming a Lean Leader’ at Agile 2010.

You’ll embark on an journey where you’ll encounter two types of characters: the Baddies, such as Gideon and Foulfellow, who will try to lead you astray with temptations, and the Goodies, such as Gepetto, the Blue Fairy and Jiminy Cricket, who will help you find your way back to your goal.

You’ll get the chance to put the tools into practice and come up with 3 actions to take away to try out back at work.

The Lean Leadership Tools we’ll share with you are:

  • Visual Controls – Use simple visual indicators to support Flow and Pull
  • Leader Standard Work – Adhere to work processes as a discipline
  • Daily Accountability – Use Visual Controls to improve process focus and drive Continuous Improvement
  • Leadership Discipline – Set clear expectations and maintain process focus on a daily basis.

Including those of a Learning Organisation:

  • Nemawashi (Decisions based on Consensus) – Make decisions slowly by consensus then implement decisions quickly
  • Hansei (Relentless Reflection) and Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) – Do regular analysis to establish a stable process and make incremental improvements.

All of which are guided by:

  • Long-term Philosophy – Grow and align the whole organisation toward a common purpose that is greater than a purely financial reward.

Join us to acquire these Lean Leadership tools and give your story a Happy Ending with the help of talking animals.

The session will be held at 13.30 – 15.00 in the Southern Hemisphere IV/V (Lobby Level) of the Dolphin Hotel in Orlando. I’ll be co-presenting this interactive session with Pascal Van Cauwenberghe.  Come early to get a good seat!

The Yellow Brick Road – Version française now available!

Ouais! L’édition française de La Route de Brique Jaune est arrivéé finalement. Visitez et téléchargéz ce jeu gratuit. Dépensez des minutes de merveilles avec votre équipe et vos amies pour apprendre comment faire le co-coaching (le ‘peer coaching’ en anglais). A bientôt!

Venez nous rejoindre sur La Route de Brique Jaune!

We’re off to see the Wizard in Paris!

Dorothy in Paris

The Agile Fairytales will be making their second ever appearance in Paris next week. Join us at Agile France (formerly known as XPDay France)  this Tuesday, 1 June 2010, for an adventure on the Yellow Brick Road to learn about Peer Coaching (‘La Route de Brique Jaune – De nouvelles manières de penser grâce au co-coaching’).

Places are limited to 18 so arrive early to get your place!

Return from Wonderland

A little imagination leads to great wonders

Imagine. It’s 3.35 pm on a warm summer’s afternoon in New England. I glance through the four-line subway map of Boston and what do I find at the end of the Blue Line? I rub my eyes with balled fists. There, plain as the nose on my face, is a stop named Wonderland. All my life, I’ve been convinced that Wonderland was a place of fiction. I was wrong. My heart’s aflutter. Wonderland exists. And it’s here. In Boston.

Now imagine this. What if not everything you believe in is true?

A week on and where do I find myself but at the doorstep of Arthur’s Seat? Have you noticed how we’re surrounded by stories straight out of books? Alas, that steep hearty 30-min climb is not for today. It’s pencilled for my next visit to Edinburgh. How much wonder have you experienced today?

SPA 2010: 16 -19 May 2010

SPA 2010 will take place once again in Covent Garden, London. It’s a 4-day conference running from Sunday to Wednesday jam-packed with sessions from London agilists and those from Europe and beyond! What better way to enjoy London than to combine the visit with an Agile conference?

Pascal and I will be co-presenting 2 sessions this year: “Solve Conflicts Without Compromise with the Conflict Resolution Diagram”, and “Pinocchio – On Becoming a Lean Leader”. We hope to see you there!

Make It a Happy Ending!Tickets are still available for 1-day, 2-day and the full 4-day conference. Buy them here!

Deep Agile 2010: 15 – 16 May 2010

Play two games from!

The theme for this year’s Deep Agile conference in Boston on 15 – 16 May is ‘Empowering Teams with Agile Games’, a marvellous idea thought up by Brian Bozzuto and Michael de la Maza.

This will be the first ever Agile conference dedicated to the application and invention of learning games to help us all learn, improve and work.

I’m really looking forward to making new friends and exchanging ideas with the conference organisers in person!

I’ll be presenting two games from the Agile Coach Toolkit: “The Yellow Brick Road – Agile Adoption Through Peer Coaching” and “The Bottleneck Game – Process Improvement with the Theory of Constraints”. Is it possible to have so much fun under one roof? We’ll have to wait and see!

There are still some tickets left for this 2-day weekend of fun in Boston. Sign up quick before April 16 to qualify for the Early Bird discount! I hope to see you there.