An Amplio Learning Journey

Amplio Value Coach

About this learning journey

The Amplio Value Coach Learning Journey teaches people how to be great team-level coaches. This learning journey will help those doing any type of team approach – Scrum, Kanban, homegrown – but especially includes what is needed for Scrum Masters to overcome its being “purposefully incomplete.”

A note from Al Shalloway – the creator and leader of this learning journey.

Team coaches should be more than facilitators of a framework. They should be guides who lead their teams in the discovery of what best works for them. This does not mean telling them what to do, but to provide them insights that take advantage of their own experience and understand right from the beginning.

Objectives of the workshop:

  • Learn how people process incoming conversations and react to them.
  • Learn active speaking. That is,  how to speak to people in a way that compensates their built-in filters and defense mechanisms.
  • Learn the foundations of Agile to help enroll the people being coached to improve their methods.
  • Learn what causes resistance in people and how to motivate them to improve.
  • Learn some core Agile practices that will increase alignment and thereby lower the need for external coordination.
  • Learn how to speak to managers and executives so that they support the changes needed by the teams.
  • Learn basic value stream management.

The benefit of taking the learning journey:

  • By learning how people process information you will be more effective in your interactions with them
  • Be an empowered team coach who understands why things happen the way they do.
  • Lead your team not just in solving the problems they have but in avoiding the problems they currently can’t see.
  • Take advantage of the theories of Flow, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints.
  • Learn why people react to things the way they do.
  • Accelerate learning of your teammates by seeing what they need to know and getting them to discover these concepts quickly
  • Be able to guide you teams when using a framework that wasn’t quite designed for the context your team is in.

The benefit of the benefit

  • being a much better team lead than you are now provides you with job security and career advancement
  • greater self-respect and the respect of others
  • greater satisfaction, even joy, in your job

Why this workshop is particularly good for Scrum Masters

Few Scrum teams are actually working in the context Scrum was designed for – an autonomous, cross-functional team building a new product. Even when a team fits this description, Scrum’s being “purposefully incomplete” means a lot of gaps need to be filled.

The core issue many Scrum teams face is that Scrum does not provide the “why” or the theory as to “how” Scrum works. This has managers and product owners not understanding some of the reasons they need to work the way they do.

By providing the theories of Flow, Lean, and Theory of Constraints, Scrum Masters understand why Scrum works when it does. This enables Scrum Master to anticipate problems before they hit the team. They also can see how to modify the practices of Scrum to work in the situation the team finds itself in, even if it’s not the ideal Scrum requires.

It also enables Scrum Masters to interact with managers and product owners in an empowering way, not as adversaries as we see so often.

The learning journey content is delivered over 8 2-hour sessions, one or two a week. It includes another 22 hours of Dr Is In sessions over 6 months to assist you in incorporating what you’ve learned in your workplace.

This learning journey can be provided as a private workshop

Next Available Dates

Dates 5/17, 5/24, 6/7, 6/14.
8am-11:30am Pacific.

Also offered as a private workshop and as part of the ACE Learning Journey

Prerequisite

None.

Duration

Includes 3 months of ACE enrollment at no charge ($585 value).

Cost

Onetime fee of $995.
or 4 monthly payments of $295.

Format

Live, virtual (Zoom)

Who this learning journey is for

This learning journey is designed for both Agile coaches and Scrum Masters who want to further their careers by becoming Agile coaches.

Agility is not as difficult to achieve as many have convinced organizations that it is. What’s missing in most places are the theories of Flow, Lean, and the Theory of development. Creating value is hampered by a lack of identifying stakeholders, and focusing on what value must be created for them to achieve success. 

A lack of value stream management and human-centered development adds additional impediments.

When Agile coaches and Scrum Masters are armed with these concepts they can help their teams be much more effective. 

Additional Insights Learned

Acquire a thorough understanding of the foundational principles of Agile, which elucidate the causal relationships in knowledge work. These first principles are self-standing and emerge not from explicit definitions, but from diligent observation and continuous assessment. Transgressing these principles carries repercussions, typically resulting in wastage and missed prospects. They can serve as guiding principles for individuals, teams, and organizations, indicating what actions to embrace and what to avoid.

These fundamental principles serve as the basis for delineating the constituents of productive value streams. Utilize these elements to fathom the sources of challenges within your team and devise appropriate remedies. They also aid in selecting the most suitable optional practices for your particular context. Additionally, gain the following knowledge:

  • Learn to eschew the practice of “follow until you understand,” and instead tap into the latent knowledge of your colleagues. This approach minimizes resistance and fosters alignment.
  • Master the art of communicating the insights gleaned from this learning journey, especially when dealing with managerial stakeholders.
  • Discover techniques to discern the educational needs of individuals struggling to grasp the concepts and to adeptly convey these concepts to them.
  • Determine whether your team should opt for timeboxing or flow as their operational framework.
  • Equip yourself with the skills to synchronize the understanding of managers, product owners, and teams.
  • Engage in various levels of learning – single, double, and triple-loop learning – to enhance your capacity for acquiring new knowledge.
  • Enhance the efficacy of your daily huddles, while also knowing when to skip them if unnecessary. Elevate the quality of your demos and retrospectives.
  • Develop proficiency in resolving the prevalent challenges encountered by Scrum teams.
  • Explore a more efficient and effective alternative to Planning Poker for estimation purposes.

More information

What being an effective coach entails

This learning journey does not presume that attendees are using any particular approach. However, it is presumed that many will be trained just in Scrum and will therefore be missing many key concepts not taught in Scrum. To be a great Agile coach one must understand what are called the first principles of knowledge work and methods to fill in the gaps in what you know. A quality coach must have a proper attitude as well as having a core set of capabilities.

The following describes the attitude of an effective coach: 

  1. Visionary. A visionary sees a potentially better situation and works to achieve it. This includes helping those they are coaching and becoming better at coaching themselves. This also means not giving up even in the face of no agreement.

    Being a visionary is often uncomfortable and requires believing there is a way when others don’t. In such cases, you may pull others forward to become visionaries themselves.

    But being a visionary does not mean being a dreamer without rational optimism. We are rationally optimistic about finding a path forward. In determining what is rational, it is incredibly important to consider your position in the context or what we write about, the runway. You may have the experience, a workable vision, and the ability to communicate and implement your vision; however, if you are not in the right place in the organization, you may be done before you start.

  2. Taking responsibility. Responsibility is not blaming yourself or others. It is where you come from. When what a Coach has said is not understood, they take responsibility for the lack of communication. They are committed to achieving a better understanding. Instead of blaming others for the miscommunication, they look to see how to be more precise in what they are trying to say. Being a visionary without commitment and a way to effectively communicate will not make a difference. Commitment and being a visionary means that no matter what occurs, you do not give up on that vision.
  3. Rational optimism. Knowledge work is complex. There is no claim we can see forward with a crystal ball. Discovering what is needed, responding to surprises by the outside world, and the unpredictability of how people will react to change will always keep us needing to validate how we are being and our actions. But when it comes to moving forward with how we are working, we should have an attitude that we don’t have to just run experiments; we can create a model of understanding that we convey to those we’re coaching and leading.
  4. Humility. Humility is an acknowledgment that everyone has value. We may be experts in one area, but no one is the best at everything. People with humility can still have self-confidence and know they are good at accomplishing things. Humility is not a put down of oneself but more of an uplifting of others. People with humility know they do not have all the answers and must work with others to achieve them. People with humility can put their egos aside for the greater good. This is particularly important in recognizing that unless the Coach is already an expert in the domain being worked in, they will have to accept the judgment of those with more expertise in that domain. It also means that if you are leading an Agile Transformation, regardless of your experience, you remain open to other coaches and are willing to acknowledge when their idea is better than yours. Having humility enables a Coach to continue to learn and embrace the value of others.
  5. Empathy and compassion. Empathy is walking in someone else’s shoes and seeing the world from their perspective. To understand their emotional sense of being.  It is critical to all the roles we have specified for a Coach. Empathy facilitates excellent communication. Compassion goes beyond empathy. It’s the feeling of deep sympathy and concern for the suffering or well-being of others. Compassion involves understanding and sharing emotions and taking committed action to alleviate the suffering or promote the well-being of the person in need. It’s an active response that involves kindness, support, and a desire to make a positive difference.
  6. Congruence, integrity, and authenticity. Good leaders must “walk their talk.” This means that your words and actions are consistent. Coaches influence people by modeling behavior. This requires integrity – focusing on helping your clients more than easing your ego. It often takes courage. Being authentic means being honest about how things are. In particular, admitting when you don’t know something or are dealing with something. This creates the space for others to be authentic.

The capabilities of an effective coach: 

  1. Knowing how to get clarity on what success means. Amplio defines an improvement initiative’s success as the increased speed of cost-effective value delivery to stakeholders. The success of an organization requires that we understand who the stakeholders are, their influence, the impact of an improvement on them, their values, their underlying commitments, and what is valuable to them. We also say that stakeholders include employees. If you do not consider them in the picture, it will show up in turnover, not being able to recruit talent, and eventually impact your value delivery. Just having a survey doesn’t do it. Leaders need to communicate what they are improving, when, and how based on the results of those surveys.
  2. A deep understanding of what makes workflows effective and how to adjust for the context the team is in. Deming said, “Experience teaches nothing. There is no experience to record without theory. Without theory, there is no learning, and that is their downfall. People copy examples and then wonder what the trouble is. They look at examples, and without theory, they learn nothing.” When a coach understands why things work, they can provide that understanding both to the people doing the work and those accountable for the work. The use of theory helps get everyone on the same page. They can also adjust the practices required for the context they are in.
  3. An understanding of how people learn and what impacts their thinking. People are complex beings. They have limitations on how they can learn and how much they can know at any one time. Understanding these limitations can avoid a lot of wasted effort. Understanding how people learn can avoid creating resistance and empower them to implement their new knowledge. People often operate from cognitive biases. Understanding what these are allows you to proactively address them.
  4. Being able to convey necessary concepts to different roles such that new actions and behaviors arise. For example, using Agile technical words with some leaders or the business does not work. You will get further by understanding the domain of the people you are talking to and speaking to them using their language.
  5. Effectively interacting with learners to enhance their effectiveness. Impactful coaches are respectful, effective communicators, have high integrity, and are committed to whom they are coaching. In other words, they demonstrate high emotional intelligence.
  6. Have appropriate tools and methods to help people work together effectively. Teams are often not co-located yet still need to work together. Various technologies and approaches are essential. Technologies include virtual boards, chat rooms, tools for making work visible, tools that simplify remote planning, including virtual conference rooms, and actionable insights through metrics.

Coaches use a variety of coaching, mentoring, facilitation approaches, and associated technologies to make the most impact and ensure everyone is heard, not just the loudest voice in the room. This includes virtual conference rooms, virtual boards, games, surveys, experiential training, and story-telling using objective analytics to work with other leaders and coaches and make the most impact. Agile Transformation teams often are run as hierarchies and silos instead of learning organizations. They have an opportunity to model new ways of working.  The Agile transformation team itself can use objective and qualitative analytics to evolve and reflect on every step of the overall transformation.

Rational optimism and systems thinking require understanding some basics of knowledge work. Therefore, while this learning journey focuses on the coaching role, it covers much of the basic science of knowledge work.

What others are saying

The Amplio Value Coach course addresses various approaches to introducing Agile, Lean, Flow, and Theory of Constraints to all levels of an organization. Be prepared to actively participate in these workshops, this is not a series of passive presentations. You and your fellow participants will be asked to delve deeply into the challenges we face, and together discover potential courses of action. (Peter Sperling)

The Value Coach Program is an excellent offering that guides you towards becoming a better Agile Coach, it enhances your capabilities as a coach facilitating improvement in your skillset utilizing tools like Miro boards and improving your coaching style. It is an easy flowing session over a period of months with interactions with your peers, exposing you to a diverse and vast knowledge pool which enhances your ability to succeed as a coach. (Patrick Taiwo)

An innovative format to provide in you workplace learning and experience

We learn best by doing. Unfortunately, you can’t learn by doing in a workshop. This learning journey is designed for you to learn in your workplace. The content is presented as reading assignments, live, interactive sessions, and support in applying what’s learned in your workplace. This enables you to learn in our workplace with advice from an expert throughout the process.

Both during and for four months after these seven weeks you get to attend a one-hour, Dr Is In session to give feedback and ask questions.

The materials in this learning journey are in the form of my books and several Miro boards. Some PowerPoint may be used for key points.

The collaboration boards (Lucid Spark virtual boards) are used as tools to help you as a coach. 

The Miro collaboration boards provided to you are not just used to convey important concepts, you are given these to use in your workspace. Here are main boards used in this learning journey. 

Boards provided participants in this learning journey

The challenges board

The challenges board​ is a useful way to identify challenges at all levels (teams to organizations) and track the status of resolving them. 

Amplio team estimation

Amplio Team Estimation takes 10-25% of the time Planning Poker does while providing better results and also works in situations where only one or two team members know how to estimate something.

Amplio Foundations

Amplio is based on Flow, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints. When these are understood, many complex problems become understandable. 

Sprints or one-day timeboxing

This board guides in deciding whether a team should plan with timeboxing or flow. 

Two different After Action Review

These boards are useful to see how well you’ve done and how you can improve. ABA, ACE, ADM, AVC

Clean slate

The clean slate exercise is a way of clearing the air. ACE,  AVC

Lean coffee

Lean coffees are informal meetings used to learn topics where the agenda is set by the participants. ABA, ACE, ADM, AVC

 

Doing a pre-mortem

Take a little time to avoid some of the problems you will otherwise face. This based on Gary Klein’s pre-mortem.

View all boards

Click “board details” to get more information on why these boards are so useful as well as to see the complete list of boards in Amplio.

Why you should take this learning journey if you are a professional coach.

 

Most coaching workshops are about how to follow a given framework. This learning journey enables you to see what the people you are coaching needs based on their situation.  Go beyond being a mere facilitator. Learn how to assist teams in working in better ways.

 

Mindset and practices

Amplio is based on the first principles of Flow, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints. This means that it can be contextualized to any situation. It provides a simple start that adjusts as the teams learn by providing a way to tell which of several optional practices would be an improvement.

It also includes several essential practices that aren’t in popular frameworks.  These enable much better product management and workflow management.

 

The presentation of content is just the beginning

After the Amplio Value Coach learning journey participants are invited to the Amplio Consultant Educators learning journey to join the community extending Amplio. For only $150 a month, participants can attend sessions six hours a month, where we extend the state of the art of Agile transformation. As well as attend weekly Dr Is In Sessions.

A follow-up train-the-trainer program is available for both independent consultants and those setting up internal training programs.

Instructor

Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Success Engineering. Al is a recognized thought leader in the areas of: Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Scrum, design patterns, Acceptance Test-Driven Development, Lean-management, value creation networks, Lean product management and more. He is the creator of the FLEX system that is the heart of the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant workshop. He has co-written 5 books ranging from Design Patterns to Agile at Scale. He holds Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Mathematics from MIT and Emory respectively. He is an international speaker. He is a former contributor to SAFe and SPC trainer.

Register to our Workshops and Bootcamps

Amplio Learning Journeys

A learning journey is an ongoing process of skill development, unlike one-time workshops where retention is low. Learning journeys introduce information gradually for practical application in the workplace, emphasizing continuous learning.

Success Engineering promotes lifelong learning by offering ongoing access to learning materials. Private training can be arranged for accelerated curriculum transition.

Amplio Bootcamps

A bootcamp is a concise 3.5-hour workshop dedicated to a specific topic. Bootcamps are categorized into different levels, each with specific prerequisites outlined in their descriptions.

Integrated Q&A sessions and exercises are incorporated into all boot camps, with the final 30 minutes dedicated to interactive engagement. Every bootcamp includes a comprehensive workbook and a copy of the presentation slides.