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November 30, 2006

Agile Coaching... isn't

Isn't real coaching that is, at least according to those who make coaching their sole profession. Having spent yesterday hearing from a wide range of such people, it's now clear to me what coaching is in it's strictest sense, and how it differs from the work we do when "coaching" teams in Agile development, which is more of a mentoring/consulting task.

In essence, a coach does not provide solutions for the subject to implement, but creates a framework through which the subject derives their own solutions. This makes the coach more of a facilitator in the process and allows the subject to own the solution fully, having generated it themself. Therefore, the coach will never take credit for the solution - even if it may have been apparent to them well before the subject.

A coach needs no deep knowledge in the subject's domain to assist them in discovering their particular solution, but is well versed in applying a question-based framework to encourage the self discovery necessary for the subject to uncover the solution.

By contrast, an Agile coach is (hopefully) an experienced Agile practitioner who is capable of recognizing incorrect application of Agile thinking and techniques and can suggest corrective action. Ideally, making the corrective action something which is obvious to the subject is ideal, but not necessary. Agile coaches are valued for their domain skills and experience and this sets them apart from a pure Coach.

Does this distinction matter all that much? Not really. I'll still describe myself as an Agile coach in all but the most purist of circles, although perhaps there is a need of differentiation between a "Coach" (the profession) and "coach" (the task).

Posted by Andy Marks at 12:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 25, 2006

Let The Wookie Win!

Whilst not one of the most popular quotes from Star Wars, I find it most suitable when you find yourself battling away at a behemoth, only to step back and discover that the battle really isn't worth winning.

Which is the conclusion I came to when I decided not to continue trying to integrate Log4J with Websphere (which is apparently not the walk in the park it should be) and just allowed Websphere to use it's native logging.

In the end, using the native logging system (Java Logging, methinks) gives me everything I need and the pain we were experiencing trying to force Log4J into the picture just wasn't worth the hassle.

One to the the Wookie!

Posted by Andy Marks at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack