Sharpening the Saw

Sharpening the Saw

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Every year I try to spend time on my own training. I usually start thinking about two things the year before:

  1. What are some knowledge gaps that I have that I’d like to fill, and
  2. What are upcoming trends that will cause me to become obsolete if I don’t get ahead of them?

Then I review the available courses and I’ll try to come up with 2-3 things that I’ll focus on for improvement.

This year, I’ve planned on the following:

  • Training from the Back of the Room, by Sharon Bowman
  • The Nexus framework for scaling Scrum, by Ken Schwaber and, in July
  • And Leadership Agility 360 workshop, by Bill joiner, in November


I’m a relative late adopter of this class. Most of the CST’s I know, Certified Scrum Trainers, have already adopted these techniques for delivering their certification and other classes. As a recovering dinosaur and Death by PowerPoint enthusiast, I was ever so slow in taking this course.

Well I took it with Tricia Broderick last week (early June 2016) and it was OUTSTANDING. It was a 2-day class and she used the techniques in teaching the techniques. Thanks to Sharon Bowman and Tricia’s teachings, I don’t think I’ll approach a class in the same way again. So the good news is that I highly recommend the class AND the techniques. The bad news is that I have LOTS of work to rework my training materials.  


As you probably know, I have a love/hate relationship with the SAFe framework. I think it’s largely “too much” for most organizations, too prescriptive, and can lead to dysfunction if not expertly deployed. And I mean expertly!

So I’m always on the hunt for “simple, yet effective” frameworks to leverage in scaling. Sure, the venerable Scrum of Scrums is simple and effective, but it takes a lot of effort to define and instantiate. I’m looking into LeSS (Large Scale Scrum) and I believe it has some promise. But I ran into the work that Ken Schwaber is doing with something he calls the Nexus for scaling Scrum.

I’m really excited about the potential for this because it looks simple and aligned with agile principles. Plus, I’m taking the class directly with Ken, so stay tuned.

Leadership Agility

I’ve been teaching Agile Leadership workshops for 5+ years. Given that, I’m always on the lookout for ideas, techniques, and tools to advance my thinking and teaching.

Bill Joiner wrote a wonderful book entitled Leadership Agility – Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change. In it, he introduces an agile leadership maturity framework that I’ve already found to be useful in my coaching.

However, since I want to become eligible to teach the new Scrum Alliance Leadership Certifications, I thought I’d formalize my knowledge of the framework and be able to deliver Bill’s assessment tools. I’m super excited about going to this class and even more so to increase leveraging Leadership Agility in my coaching practice.

Some of you may be asking why did I share this post? The answer is three-fold.

First, I wanted to inspire my fellow agile trainers and coaches to invest in their own continuous improvement.  I’ve written before about us needing to walk our own talk and this is a large part of that effort. It can be too easy to fall into the “revenue generation” trap. Literally we can wake up one day and be extinct.

Second, I wanted my clients to know that I’m walking my own talk. That I continue to challenge myself to learn and grow. And that this “habit” is something that’s ingrained in me, my agile coaching, my coaching practice, and in my daily life.

And third, I simply wanted to share on some classes (trends) that I think are interesting to pursue.

Stay agile my friends!


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