Author: Alex Kudinov

Alex Kudinov
Alex is a Professional Certified Coach with International Coach Federation, Scrum Alliance Certified Enterprise Coach, Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org, and Kanban Coaching Professional and an Accredited Kanban Trainer with Kanban University.

ICF Credentials Explained

ICF became a de facto golden standard of coach training, credentialling and certification. If you are an aspiring coach who wants to work with individual, teams, and organizations, or want to start your own coaching business, you should be seriously considering getting credentialed by ICF as a way to stand out in this overcrowded field.

Why Not Ask Why

Amongst the family of powerful questions the Why questions have their special spot. They are both extremely powerful, used correctly, and extremely dangerous. In this episode of the Coaching Random Thoughts, Alex Kudinov explores the ups and downs of using the why questions in your coaching and everyday conversations.

Coaching Teams with Causal Loop Diagrams

Cherie Silas, MCC, CEC is introducing our Coaching Tools & Tips Meetup audience to the practice of reflective coaching supervision, that is dubbed as coaching for coaches.

What Is Adaptive Leadership Anyway?

In this workshop, Brian Miles explores how leaders create environments that navigate the complexity of interpersonal relationships, overcome the human element of barriers to change, and support the growth and engagement of their employees.

Integrated Agile

Brock and Erkan are exploring the interplay between Waterfall and Agile, and how organizations can manage the resulting dynamics to their benefit. They introduce the concept of Polarity Management, which can be used to get the most out of any change effort. They also discuss a new concept called Integrated Agile, which aims to help organizations leverage the upsides of both Waterfall and Agile.

Growing your Agile Team

Heidi discusses the criteria for hiring a great agile team and for growing a more high-performing team; drawing from experience from her extensive background in teamwork and collaboration, and pulling from sources such as the Google Aristotle study, Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Stanley McChrystal’s Team of Teams, and others.

Leadership Of Chaos – Accelerating Change through COVID

The past decade of Digital change has been one of disruption. Uncertainty, VUCA, Complexity have emerged as new concepts in business. Leadership had to adapt, notably with agility. But who would have predicted what happened in 2020 and the pandemic? The world seems to have turned upside down in a matter of weeks. Change is inevitable, or businesses shut down. It is also a time to explore new possibilities. This talk will explore how good leadership through the crisis is in fact no more than great Agile leadership: Developing autonomy, promoting alignment, creating strategic clarity and keeping collaboration going by creating remote first working practices.

Self Reflection as a Coach Development Tool

Savita Pahuja, CEC, ACC explains how the simple techniques and values can be used by yourself to reflect on your recent coaching conversation, which will help you come up with action items for self-growth.

Reflective Supervision for Coaches

Cherie Silas, MCC, CEC is introducing our Coaching Tools & Tips Meetup audience to the practice of reflective coaching supervision, that is dubbed as coaching for coaches.

Coding Dojo

Arushi Bhardwaj joing Tandem Coaching Academy Coaching Tools & Tips Meetup to talk about Coding Dojo and how it helps develop team skills.

Observation – How To Develop This Secret Superpower

Antoinette Coetzee joins Tandem Coaching's Coaching Tools & Tips meetup to discuss the powerful coaching skill of observation and how to use it in your agile (and not only agile) practice.

Let’s Talk Business Value

Paulo Dias joins Tandem Coaching's Coaching Tools & Tips meetup to talk about business value.

On Scrum Mastering

Best Agile Articles Conference is a Quarterly event where Best of the Best Authors share their wisdom. We were thrilled to host Ewan O'Leary.

Agile Coaching for Winning Teams

Best Agile Articles Conference is a Quarterly event where Best of the Best Authors share their wisdom. We were thrilled to host Allison Pollard.

How Scrum Master Can Enhance Daily Scrum

Best Agile Articles Conference is a Quarterly event where Best of the Best Authors share their wisdom. We were thrilled to host Ajeet Singh.

Agile Leadership: How to Change World of Work

Best Agile Articles Conference is a Quarterly event where Best of the Best Authors share their wisdom. We were thrilled to host Zuzana Sochova.

The Fatal Attraction of Classical Hierarchies

Best Agile Articles Conference is a Quarterly event where Best of the Best Authors share their wisdom. We were thrilled to host Kurt Nielsen with his talk "The Fatal Attraction of Classical Hierarchies."

Proper Scaling of Scrum And Dynamic Financial Forecasting

Best Agile Articles Conference is a Quarterly event where Best of the Best Authors share their wisdom. We were thrilled to host Gene Gendel.

The Why of an Agile Retrospective

Harris Christopoulos joins Tandem Coaching's meetup to talk about retrospective and share some real life stories and tips

What Is Stopping You?

As coaches, we ask a lot of questions. Some are good, some are not so much. Some are open, some are closed. Some are transactional, some a transformational. In this episode of the Coaching Random Thoughts, Alex Kudinov explores the omnipresent "What is Stopping You?" question and discusses some better alternatives.

Agile Budgeting and Funding

Imran Salahudding discusses benefits, pitfals, of Agile funding and budgeting and how you can use it in your organization

Igniting the Role of Agile HR in the Remote Age

Elena Vassilieva and Heidi Araya are discussing how Agile changed the role of HR in the organizations and specifically in the age of remote work that is upon us.

Shu Ha Ri of Professional Coaching

Shu-Ha-Ri is a well-known concept in the Agile and Scrum worlds. Have you thought it is also applied to the world of Professional Coaching?

NLP Strategies for Coaching

Christine Thompson is the NLP Master Practitioner and discusses NLP Strategies and their use in the coaching.

The House of Scrum

House of Scrum is a metaphor Alex Kudinov uses to explain the fundamentals of the Scrum Framework solve complex and adaptive problems.

Coaching Skills for Agilists

Cherie Silas and I discuss the importance of professional coaching skills for Agilists. In short – they are paramountly important.If you want to up your coaching game – our next Coaching in Agile Environments program cohorts are starting in July. Check it out and sign up!

Curiosity: What Great Teams Need

Suzanne Doyle is discussing the importance of curiosity - and how it helps the agile teams to become great

Podcast #3: Is Scrum Master role a Luxury in Times of Turmoil?

Is Scrum Master role a Luxury in Times of Turmoil? Erica Henson, Jim Sammons, and Alex Kudinov share their thought.

Total Brain Coaching

Ted and Keith Wallace are talking about Total Brain Coaching - a holistic system to help people effectively change their habits.

Building Alignment: Team Working Agreement

Best Agile Articles 2018 is a collection of articles published in 2018. Watch Ellen Grove talking about building alignment through team agreement.

Virtual Reality in Agile Coaching

The Best Agile Articles book series collects the best agile articles published during a calendar year into a single volume. On April 6 the authors of the best agile articles published in 2018 came together for a workshop, giving their talk on topics such as Agile Leadership, distributed teams, and others. Today Tandem Coaching Academy publishes the talk Elena Vassilieva gave during the workshop on the topic of Virtual Reality and Agile Coaching.

Executive Led Agile Transformation

Best Agile Articles 2018 is a collection of articles published in 2018. Watch Joe Justice talking about Executive Led Agile Transformations

Dear Beloved Client, Please Start By Doing

Best Agile Articles 2018 is a collection of articles published in 2018. Watch Kathryn Maloney talking about practical elements of working with clients.

Five Tips to Lead Distributed Agile Teams

Johanna Rothman, an expert in product management, gives the audience of the Best Agile Articles Conference some tips about working with distributed agile teams in the age of remote work.

Dealing with Difficult Stakeholders

The Best Agile Articles book series collects the best agile articles published during a calendar year into a single volume. On April 6 the authors of the best agile articles published in 2018 came together for a workshop, giving their talk on topics such as Agile Leadership, distributed teams, and others. Today Tandem Coaching Academy publishes the talk Roman Pichler gave during the workshop on the topic of managing and dealing with the stakeholders.

Challenges of Being the Leader

The Best Agile Articles book series collects the best agile articles published during a calendar year into a single volume. On April 6 the authors of the best agile articles published in 2018 came together for a workshop, giving their talk on topics such as Agile Leadership, distributed teams, and others. Today Tandem Coaching Academy publishes the talk Tricia Broderick gave during the workshop on the topic of Challenges that Leaders Face Personally.

Coaching from the East

Andrew Lin discusses the coaching from the East in the latest installment of the Coaching Tips and Tools meetup. Listen in and sign up for our Meetup!

Coaching a Product Owner

In this installment of Coaching Tools & TIps Meetup Angie Pate is talking about Coaching the Product Owner - a key role on any high performing Scrum Team.

Podcast #2: Distributed Scrum Teams

With Coronavirus taking over the world and people are forced into a remote work situation, Jim Sammons, Erica Henson, and Alex Kudinov are discussing how Scrum is affected by this.

TRIZ – Do Not Be Afraid

Erica Henson, an Agile Coach with Marathon Oil, is discussing a liberating structure that is designed to stop unproductive behaviors and make space for innovation – TRIZ. She shares her own experience using this liberating structure with her own team and a tip to Scrum Masters.This is the first video in a series Coaching by Example brought to you by Tandem Coaching Academy.

Client Competence

Cherie Silas of Tandem Coaching Academy discusses the importance for a coach to hold their clients naturally creative, resourceful, whole, and competent.

Scrum and Diffusion of Responsibility

In its various forms and shapes, the diffusion of responsibility can lead to such ugliness as moral disengagement, increased beyond-the-reason risk-taking behavior, social loafing, and groupthink.

NLP Techniques: It is About the Influence

While NLP presuppositions are quite fascinating in their clarity and precision on their own, try to beat “The map is not the territory,” the true power comes from the understanding of how intertwined and interdependent they are.

Creating Learning Environments

Kemmi Raji explains the way organizations go about creating learning environments and the impact it has on their performance

Your Journey to ICF Credentials

ICF – the International Coaching Federation credentials are considered a Gold Standard in Coaching for a reason. In the industry where anyone who read a book about coaching and can throw together an online calendar to take appointments can call himself a coach, stringent standards ICF requires of its credential holders serve as a beacon of quality service and stamp of proficiency. Agile coaching took the world of Agile by storm and left a lot of people confused and frustrated in its wake. While I reserve a detailed discussion of what Agile coaching is and isn’t for another article, I don’t think anyone would argue that coaching skills and proficiency are essential for any professional calling herself an Agile coach. While ICF standards are rigorous and extensive, their explanations are way too convoluted and complex for a lot of people to navigate. Aspiring coaches get lost in the multitude of priorities, requirements, and programs that promise quick and easy path to their desired ICF credential.

Help them with the Why

How many times a day are you walking into the conversation where people jump into discussing solutions that lead nowhere, lack a clear purpose for the people involved in the conversation, don’t make sense altogether without the additional “why” discussion? I know I am having those conversations day in and day out.We are the society of doers, go-getters, and my recent survey of approximately 3 dozen of Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches support that claim. We are the community of proactive, goal seeking, “missing accomplished” kind of individuals who, in its majority, rarely step back and ask the “why” question. By the way, I am not a proponent of asking that specific question, a bit later on that.However, we charge into action with no clear goal, no sufficient understanding, no true north star. And that is pervasive throughout our life, businesses, and culture. We pay the homage to the luminaries such as Sinek, we cite ad-nauseum the Scrum Guide with its pervasive Sprint Goal, and then we punch in the clock, and go about our daily doze of deliverable outputs.How can we ensure that all we do has a meaningful, solid, and worthy goal behind it. There are numerous techniques, tools, and practices. It does not have to be complex. But some steps should not be skipped, otherwise we are shortchanging ourselves and setting up for a less desirable outcome.

Immunity to Change

Lucia Baldelli and Christine Thompson are joining our meetup to talk about the coaching technique of Immunity to Change

Self as Coach

Alex Kudinov is discussing the framework based on the Coaching with backbone and heart book

Coaching Wheels

Cherie Silas discusses various coaching wheels and shares ideas how they can be useful in different coaching situations.

What Are the Values?

Ask any Agile practitioner these days what Agile values are and he, most likely, will recite you some lines from the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Ask him the final line of the said Manifesto and the result might be quite different, but I digress right in the first paragraph.Ask a Scrum practitioner and he’ll give you 3-4, maybe 5, if he’s real good, values Scrum holds dear.Next ask a different question, “What ARE the values? What are we talking about here?” And you’ll be lucky if you hear a half-baked off-the-cuff answer. Sometimes it’s just like, “well, values are values, those are what’s valuable.” Duh…A quite interesting viewpoint and a crisp definition comes from Mark Manson’s “Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck”. Yeah, ain’t gonna “star” the “u” there.

Scrum Has a Messaging Problem

I call on the Scrum and the larger Agile community to correct our messaging while we walk the continual path of tackling hard problems. Be less dogmatic. Think Agile. Be more like water and Scrum On!

Make It Flow

Flow of work and, most importantly, value are paramount. There are times when you keep looking at the process and don’t understand what is going on, what is wrong, and why stuff is not getting to done. All the answers to questions asked sound like a bunch of excuses (they most likely are not, but a bit later on this).

The Humble, The Hungry, The Smart: Beyond “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”

Building (and hiring) a great team takes time and effort. Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” became a staple reading in an Agile community these days. And for a good reason. Agile ways of working are all about teamwork. A self-organizing and cross-functional team is in the heart of the Scrum framework. In the book, the author cites the following 5 dysfunctions:Lack of Trust due to invulnerability fear of conflict to preserve artificial harmony lack of commitment leading to ambiguity avoidance of accountability amongst the team members and consequent lowering of the standards, and the pinnacle of it all inattention to collective results due to self-serving behaviors.

Weekly Scrum Interview Question: What Is Velocity?

What is Scrum Team Velocity?This is a tricky one, and you need to be answering it in the context of the organization you are interviewing with and its complementary practices.Let’s start with the basics. Velocity is mentioned quite a few times in connection with Scrum in various contexts. First thing you might hear is that the velocity is a measure of the team’s ability to deliver value to the customer. That’s quite an okay definition you might give to your interviewer. Just be ready for an onslaught of questions it might bring, such as, “What do we measure”, “How do we measure it”, “Why do we measure it”.Velocity is recognized by Scrum.org as a complementary practice. This means, that Scrum framework does not have a prescription for a Scrum Team as to how to measure its ability to deliver value. Remember that Scrum is a framework, which can work really well with a variety of practices that fit teams needs, desires, and abilities. And velocity is one of such practices.

Agile Metrics: What Happens in Vegas stays…

In the previous 3 articles I reviewed some of the most important Agile metrics that Dan Vacanti’s ActionableAgile software helps you to get with ease. Those were Cycle Time with the help of the Cycle Time Scatterplot, and a multitude of metrics, provided by the Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD). In the latest article we looked at Work Item Age and its importance with the help of Aging Work in Progress Diagram.Looking at the Cycle Time Scatterplot we discussed the significance of percentiles and how they can be used to predict the cycle time and avoid the trap of a single-number, point-in-time answer. This is cool, you’d say, but not merely enough, and I would agree. We need better techniques to predict possible timeframes for a completion of a set of work items. And, sometimes, we need to know how many right-sized work items can be completed within a given time frame.Let’s face it, we live in a real world, where “When Will It Be Done question” is as omnipresent as ever. We cannot bury our heads into the sands of the #NoEstimates beach and hope the questions will go away. Let’s learn better ways to answer those questions.

Getting to 85 – Agile Metrics with ActionableAgile Part 3

In this part of reviewing Agile Metrics let’s turn our attention to another kind of a chart – Aging Work in Progress. Unlike both the Cycle Time Scatterplot and the Cumulative Flow Diagram this one takes a much narrow just-in-time snapshot of team’s work.

Weekly Scrum Interview Question – What is the Sprint Length?

This question "What is the duration of a Sprint" is seemingly simple, but depending on the interviewing situation, company, interviewer, and their familiarity with Scrum you might need to give them more or less details and answer additional questions your answer might bring up.

Getting to 85 – Agile Metrics with ActionableAgile Part 2

In the first part of Getting to 85 – Agile Metrics with ActionableAgile we looked at the Cycle Time Scatterplot as generated by ActionableAgile software. That piece also discussed some ideas the scatter plot could bring about and conversations that potentially might occur.Let’s take a look at another important chart and set of metrics the ActionableAgile can produce based on sample or custom loaded data – Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD).

Getting to 85 – Agile Metrics with ActionableAgile Part 1

The topic of Agile Metrics inevitably comes up in many situations and conversations. I have been hiring Scrum Masters lately. One of my screening questions read, “What standard metrics would you track if any and for what purpose?” I cannot tell you how many candidates mention Velocity, Burndown and Burnup charts. Very few can reasonably explaining the meaning and use for those.So far, I hired 2 Scrum Masters whose answer to the question didn’t have any of those metrics. What these two have in common, they mentioned and could talk about Cycle Time. Mind you, that was not the only reason they got the job, but it gave them advantage over others. Rarely do you hear Scrum practitioners bringing up Cycle Time, Lead Time, Throughput, Work Item Age. These all firmly used to belong to the Kanban world. Somehow during the Holy Scrum Kanban decades of feud these metrics were banished from the Scrum land and forgotten by many.

Start with Your Customers

One of the pillars of the Kanban Method is the mantra, “Start where you are.”, start with where your customers are, with what your work is. Which is great! For the low maturity organizations and teams, it allows to skip the requisite pain and suffering that usually come with change.While creating their first Kanban boards with many a team, I noticed that one of the steps in STATIK is harder than the others – defining who your customers are and what their pain points are. And that is not surprising for a bit. People are usually tremendously busy, switching context multiple times a day (or an hour). They tend to build personal relationships with those who ask them to do the work. They do their best, satisfying the request and moving on. They rarely have enough time to stop and think whether the status quo is acceptable. Whether their customer pool is satisfied in general, whether they are doing a fine job at properly prioritizing the work.This is the definition of chaos.

Do You Think You Are Done?

As a Professional Scrum Trainer for Scrum.org I get to think about the Definition of “Done” and its meaning a lot. In one of the Sprint Planning event the other week, a Product Owner asked an innocent question, “I need this small thing changed, how long that might take?” An answer followed almost immediately, “it’s just a couple of lines of code.” I heard that conversation many a time before and almost always it ended with, “of course we are going to get it done, no problem.”To those kinds of exchanges, I always have a couple of questions. What exactly do you mean you will get it done? Do you know what getting done means? Quite often the responses are either an indignant, “of course we know what done means, we have been doing it for years, do you think us fools”. Sometimes I just get a blank stare, “what do you mean.”