5 + 1 Questions to... Kirsten Clacey

Kirsten Clacey is a remote Team Coach at eyeo( a software company improving online experiences) and co-author of the Remote Facilitator’s Pocket Guide. (Release date end of June)

Together with Jay-Allen Morris, Kirsten specializes in enabling distributed teams to reach high performance by using a combination of adapted facilitation techniques, team coaching methods and Agile frameworks. Besides the book, they also created a course in remote facilitation.

I met Kirsten during a webinar on Effective Retrospectives in the Age of Coronavirus, organized by Retrium. I was invited by Molood Ceccarelli, CEO at Remote Forever as I was on the hunt to find information on remote facilitation. Together with a group of Retrospectives experts, they provide some great insights on facilitating remote scrum ceremonies.

1. What is Agile or the Agile Mindset for you?

For me, Agile is anchored in the values and principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. It’s about how we approach work, humans and systems. 

It’s really about building resilient organisations that can respond to change, deliver value and learn.

2. What’s your favourite tool or method you use during your coaching?

What a tricky question, I really don’t have one. I think retrospectives will always be one of the most impactful tools for bringing people together and nurturing both learning and change.

3. What book or website would you recommend?

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Leadership and Self Deception by the Arbinger Institute

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And (if I may sneak a second in) 7 Rules for Positive, Productive Change by Esther Derby

4. What is essential for you during an Agile transformation?

Leadership’s understanding and commitment to change. I get really disheartened when the focus of transformation is only at the team level. Optimising units within a system, without working with the surrounding system leads to so much friction and waste.

5. What is 1 Aspect of coaching Agile teams you like the most?

Maybe this is a selfish one, but I love facilitation because it allows me to do all the things I love: being creative (in the techniques and formats I create), research and learning (in staying up to date and inspired with relevant theory out there) and connecting with people (in the actual session).

+1. What additional skills do scrum masters or agile coaches need to succeed in a remote setting?  

Advanced facilitation: For me, they need super awesome, remote facilitation skills. Remote meetings present a host of unique challenges and to maintain healthy collaboration, remote facilitation is essential.

Relationship building: Building human connection remotely takes a lot of work and some skill.

Communication: Communication becomes complex in a distributed space where a lot of your communication needs to be text-based or over video calls. Many people struggle with this and the coach or scrum master needs to be able to clearly and kindly articulate themselves.