5 + 1 Questions to...Med Marouane Ajraoui

Med Marouane Ajraoui is a certified Agile trainer, a business agility coach and an active member of several Agile communities.

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He is the founder of Agile Africa, a non-profit organization for disseminating Agile culture in Africa. Coming originally from Meknes (Morocco), but having lived in several countries (Spain, France, UK, CZ, and Switzerland) he identifies himself as a “citizen of the world“ inspired by the “active experimentation”.

Med is also the founder of JediSquad Technologies, an international firm that supports large organizations, startups, business leaders,… on a daily basis, to develop Eco Agile businesses and meaningful product portfolios. During his training and coaching, he links methodology, technology and interactive pedagogy to success.

I met Med during our XScale Practitioner and Coach training. XScale is an agile (de)scaling framework developed by Peter Merel. I was impressed by his knowledge and his drive to promote the agile way of thinking.

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

Agile definition is changing forms and shapes, different people would put behind it several notions, at different moments as collaboration, efficiency, speed, simplicity, pragmatism, openness, courage, flexibility, resilience, etc. It is so meaningful that it became so meaningless and vague.  

I like to define it as an evolving way while being adaptive and creative, to bring the highest value, in the least amount of time, to an environment, an ecosystem, an organization (a business, a community or a society, etc.) 

For me, Agile is an amazing challenge! Since my early years of practice, I consider agile as a way to better people’s lives, to build purposeful cultures, liberating structures, highly flexible, adaptive, solidary and yet efficient organizations, etc. After more than 12 years of practice, today Agile is still representing to me a fascinating human-centric path of personal development. 

Why a path of personal development and not only a daily, a sprint or a backlog, etc.? It might be hard, for any human to, for instance, be resilient and transform the pain into gain, or to re-dimension, his ego, give up on power, while cultivating his presence without authority, for the benefit of a group or a team, or unlearn to upskill, etc. At these dimensions of personal retrospection, change on one’s self behavior to adapt and co-create value with others, we start raising up our awareness of the agile continuously empirically learning and improving mindset.   

Coming originally from a technical background, while being highly curious about anthropology and passionate about AIKIDO, agile for me was and still is an opportunity to converge my professional life with my purposeful life. Thanks to it I found my IKIGAI.

It is a powerful eye-opening about human beings, their social interactions, culture codes, mindsets shifts and the outstanding result they can achieve together.  

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

Looking for humans superpower! I enjoy being there for them as a catalyst that supports them to find the best version of themselves, the version they would be proud of, especially in a highly disruptive and fast-paced changing environment.

And this is my avatar, which plays a key role in reminding me to focus on finding the shining star of each and every person and on helping them build a constellation between them. 

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This simple tool I did invent one day, simply to remind me to look at people with respect and appreciation, after a few days of practice, I found that it has incredible benefits. The way you look at people matter! I call it : The beauty viewer Avatar

I invite you to experiment and do your avatar also with the star near to your eyes! It will surely help you to focus on the positive and lead you to a meaningful coaching journey. 

3. What book or website would you recommend?

Here is an entry on our blog that I would recommend to anyone that wants to dive deeper into the different agile coaching skills areas https://jedisquad.com/agile-coaching-ressources/

I would like also to clarify my thought about reading: Any conceptual knowledge you acquire with reading only, without practice, it is not yet a pragmatic and yet relevant knowledge. To learn agile I do encourage people to get into action, to actively experiment with what inspires them after reading, to get in touch with agile communities and/or meetups where they could practice and share their insights and experiences, etc. 

I could resume my recommendation on: 

Not only conceptual learning…

“Empiric learnings over conceptual learnings”

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

Do you hire me to coach holistically the ecosystem and help it shift as a whole for the better, including the top management? Or do you hire me to coach all except the leadership team? 

If you are hiring me to coach others excluding the top management, the agile transformation efforts would be surely in vain. Why? To create consistency among an organization: its purpose, vision, and intention of a transformation, all the influence circles need to be coached and mentored. Otherwise, based on my few critical experiences, no sustainable WIN/WIN synergies would be reached among the organization.

I would like to clarify that holistically here, does not mean globally at one shot. We are aware that local small victories drive incrementally to the global ones.  

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

Finding the shining star of each and every person and helping the teams to build a constellation with each other.

+1. Can you give a bit more information on the Heart Transformation Model you invented?

The idea came after discovering User eXperience Google Heart Framework. The reflection arises: what if we apply the Google Heart Framework to skills or performance coaching to enhance Employee eXperience?

 The HEART framework could be a set of human-centered metrics. We could develop it to evaluate the quality of the human experiences in a working environment, to help coaches measure the impact of transformation changes over an organizational culture. That is how the HEART Transformation Model got invented.

 I invite you to read more about it here.

 In case you are interested to apply it, please do not hesitate to ask for support if you have any questions. It is named “the Heart transformation model” and it is my gift from the heart to the community, to better organizational transformation practices and better people live in general.