5 + 1 Questions to... Shubhodeep Sengupta

I met Shubhodeep during the Xscale Practitioner training. Xscale is a blueprint for an exponential Agile Organization, developed by Peter Merel.

Shubhodeep impressed me with his wisdom and knowledge about Agile and working with teams. He’s a true Lean thinker with great coaching abilities. So it was obvious to invite him for the 5+1 Questions series.

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

Agile to me means the ability to change direction quickly and gracefully.

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

My favorite tool or technique is difficult to choose. I really like the liberating structures techniques, snowball method for accountability when coaching large groups, vulnerability bubble which is my own creation, good old five whys technique. I enjoyed using the best hope, the worst nightmare technique recently.

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3. What book or website would you recommend?

Book: Lyssa Adkins-Coaching Agile teams

Website: Mike Cohn-Mountain Goat software 

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

Asking silly but powerful questions: some simple questions which seem to have obvious answers can be incredibly thought-provoking and provide a platform for meaningful discussion. Also, a more recent situation really made my day: Implementation by invitation- I had the opportunity to Gemba walk around one team which I have never worked with before. They were using some of my signature methods. When I asked how did they discover these methods and processes, I was told they observed some of the other teams using a selection of these, and found them useful. That made me incredibly happy. 

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

Ability to change stance from teacher to mentor to consultant to coach as the situation demands; Firm belief in people and the good in their hearts; Embodiment of Agile values and principles; A desire for continuously learning; Ability to utilize conflict, chaos and disequilibrium as forces of good; and Ability to own their mistakes, admit them and move on to new solutions. 

+1 Should a coach should take credits for a team success or not? 

Coaches don’t take credit, they give credit; they enable recognition of the team’s good work to the organization. Driving people to success requires measuring the right things. The right measure of the team is business value delivery but the right measure for a coach is enabling the continuous learning mindset for the teams and the organization.

By ensuring that Agile is done well and empowering the people, the coaches can ensure that there is a pursuit of kaizen and excellence. A good coach will create more leaders and coaches in the teams so the teams can progress and improve independently.