A little about me?
I’m Mike Sutton – a deeply experienced agile coach with a background in development. I have built products, led teams and small companies, consulted with some of the biggest enterprises and helped dozens of teams and hundreds of people to work more effectively. I tend to focus more on people and outcomes than on process and output and seek to leave places more joyful than I found them. Check me out on LinkedIn to find out who I’ve worked with or book a conversation with me and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have.
I need your help
After over seven years of coaching enterprises of all sizes – usually on site for periods ranging from a few weeks to many months – I have become convinced that this is not the most effective model to help people genuinely learn and make sustainable positive changes to how they work and think about work.
Whether you are a big 20,000+ employee organisation or a small ten person team – I don’t believe this model of concentrated transformation or ‘shock’ coaching actually helps deliver sustained positive outcomes.
Here are 5 of the biggest reasons I don’t believe this is a model for sustained change:
- Cost: hiring a consultant coach is expensive – sometimes very expensive. It can run into tens of thousands of dollars for just one coach. When you multiply this by a few coaches on a large ‘transformation’, it gets crazy costly.
- Negatively disruptive : the cost also drives an unhealthy level of disruption. The unspoken sentiment is ‘Mike is here, the meter is running, drop everything now to get his help’. This has the effect of creating a pressure cooker situation that hardly encourages the learning that we want.
- Learning is rushed – most enterprises I have worked with seem to consider a transformation to be a ‘project’. They’ll hire a coach and once the agreed period has passed, they will be ‘agile’. This is an unreasonable approach. The essential elements of making small changes, reflecting on the results, adjusting the next set of experiments all take time – they cannot be rushed. But because the meter is running and the costs are high, the journey is rushed and often abandoned because the learning has not been given a chance to stick.
- It wastes my time and your money: there are times when a coach must do nothing. Times when the organisation must do its own heavy lifting. Most organisations I have coached have expected me to still be on site even when it is counter productive to their learning and erodes their ability to stand on their own.
- Poor ongoing support: I see many companies that paid money to have their employees trained and certified. Some might even have hired a coach like me on site to do some work. But once the training is over and the coaches leaves, their Scrum Masters, Product Owners, developers and even management are left with little or no ongoing support. It soon returns to business as usual because there is no one to help them stay focused or to whom they can turn for help with the next steps – at least not without another large cost. Some might create an internal coach role to keep improvements going – but in my experience the key ingredient of objectivity and honesty often get lost over time because of internal politics and familiarity.
I need your help to make this better.
I’m working on a project to help and support people in maintaining a sustainable pace of continuous improvement and learning. To do this, first I need to really understand the problems facing people who are trying to apply an agile approach with very little support. I want to understand what the barriers to support are and experiment with ways to remove them.
My offer to you
If any of the following apply to you:
I am in management struggling to understand how agile should be working for me and my organisation, my role in it and what should I be doing next
I am in a team that is seeking ways to improve our outcomes and how we collaborate and learn;
I am a Scrum Master or Product Owner feeling isolated, unsupported and outnumbered;
My organisation claims they are doing Scrum or are agile – but it’s all wrong and very frustrating. We could do with some help.
I am a C-Level executive with people in my organisation that fit the above and I want to help make it better.
Then I would love your help on my project.
I am offering to personally coach five lucky groups remotely free of charge for 30 days.
Each group will enjoy great benefits including having:
30 days of remote access coaching available to anyone in your organisation. This could be ongoing coaching of Scrum masters as they perform an incredibly difficult role or mentoring Product Owners in keeping a vision shared and relevant and maintaining a healthy backlog. It could be starting from scratch with setting a strategic direction with the inclusion of your entire organisation or helping established teams get even better.
A skilled facilitator – to help you and your organisation rediscover how to collaborate transparently and effectively so that you can finally start to address all those issues that affect you all.
An untainted observer – to help you with my objective observations untainted by any political influence.
An improvement partner – to help work through those tough problems and help you find your own way through them. From vision to delivery and everything in between.
Access to lots of games, practices and experience – to help your teams improve their capability to reflect, experiment and collaborate and to deliver product and learning more sustainably.
Help to start and grow your communities of practice – to help sustain an almost permanent and continuous state of learning.
Support when you need it – it is not in the interest of self-sustainability that a coach is there for everything you do – this is a journey where you will ultimately outgrow a coach. But at every step where you falter, you will have my experience, expertise and network to overcome it.
What’s the catch?
I am usually paid thousands of pounds/dollars to offer my expertise and experience to help teams and organisations improve. I’m making this offer absolutely free of charge – gratis!
While I will not charge you for my remote services, this offer is not free – I am offering this in exchange for learning!
I want to learn how the remote coaching experience works for you, specifically:
- To what extent does having unrestricted remote access to independent and experienced expert improve the outcomes for agile teams and their management?
- How much expert access is “just right” to keep continuous improvement at its highest sustainable pace?
- What is the most effective kind of access and for what kind of situations?
- Can the business value of remote strategic coaching be measured?
- If, given affordable access and no-pressure, will the individuals in an organisation use the help that is offered? What will it take for the organisation to support it?
That’s it. I coach you remotely for free , you and your organisation improve and have a great basis for continued improvement and I get to learn to what extent this can be done remotely. Want free agile coaching for 30 days? Sign up now.
How it works
- If I haven’t worked with your group for 6 months or more, we are best to start with 2 days on site where I meet your group – the teams and individuals – and we work together on what we want out of this. We’ll come up with goals and a near term starting plan to reach them. We’ll setup a review cadence and start working on the items on the plan.
This on-site time will be expenses only – so you cover the flight, accommodation and meals. I won’t charge you for my time.
- After the 2 days on-site, I leave and we continue the work on the plan remotely – adjusting it as we learn more. We will collaborate using every remote channel available to us – video, screen-sharing, email and phone calls – perhaps even an interactive whiteboard!
- After 30 days, we end the partnership happy, we would both have learnt a lot and have actionable data to fuel improvement.
Does this sound doable for your organisation? Let’s try it together..
My ideal group
- Are based within 7 hours of GMT+1 – so Europe, east coast USA, middle East and Africa are all in!
- Are not larger than 400 employees. For huge companies, this refers only to the size of the group that will be using my offer.
- Are building any product – software or otherwise.
- Are in whatever stage of adopting an agile approach.
- Are committed to improvement and are open-minded enough to try this.
Does this sound like you? I need just 5 – be one of them, sign up now.
What you need to do now
Places are limited. Once I find 5 groups willing to help with this, the offer will close and you will have missed the opportunity.
If you feel this opportunity would suit you and your organisation and you are willing to help me learn – get in touch now – there is not a minute to lose.
Finally , as a personal favour to me and your contacts – please share this.