Scrum Coaching for Credit Suisse

“The Agile Mindset Coaching delivered massive improvement on our delivery and performance”

- Annie Bedford – Credit Suisse

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Credit Suisse Group is a leading financial services company, advising clients in all aspects of finance, across the globe and around the clock.

The Agile Mindset was tasked with a coaching program that would:

Educate the team on agile methodologies
Improve team communication and performance

Formal Coaching

Many teams may be familiar with what Scrum is, however without any formal coaching, it can be difficult to get a full grasp of how everything ties together.

Annie from Credit Suisse was concerned that whilst the teams “were already practicing various components of Scrum and other agile methodologies”, they unfortunately did not have “a proper understanding of how these practices all fit together and complement each other”. As a result, they “struggled to maximize the benefits” of the framework.

Our solution was to offer Credit Suisse the formal coaching that they needed, so that they could reach a better understanding of the framework and how – when used correctly – teams are able to work more effectively. The coaching program aimed to boost confidence, and encourage team members to learn through collaboration and cooperation.

Analysed Team Practices

It is easy to fall into a comfortable pattern and maintain the status quo, when performing a job regularly, and teams often need assistance to help them to understand exactly how effective they currently work, so as to pinpoint exactly which areas of practice need improvement.

Annie appreciated Tom coming in to study Credit Suisse’s “team practices and noted which we were good at and which we needed guidance with. He met with each team member individually to find out how we felt about the team and [their] working practices.” Tom’s aim was also to distinguish exactly “what obstacles lay in between us and our goals.”

Tom used impediment workshops, to determine what barriers were preventing them from achieving their ultimate goals.

Analysis of these obstacles allowed Tom to highlight the exact type of training and coaching that the team needed.

Developed a Structured program

A structured program ensures that all necessary aspects are covered to offer a thorough learning experience for the whole team.

Following the detailed analysis that Tom compiled through observing the team’s current work practices, through interviews and impediment workshops, “he then developed a structured program for us to follow over six two-week sprints where in each sprint he set up learning opportunities for key components of the Scrum framework, beginning with more simple concepts and building as we went along.”

This structured program was tailored precisely to the needs that the Credit Suisse team needed in order to grow. This saved time covering areas that didn’t need improving and allowed the program to focus on the specifics, gradually building on them.

Define a Product Vision

A product vision defines the overall goal that everyone is working towards. It allows the team to be able to focus on one thing – as a whole – rather than allowing everyone to stray off in different directions.

Therefore “one of the very first things that we did as a team was to build up an individual, team and product vision that we could all agree on and this was extremely helpful in allowing the team to grow closer and find mutual understanding.”

Define Roles & Responsibilities

A Product Owner and Scrum Master are important roles that are needed to help keep the product and team moving in the right direction, and it is important to have a team member in each role who is fully capable of handling the responsibilities that come with it.

There was concern that “the pre-existing roles in [their] team were not clearly defined and in several instances overlapped quite significantly.” Overlapping of roles can cause confusion of what needs to be done, creating a team that is not able to work as effectively as they perhaps could

“The next step” for Credit Suisse “was finding members in the team to match to the Product Owner and Scrum Master roles so that we could move forward in the process.” Once these roles were filled, Annie was coached in her role, as Scrum Master, “to make sure the daily stand up was respected and how to build a taskboard to display the teams progress in an easy-to-understand, highly visible format.”

Theory & Practice Approach

Theory, is very good on paper, but it is important to ensure that the theory is transferable – for the team – into their normal everyday job. However, each team has their own way in which they work and it is crucial to understand and respect their methods to ensure that all aspects will work in reality. Therefore, Tom had a little different approach:

“Tom’s approach was to educate us about the theory behind a SCRUM concept and then to let us put it into practice ourselves which seemed a very effective way for us to learn and gain in experience.”

This approach gave the team the confidence to manipulate the concept to work for them outside of the training room.

Tom was also able to “use his personal experience to highlight good and bad practices and to help us relate the theory to real world situations.”

Experienced Coaches know when not to Coach

In many jobs, no amount of training can truly teach you what you need to know. Instead, experience – on the job – is far more valuable. Our Coaches have the experience to know exactly when to step back and allow the team to learn how to use the practices for themselves, whilst still be in the background, ready to help when and wherever needed.

“He was always available to answer questions or to give us the benefit of his experience and was an invaluable facilitator during the first few iterations while we were finding our feet, however he also knew when to hang back and let us learn from experience.”

Variety of Techniques

Various aspects of coaching often require a different overall technique to help team members learn. The idea is to determine which technique would be the most beneficial for each area to boost learning.

“He…used a variety of techniques to illustrate core concepts to us and to help us open up as a team – one on one coaching, presentations, team meetings, group workshops. Within a few days of starting the program we had our task board ready and were starting our first sprint, and the end of the six iterations we were happily up to speed and seeing massive improvements in our delivery and performance – our Product Owner could for the first time be confident about when to expect a release! Since then the team has adapted and evolved every iteration to continuously improve on our methods and we definitely have Tom to thank for our development,”

Rate of Change

“The Agile Mindset Coaching delivered massive improvement on our delivery and performance”

- Annie Bedford – Credit Suisse Scrum Master

What Next?

Read more about our Agile Coaching or Make Contact and discuss your coaching needs:

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