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06 March 2011


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Chris Chan

Agreed. As a coach, I feel I can only coach 2-3 teams concurrently (depends on the experience of the team, some less time, some more time) and at the same time coach and consult with management whilst balancing all the other activities that a coach needs to do (eg forums, user groups, conferences, blogging etc...)

I find using a personal kanban board helps me prioritize, limit WIP and help me manage my flow of work.

Rachel Davies


Yes, I'd say about 2-3 teams is possible depending on how much support they need. What's harder is if those teams are in different organisations or different cities.

My particular weakness is to volunteer to help out with too many agile community conferences. I am trying to limit my WIP on that to 1 per year. I have also experimented with a personal Kanban board but I didn't have the energy to keep up with it.

Best regards,



You just inspired me to write a post about this, I call it commitment debt :-)

Rachel Davies


Glad to hear that I inspired you to write a blog on Commitment Debt - http://wildfalcon.com/archives/2011/03/07/getting-stuck-in-commitment-debt/ I've really struggled with this. Even today I ended up doing work on XP2011 and Agile Alliance Conference Sponsorship committee instead of starting my own To-Do list. Perhaps I need to give Personal Kanban another try.

Best regards,


Liz Keogh

I keep 3 "concerns" on my personal Kanban board. Experience has taught me that any more than this means one of them always drops off my radar. I've found Kanban's a great way to manage personal WIP, especially if some of those concerns are ongoing with no particular end date, but it's got to be easily accessible and trivial to use (I use LeanKit Kanban).

We also used Kanban very successfully for managing a coaching team, by putting our personal limits on a board and letting the lead coach swap concerns between us according to our abilities (technical, etc.) until the most important were covered, without overloading any one coach.

Rachel Davies


Thanks for sharing your experiences here. You make a great point about extending this to managing a coaching team.

Best regards,


Dave Nicolette

Wonderful advice and an important reminder for all of us. Thanks!


Another point for clear goals and a clear business model. Without them, one chases every rabbit, catches perhaps a few and only by luck, and ends up exhausted.

Deborah Hartmann Preuss

Absolutely agreed. In addition: make time for rest during your week. I mean rest at work: many of us find five solid days of travel/teaching/coaching unsustainable. When do you reflect on all that your "radar" picks up on ehile working with your teams and org? When do you read, or stare into space and imagine what's possible? When do you clean your desk? These reflective activities are very much part of your work - sharpening the coach's saw, so to speak.

Despite our passion to make life at work better for folks, we are not superwomen, and we need to take care of ourselves in order to be centered to do so. Thanks Rachel, Liz, Liz and others for reminding us, and for helping teams have a conscience on this topic, with things like Kanban.

Vn Nilesh

Saying no is not just limited to coaches. In my personal opinion it also applies to developers as well. Many times people keep working on parallel tasks and end up not completing all of them on time. This results in reduced velocity and delivering less number of features to the customer.

T. Moris

Do you have a checklist to gauge the suitability of a project for agile based development?

Rachel Davies

Yes I do have a checklist for gauging the suitability of a project for agile development. It is in part derived on the DSDM Atern checklist with some additional questions from my consulting experience. Would you like me to email you a copy?

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