Agile Coffee Podcast, episode 33

Lean Coffee recorded in Seattle, June 24, 2015

Vic (@AgileCoffee) attended the Scrum Alliance’s fourth Scrum Coaching Retreat in the USA. It was three days of examination of what it means to be a coach in a scrum environment and how we can improve our coaching methods worldwide.

In the first two days, participants had the opportunity to pitch a project they wished to focus on. Everyone then joined a project team and organized using scrum processes and roles. We had three sprints (spanning the two days) in which to iterate and increment on a delivery of our final products. The final day was devoted to an Open Space event and a closing retrospective.

One of the projects created can be found at AgileLeadershipToolkit.com. I’ll make others available once I receive explicit permission and links from their creators.

Special kudos go out to Stewart Young (@Stuartliveart) of illustrationstation.co.uk for completing some amazing artwork throughout the three days.

Vic hosted a lean coffee during Open space on the third day, and he was joined by:

Topics included:

  • Overcoming team dysfunctions at the Scrum Coaching Retreat
  • Alternative formats for a three-day retreat
  • How to do podcasts (see below)
  • PO coaching beyond the basics
  • Impact Mapping
  • Value proposition for coaching vs just training

For more information on retreats

Links to previous (and upcoming) Coaching Retreats in the USA:

  1. Boulder, CO – Dec 7-9, 2011
  2. Chandler, AZ – Dec 4-6, 2013archive of projects
  3. Raleigh (Chapel Hill), NC – Oct 28-30, 2014
  4. Seattle, WA – June 22-24, 2015
  5. Irvine, CA – Spring 2016

Podcasting Tools and Techniques

I produce my shows old school – by gathering participants in a room and recording with a bunch of mics. (I have a degree in audio engineering, so I’m a bit of an audiophile.) It’s fun, and nothing beats the face-to-face communication with all its nuances and clarity. We meet about twice a month in a mostly quiet space, and it takes my about 10-15 minutes to set up the equipment and do a quick check of levels.

For these bigger on location recording (from 4 to 6 attendees), I use a Behringer X1222 mixing board and Audio Technica ATR2100 or similar mics, plug it into my laptop and be good. [None of these links are affiliate links – just plain links to Amazon.] When it’s only a few of us, I’ll just bring my Zoom H5 handy recorder to blug mics in to – no need to lug my laptop around. In my home studio where it’s only me, I either plug my mic into the laptop or go through a smaller Behringer Xenyx mixer.

For post-production I use the free software Audacity (for PC). It does everything I need; I only do a minor amount of editing, and I like to tweak the levels somewhat. I export the file as MPEG Layer 3 (.mp3) format and load it into my local iTunes to enter the metadata (pretty much just cut-and-paste from a template). Then it’s time to upload to my audio host. Libsyn costs about $12 / month, but you can get a cheaper plan with them (or free elsewhere) if you podcast less frequently (I post at least two Agile Coffee podcasts a month and sometimes other projects as well). Libsyn also provides download stats. When it’s time to announce the new episode, the Blubrry PowerPress plugin (free) to my WordPress site does the heavy lifting by submitting the feed to iTunes & Stitcher as well as embedding an audio player on the post’s page.

Here are some of the Agile-themed podcasts I consume:

That’s it. Hit me up with questions at @AgileCoffee.

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