May 3, 2011

Awesome Coach of the Week: Mike Sutton

We honour Mike Sutton as Awesome Coach of the Week 17, 2011!

Mike Sutton is currently working with us on a project, which gave us a first-hand impression of his awesomeness... I first met Mike at the ScrumGathering in Munich in 2009, where we discovered our mutual interest in the topic of diversity. That lead to a joint session at XP2010 in Trondheim, a CoachCamp we both participated in and lots of nights on Skype... 

Mike Sutton

Open Space

Mike is an experienced Open Space facilitator. His commitment to the community is such that he even offers free Open Space facilitation to community events. I experienced his awesome facilitation skills at the AgileCoachCamp Germany last year and heard great feedback from his facilitation at the ACE conference a short while ago. Watch his passionate Lightning talk about agile communities to get a real-life impression:

Idea Gardener

“Yes, I have too many ideas”, says Mike on his blog. I know, I have heard more of those than I could count—he's sprouting them like crazy. Two weeks ago, he said he wanted to write a novel, and started telling me the story... The number of software project ideas he's told me about during the last year is larger than the number of projects I've seen in the field, coaching at various clients... He didn't start all of them, obviously. Occasionally, he finishes one, though—the amazing Tagoid app being the most awesome I can think of now. If you use Twitter, you have to keep an eye on that one!


Fun Monger

Mike is one of the funniest guys I know. At ACCDE10, he taught us the awesome Bibbedi-Bibbedi-Bob Game and various others... He's doing improv and other funny stuff all over the place. I had a hilarious personal experience last year, which also shows his actual awesomeness as a coach: I had to train a new Scrum team. Training Scrum was not new to me, but it was the first time where I was asked to do a full training for just one team: PO, SM and developers—nobody else. I asked Mike if he had a good idea for a game to play, instead of the usual stuff where you do some funny but basically senseless work in sprints (like folding hats or inflating balloons). He told me he had lots of stuff and would tell me later (Mike is brilliant at procrastination). Later, it turned out, was to be on the night before the first day of my training... He told me he had a brilliant excercise that always worked great in his courses, and which required zero preparation:
“Let them come up with ideas for small development projects they would love to develop. Have them pitch their ideas to the group and dot-vote for the best one. Name a PO and build a backlog, then do a few small sprints to see how they work together on the code...”
What can I say? It was awesome. The team built a cocktail database for the stressed developer, with recommendations and the option to search for drinks sans alcohol... It was fun, and I was amazed by the impediments they had and how they managed to overcome them. In the evening, I called him and told him how it went, and he sayd, “Great! Never did that before, the idea just came to me last night...”

Awesome Coach of the Week

This is why we think Mike Sutton is an Awesome Coach. If you can add an awesome experience with Mike, please do so in the comments. We honour one Coach a week. Suggestions welcome!

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