May 31, 2011

Awesome Coach of the Week: Jens Hoffmann

We honour Jens Hoffmann as Awesome Coach of the Week 22, 2011!

Jens Hoffmann is an “integrative thinker, complexity wrangler, service designer, project team whisperer and team coach.” (taken from his Twitter profile) I first met him in 2009 at a boring conference where he facilitated a get-to-know session with 100 people—using LEGO®!

15 Years of Experience in Scrum

We started to talk in the break, continued in the next break (my talk about PRINCE2™ and Scrum was in between so I had to interrupt) and then through the rest of the day... Did I mention it was a boring conference?

Jens is the coach with the longest experience of using Scrum I know (apart from Jeff, but that does not really count, does it?). In 1996, a colleague showed him Ken's and Jeff's original paper. He was responsible for a development program with 30 projects and 800 people at the time, which was supposed to deliver maximum value on a fixed budget. He liked the Scrum approach better than the deterministic alternatives popular in that century, and it fit his situation. He achieved astonishing results by implementing Scrum. Since then, he's used Scrum in most of his later projects and specialised on the transition to lean and agile methods in large scale enterprises. Listening to his experiences, I like most in his approach that he's able to combine agile and lean thinking with classical management expectations, in a way that some of these enterprises (or their managers) don't even notice they're doing something new.

StrategicPlay—Lego®!

Together with Katrin Elster, Jens founded StrategicPlay®, a company and method used to draw input from the creative potential of a full group to solve problems, design strategies and engage in systems thinking. It hooked me the first time I did it and as I've written before on this blog, I've used it successfully multiple times myself. Jens is the Lego Hero:

Lego Hero

A mind spread out in all directions, a treasure chest of knowledge and experience at his fingertips, a backpack of tools and the means to communicate...

Complexity Wrangler

Jens is one of the few people I know that has read as many books as me on about as many different topics. No matter what topic, I can talk to him about almost everything and he has some useful knowledge about it...

Jens' Birthday Present 

When we came to Hamburg last year to the StrategicPlay® office (the StrategicPlayGround) to create the vision for the Play4Agile unconference on agile games, it was Jens' birthday. We had a hard time coming up with the idea for a present, but in the end each of us recommended a book, and an amazing pile emerged...

Awesome Coach of the Week

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

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