One of the premises of Kanban is to start where you are. To begin to more deeply examine, know and understand where you are. Or your team. Or your organization.

Since I essentially hang up my bike each winter, I have to do this same process each spring. And I can tell you, it sucks. It hurts. Sometimes I puke on my first few rides because I want to override my body's need to slow down; to push too hard. I can say from experience that for me, that threshold is crossed very quickly and I'm pretty sure it doesn't gain much other than feeling bad the rest of the ride.

As an agile coach, I have access to a tremendous breadth of knowledge about what is possible. And of course, I want to give that to my teams, because I believe it will make their lives better.

However, I can't just stand at a whiteboard and talk it to them. That's not how knowledge transfer works. They have to live it. They have to earn it. And I have to be there with them. Just as every season I have to build my body back up and have to believe that this sucky part is worth it. They have to take it on faith, which really is another word for trust, that we'll get there, that whatever they're working on will get better.

When working with a team, or a coaching client, it is like this as well: I have to meet them where they are and help them find their pain points, and help them identify the solution and how they'll get there.

And it always has to begin with where they are, right now. And I'm not sure it is ever easy.

What have you found valuable in starting where you are or a team is?


  1. so true! often we as coaches/mentors/instructors have our eye on where we want teams to get to, and forget they need to be motivated enough to leave the place they are currently in.

  2. yup. the bigger question I have is what to do if that motivation isn't there...

  3. that's simple - change the question :-)
    What can I do to create the motivation?

  4. good question...already started reading up on it!

  5. Roy Oshorove has been working teaching and publishing on this issue for the past 2? years or so, I've been on one of his talks about it, good stuff!

    You might want to take a look: