Agile; Standup

Change is in the air

Can we really say it’s Spring? For those of us in the southern hemisphere, definitely! For our friends in the northern hemisphere, welcome to Fall! Your leaves are falling, and your weather is cooling, and it’s just warming up down here. Either way, we are all experiencing change. And like the seasons, we don’t experience a sudden change at the start of each season, leaves don’t fall from trees all at the same time, and the weather doesn’t just suddenly go from hot to cold (unless you live in Melbourne!). Change is happening constantly. According to Heraclitus: “no one can ever step into the same river twice. For each time, you are experiencing different water, and you yourself are different.”

We often don’t realise that something has changed in us until we do some serious self-reflection. I was lucky to have this opportunity at a recent Growth Faculty event with Brene Brown. Spending the day with her (and meeting her!) gave me new insights into how I am as a person and a coach. Brene Brown’s TEDx Talk in 2011 changed how the world sees vulnerability and shame. Her research (and her ability to share it simply) is brilliant.

Another way to realise change in ourselves is through the eyes of others. Feedback is the breakfast of champions they say. And when it’s positive feedback, it lifts us up. When it’s negative feedback, not so much. But both types are essential to our growth and development. August gave me the gift of extremely positive feedback that has led to an exciting announcement I will be able to share with you in October. It was a thrill to be recognised for work I had done last year with an amazing client. What made it extra special was that I knew at the time I was working in a way that was SO aligned with my values. My collaborative, facilitative, people-focused approach to this coaching engagement was just what the client needed to achieve excellence.

I also received negative feedback from a person at a different client I had been working with at the same time. This feedback actually stopped a potential client from engaging me. Unfortunately, this feedback was indirect and non-specific but was still a cause to pause. I had not worked with this person very long, but like my positive feedback experience, I was working in a collaborative, flexible way, focusing on coaching and people. I know my approach did not resonate with this one person, but it was making a difference to others, and the reason why this client had brought me in. I knew we as people were not aligned, but I did not realise how much until I became aware they had provided feedback to a potential client. I was disappointed for a minute, but then I realised what a gift this was. Positive feedback and recognition are great, but what makes it even better is criticism. It means I’m making an impact. As a coach, it’s not my job to have everyone like me, it’s to make a difference to the way people work and live. This is huge for me, as ‘being liked’ was something that used to be important to me, and it stopped me from living up to my potential. I know I’ve changed and am continuously working toward being the person I want to be, but this feedback is a proof point. Proof I am living my purpose and values.

Do you recognise the changes in you? Just like last month when we talked about looking for the good in what you achieved over the month, I bet if you looked for the changes you have made in your life you would find them too.

Sometimes changes can be gradual, come in ‘small slices’ – just like how we plan our work (check out the August blog if you’ve not already done so).

With that in mind, welcome to the August stand up!

How was your August? Did you look for things you had done? I really hope so! I’m looking forward to sharing my August with you, and of course looking forward to hearing about yours. Let’s calibrate, collaborate and iterate together.

What Accomplish




I MET BRENE BROWN! I am a big fan of her work on vulnerability, and even though I’ve read all her books, I got so much out of her session. She took her concepts to a whole new, deeper level and gave me so much to think about. I love the way she rates herself a “C plus” when it comes to giving feedback and having difficult conversations but has them anyway. Her research on vulnerability and shame is second to none, a

nd she role models trying (and failing) so well. It kind of gives us permission to try and fail too, knowing that it’s the trying part (getting in the arena) that’s most important.

Brene Brown

I participated in the Gallup Workplace culture summit. I have to say, becoming a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach has been one of the best things I have ever done. The community and support are amazing, and the summit was incredible. A range of speakers from organisations experienced in implementing Strengths, through to CEOs just starting out, were open in sharing their journeys with Strengths and leading change.

PMI hosted an event focused on the Future of Diversity in Project Management. Julia Steel, an expert in coaching leaders in strategy, delivery and change led the session. It was an engaging conversation with some interesting insights. There seemed to be general agreement in the room that people in positions of influence need to do more to support women if they want to have more diversity (and more success) in their change initiatives. I still sensed there were many people in the room that felt it was up to women to ‘just try harder’, and not acknowledging that we have created a system of work that makes it difficult for women (and other minorities) to be heard. Julia runs a program to support women in Project Management and is about to launch a program for Product Owners. I highly recommend her work.

We ran a number of Agile Ready workshops for our corporate clients, and I’m noticing how participants’ needs are changing over time. The worlds of work and Agile are both shifting, and as a facilitator and coach in this space, this is what I have been noticing:

  • Not everyone is ready to be Agile Ready
  • People’s attention spans are getting dangerously short (!)
  • Anyone can embrace the Agile mindset regardless of their organisational, industry or project needs
  • There is always something to learn – but if you don’t believe this, then you will not learn

I released another small slice of my online course. Thank you to everyone who has signed up and shared their learnings and feedback. Stay tuned for more tasty slices!

Working on




Continuing to iterate my online course following your amazing, high quality feedback. More modules to come, as well as improvements to the current slice. I’m continuing to iterate my Strengths workshops for Agile teams in collaboration with fellow Agile and Strengths enthusiasts.

Getting in way




Prioritisation is still a big focus and getting into the habit of slicing my work before looking at priorities has been really helpful. I have found some surprising strategies to do this which I’ll share in my blog this month. How about you?

How did you go with your small slices last month?

Next month




I have worked to carve out some time in September to publish the next few modules of my online course. And of course, Agile Ready and Strengths workshops and team coaching. I also have some exciting news to share with you next newsletter, so be ready!

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About Emma Sharrock

Emma is the author of The Agile Project Manager: Thrive in Change with Agile. An experienced change leader, Emma is passionate about working with people to facilitate successful change. Emma utilises Agile techniques, coupled with the Agile mindset to coach leaders and teams to achieve their business goals.