Clean Language For Agile Coaches – Where’s The Value?

When Agile coaches encounter Clean Language, they often fall in love! There’s something about it that grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more. But what? Why do Agile coaches love Clean Language? Where’s its value for them?

That question has been bugging me for a couple of years now – and at last, I think I’m starting to understand. I guess I need to – since Olaf Lewitz and I will be running what we think is the world’s first specific Clean Language For Agile Coaches workshop in London in a month’s time.

This conversation gave me part of the jigsaw:

And I’ve just spent two days in a Scrum Master training with Tobias Mayer, which has helped to clarify just how closely the values of Clean and the values of Scrum fit together.  (Scrum is a variety of Agile.)

The Scrum Guide says: “When the [Scrum] values of commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect are embodied and lived by the Scrum Team, the Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life and build trust for everyone… Successful use of Scrum depends on people becoming more proficient in living these five values.”

Clean Language doesn’t have a nice, tidy “guide” – but its top values certainly include focus, respect, openness and courage. And it could be described as a tool for the inspection of people’s thoughts and feelings, inviting transparency and adaptation.

On a more practical level, a quick conversation with Simon Powers of Adventures With Agile provided another key. He said that even when organisations and teams implemented Agile fully, with all its frameworks and ceremonies, they often encountered critical impediments.

“The impediments are in people’s heads: its all about how they think,” he said. “So people are looking for tools to help get past that stuff. That’s where Clean Language comes in.”

  • There’s a further discussion of why Agile Coaches love Clean Language on my YouTube channel here.
  • Why do you think Agile coaches love Clean Language? Please comment below.
  • Are you an Agile Coach or Scrum Master – or team member, product owner etc – who’d like to learn to do this, for real? Join me and Olaf Lewitz for Clean Language For Agile Coaches, a live online workshop series:

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