Tony O'Halloran

Tony O'Halloran

Tony is a genius coach and facilitator who's not afraid to address dysfunction and call out bad practices. His development background gives him an edge with tech teams, and he's a natural bridge between business and tech. Tony is renown for leading teams to greatness with infectious humour and positivity. He's also renown for being a totally fearless mountainbiker.

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Articles by Tony

The rise and rise of Quarterfall

May 05, 2023

During the year of 2017 I broke five bones (3 ribs, my collarbone and my wrist) all on separate occasions. I ride mountain bikes often (or at least I did until I recently had twins) and I love riding the steep, technical and rooty trails that Wellington NZ has in abundance.... continue reading

The delusion of Healthy Tensions

Apr 13, 2023

Every organisation I’ve ever worked with has suffered from ‘healthy tensions’ between roles turned nasty in one form or another. I’ve seen them lead to interpersonal conflict, team dysfunction, silos and productivity grinding to a halt. In general - bad outcomes all round.... continue reading

Sprint Reviews are broken

Jul 08, 2021

In 2000, Southwest Airlines Flight 1455 was transporting 142 passengers and crew from Las Vegas to Burbank airport in California. The pilot was a man named Howard Peterson. During landing, the plane approached the runway at too steep an angle and was travelling too quickly to be able to come to a ha... continue reading

How to run a Coaching Reflection Session

Jul 01, 2020

How do you deal with your “is this completely bananas or ...” moments at work? How do you get feedback on your approach and interventions? How do you bounce around ideas among peers? Being in a leadership (coaches, scrum masters, product leaders, people leaders) role can be a lonely place. Often, y... continue reading

AgileBI Podcast

Apr 07, 2020

The AgileBI Podcast is presented by Shane Gibson and Blair Tempero. In this episode Tony O'Halloran talks to the guys about a range of topics including how he got into the world of agile, scaling, frameworks and his current area of interest: Plan Continuation Bias and how that affects teams.... continue reading

Timely advice - remote working from the trenches

Mar 22, 2020

Many organisations and teams around the world are currently figuring out what a distributed world looks like for them, and if having and supporting great agile teams remotely is even possible. The good news is “YES, it absolutely is, but it takes deliberate thought and effort”. Timely is a NZ-based... continue reading

Inspired Introspection

Jul 03, 2019

When you picture a truly amazing team in your head, what does it look like? Now consider your teammates. Do they have the same picture? Really - all of them? The things people have experienced and read massively shape what ‘great’ looks like for them. The differences can lead to frustrations or peo... continue reading

The Dark Side of Agile Coaching - are Agile Coaches doing harm?

May 30, 2019

Recently I’ve heard more and more stories of newly minted Agile Coaches crossing the lines between coaching* and counselling during 1:1 coaching sessions - that shit has to stop! It’s creepy, irresponsible and dangerous - mental wellbeing is not something to play around with. Since the roles of Agil... continue reading

Challenging Team Agility using White Elephant Principles

Nov 13, 2018

Has your team ever felt like things are going stale? Do you worry that you’re beginning to rest on your laurels? None of the greatest teams I’ve experienced ever think that “good enough” is good enough. Here’s a handy way to collectively challenge each other to improve in a constructive way. This ca... continue reading

Creating Working Agreements that are actually useful

Sept 28, 2018

Working Agreements, Team Norms, Team Charters… Call them what you want, they’re great in theory but in practise they can be awkward to come up with and difficult to implement. Committing to “don’t be a dick” and “respect each other” is well and good, but it’s pretty much implied. We shouldn't need a... continue reading

How to Avoid Waste - a Lean Retrospective

Aug 14, 2017

In Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash Mary and Tom Poppendieck categorised waste encountered in software development into: Partially Done Work Is work going from beginning to end in a single rapid flow? For example; are you building up large amounts of untested or undeploye... continue reading

Role Expectation Mapping Canvas

Mar 27, 2017

Role Expectation Mapping is a process described by the awesome Jimmy Janlén designed to aid collaboration and help a team work through mismatches in understanding of each other’s roles. I came across Jimmy's article recently when working with a small team who were struggling with what they could and... continue reading

Helping Teams Deal with Conflict

Mar 15, 2017

The retrospective ended with two team members storming out of the room in opposite directions, two others toe-to-toe in heated dispute and Leah, the Product Owner handing out orders to whoever would listen. I started to realise how stuck this team actually was... Over the few previous days I’d witne... continue reading

What to Do when Organisational Impediments are Slowing you Down?

Mar 01, 2017

Picture the scene: Your team is regularly coming together to focus on improving how they work but the same overarching problems seem to be the root cause every time. Worse still, these issues are perceived as being outside the direct control of the team. Your instinct and experience tell you that al... continue reading

Time for a Change in Principles?

Oct 07, 2016

As Agilists, our principles and values underpin the way we work and decisions we make. A good principle should be timeless and non-prescriptive enough to be valid across many contexts, but specific enough to add practical value and help us make decisions. I feel that one Agile Manifesto principle in... continue reading

Is Talking to Users Enough?

Aug 23, 2016

Recently a friend of mine formed a startup with a goal of making the One-On-One Meeting an easier and more valuable process. Their aim was to help managers and their direct reports easier handle the goals and issues that arise from these sessions. The assumption they made was that their customers (p... continue reading