There are various flavors of “Going Agile” (all real reasons I’ve heard from customers)

  • “The Boss wants Agility so we are implementing Scrum”
  • “Corporate Mandate – All projects will now be Agile”
  • “By going Agile, we want to transform our IT to deliver industry leading productivity and value”
  • “Everyone is being asked to do it, so can you please Agile [sic] my small, irrelevant project over there?”

Corresponding to the needs of different programs, Agile coaches need to be able to play different roles, using different toolkits depending on the situation.

In this session, we will present three different flavors of Agile Coaching, each with an example:

  • Agile Coach as Trainer
  • Agile Coach as Expert
  • Agile Coach as Alchemist

 

In the ‘Agile Coach as Trainer’ situation:

  • Company or client has already decided to adopt (a certain flavor of) Agile, and the Coach is needed for conversion – Training, Procedures, Ceremonies, and Test-runs; there is low ambiguity.
  • The Agile Coach essentially focuses on the rollout using the methodology already decided upon.

The Agile Coach is expected to:

  • Bring in a set of rules, procedures and ceremonies that will be replicated across the teams during the rollout
  • Act as the trainer and role-model behavior for the new way of work
  • Success is typically the rate of conversion to Agile, and adherence to the new way of work.

 

In the ‘Agile Coach as Expert’ situation:

  • The client has decided to adopt Agile (or one of its variants) and needs a Coach to help transition the identified (frequently large or critical) program to the new way of work
  • There are several ‘How will … ‘ questions that are still open, like:
    • How will the non-Agile dependencies integrate?
    • What does this do to my productivity measure?
    • What process changes are needed to hit the target identified?

The Agile Coach is expected to:

  • Come in with a Toolkit of Agile, Kanban, Lean techniques that can be applied singly or in conjunction to the situation
  • Tailor the processes to align with the client’s goal, process, and limitations (frequently imperfect from a traditional Agile perspective)
  • Cut through the ambiguity with Expert knowledge on Agile and related processes
  • Be a politician to succeed

 

Finally, in the ‘Agile Coach as Alchemist’ situation:

  • Transformations have BHAG and aim to achieve an order-of-magnitude change or improvement.
  • These are neither ‘Hard work’ problems or ‘Technique’ problems; this is not a ‘bend the curve’ process

The Agile Coach is expected to:

  • Need to create Crucibles through which the team must pass through, and emerge transformed on the other side
  • Guide the team through the Crucibles (which is tailored to the situation) to minimize attrition through the process
  • Align this process to the desired BHAG and outcome

 

 For each of these situations, we will present an illustration with examples of clients who are facing these different Agile success criteria.

 

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

The 45 minutes will be equally divided into three parts, each 15 minutes taking an in-depth look at our three categories:

  • Agile Coach as Trainer
  • Agile Coach as Expert
  • Agile Coach as Alchemist

In each section, we will look at the client or company need, the coaching need, the approach, toolkit and success criteria.

Learning Outcome

This session will illustrate that all Agile coaching assignments or needs are not created equal - there is a very different Coach needed for each of the three situations that are presented. This session gives insights (drawn on real life coaching and consulting assignments) to succeed in the various situations that we look at an Agile Coach for, and for Coaches to understand the needs to companies and clients when they take assignments.

Target Audience

Agile Coaches, PMs, PgMs, Scrum Masters, anyone involved in making Agile successful

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Ravi Kumar
    By Ravi Kumar  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Avinash,

     

    Thanks for the details in the submission. Few clarifications on some of the points….

     

    ‘Agile Coach as Trainer’ situation:

    >> Success is typically the rate of conversion to Agile, and adherence to the new way of work.

    What do you mean by rate of conversion?

     

    ‘Agile Coach as Expert’ situation:

    • >> • Be a politician to succeed

    Why do you need to be a politician?

     

    ‘Agile Coach as Alchemist’ situation:

    >>Transformations have BHAG and aim to achieve an order-of-magnitude change or improvement.

    Can you please elaborate on this? What’s BHAG?

    Unable to correlate crucibles with reducing attrition. Need your help to understand this

     

     

    Also, would you be covering the key outcomes that a coach is expected to deliver in each of the above?

     

    Best,

     

     

    Ravi

    • Avinash Rao
      By Avinash Rao  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Ravi, here are the clarifications:

      -------------------------

      ‘Agile Coach as Trainer’ situation:

      What do you mean by rate of conversion?

      = In the 'Trainer' situation, there is a well defined methedology as well as management buy in and commitment to a certain way to go Agile. When a coach is asked to migrate a portfolio to Agile, a key success indicator for clients in this situation is the number of projects that transition to Agile; the number that make this transition successfully in a given time frame gives us the 'rate of conversion'.

      -------------------------

      ‘Agile Coach as Expert’ situation:

      Why do you need to be a politician?

      = Leaving aside the pejorative connotations associated with politicians (!), a successful politician is a coalition builder who can solicit and obtain support from a divergent group. In this case, the divergent group are the stakeholders involved in any large enterprise program, and getting this broad based support is important to Agile transformation.

      -------------------------

      ‘Agile Coach as Alchemist’ situation:

      Can you please elaborate on this? What’s BHAG?

      Unable to correlate crucibles with reducing attrition. Need your help to understand thDiis

      = BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goals. This comes from 'Built to Last' by Collins and Porras (and obviously not as popularly known as I thought it was!). 

      Crucibles (or any transformative experience) is by definition (at least mildly) traumatic, since we change only when exposed to a new set of experiences or circumstances. Even religious initiations have a 'guide' to help through the process; given that in enterprises people can self-select out of these situations (by leaving for other jobs), the Agile coach must act as the guide who provides support, signposts, and guidance for behavior in this unfamilar way of doing work. 

      -------------------------

      Did this make sense? Happy to provide additional detail if needed.

      Also, yes, I will be covering the key outcomes that the coach is expected to deliver in each situation (including implicit outcomes that clients rarely provide or can provide in the coach JD).

      thanks!

      Avinash

       


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