The Agile Coach Program: Scaling from 20 Teams to Over 60 Teams

The number of agile teams that I support went from 20 (too many) to more than 70 (absurd) in a few months. What could I do? How could I help them?

From this need came the Agile Coach Program that Paul created and facilitated at ADP with a small group of individuals - one was Iaroslav Torbin. These participants already support (or wanted to support) teams (be they using Scrum or Kanban) and the individuals around them. This is the story of that journey and the results.

Feedback from the program:

  • "The agile coach program has been a valuable experience both personally and professionally. It was a fun, interactive and engaging."
  • "I really enjoyed being a part of this program. With its interactive and constructive parts."
 
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Outline/structure of the Session

  • 10 mins: Set the Scene - Describe the situation of our scaling coaching support challenges
  • 10 mins: Program Creation - Explain how the agile coach program was created with quick feedback loops
  • 10 mins: Feedback and Results - Tell stories and give feedback from those that completed the program
  • 10 mins: Open Q & A

Learning Outcome

By the end of the session, each attendee will be able to:

  • Determine when an agile coach program would be beneficial to start at one's company
  • Use an effective approach to building an agile coach program
  • Learn tips on how to support new agile coaches throughout their development

Target Audience

agile coach, scrum masters, leaders, mentors, managers

Prerequisite

Think about the current challenges of scaling the coaching support at your company or at a client. Then come ready with an open mind about how you could expand the support of your coaching to a larger group.

schedule Submitted 2 months ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Praveen
    By Praveen  ~  1 month ago
    reply Reply

    Congrats Paul.

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  1 month ago
      reply Reply

      Well,  I do that one of my proposals is selected, Praveen. And, this program was both helpful and fun for the participants and myself as the facilitator.

  • Matt Dominici
    By Matt Dominici  ~  1 month ago
    reply Reply

    This is a very hot topic at many large orgs, especially in the financial sector. Would be great to hear about your approach at ADP!

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  1 month ago
      reply Reply

      Thank you, Matt. The approach that I developed (and continue to evolve) for the agile coach program was highly influenced by so many people and feedback from the participants. I am excited to share this program and our learning with the larger agile community.

  • Jean-Sébastien Bédard
    By Jean-Sébastien Bédard  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply

    I followed this course with Paul some time ago definitely worth it and will help key people developing their coaching skills

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  1 month ago
      reply Reply

      Thank you, J-S. Your participation and energy in the program were fantastic. I hope that you find plenty of opportunities to use the skills and concepts.

  • Temsila Malik
    By Temsila Malik  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply

    Another session to look forward to attending.

    Waiting to learn the challenges faced and success stories related to helping/coaching multiple Teams at a time.

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  2 months ago
      reply Reply

      Thank you, Temsila, you are part of this story through your participation in the program and through your coaching of agile teams. Without you and others, this program would not work.

      • Temsila Malik
        By Temsila Malik  ~  2 months ago
        reply Reply

        It was an awesome program, through which I learnt a lot and am using so many different aspects of it on a daily bases in many ways. 

        Thanks Paul

        • Paul J. Heidema
          By Paul J. Heidema  ~  1 month ago
          reply Reply

          Thank you, Temsila for your praise of the program - it was a joy to create and facilitate. More to come!

  • Rob
    By Rob  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply

    Sounds like an interesting topic.  (It also sounds like it could fill a book!)

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  2 months ago
      reply Reply

      Great suggestion, Rob, maybe it should be part of a book - now I just have to write it.

  • Marketa Allard, MBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSP
    reply Reply

    Scaling Agile in a semi-mature and heavily matrixed environment with limited coaching resources is a true challenge. Interesting topic, Paul. 

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  2 months ago
      reply Reply

      Yes, Marketa, the current reality of ADP is a challenging one to adopt Agile well. It has been and continues to be a worthwhile and difficult endeavour.

  • Andrew McBarnett
    By Andrew McBarnett  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply

    Definitely an interesting program and much needed for growing companies or existing larger companies under agile transformation

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  2 months ago
      reply Reply

      Absolutely, Andrew, the growth of our companies and our agile adoption requires scaling and a team of coaches.

  • Joseph
    By Joseph  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply

    Nice Paul!  I'd definitely be interested in learning about this topic.  I'm in a very similar situation and looking for ways to support our folks and create a self sustaining support structure/network.

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  2 months ago
      reply Reply

      Thanks for your support, Joseph. I believe that many of us struggle with scaling and working with large groups. This was a collaborative effort to coaching and encourage such a large group.

  • Tracy Green
    By Tracy Green  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply

    Would be very interested in learning more about this.

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  2 months ago
      reply Reply

      Great, Tracy, this journey has been wonderful with more to come.

  • Titus Peride
    By Titus Peride  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply

    I wish I could attend this session. Learning how to effectively coach an Agile team is the key to success. All the best Paul! 

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  2 months ago
      reply Reply

      Thanks, Titus, it is something that I am lucky to be learning all the time.

  • Tina Rusnak
    By Tina Rusnak  ~  2 months ago
    reply Reply

    Agile transformations are more successful when there's an "inside-out" approach; coach programs that focus on scaling agile champions that are already in the org and part of teams are a great way to gather quick wins and early lessons. Sounds like a great session to attend!

    • Paul J. Heidema
      By Paul J. Heidema  ~  2 months ago
      reply Reply

      Yes, Tina, the more we move towards those on the ground taking a leading role in agile transformation the more likely for success.


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    Products are not Projects — simple.

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    "a set of interrelated tasks to be executed over a fixed period and within certain cost and other limitations."
    "What is a project? definition and meaning". BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved 2016-04-19.

    Product development cannot be constrained to "certain cost" and products do not have a prescribed end date...so no "fixed period". So long as the organization finds innovative ways to meet market demands, the products they develop will evolve.

    So, why all the projects?

    I teach Scrum — it's a process framework that has been used to manage complex product development. Yet:

    • ~55% of the people in my classes are "Project Managers"
    • ~90% work daily in "project teams" (sic)
    • and ~0% are ready to let go of Project Charters!?

    Project charters in a complex problem domain create an illusion of safety, certainty, and confidence, but are wholly inappropriate in most organizations represented at this conference for one simple reason: the nature of our work is complex and therefore it is not possible to predict a "set of interrelated tasks to be executed over a fixed period and within certain cost and other limitations".

  • Liked Alistair McKinnell
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    Alistair McKinnell - Don't Settle for Poor Names

    Alistair McKinnell
    Alistair McKinnell
    Agile Coach / Developer
    Nulogy
    schedule 2 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Advanced

    I get frustrated with code that is sprinkled with poorly named classes, methods, and variables.

    Whenever I work on a team or coach a team, I put a lot of energy into choosing good names and sensitizing my teammates to the power of naming.

    I've noticed that developers spend most of their days reading code rather than writing code. I suspect you've noticed too. Creating understandable code is a high leverage activity for any team. And naming is where I start.

    The core of the session is an example that illustrates the process and power of choosing good names. The example comes from a recent project. There will be code.

    I will connect the example to specific techniques and patterns for choosing good names and share resources that you can use right away.

    My goal for this session is to sensitize you to the power of naming.

  • Liked Alexandra Ursea
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    Alexandra Ursea - SCARF Model - How to collaborate with and influence others and succeed

    Alexandra Ursea
    Alexandra Ursea
    Independent Consultant
    N/A
    schedule 2 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 mins
    Talk
    Advanced

    Have you ever been in a position in which you were actively engaged in a massive organizational transformation or personal one? Have you struggled with it? Have you tried different leadership styles or approaches but you were still discontent with the results?

    Perhaps the greatest challenge facing leaders in organizations is to create the kind of atmosphere in which people feel treated fairly, promote autonomy and creativity, foster certainty whenever possible, draw people together to solve problems and find ways to raise the perceived status of everyone.

    If you are a leader, every action you take and every decision you make either support or undermines your objective. Every word or glance is loaded with social meaning. Your gestures and sentences are noticed, interpreted and magnified for meanings you may never have intended.

    This is why leading is so difficult!

    Humans cannot think creatively, work well with others or make informed decisions when their threat responses are on high alert. Leaders who understand this and act accordingly could make a very positive impact in their organizations.

    David Rock,CEO of Results Coaching Intl and co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute developed a model known as the SCARF model (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness) to describe the social concerns that drive human behaviour and which leaders could benefit from to smooth organizational transformation.

    The SCARF model provides a means of bringing conscious awareness to people’s core concerns and shows how to attune your actions to better effect.

    This session will address the foundations of the SCARF model, the five domains of human social experience: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness as well as the broader application of this model.