(All Too) Frequently Asked Questions
It’s impossible to perform a robust self-diagnosis, take effective remedial action, adopt preventative measures and improve our overall health when we’re also the patient.
Why an Agile Coach?
- Agile is a response to the inability of teams, projects, programs and organizations to deliver on their commitments (to each other, to internal groups and to customers)
- I say this as someone who has worked under these conditions as a developer, as a team member, as a leader and as a consultant
- It’s a natural outcome of gathering people to formulate plans, execute plans and assess outcomes that we can lose track of our original intent
- An effective Agile Coach will quickly identify opportunities to improve conditions and practices (for planning, execution and delivery) while supporting individuals, teams and organizations to be increasingly nimble, effective and sustainable
How long do we need our Agile Coach?
- Allow your coach to make a thorough assessment of improvement opportunities while facilitating demonstrable positive change almost from the outset of their engagement
- Don’t accept “We need to make a thorough assessment before delivering
focused coaching services.” as a rationale for an Agile Coaching engagement
- While your coach is assessing…you’re continuing to experience the disabling conditions and practices that predicated engaging external resources
- Avoid the Agile Whisperer: Many of us are keenly aware of the potential of successful Agile Adoption, but being able to facilitate change (and make a demonstrable difference) is rarer set of skills
- “The transformation is complete.” is one of the most disarming (and dishonest, I am sorry to say) statements I hear from Agile Coaches. There’s a popular perception that Agile is formulaic. Not so
- “What worked at company XYZ will work for company ABC.” Your coach reuses templates and guidance from previous clients. (For service-providers, this is cost-effective. For clients, your specific conditions, needs and interests are no longer in focus)
- Now that Agile is mainstream, it’s a magnet for practitioners that lack the prerequisite experience to be effective quickly and succinctly. I’m not discouraging coaches (and others) from pursuing careers delivering Agile Coaching services: I’m encouraging clients to closely examine the experience-base of their coaches (and not just their certifications and slide presentations)
How do we know our Agile Coach is effective?
- You should start to feel uncomfortable early in the engagement and then increasingly enthused, and finally, empowered
- Feeling how your Agile Coaching engagement is going is as important as reviewing plans and confirming outcomes
- Inviting an outsider to examine how you’re working (or not working) can be threatening to psyches and professional identities
- It takes Courage (a highly valued Agile trait) to admit we need external guidance and to advocate for it (often repeatedly before it’s approved)
- Once you confirm that your Agile Coach is your partner and advocate for what’s most effective for you (versus what was effective for another client) you will feel the difference (and you will see the difference)
- When your coach is facilitating demonstrable improvements while sharing recommendations for longer-term change, everyone within their sphere of influence will feel the difference be increasingly effective
- A principal reason to engage an Agile Coach is to become increasingly self-sustaining and capable of maintaining and enhancing your Agile Culture and your Agile Practice
- Accepting additional responsibility and accountability while succeeding is very empowering (and often results in identifying additional opportunities for evolutionary change you were not aware of when you engaged your coach)
- Transitioning to owning your Agility includes a much closer connection to everyone (and everything) involved with successful outcomes. This experience is impossible to buy, challenging to replicate and very often career enhancing