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Agile Coaching

Often I get questions about what Agile Coaching is all about. How is it different from being a Scrum Master or an Agile Project Manager, or for that matter, even a Agile Consultant.

An Agile Coach plays a significant role in the success of projects. Usually it is a matter of how much time a coach can spend with the team into making it a high-performing one. With delivery commitments that the teams have, it is a fine balance the coach will need to seek in an attempt to change team behaviors and practices.

An important aspect of coaching is observation. The coach needs to observe how the team is collaborating and communicating as these are two important aspects of getting things done in Agile project. Collaboration in Distributed teams is often a challenge and the Coach plays a vital role in helping teams collaborate better.

The other aspect of coaching is to provide constant feedback. The coach will observe how daily-standup’s happen, how the sprint planning/review happen, keenly observing these meetings and will provide valuable feedback on what improvements can be made to make these ceremonies effective. The feedback will be on individual as well as team level. What transpires as an outcome of this feedback is mentoring.

People who resist change are the one’s who require mentoring. The coach has to make this happen without rubbing the egos of individual who require mentoring. He/she will need to identify areas that need mentoring, and must schedule one-to-one mentoring sessions in improving those outcomes.

The other aspect of coaching is training Scrum Master or Agile Project Manager to transition into the role of Agile Coaches. Here the skills, behavior, problem handling & conflict resolution abilities of the Agile coach is to be observed to improve their own qualities that will make them as Agile coaches in future. So, as a coach you are being modeled.

Other expectations include teaching the teams in applying specific agile software engineering practices such as Test Driven Development (TDD), Refactoring, Pair Programming, etc., These practices help the teams be more productive over a period of time.

All said and done, if the teams have not shown measurable improvements in the course of your coaching journey, you may need to ask the question, “Where did I go wrong”.

I found this resource useful. Visit AgileCoachNet

You may also take a look at my website vasanthanphilipdotcom

Will keep you posted…

Cheers

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  1. August 6, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Hi Vasanthan,
    I liked the part about observing being a major part of the coach’s job. I agree that many times, small issues become big problems because someone was not observing people, teams or issues and they compounded over time.
    Good read.
    -Sampath

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