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Scrum Master vs. Agile Coach

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Scrum Master vs. Agile Coach

Are you a Scrum Master? Do want to become an Agile Coach or move up the company ladder in some way? Read on to see if you agree with the author.

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I’m fast approaching the 10-year mark as a Scrum Master, and I honestly cannot remember what it felt like not to do this. If I look back, I’ve had some pretty amazing coaches, mentors, and trainers, and I’m incredibly thankful for all the opportunities that I’ve been given.

“So what’s next?” I’m often asked, especially during some of my not so recent job interviews. What is life after Scrum Master’ing? Mmm… I try to be cautious when answering this, because I honestly don’t mean to offend (…and then the big bad BUT sneaks out), BUT, I cannot help but notice that some of my peers and fellow Scrum Masters have recently “converted” themselves, or dubbed themselves, to be Agile Coaches.

This leaves me with so many questions… “How the hell did that happen?” probably being the most pertinent. So, perhaps I missed a memo or some criteria by which you suddenly cross over into Agile Coach-hood? I don’t know, I wish somebody could enlighten me.

By all means, a Scrum Master’s job does involve some facet of coaching, but certainly, you cannot just go from Scrum Master one day, to Agile Coach the next? I’m also pretty sure that a coach has some access to management, and coaching on that level. And I don’t mean talking to management, just to raise issues and complain on their teams’ behalf. I mean working WITH management, actively planning a transformation, or, at the very least, an improvement roadmap.

From what I’ve seen, Scrum Master dubbing themselves as Agile Coaches are either bored with what they do, they need more money (and the Scrum Master salary bracket doesn’t allow for growth beyond a certain amount), or they feel like they need more recognition, aka STATUS in their Agile community.

I know I’m sounding very harsh, and I’m sure that I’ll get some people who will totally disagree, but I can tell you that all those examples that I’ve used, I’ve actually encountered in the workplace.

So, for those who are content being Scrum Master, for now, how do you plan on growing? Are you furthering your knowledge as a specialist, or do you need to move into a different (higher level) role to feel like you’re successful?

I’m curious to learn the true motivation behind the “coaches movement,” and also the prerequisites that you feel are needed to be dubbed a coach.

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Topics:
scrum masters ,agile coaches ,career growth ,agile

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