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What Is the Roadmap to Becoming an Agile Coach?

DZone's Guide to

What Is the Roadmap to Becoming an Agile Coach?

Read on to take a look at the roadmap to becoming an Agile coach and learn more about each stop you'll take along the journey.

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A new role that has been introduced by Agile software development is that of a team coach. Until the workings of Agile came along, coaches were only confined to the sports fields or the executive field. There are Agile teams that exist without a coach, but these teams do not necessarily achieve their peak performance.

Yahoo! reports show that coaches do make a significant contribution to organizations. It stated that Scrum teams without any support from a coach increased their productivity by 35%, whereas those with a coach recorded 300% or greater improvement.

Today, we will be looking at the roadmap to becoming an Agile coach.

1. The Agile Team Facilitator

The Agile Team Facilitator is something like a Scrum Master or Kanban Coach who helps teams use Agile practices. During this stage, facilitation is the key skill that unlocks self-organization, empowerment, and creativity in a team. Even if you have passed this stage, it does not hurt to attain facilitation skills. It's the difference between ho-hum participation and true team ownership and momentum.

What Do They Do?

  • Tactically focus on one or two teams.

  • Remove impediments.

  • Facilitate process ceremonies.

  • Produce daily reports.

  • Promote positive team dynamics.

  • Usually work under a guidance of a coach.

What Are Their Roles and Responsibilities? 

They act as a coach and keep a positive attitude to motivate their team as well as others. They also create an environment of enthusiasm and team spirit around what is being delivered. They need to understand the Agile Manifesto and the 12 Agile Principles in order to guide the team, be the voice of reason and authority, and make the tough calls.

They build a rapport with their team as well as other colleagues throughout the organization to enhance team trust. They understand overall team progress and commitments and actively work to improve team accountability, collaboration, and productivity. They ensure the team delivers fully tested, working software that meets the business need.

They are usually the ones ahead of the trending developments in Agile, understand them, and apply them to various projects. 

They identify and champion process or other departmental improvements in coordination with fellow Agile Facilitators or department members and lead the implementation. They work with the Product Owner to groom the backlog, ensuring that the PBIs contain acceptance criteria and are sized appropriately.

They organize and facilitate sprint planning, daily stand-up meetings, story pointing sessions, release planning, and retrospectives.

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2. Agile Coach

The next level is that of the Agile Coach who operates at a multi-team level. They engage with the forces outside and within teams that hinder Agile’s full promise. At this level, honing one’s skill in all four allied disciplines become paramount: teaching, mentoring, facilitating, and professional coaching. Most people usually focus on becoming a great Agile Coach and forget that there is the next level to this. However, this is an absolutely legitimate place to make a stop – if there were more skilled Agile Coaches, Agile would be much healthier.

What Do They Do?

  • Strategically focus across many teams.

  • Experience more than one Agile process.

  • Have a perspective on Agile best practices.

  • Solid experience with Agile program structure.

  • Experienced establishing an Agile transformation approach.

  • Limited experience with Agile outside of IT.

What Are Their Roles and Responsibilities?

They reduce delivery risk or provide “value delivery assurance,” advise the team on adapting the process for higher efficiency, and guide management on what to expect. They also mentor Agile Team Facilitators (or Scrum Masters) and provide Agile training as required. Lastly, they identify metric, formulas, and collection mechanisms, as well as provide good examples of expected deliverables and daily reports.

3. Enterprise Agile Coach

The final level is becoming an Enterprise Agile Coach. Enterprise Agile Coaches have credibility and knowledge, as well as deep coaching skills that will be used directly to coach the leadership team. Enterprise Agile Coaches most often have deep experience in Agile as well as organizational development, change, and culture and can work at all levels in an organization.

What Do They Do?

1. They strategically focus across portfolios.

2. They experience more than one Agile process.

3. They have a perspective on mapping Agile frameworks to types of work.

4. They utilize solid experience with multiple strategic topics, executive discussions on Agile, Agile program structure, and establishing an Agile transformation approach, as well as experience with Agile outside of IT

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Topics:
agile ,scrum ,agile coach ,enterprise agile

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