What is an Agile Coach?
In brief, an Agile Coach is someone who helps a team to better adopt an agile way of working.
Some would say this role is quite similar to the role of a Scrum Master, and there are also some colleagues of mine who would describe an Agile Coach as an overpaid Scrum Master.
In reality, all these things depend a lot on the company, its needs, and its understanding of the framework.
From my experience, this role can be seen in two ways:
- Agile Coach as some kind of a “meta-Scrum Master”; someone whose role is to help Scrum Masters learn how to do their job
- Agile Coach as someone who is more focused on the organization itself and the organizational culture
But at the end of the day – everything always boils down to people and working with people.
The idea is to humanize people’s jobs and gain a real picture of what things are like, rather than a caricatured one. There is an excellent phrase - “watermelon project” – which describes the state of a project resulting from a lack of transparency, where everything looks green on the outside while inside it is actually all red. Openness, transparency and clearer, more human processes are the way to get a real picture. For example, if there is a problem on the project, you will be aware of it the moment you find yourself in trouble, and not when everything comes tumbling down.
The goal is to reach a point where the team has learned to deal with itself. This includes a simple mindset thing, which is the fact that it is not important what you think or what I think – all these statements are just hypotheses. We need to test them and see what the data from the real world tell us. Maybe this week you are right, and next week I might be right. And, most probably, neither of us is right, or perhaps we are both right. In a complex world, there are no simple answers.