I being in an IT Industry for a decade have seen both the sides of the coin i.e. both Traditional Waterfall Model as well as Agile Methodology(Agile Vs Waterfall). IT Industry still is in transition mode of getting there to Agile. Now when we talk about Agile, there are these famous roles – Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Scrum Team. Everyone knows about these roles by now. Who is an Agile Coach? Off lately, we are coming across the role of Agile Coach quite often. Even I used to wonder who is an Agile Coach? What does he do? Do we really need him when we have Scrum Masters to handle? Let us explore and learn answers to these questions and by the end of this article, I would try to clear the confusion about Agile Coach and his/her importance in an Agile world.
Who is an Agile Coach?
An agile coach is somebody who is skilled and qualified in applying Agile ventures and can contribute that knowledge and experience with the team members. An Agile coach is accountable and makes sure that correct Agile Practices are being followed in the Project. He/ She provides timely feedback and suggestions to the team wherever and whenever necessary to upscale the implementation of Agile to the next level. An Agile Coach is just like a Coach in the Sport of Cricket. A Cricket Coach is appointed for a team not because they don’t know how to play Cricket, but because to sharpen the Team’s Skill, help them focus, guide, mentor, develop a niche for themselves to achieve the goal. Coach is someone who is in the background, unlike players. He is the one who always pushes the Team in the right direction being in the background. Similarly, In Agile too, Coach is someone who is in the background and doesn’t play on the ground like Team members, Product Owner, and Scrum Master.
Why Do we really need an Agile Coach? What are his/her importance?
Agile is something which is simple to comprehend, but very difficult or complex to implement and ace, the consequence of which is that many leads finding it problematic to make a shift. One of the fundamental reasons for the problem is that of unachievable and impractical prospects of applying Agile within the Projects, Business Units and ultimately within the Organization. Everyone here has mis concepts and misunderstanding of Agile and then claims to know agile perfectly.
For instance, Since Scrum has an easy implementation, it has a major fan following in the Industry. Also, Scrum comes like a one-stop solution for almost any kind of project. Having said that, not all the Projects have the same kind of problems, circumstances or situations and due to which many leaders or here in this context the Scrum Masters feel that something is still not going right even after following all the processes and guidelines of Agile correctly. In such circumstances, it is the Agile Coach who comes as a savior and fixes this problem. It is his expertise which helps to identify the root cause of why Agile is not transporting the expected outcome and what precautionary measures to be taken to remedy the circumstance. An Agile Coach contributes to the project rather he/ she is of the utmost importance when you are in the following situations:
1. There is no Sync between Planning and Implementation:
Agile coaching aids you carve an agile portfolio supervision course that uninterruptedly trails and ranks work items as per its worth and capability to go a step ahead with your tactic. Agile Coach can support you in making changes to your team to make the most of portfolio development by being sync with planning and implementation to make sure that each deployment brings in the most valuable functionalities in your Project roadmap.
2. You need to espouse agile approaches at the squad level, with respect to your work culture and surroundings:
Agile practices are comparatively easy to understand, though Teams can sometimes find it difficult to ace it. In this case, an Agile coach can aid connecting the dots of Agile and espouse the Agile plan that will substitute acceptance. An Agile Coach may not necessarily turn things around for you. He may just give you an overview, imbibe knowledge measures and may ask you to follow certain procedures or steps to attain Agile in the team. The coach will support strategize, direct and enable the application of new courses by making use of real and concrete work going on inside your work surroundings.
3. You would want to scale up agile methodology implementation to the next level i.e. program level effectively:
Training by Agile Coach is indispensable or quintessential when climbing to the next level by coordinating with different teams involved in the same project or program who intend to plan and deliver a product in an agile project or a program. In order to take Agile implementation to next level i.e. Program level, you must move to Scaled Agile Framework or popularly known as SAFe. You can make use of Agile Coach’s skills, knowledge and expertise to tweak it till the time you enhance it and scale to the next level effectively as per your precise requirements and exclusive situation.
4. When you would want to deliver a product that is utmost valuable with premium quality system and services as per your Customer’s demands:
The agile coach can support you to carve custom bespoke training courses to familiarize each and everyone in the team with their new roles and responsibilities. As soon as team members are adjusted and well versed with their roles and responsibilities, an Agile coach can help tutor and guide members of different teams to achieve deliver a product which holds great value in short iterations and increments by focusing on Customer’s needs and demands.
5. When you need to adjust and accept the frequently changing requirements of the customer and effectively steer brutally competitive world and sail successfully in the market:
The working environment and culture in the Organization have to become very rapidly-paced, evolving due to the competition out there in the market. If you fail to deliver, you lose the business and there are thousands of Competitors out in the market who are fighting to grab the opportunity and the new business and attract your customers. In such brutal world, an Agile Coach plays a key role to guide team leads stand rock-solid in sustaining the brutal competition and overcome these difficulties as Agile coach has your back to support you to apply best practices of agile, foster team association and carve agendas that enable you to give back or retaliate to frequently changing market circumstances with poise and comfort.
Now that we have learned so much about who an Agile Coach is and what is his position is in an Agile world. I think it is clear if we need him an Agile Coach or not. In short, an Agile coach quickens the optimistic outcomes of agile procedures by simplifying, tutoring and guiding you through actual work. Agile Coach aids your teams in the most critical situations, replying to all your queries and clearing your doubts about agile methods, tactics and displaying the agile attitude that will push the team to brilliance. In my opinion and working as a Scrum Master, I can certainly say Agile Coach adds great value in a project as a mentor to Scrum Masters and Scrum team to work as a mastermind and run the show from behind.
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