Why on earth should you spend money on a coach, especially an agile coach? We need developers who can write could not some coaches running around and doing strange exercises and prevent the teams from doing their job. That is one answer. I think many people really wonder what an agile coach is and what value they can bring so my intention is to trying to give an overview of that in this post and also try to explain what value they can bring.
What is an agile coach?
An agile coach is a person who have a great knowledge about agile & lean and know how it can be used to help organizations being more agile in order to achieve their goals and be more successful. This might sound strange but I think that the agile coaching competency framework can give you a better overview of what and agile coach is.
Agile and Lean Practitioner
Agile and lean are the foundation for every agile coach. They live by the agile manifesto and it’s values are reflected in every action and decision. The coach is a role model of an agile person. By observing the coach you can learn what being agile means.
Professional coaching is about helping people to move from A to B. An agile coach team up with people and help them helping them selves to solve their own problems and moving towards being agile.
Mentoring is about sharing experiences and knowledge to help people grow and solve their problems. A bit like coaching but more focus on knowledge sharing instead of letting the person figure out their own solutions.
Teaching is a bout teaching people about agile and lean methodologies and practices such as SCRUM, Kanban, TDD, Pair programming and much more.
Facilitation is about helping groups creating an environment and process in which groups can collaborate to solve problems. This means designing and running workshops and meetings where the coach guides the team to a desired result.
Mastery is about where to coach have his/her special in-depth knowledge. The technical mastery is about being good in the craftmanship of building software. The business master is about being good at building products with high business value . The transformation mastery is about being good at helping organizations to transform and change to become agile.
I hoped that gave you the big picture of what an agile coach can do and help with. If we try to look and what value this brings, what is it really the coach does? The coach help the organization to change it self in a direction to be more agile. The coach work from individuals to teams to the whole organization to achieve this. It’s all about support. Much like a coach for a sports team who help their team to always perform better and be at their best. But why should we be agile, whats the value in that? With an agile organization you can deliver the right business value to your customers fast and your are fast in adopting change so that the organization can adapt to an environment that constantly changes. What’s best today my be out dated tomorrow and then you need to able to adapt and find your place in the new world as fast as possible. You can see it like evolution. An agile coach help the organization being able to have a fast evolution so that they can mutate in order to survive even when the environment changes dramatically.
Why should you invest in an agile coach instead of a new member to the team?
It all sounds good with a coach but in the end of the day it’s all about the software your company produce. That’s true and we shall never forget about that. But if you don’t have an agile coach today you might consider to get one. A new team member sure helps you produce more stuff but a coach can help your organisation to improve, including all people inside it so that they can produce more great software? Maybe that’s a reason to invest in a coach instead? Sure it’s hard to measure and find out if the coaches actions really bring a higher productivity, all the fancy things with post-its and talking to people can it really bring that much of a value? Can’t we just have the coach for sometime and then do it ourselves? Of course but having someone who focus on keeping you at high-performing mode might be needed for many of us, including myself. I personally belive that investing in a coach really pays off and definitely is worth the money in the long run. Because if you have an organisation that can’t adapt to a changing world it doesn’t matter how many lines of code you can write, your company will die and a new and better suited will take your place and thrive in the new world.
What’s your choice, hire a developer today and cash in for a short period of time, or hire a coach and cash in and make a difference for a long time ahead?