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Agile Coaching is Incomplete without Technical Coaching

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When you do agile coaching you need to take into account the technical side as well. We don't do just organizational improvements, but they are closely related to the technicians who do the work. This applies to software development, marketing, sales, or whatever other knowledge work area where you can implement agile frameworks and methods.

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Agile Coaching is Incomplete without Technical Coaching

  1. 1. Agile Coaching is incomplete without Technical Coaching Adrian Bolboacă
  2. 2. What Agile Coaching is NOT ● “Agile is a project management methodology” from here ● “Agile coaches train corporate teams on agile methodologies” as here ● “An Agile coach is a person who is responsible for creating and improving Agile processes within a team or a company’ as here
  3. 3. Not surprising that people get Agile Coaching Wrong!
  4. 4. What Agile Coaching is ● “Coaches open people’s minds to new possibilities, which changes the way they make decisions and interact with each other.” from here ● “Agile Coaching is a collaboration with people in a thought provoking and creative journey using coaching approaches with an agile mindset and principles to help individuals, teams and organizations be the best they can be.” from here
  5. 5. Coaching is a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coaching
  6. 6. Coaching vs Agile Coaching? ● Coaches are certified by reputable organizations, after thorough training vs ● Agile coaches become agile coaches just by stating they know what to do
  7. 7. Agile Coaching Responsibilities ● People ○ Work with management to empower people and teams ○ Personal Responsibility ● Teams ○ Continuous Improvement mindset ○ Help the teams structure to achieve self-organization ● Way of working ○ Help choose the framework appropriate for the context ○ Adapt the framework to the teams’ needs ● System Thinking
  8. 8. Agile Coaching Tools An agile coach needs to be a: ● Example by their own behavior ● Agile / Lean Practitioner ● Coach ● Teacher ● Mentor ● Facilitator ● Change Agent
  9. 9. I prefer to say Organizational Coaching and not Agile Coaching
  10. 10. Coach - essential skills ● Instill trust ● Observe fast and well the environment ● People, “soft” ● Psychology of change ● Public speaking ● Product Development (from idea, to backlog, refinement and user experience) ● Technical, “hard” (about coding, testing, architecture, etc) ● Hands-on, not just consulting (eg consulting: I tell you what to do, but I don’t know how)
  11. 11. A coach does not have all the answers, but often more questions for guiding the person / group find their answers.
  12. 12. Technical coaching ● “Soft” skills: communication, ● Teacher, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator ● Help choose the best tools for the organisation ● Technical Practices: understand and constantly help the teams improve (Continuous Integration / Delivery, Testing, Coding, Minimize defects, etc) ● Knowledgeable in Software Architecture and Software Design ● Team / group work (eg workshops, coding dojos, support in implementing tools) ● Pairing (programmers, testers, architects, analysts, security, operations, etc)
  13. 13. Concerns “I fear that for many large companies the generic “Agile Coach,” and the Scrum specific “Scrum Master,” has become a term for a person who neither programs nor tests software, who is added to a development team to make it Agile. It’s as if you could sprinkle some pixie dust on your development teams to make them more productive, or whatever advantage they can see in the adoption of Agile.” from here
  14. 14. More concerns ● Organizations start adopting a new way of working (maybe agile, maybe not), only starting from management without understanding the needs of the technical people the technical improvements (tools, practices) they need ● Often after a few months “Agile Doesn’t Work”. The main reason is that you need changes on all the stream: business, product, middle management, team, infrastructure, etc, but mostly on the mindset ● The changes are considered as being easy to do, without understanding the whole system.
  15. 15. Advice 1. Always have organizational and technical coaching 2. Focus on the whole Systems when starting a change 3. Care about the people involved 4. The change instilled by the agile coaches does not work without support from key roles 5. Careful: specialists, technical people will know how to sabotage the change if they are not on board, simply because they don’t think it’s better 6. Don’t blame: everybody has a good reason for what they do. Be empathetic. Find the reason. Change the system.
  16. 16. Adrian Bolboacă Blog https://blog.adrianbolboaca.ro YouTube Channel on technical topics https://youtube.com/adibolboaca Digital Anthropos YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC51Ig1EMjseofmr820PF CBg Think. Design. Work Smart. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSEkgmzFb4PnaGAVXt K8dGA Works at https://mozaicworks.com Follow-up adrian.bolboaca@mozaicworks.com Follow-up https://twitter.com/adibolb VP of Innovation in Education and Technology@Mozaic Works
  17. 17. Thank you

When you do agile coaching you need to take into account the technical side as well. We don't do just organizational improvements, but they are closely related to the technicians who do the work. This applies to software development, marketing, sales, or whatever other knowledge work area where you can implement agile frameworks and methods.

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