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Gabriel Soares
Gabriel Soares

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Agile Coach, a new branch of agile

The Agile in software projects changed the way that professionals and organizations are analyzing, measuring and transforming teams. But sometimes the teams are not mature enough to self-manage conflicts that are about to happen or even detect issues in the process that will cause performance problems in the future. Thus, companies are increasingly searching for professionals focused on transforming the team and the process, seeking to evolve the organization as a whole.

Many roles have been created from this need. Some of them you have certainly heard or even have in your team, such as Scrum Master and Project Manager. Others are relatively new, like the Agile Coach.

What is an Agile Coach?

Agile Coach is a transformation agent whose purpose is to evolve people, the team and the organization in order to reconcile four areas:

  • Technical domain: related to all the technical and architectural part of the team;
  • Business domain: which involves operational strategies, process and innovation;
  • Team domain: related to the team itself, such as facilitation and leadership;
  • Personal domain: individual, such as career development and internal problems.

Agile Coach x Scrum Master

What are the differences between an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master? The Scrum Master is focused on making the process to follow all rules of the Scrum framework (eg ceremonies, artifacts), always aiming for constant and timely deliveries. And quality, of course.

Agile Coach has the focus of transforming the team, finding and preventing problems. In addition to proposing solutions for them.

Thus, we can conclude that while the Scrum Master has the delivery as its customer and is a reactive agent in the process, Agile Coach works as an active agent, having as its customer the team itself.

This is a briefing of my on going studying about the Agile Coach and how we can act to transform and evolve the environment we are involved with. I'm planning to post practical ways of getting to the improvement of some requirements addressed.

Thanks <3

Top comments (4)

jhotterbeekx profile image
John Hotterbeekx

Don't you think this should be the next step in the evolution of the scrum master role? Once a team is running great I notice the scum master is usually less involved, since they don't need him that much, wouldn't that be a great time to shift his for into making the team grow in other areas, like the ones you described?

Looking at our organisation, each team has their own scrum master, which can be the same person for two teams since the teams are rather small. Next to that everybody has a coach / manager, who is not part of their team and which helps them with personal development and internal issues, and also performs the performance reviews with feedback from the team.

Your suggestion seams to slightly overlap with the last role and I'm a little split up in the personal development. There are definite advantages about having the coach / manager not being part of your team, like less office politics, more open atmosphere and it really seems to help the self management. But there are some disadvantages as well, which is mainly the distance in how the person actually works or how he behaves, everything comes in through feedback.

All in all, I'm not sure about the last point, but the first three, the growing of of the team, seem like natural evolution for a scrum master role. What is your view on this?

bieelsoares profile image
Gabriel Soares • Edited

Hey John. Thanks for the comment. I see your points. Related to this kind of role that we are talking about is essential to be included on each part of the team's routine, and possibly even be part of the development team (why not?).

About the Scrum Master role, I think that is natural to see the Agile Coach as an evolution of this role to be more connected to the well being of the team. My concern related to this is that to be an Agile Coach you need to have the talent to build interpersonal relationships, what is not an easy thing to learn.

I'm focused in to post other two texts this week related to this part of the role (Team domain and Personal domain), with the focus in leadership, agile teams and one-on-one meeting.

Let me know if I lost something in your questions and thanks again man :)

jhotterbeekx profile image
John Hotterbeekx

My concern related to this is that to be an Agile Coach you need to have the talent to build interpersonal relationships, what is not an easy thing to learn.

Good point, I see your concern. While I agree that it is not easy to learn, it still feels like a Scrum Master could benefit so much from this skill in helping the team. Maybe this should be the new Scrum Master the developer world needs.

I'm really looking forward to your next posts, thanks for sharing!

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