The Sucessful Roles of an Agile Coach Working with High-Standard Scrum Methodology

Do you need your team or company to be more productive? Many of them are looking for new tools to seek faster productivity. But there is a specific profession that is helping a handful of members to deliver more tasks and get involved with the team: the Agile Coach.

And to be part of these teams, an agile coach needs to get their trust and make them believe their work is crucial. What “tricks” can an agile coach create? Is Scrum necessary in the whole team’s work progress?

In this post, you will figure out what means to be an Agile Coach and the roles to increase productivity in their teams with Scrum methods.

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What does an Agile Coach do?

Agile Coach is the specialist who implements the agile methodology in companies. Its role is to ensure successful results and deliverables, in addition to helping the corporation navigate the various existing methods.

More important than the execution of processes, it is necessary to understand the correct methodology to be used. Different challenges require different solutions, and a good Agile Coach will know how to determine and apply these functions.

The function has been receiving a “boom” of popularity in recent years, taking over several markets. In the software sector, it has been practically mandatory.

However, those who already practice agile methodologies know that this change does not happen overnight and that not all leaders have the power to carry it out to deliver the expected results.

From this arises the concept of an Agile coach in the organizational map, as the agent capable of enabling and maintaining such a transformation in terms of productivity both within teams and within organizational environments.

But what is the role of this professional? Many think their role is to train IT teams in some agile methodology. It’s too. But this is only part of their activities, and certainly not the first and most fundamental of them.

Therefore, the role of an agile coach for a team is not just certification in an agile tool, but the production of a broad knowledge of its needs, how to explore possibilities in the available agile tools, and how to apply them, case by case, to your reality.

In practice, this process can lead to both work on content – with knowledge sharing in training and skills building in mentoring – and a process-based approach – guiding teams in redesigning and implementing improvements and monitoring results.

Agile Coach focuses

1. On the content
To use, according to their needs and challenges, the tools provided by agile methodologies, the team needs to deepen their knowledge in related techniques.

So, we are talking about a universe composed of several different frameworks: kanban, lean thinking, scrum, canvas, design thinking, etc.

Therefore, in content coaching, the agile coach will work on knowledge that is lacking to fine-tune the team. This type of coaching is particularly useful in organizations that are unfamiliar with agile methodologies.

On this front, the role of the coach is to provide an overview of the frameworks, compare them to traditional models, show what change means for the organization and how employees can contribute to it, spread principles and fundamentals among the team members, and create the ground for a run.

At the individual level, content-focused coaching also offers mentoring aimed at developing behavioral and technical skills, such as becoming an agile coach or a scrum master.

2. On processes
A transformation into agility, at any scale, requires different roles to be orchestrated so that they work in harmony.

The process-focused coach starts from the premise that the organization already has the knowledge and skill in agile tools, but still lacks the expertise to apply them within its own context.

The objective may be to look for a new way of working, dissolve silos, reduce waste or solve any organizational problem.

At this level, the role of the agile coach is to help redesign processes, acting on elements such as design, management, and leadership.

So, in this case, the agile coach works with the team helping you to make a custom application of the agile tools and to ensure that they work according to your needs.

This means more than introducing, from the top down, rituals and ceremonies, such as a daily or retrospective, but, from the bottom up, selecting and executing the tools to ensure that they generate value for the team.

How to use Scrum in an Agile team 

Check out the advantages of applying the methodology to manage projects and organize teams in any area:

1. Prioritize with a vision of the company’s goals
By defining a person to act in the role of Product owner and leaving the construction of the Product backlog under their responsibility, Scrum enables all tasks to be prioritized according to the company’s objectives.

Once the methodology is implemented, it eventually becomes clear which tasks are being performed by the team but are not that important – or which tasks are not aligned with the company’s objective and the team’s role within that objective.

By eliminating or delegating these tasks to other teams, the team starts to focus on what really matters.

This is the first step to ensure the team is continually delivering value to the company and the end customer.

2. Set deadlines and align deliveries
Establishing an organization in Sprints (work cycles) helps the manager and the team to have greater visibility of the deadlines needed to accomplish each delivery. It also helps to define clear roles and deliverables for each person on the team.

Furthermore, establishing a routine of sprint planning meetings keeps things moving at a steady pace, and ensures that there is always an action plan for each planned task.

3. Monitor the process closely
The Agile Coach and the Daily Meeting help keep a close and constant monitoring of the team’s activities.

This follow-up serves to remove obstacles from the path and devise solutions to adjust processes that don’t work – without having to wait for a monthly team meeting to become aware of these problems.

4. Build more engaged teams
All the points we mentioned above – visibility of the company’s objectives, the definition of clear deliveries and expectations, close and constant monitoring – all of this contributes to the team in an even deeper way.

Scrum can help you develop an increasingly integrated, engaged, and motivated team. High-performance professionals, who work with more purpose and deliver valuable value in less time – for both the company and the end customer.

Difference between agile coach and Scrum Master

While their roles are similar as facilitators, Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters are different professionals, as we already talked about here.

The main difference between them has to do with the choice of methodology and focus. In the case of the scrum master, the target methodology will be the scrum or a mixture of the scrum with kanban, at the most, and a focus strongly centered on the team (although not exclusively).

The Agile Coach, on the other hand, is a professional with a broader view, not attached so much or exclusively to a single team. He’s experienced multiple agile deployments, across different teams, and has gone through the full range of difficulties – and also victories – with it.

Therefore, the agile coach is very versatile, knows other agile methodologies, and makes use of different approaches, in addition to those recommended by the scrum.

Learning the Environment and Adapting Practices

The performance of an Agile Coach begins when he begins to understand and the environment where he is inserted. Knowing the problems and challenges is essential, understanding the restrictions and resistances, will be a great asset in your favor.

The moment you identify the problems, it will be automatic to start thinking about what practices can be applied. And mainly, how they can be adapted to the context, to get the best result from them.

Understanding the practices and how to adapt them to the environment is an art.

The focus of an Agile Coach should be to disseminate the goals to be achieved and not how to achieve them.

It will be normal in certain contexts, the Agile Coach will initially determine how to do some activities and practices. This is part of building culture.

Autonomy will exist from the moment people understand the real value of each practice. And so, they themselves will create the means to reach the goal.

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