What is an Agile Coach? Today, there is no unified view of this question across the entire market, so we will try to explain several possible views on the role of Agile Coach. Which interpretation of this role a particular company decided to use can sometimes be deduced, sometimes you have to ask. Here are 2 frequently used approaches to the role of Agile Coach.
Agile Coach as Senior Scrum Master
One of the divisions according to which agilists were divided into Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches is the level of seniority and also the overlap into other agile methodologies and frameworks. The Scrum Framework as described in the Scrum Guide includes the Scrum Master role, but not the Agile Coach role.
If you have decided to find someone who, in addition to Scrum, can also Kanban, Lean Startup, can compare and help you choose different scaling frameworks, will be able to talk to management, etc., you will invite Agile Coach according to this criterion.
Responsibilities of the role of Agile Coach – as a Senior Scrum Master include:
- Training and development of Scrum Masters, Product Owners, agile teams, or management in the company
- Shadows, mentors, coaches, provides feedback
- Helps remove complex barriers related to agility adoption
- He is a partner for management in the company
- Proposes the design of agile teams and their mode of collaboration
- Helps with the implementation of agility across the entire company, for example in HR, Finance and others
- He may or may not have some agile teams entrusted to him, sometimes he focuses only on agility at the level of the whole company, sometimes he is in charge of 1-2 agile teams and the rest of the time is devoted to the development of agility in the company
- Vision of where we want to move agility in the company. Either he creates it himself together with a team of Scrum Masters and other agilists, or he helps with its creation, for example, the Agile Transformation Leader.
Agile Coach – as a role according to the Spotify approach
In companies that have decided to set up agility according to Spotify, you will usually find the role of Agile Coach instead of Scrum Masters. In this case, the seniority of agile coaches is diverse. You will find complete beginners among them, but also seasoned coaches. Responsibility in this case practically corresponds to the role of the Scrum Master.
However, the difference occurs if you decide to have one agile coach for a larger number of agile teams. In this case, it is no longer possible to use the work mode that the Scrum Master has. Here, the agile coach becomes partly a consultant/mentor of agility in teams. And his aim is to make the teams move as much as possible in agility on their own.
However, the mentioned advantage that teams can learn agility better on their own with the help of an agile coach can sometimes be a disadvantage. If an agile coach has many teams, then he has little time left to spend time with people.