8 Key Benefits of Using an Agile Coach

Has your organization already “gone Agile”, but you’re not seeing the results you expected?

Have your teams lost some, or all, of the initial drive they had when you first learned Agile methods?

Are you considering going Agile, but are just overwhelmed by the breadth of changes involved?

When an organization – or even just one team – transforms from their current framework to Agile practices, the sheer volume and complexity of the transition can be overwhelming. If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll find that bringing on a professional Agile coach can improve teamwork and increase productivity, enabling you to fully benefit from the agile framework.

Here are eight key benefits of using an Agile coach that you may never have considered:

For those who are not yet agile, coaching provides:

1. Immediate Application: A high-quality Agile training program can provide a fantastic jumpstart to an organization looking to implement agile methods in their current workflow. However, once the trainer leaves after a few days, it’s up to the team to take the ball and run with it… which unfortunately doesn’t always happen. With an embedded Agile coach remaining on-site after training, teams are held accountable to immediately put what they’ve learned into practice, establishing good habits from the start and getting the transition moving in the right direction.

2. Transition Backlog: An Agile Transformation must be conducted like an Agile project, which generates the need for a coach to create a transition backlog. The transition backlog is a list of work items created by a coach to transform an organization to an Agile process. It can also be used to make major improvements in the Agile process. Key elements typically include resourcing (hiring or designating key roles, such as ScrumMaster and Product Owner), defining Teams, conducting Training, and acquiring and configuring tools.

3. Interested Third Party: Sometimes, the most powerful benefits of Agile coaching come from the fact that the coach is an outside party without preconceived notions or bias about your organization. His or her observations, filtered through the lens of experience and knowledge, can bring to light improvements and areas for growth that an internal associate trained to carry the agile torch could easily overlook.

4. A Guiding Hand: As opposed to short-term training and the quasi-comfort of online video, a professional agile coach offers an experienced warm body that can literally hold you by the hand if necessary to ensure the transition to agile goes smoothly. Coaches also help put training into context to lead you down the path toward self-sufficiency.

5. Voice of Experience: Professional agile coaches have usually worked with many different companies in various industries, with teams on all levels of development, and a host of varying company cultures. The bottom line is, they’ve likely “been there and done that” so that when your unique company circumstances present challenges or roadblocks to the agile transformation, they can confidently step in to lead the way over, around, or through the obstacles.

For those who need a boost in their agile transformation, coaching provides:

6. A Chance to Regroup: Sometimes, a company that has been (sort of) adhering to Agile practices for some time may find the real value of agile is eluding them. A professional agile coach can assess where things got off track, and guide them back to where they need to be. Far from a cookie-cutter approach to training or coaching, this requires a customized touch.

7. A Mentor for the Scrum Master: Your Scrum Master has a tremendous responsibility. In some cases, just one or two slight adjustments to how the Scrum Master organizes and deploys the framework can have a huge impact on the individual, the team, and the product itself.

8. A Partner Working on Your Projects: While training, by necessity, was at least partially theoretical, now that you’re off and running with agile projects, theory has to take a back seat to the actual stories filling your board. An Agile coach can come in and join your team working right along with you in the same environment, on the actual project(s) you are struggling with, to help bring out the best agile has to offer for your unique circumstances.

There are many more benefits that can come from making use of a professional agile coach. If you’d like to see those benefits in your organization, take a moment to review our Agile Coaching and Mentoring Services and fill out the form on the right to request more information with no obligation.