Often, after completing the Scrum Master certification, Scrum Masters have not much idea where to start. This article presents several activities that Scrum Masters can perform when they join an organisation. With these tips you can provide Scrum Masters a guidance to help you build a great company. and have the biggest organisational impact.
When a Scrum Master joins and becomes the part of the organisation´s system, the easiest to implement change is at the beginning in the first six months. Why? Because person is new in a team and everyone tends to hear his or her ideas. However, it takes about six months to provoke real change in an organisation. Therefore, a new scrum master joining the organisation should make the most effort right in the beginning.
Learning roadmap for Scrum Masters
The objective of this learning roadmap is to provide a baseline so no Scrum Master will feel lost. It´s not necessary to follow every single step of this roadmap, but adapt it according to circumstances.
The first thing a Scrum Master should do is to ramp up a “Personal Kanban Board” that will help to track of team activities.
Based on what I said earlier, I could identify key activities that Scrum Masters can do to cause huge impact on their teams.
There are key activities that Scrum Masters can do to cause an impact on their teams and organisation and these are:
- One-on-one meetings with each team member. Ask them what are their biggest concerns and take notes. You will certainly get many tasks for your Kanban board.
- Perform a workshop to clarify the roles and expectations of you and the team members.
- Coaching Agreement – an agreement of how you will coach the team
- Stakeholder mapping – this is a great way to help you know who works in the organisation.
- Make team policies visible in the room. It´s always great to have them visible so the team does not skip basic working etiquette.
- Run a one-day team building workshop; it’s a great way to establish the product vision, team principles and values.
- Establish a Kaizen board in the team room. This is mandatory for everyone who is serious about experimentation and learning.
- Establish an Agile Retrospectives Input Box. Sometimes it can get boring to come up with all the topics in the retrospective, so it is nice to collect the topics up front.
- Achievements wall – usually we never celebrate victories, but this is a great way for us to celebrate our accomplishments.
- Kudos wall – a simple way to show appreciation towards colleagues
- Ramp up an organisational impediment board – this is a great way to remove organisational impediments.
- Learning wall – this is where teams place their weekly learnings
- Ramp up your communities of practices
- Run workshops on flow and the principles of product development flow.
- Organise a release planning to visualise more than just one sprint in the future.
- Teach your product owner how to do release forecasting to help him/her communicate with stakeholders
- Run a workshop on user story mapping.
- Run a workshop on impact mapping. Your product owner will love it!
- Run a workshop on system thinking and causal loop diagrams.
- Ramp up the practice of pair programming and install a pair programming matrix board
There is still a myth that Scrum Master is not a full time job. After including all these activities on your personal Kanban board, you will realise that your Scrum Master needs to devote to this job full-time.
If you´re interested to learn what are other responsibilities and roles of a Scrum Master, take a look at the article “Scrum Master role – everything what executives and managers need to know”.
When working with teams, it is not very common to see people complaining about responsibilities of a Scrum Master, however, they do complain because their expectations are not aligned with those that the Scrum Master should have.
Imagine a situation where a team deals with a situation that gets out of the control. The environment gets quite dark and relationships among colleagues is not the best. The best thing you can do to solve this situation is to organise a 2-hour “get-together” session to clarify roles.
What to do in the session?
- Ask your team to read articles about Scrum master roles and responsibilities. Please check some examples at the end of this article.
- Ask the Product owner and teams to prepare a list of expectations for Scrum master responsibilities.
- Ask the Scrum master to make a list of what he thinks his role is.
During the session, ask your team to present their expectations on the flip chart. You should also present what the organisation expects from the Scrum Master.
Having all expectations present, ask the team to create a final version with the roles and responsibilities.
Giving the opportunity to people to share what they think and feel it´s actually very powerful. To ask them share this is an opportunity to speak up and listen, which is very crucial for creating a great environment in a team.
This way team spirit increases and improves and creates some positive effect.
If you´re interested to read more about Scrum master´s role, read the article Scrum Master role. Scrum Master job description is another blog post that highlights ideas how to write a great job description for Scrum master´s role.
Do you, as a manager or executive. want better quality, faster response time, higher productivity, greater sensitivity to customers, improved profitability? People, working together in teams, make this happen.
Many members of high-performing teams report that it’s fun and satisfying to work on collaborative teams because they are asked to contribute at their highest potential and they learn a lot along the way.
Being part of a great team where you love to come to work every morning, a team that charges you up with energy, a team that encourages you to accomplish goals you think are impossible, is a great feeling.
Being on the team where there is a constant conflict or disagreement, where you are afraid to speak up or share honest feeling is not an ideal situation.
A team is more than a group of people who work together. A high performing team is a group of people who share a common vision, goals, metrics and who collaborate, challenge and hold each other accountable to achieve outstanding results.
Team Coaching International mentions that the most successful teams have the means to take action and build effective relationships to motivate and sustain that action. They developed The Team Diagnostic™ model that defines seven separate productivity factors and seven positivity factors. This constellation of competencies provide a complete picture for creating high-performing teams.
Positivity Characteristics of High Performing Teams
Trust- You can speak openly and freely about your team. Team members can count on each other and are reliable.
Respect-The team members are empowered to contribute their best. There are a mutual respect and real concern. Characteristics such as contempt and hostility are not accepted.
Camaraderie– Empathy, good humour and playfulness are appreciated. There is a strong sense of belonging to the team. The team members celebrate and take accomplishments.
Communication– Clear and efficient communication is appreciated. What is not valued are less direct approaches such as gossiping, stonewalling or politicising.
Constructive Interaction- Conflict can arise as a mean of opportunity for discovery, creativity and growth. The team should avoid defensiveness, criticising and finger pointing. The team should give and receive feedback on timely manners.
Values Diversity– The team is open-minded and appreciates differences in ideas, perspectives, backgrounds, personalities and approaches. Diversity is crucial.
Optimism- The team shares an inspiring vision. The team members are enthusiastic and appreciative of each other. There is a strong spirit of fighting together for the goal.
Productivity Characteristics of High Performing Teams
Team Leadership– There is a strong sense of team leadership. Team members contribute when the need for their leadership happens. The team leader´s role is clear and supportive.
Resources- The team correctly manages available resources and training to meet its objectives. There is an atmosphere of “win-win” rather than “win-loose.”
Decision Making- The team has transparent and efficient decision-making processes, which is proved to be effective.
Proactive- The team takes the initiative. The team is flexible in addressing opportunities, responding positively and creatively. Change is a core aspect of the team, but it is crucial for the rest of the organisation too.
Accountability-There is clarity of roles and responsibilities. When problems occur, the team responds. Team members hold each other accountable for team results and team agreements.
Goals and Strategies- The team has clear, challenging targets and strategies to achieve them. The goals of the team are not defeated easily; they are strong.
Alignment- The team values cooperation, coherence and interdependence. The team has a common mission and purpose.
A team bond spreads the way for collaborative success by providing clarity that builds trust and accountability. With a team bond in place, you’ll be able to unlock the potential value of your people by empowering them to contribute. In the long run, teams with a clear purpose and good chemistry drive business results. Job satisfaction goes up, employees stay engaged in their work and everybody wins.
The main goal of having a Scrum Master at a company should be to create stable and self-organised teams with a clear and engaging direction, help to identify and resolve organisational impediments, as well as educate the organisation on Agile Methodologies.
In today’s world, agile methodologies are gaining popularity among IT enterprises. These methodologies, including Scrum, have contributed to faster market times, greater flexibility, higher quality products, and customer satisfaction.
Nowadays, many organisations that have a software house in place are hiring a Scrum Master. It´s an important role in a scrum team, so let´s take a look at important responsibilities of a Scrum Master.
Main Responsibilities of a Scrum Master
The scrum master is at the center of the scrum, helping the team and the product owner to coordinate all project activities and linking customers and different teams that are part of a project. Scrum masters are the Servant Leaders and champions for scrum within their team. They coach the team, the product owner, and the business on the scrum process and look for ways to fine-tune their practice of it. An effective scrum master deeply understands the work being done by the team and can help the team optimise their delivery flow.
These are the responsibilities of a Scrum Master:
Responsible for the Scrum Artefacts
- Facilitating Planning
- Facilitating Grooming
- Facilitating Reviews
- Facilitating Retrospectives
- Helping the team to stay focused (e.g. by acting as a buffer between external, distractions and the team)
- Helping the team to maintain their scrum tools (Story board, Action board, charts, backlogs, etc.)
- Helping the team and the product owner to find a suitable Definition of Done and Definition of Ready
Developing and nurturing group dynamics
- System Coaching
- Mediating through conflicts
- Helping the team to make decisions
- Fostering the developer team´s self-organization
- Mediating the general conflict of goals between development team and product owner
Serving as a mirror to the team
- Reflecting Agile and Scrum values to the team
- Reminding the team of their arrangements
- Helping the team to improve their process continuously
- Reflecting issues to the team through observation from outside of the team
- Asking open questions
- Checking all the modules the team uses (Spring backlog, metrics, etc.) and show them differences between the model and the real world
Provide support to Product Owner
- Helping to write or split user stories together with the team
- Contribute to write or adapt product visions
- Helping to order product backlog items
- Helping with the release planning
- Coaching the Product Owner on Impact Mapping or Story Mapping
Update himself to teach and mentor the team and organisation
- Continuous learning of everything related to Agile (visit user groups, attend conferences, read books, write blogs, etc.)
- Consulting team members and foundation on Agile
- Helping team members to create information radiators
- Giving feedback to the team
- Encouraging the use of Agile Engineering Practices within the development team
- Challenging team with Agile Management Innovations (e.g. FedEx-Days)
- Exchanging knowledge with other Scrum Masters in the organisation ( e.g. Community of practices)
- Doing Gemba Walks
Responsible for helping the team to maintain the big picture:
- Bringing people together and let them talk to each other
- Keeping in touch with every stakeholder regularly
- Helping the team to report to management
- Contribute to spread the Agile Community within the organisation further
- Organisational exchange events like Open Spaces or World Cafes fort the team, its stakeholders, and organisation
- Sharing insights throughout the company through blogging, internal conferences, etc.
- Being a contact person for everyone in the team and the company who has any questions regarding Agile
Scrum Master performs several important roles and is a vital member in an organisation. In summary, Scrum Masters help organisations to improve:
- customer satisfaction
- decrease time to market
- increase quality
- improve progress visibility
- increase collaboration and ownership
Who is a Servant Leader?
Based on this assumption, we would like to explain what a Servant Leader is and what the characteristics of a good servant leader are (in this case, a Scrum Master). Let´s start by using the Greenleaf´s definition:
The servant leader is a servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The best test is: do those served to grow as persons: do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived? (Greenleaf, 1977/2002, p. 27)
Larry Spears in his article: “Character and Servant Leadership: Ten Characteristics of Effective, Caring Leaders” explains that servant leadership seeks to involve others in decision making, is strongly based in ethical and caring behaviour and enhances the growth of workers while improving the caring and quality of organisational life.
In the same article, Larry Spears explains that a good servant leader has ten characteristics that are of critical importance:
- Listening The servant leader must be willing to listen and identify the will of a group. The leader must be able to listen and reflect on what is being said; this is an important aspect of being a servant leader.
- Empathy Empathy is quite an important characteristic for a servant leader to have. A servant leader must accept and recognise the special and unique spirits that exist for each different person. They cannot reject coworkers and colleagues as people, even in difficult conflict situations.
- Healing This can be considered one of the strengths of a servant leader: The power of healing one´s self and one´s relationship to others. Servant leaders have a unique power to fix relationships.
- Awareness Knowledge helps people to become stronger. Awareness helps the servant leader to understand issues involving ethics, power, and values.
- Persuasion A good servant leader tries to convince others, instead of forcing compliance. Usually, a successful servant leader is great at building consensus within teams.
- Conceptualisation Transforming a big vision into small workable pieces that everyone understands is a great characteristic servant leader generally have. They have the ability to pick up on daily problems and conceptualise solutions that are recognised by everyone.
- Foresight A great servant leader can foresee the likely outcome of even the most difficult situation. Using previous experience and present data, they can predict with high accuracy the future result of a case.
- Stewardship Servant leadership involves an inherent commitment to serve the needs of others. It also emphasises the use of openness and persuasion, rather than control.
- Commitment to the Growth of People Servant leaders believe in real intrinsic motivation. They believe that all individuals have a lot to contribute to the organisation. A great servant leader is committed to helping people to grow within the organisation.
- Building Community Building a community among those who work within a given group is the last characteristic of a great servant leader. They believe they can create authentic communities among the people that work within the same organisation(s).
Do you dream of quicker results, greater flexibility and better quality products? Today, many IT companies are using Agile methodologies to achieve just this, and to great effect.
Scrum teams are an integral part of Agile. Broadly speaking, they help develop complex products in the most efficient ways possible. Scrum methodology is typically used to build better software – for example, to run marketing departments or even to write a book, like I did.
If you’re new to the term Scrum and only ever thought of it in connection with the sport of rugby, let me enlighten you on the important responsibilities of Agile Scrum Masters…
What are Scrum Masters?
Scrum Masters help teams and product owners to coordinate all their project activities effectively. However, bear in mind that Scrum Masters are never bosses; they hold peer positions, set apart only by their knowledge and responsibilities.
In essence, they are important Servant Leaders, being central to team activities. Indeed, way more than simply team assistants, effective Scrum Masters deeply understand how teams work from the inside and are constantly finding ways to help improve delivery flow.
Another important thing to remember is that while a team’s deliverable is the product, a Scrum Master’s deliverable is a high-performing, self-organising team.
What are the responsibilities of Scrum Masters?
- Coaching the team, product owner and business, enabling them to apply Scrum process and related Agile practices themselves to their best advantage.
- Fine-tuning processes and team dynamics to achieve greater cohesion with all the stakeholders. This includes bridging the gap between customers and various team members.
- Being constantly available to the team to help them remove any impediments, address distractions or disruptions that may be keeping them from successfully completing their work.
- Establishing a supportive and secure environment where the team works at its best.
Want to know more about Scrum Masters? Check out this article on The Scrum Master’s Role.
Why hire an external Scrum Master?
If you are struggling to find a good internal Scrum Master, hiring a professional external Scrum Master could be the best solution, perhaps until you find an internal employee to satisfactorily fill the role.
Companies often benefit from bringing in valuable external expertise with new ideas which are not influenced by company culture or colleagues.
A well-recognised external Scrum Master brings a good deal of authority to your organisation. Team members can be highly motivated by new ideas and influences, giving them the impetus to drive changes they had previously never thought possible.
What are the benefits of hiring an external Scrum Master?
On-going access to someone who has used Agile methodologies and can share this knowledge is invaluable. A Scrum setting helps teams figure out clearly the best way ahead.
Self-management and cross-functionality of teams are key. Don’t forget that as an equal, the Scrum Master facilitates rather than manages team operations, enabling them to learn as they go. Rather than micromanaging and directing, the Scrum Master creates an environment that enables delivery teams to learn and perform at their very best.
In short, external Scrum Masters provide five main benefits:
- Better customer satisfaction – Scrum Masters improve team delivery commitments and capacity planning for sprints, largely by identifying hidden tasks that would otherwise hinder progress.
- Quicker time to market – The world changes rapidly and customers often need to make fast and frequent changes, making flexibility key. Scrum Masters help improve organisational processes by measuring cycle times and making the necessary adjustments to reduce time to market.
- Better quality– Scrum Masters ensure that product testing is not left to the end of a sprint. The premise is that quality is better if defects are resolved early on.
- Improved progress visibility – With an external Scrum Master on board, product development’s progress is clearly visible. This transparency means that businesses can make well-informed, fact-based decisions as development progresses.
- Increased collaboration and ownership – The Scrum Master is responsible for improving team collaboration and ownership of tasks, while providing a trusted, safe environment for teams to operate.
Why are more companies hiring an external Scrum Master?
Nowadays, external Scrum Masters are in high demand as companies finally embrace Agile, nearly 15 years after it first arrived on the development scene.
Becoming Agile is top of the agenda for many organisations. The business world seems consumed by the knowledge that software is “eating” the world, and that the speed of innovation is ever increasing. Agile really is a hot topic and companies are hiring more Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters than ever before, providing numerous job opportunities in the process. In fact, the market is fast becoming saturated.
According to an HP survey of 601 developers and IT professionals, two-thirds of respondents described their companies as either “pure Agile” or “leaning towards Agile,” while only nine percent were “pure” or “leaning towards” the more traditional waterfall development approach.
Many companies we talk to say they are already totally Agile and they don´t need any help. But in reality, they are far from Agile. Why? Their teams have no experience in fulfilling Scrum roles in a practical sense. They wrongly think that applying Agile’s Scrum techniques by the book is enough.
Meanwhile, others are aware of the need to call in an extra help to implement Agile and Scrum and they benefit greatly from the fresh, new ideas that Scrum Masters bring to their organisations.
The fact that there are no good Scrum Masters on the market to hire as employees is another reason for taking on an external Scrum Master Consultant. Yes, I know I just mentioned that the job market is becoming slowly saturated with Scrum Masters, but most of them are woefully inexperienced. This is because they have often spent their careers as developers or managers and recently shifted their career path to the Scrum Master role. As a result, many so-called Scrum Masters are still only learning about what to do and how to go about it.
What should you be aware of when hiring an external Scrum Master?
Make sure they have practical experience – Managers or developers often call themselves Scrum Masters or fulfil both roles at the same time, but they often don’t have the practical experience necessary to be a good Scrum Master. Make sure that the candidate has a few years’ relevant Scrum Master experience under his/her belt.
Do not hire people from the big consulting companies – Big consulting corporations may have prestige in the market but often they sub-contract junior freelancers or even graduates for Scrum Master roles. If you are looking for the best, do not hire from these corporations.
An IT background is important – Scrum Masters need to talk to developers about issues that may arise so technical experience makes it far easier for the entire team to stay aligned. Developers also tend to have more respect for a Scrum Master with a technical background.
The Scrum Master´s job is not just about “hugging and sharing peace” – Scrum Masters should be empathetic and good with people; however, some of them might exaggerate a bit. Sharing love, peace and hugs is all very well, but it doesn’t usually have any significant impact on the team or the organisation.
Scrum Master or junior Agile Coach? – Some consulting companies and agencies try “selling” Scrum Masters as junior Agile Coaches. Therefore, a junior Agile Coach can often be wrongfully passed off as a Scrum Master.
Scrum Master and Agile Coach are not the same role – An Agile Coach’s level of maturity is usually much higher than that of a Scrum Master. The Scrum Master works predominantly within a team to well-defined Scrum processes, while the Agile Coach works within the organisation, ie.at manager and leadership team level, with a greater focus on the change agenda.
Are you based in Germany?
We are based in Germany and we have developed “Scrum Team Coach“, a 6-month package designed to help organisations utilise Scrum in up to two teams. After implementation, Scrum teams are able to work smoothly, enjoying product increments after each sprint.
If you are looking for help in hiring an external Scrum Master/Agile coach take a look at our package. To find out more about this package, please click: Scrum Team Coach.
No doubt the title caught your attention but, let’s be clear, we are not actually trying to insult any Agile Coaches out there! If you would like to use Agile Coaching to improve your organisation, it’s vital to find the right person to spearhead such an important transformation.
Many people are now aware that working with Agile principles delivers products fast and efficiently. Agile methodologies – like Scrum, XP, Kanban, and others – follow the Agile Manifesto to achieve optimum results.
But Agile is not just an approach or methodology. It also entails a cultural change to your organisation; one which brings about overall transparency and visibility in all projects. With so much change in store, it’s therefore vital to be clear on all the facts before you go ahead and hire an Agile Coach.
What does an Agile Coach do?
Basically, an Agile Coach helps organisations rethink and change the ways they go about development, addressing such issues as workflow practices and team collaboration. Agile Coaches take on many different roles, applying their industry knowledge to help companies achieve optimum results.
According to the Coaching roles originally taught by Agile experts, Esther Derby and Don Gray, there are nine roles that sum up the responsibilities of Agile Coaches. They vary from being a reflective observer: “You do it, I will just watch and tell you what to do”, to being a partner: “We will do it together”.
Let’s take a look at all nine roles in a little more detail:
- Counselor – The Counsellor listens carefully to evaluate problems and helps create a safe working environment for Agile to work successfully. For example, introducing new Agile practices can create tension among employees and a Counsellor uses his or her active listening skills to create an environment in which everyone can freely discuss issues without fear.
- Facilitator – A good Agile Coach often acts as a facilitator, so instead of teaching or mentoring, he/she facilitates conflict resolution, as well as establish meetings to improve group dynamics, and so on.
- Reflective observer – As a reflective observer, your Coach observes interactions between everyone within the organisation, often opening up an external perspective they may not have noticed themselves before.
- Coach – Coaching differs from teaching or mentoring because of the focus shifts from knowing to unlocking. Coaches help unlock knowledge through powerful questions and support, the assumption being that everyone has the tools to be able to solve their own problems.
- Teacher – If an Agile Coach notices a lack of knowledge within a team, they take on a teacher role. Sometimes he/she helps reinforce previously learned practices or knowledge which saves teams from struggling through.
- Technical advisor – When a team has a certain technical difficulty, the Agile Coach accesses or gives technical advice to help deal with the issue.
- Hands-on-expert – Hands-on-expert role is most suitable when working within an organisation that is new to Agile because people are naturally unsure where to start.
- Modeler – People often struggle when they adopt new practices. After all, learned behavior can sometimes be very hard to change to suit new Agile practices. The Agile Coach helps by modeling new, aligned behaviors which later become habits.
- Partner – Most external Agile Coaches can’t be partners in the true sense as they are not employees of the organisation. Therefore, they are not held responsible for achieving goals despite being deeply involved with them.
The aim is to create a long-term change; one that improves productivity through building the right partnerships. The benefits of Agile Coaching affect individuals, teams or entire organisations – sometimes all three.
Agile Coaches help establish a long-term strategy across the entire organisation. Following a pilot project, they periodically check that teams remain on track with the new Agile techniques, fine-tuning behaviors as and when required.
What’s the difference between an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master?
Often confused, there are actually two main differences between the two: Firstly, Scrum Masters ensure teams follow the Scrum process while Agile Coaches focus more on the organisation as a whole, with an emphasis on the change agenda. Through their extensive knowledge and expertise, Agile Coaches implement an overall vision.
Secondly, Agile Coaches are generally transitory, spreading their knowledge and energy throughout the company, while Scrum Masters are tactical Coaches, working at the team level. The team´s need for a Scrum Master is not transitory as he/she must continuously maintain and develop strategies.
What to look out for when hiring an Agile Coach
Agile has become so popular that all kinds of consulting companies are jumping on the bandwagon with Agile Coaching services. But unfortunately, they don’t always have the right skills for the job.
Before hiring an Agile Coach, it’s a good idea to bear in mind the following:
Everyone calls themselves an Agile Coach nowadays – Make sure the one you choose is well-recognized and recommended within Agile communities. Get him/her to speak in depth to an executive within your organisation as this helps gauge whether they are likely to be competent enough to bring real value to your business.
Avoid hourly rates – We believe that it is the outcome you should pay for, not the hours it takes to achieve it. Great Coaches measure results which, after all, prove whether investing into your Agile Coach has been worth it.
“By the book” practices – Unfortunately, many consultants apply theories without ever having had any practical experience. A great Agile Coach should have several years of practical experience to draw on in order to advise their clients with full authority.
Ability to work with executive leaders – Good Coaches are able to bridge the gap between teams and executives. This requires an understanding of the language used at executive level. Unfortunately, many Coaches are ex-software developers with very little knowledge of businesses, which can hinder achieving the desired results.
Using recruiters to hire Agile Coaches – Agile Coaching is a relatively new role and not many recruiters have enough experience in this sphere yet. Remember that a certificate is not always the only criteria to be eligible for the job. Experienced Agile Coaches do not generally work with recruiters; therefore, if you’re looking to hire an Agile Coach, it’s a good idea to seek out local groups, online communities or Meetups which might offer you good recommendations along the way.
Your purpose – Make sure you have a clear idea of the problems you want to solve. You need to be transparent about them to your potential Coach, and a great Coach, of course, asks you about your purpose and vision right at the start.
Keeping an open mind – A good Coach challenges your assumptions, organisational processes and structure. He or she even risks getting “fired” as a result of challenging your status quo. Although it often hurts when someone challenges you with radical, new ideas and suggestions, it’s important to be open to change without falling into the trap of being defensive or unwilling to listen.
Working with you and with your leadership team – All change requires leadership so it makes sense that an Agile Coach must work with your organisation’s leaders. If the Agile Coach works solely at team level, a lack of contact with executives makes Coaching inefficient and unsustainable.
Do not try it yourself – Some companies simply listen to what needs to be done and say: “Great, we can do that ourselves”. Be aware of the time and money you could spend doing it yourself instead of hiring a fully experienced Coach to do so.
How to spot great Agile Coaches
Questions – A good Coach asks several questions and carefully examines the situation before working with you. He or she obviously needs to fully understand the problems you are trying to solve.
Ability to measure results – Improvements are measured by results and good Coaches are able to measure them as they work with your teams. Important measures include quality, time to market, customer satisfaction, velocity, business impact and more…
Engagement – An Agile Coach needs to be present at your company for 2-3 days a week, and on a full-time basis in the case of very large organisations. The goal is to gradually make teams fully Agile, rendering the Coach obsolete over time.
The brutal truth – Sometimes Coaches need to tell you the brutal truth if they are to drive change. In the case of an over-controlling manager who is blocking change and improvements, it might be necessary to take a drastic decisions against his/her will, such as a transfer to a different department, redundancy or even firing.
Visibility – Expect a Coach to dig deep into the processes and structure of your organisation to find out its strengths and weaknesses. A good Coach increases transparency, even if some employees do not like it.
Why use evolution4all?
One of our greatest assets is our capacity to work at all levels. We do not offer daily coaching. Instead, we tackle concrete, long-term challenges. Unlike many companies that apply Agile practices “by the book”, we pride ourselves on carefully considering the context in which organisations work – an interesting concept in countries like Germany that have a largely process-driven culture.
At evolution4all we have developed the 9-month “Organisational Mastery” product. This is suitable for companies that require alignment between executive leadership and delivery teams. The aim is to create a coalition that drives change and internal innovation alongside shared knowledge throughout the organisation.
You can read more about Organisational Mastery here.
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Meanwhile, we would be happy to answer any queries you might have about our services. Please do not hesitate to get in touch at: [email protected]