Are you a team coach looking to grow your business and add new skills to your toolbox? Consider making your practice more nimble by exploring Agile methodology.
Agile is a project management framework based on using small, efficient, self-managed teams to deliver project results in a flexible and efficient manner. It originally arose as a way to streamline software development, although non-technical organizations are starting to adopt the framework. Agile organically developed two “team coaching” roles: scrum master (the team coach) and Agile coach (implementer and coach for scrum masters). Since Agile demands more self-direction and leadership from team members, organizations need strong, experienced team coaches to step into these roles.
Few professional team coaches have heard of Agile and the Agile world is, for the most part, ignorant of the coaching profession. A couple of innovative Agile trainers educate technical Agile coaches and scrum masters on how to coach teams. At the same time, many experienced team coaches search for a way to build a sustainable coaching business. It’s time for the two worlds to come together.
Most organizations use project teams to complete work efficiently. Teams determine the work to be done, estimate how long it will take and manage their own schedules. In the mid-1990s, Agile was developed in response to traditional project-management methods, which tend to be cumbersome and process-heavy. Agile, which depends on self-managed, collaborative teams to continuously implement customer-driven solutions, offers a flexible, common-sense alternative.
Agile project teams are empowered to deliver value early and often. In Scrum, the most popular form of Agile, the team creates a prioritized backlog of work necessary for the project, and completes usable portions of that work in two-to-four week iterations. Each iteration includes a set of “ceremonies” enabling the team to engage the customer in the process and continually improve. Agile teams can easily change direction as market needs fluctuate.
Byproducts of Agile methodology include improved employee motivation and satisfaction. Employees on well-run Agile teams learn valuable skills that they bring to teams they join in the future.
Although Agile methodology sounds simple, it is surprisingly difficult to implement without the aid of a knowledgeable team coach. Agile is a dramatic departure from familiar team approaches and has a steep change curve. Yet the team is expected to handle this change, learn Agile and increase productivity simultaneously. The coach supports the team in adapting to the change and moving toward self-management as its members learn the methodology.
Building a Thriving Team Coaching Business
For experienced team coaches who want to explore Agile methodology, there are some training programs that teach the basics of Agile from a professional coach’s point of view. Once a coach understands Agile basics, she can put her learning into action by taking on the role of scrum master. This real-world experience can lay the foundation for a team coaching process based on the Agile framework.
Although Agile originally was designed to simplify software development projects, organizations are finding that they need more than technically trained scrum masters. They need practitioners who understand how to empower a team to collaboratively move to high-performance while adapting to Agile methodology. This represents a significant opportunity for experienced team coaches interested in Agile training. Although organizations in the technology sector still comprise the majority of Agile users, the methodology is taking hold outside the tech world. For professional coaches with Agile training, any organization that uses project teams to get work done is a potential customer.
Services a professional coach with Agile training can deliver to organizations include:
- Developing Agile implementation plans
- Training and coaching scrum masters
- Coaching Agile teams
- Developing and managing organizational coaching programs in service of building an Agile-friendly coaching culture
- Using Agile techniques and team coaching to coach leadership teams
Agile adds a proven methodology to the team coach’s toolbox that will lend a competitive advantage in the marketplace.