Path to Agile Coach

Last post 12:50 pm August 8, 2022
by René Gysenbergs
6 replies
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11:12 pm July 19, 2022

Hello,

 

I am one that believes that Agile Coach should have never existed since it falls under what I believe the scrum master role is. However, saying that at least here in the USA agile coach positions are much higher on the food chain. My question is what is the best path into being an agile coach. Are there certifications that will allow you to stand out on a resume / CV ?  I have PSM1 and PSPO1 certifications and have career experience in both however I have not had much luck in attempts of getting a job as an agile coach.  I also have 20 plus years experience as a software engineer thus have been involved in all areas of agile software development.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.  I prefer not to spend a lot of $$ in this journey.

 

Thanks

Tom

 

01:18 am July 20, 2022

I am one that believes that Agile Coach should have never existed since it falls under what I believe the scrum master role is. However, saying that at least here in the USA agile coach positions are much higher on the food chain. My question is what is the best path into being an agile coach. 

Companies love their hierarchies even when they are contradictory and make no real sense. Those who advance within those hierarchies are perhaps rather less likely to challenge organizational gravity as a good Scrum Master would.

I'd suggest that the belief you have stated -- which challenges organizations -- may be a case in point. Are you prepared to maintain it?

11:15 am July 20, 2022

I recently posted that I believe Agile coach is an easier job than Scrum Master. 

As you say though, the reality of the market is another thing entirely. 

The main thing I think you need to have 'credibility' as an Agile coach is the ability to do all the things an SM does, but without the Scrum specific events. 

Knoweldge of other frameworks and tools is helpful, but as long as you can talk about empiricism without evoking the Scrum specific events, you'll probably be able to do just fine. 

When people look for AC's, they normally just don't know about the 'serves the organization' part of the SM role, so just talking about that is  enough to convince them you can be an AC.

03:07 pm July 20, 2022

I've seen a lot of Agile Coach jobs in companies where they aren't following the Scrum framework but use some of the practices.  The Agile Coach title is used because they want people that have knowledge of more than one framework/methodology to help them "grow their own".  

Agile Coach is also something that individuals/companies who contract their services use because it makes them sound more broadly knowledgeable. 

12:50 pm July 25, 2022

I am new in this field and would be happy to have more insight on how to become and Agile coach.

 

Any input/ suggestion / advice is highly appreciated.

06:49 am August 4, 2022

have you taken any SCRUM course? 

12:50 pm August 8, 2022

If you want to become an Agile Coach, there are two ways, namely a fast track and a correct track.

The fast track is you just add "Agile Coach" on your CV, LinkedIn and business card.

It's fast...but if we ever would meet and I find out that you are this type of Agile Coach, I will destroy your soul, dreams, hopes and even fears.
When I'm done your only ambition will be working at the registry of a third rate coffee shop in a second rate city.

The correct way , which will also earn you my respect and if asked my help is the long and slow grind to become a good "Agile Coach":

1) Before even starting to work as a Scrum Master:

 - Learn and understand the Agile Manifesto and what the difference is between Agile and Scrum/Kanban (the frameworks)

 - learn and understand the Scrum framework (roles, events, artifacts). Why were they created, what do they do, which type of communication do they support. Understand Scrum in such a way that you can train another SM, PO or Dev on their responsibilities.

- Learn and understand the Kanban framework with the same detail as you invested in the Scrum framework

- Understand LEAN (history, usage, its connection to "Agile")

- Learn and understand the eXtreme Programming (XP) framework (its core principles and practices and WHY it should be used with Scrum or Kanban)

 - Explain why "ScrumBan" does not exist!

 - Understand when, why and how to scale or to descale!

2) Now with the above knowledge start working as a Scrum Master or as a Kanban Service Delivery Manager to gain experience on Operational Level (Team Level)

3) Read, learn and understand about supporting Agile frameworks like DSDM.

- Agile Project Management exists in Agile companies, just not directly in the Scrum Team where the focus lies on Agile Product Management.
Budget (constraints) and Time (constraints) haven't gone away, but should not be the focus of the Scrum Team. Merely a two-directionly-way communication line between should exists between the APM and the Scrum Team.

4) Read, learn and understand supporting practices for working under any Agile framework

 - You should have covered here already the eXtreme Programming framework, which has a focus on Programmers

 - How Business Analysts can adapt (hint: JIT principle...)

 - How Software Testers can adapt (hint: more QA mentoring to BA's and Devs, UAT coaching, non-TDD Test automation...)

- How to adapt Release Managemnt (hint: ITIL 4, DevOps...

- ....

I haven't talked here about helping the Solution Architects or Application Architects adapt because this really depends on the individual and their specific technological environment.

 

5) In time learn to creating policies and guidelines to support Agile best practices on Tactical Level (Domain Level)

6) In time learn to creating strategies and policies to support Agile on Stategic Level (Company Level)

Like you can read the long, but correct way will take a lot of time, knowledge and experience. It took me about 14 years before I even was comfortable to add "Agile Coach" to my name and still even now the imposter syndrom rears his ugly head from time to time, because I'm on a life-long learning path.