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How to Hire an Agile Coach
@JASONLITTLE | LEANINTUIT.COM
OK, WHAT THE HELL?
Job Description:
• This role is to provide direct coaching and support to programs, projects & teams that are standing up, actively planning, and executing using an Agile operating model that is being developed and adopted by <GROUP>.
• The Senior Agile Delivery Coach will provide leadership in the definition of the agile blueprint and plan for delivery entities in the area of agile organization design; enablement of best practices that includes successful on-boarding,
training, implementation and deployment of accelerated delivery principles for projects within <GROUP>. The Senior Agile Delivery Coach will provide direct support to the larger (Tier 1 & 2) programs while supporting indirect and SME
support through the team of Delivery Coaches to the balance of the <GROUP> portfolios.
Must Have Skills:
• Minimum 5+ Years’ experience in an Agile delivery/transformation/training/coaching role
• Minimum 5+ Years’ experience in large organizational transformations
• Proven experience in coaching agile software development and/or delivery teams with regard to helping organizations adapt to an agile methodology and mind set.
• Someone with a passion for agile, pragmatism about what agile looks like during a transformation; and a genuine commitment to helping people and organizations get better at what they do.
• Hands-on experience and previous accountability for delivery outcomes using Agile practices.
• Significant experience working with Agile methodologies, (Scrum is key)
• Prior experience in Software development and exposure to modern technologies (Strong software development background)
Must Have Soft Skills:
• Be an effective communicator at all levels, in both structured and non-hierarchical, informal structures
• Strong negotiations skills and ability to create ‘win-win’ outcomes.
• Outstanding customer service attributes both internally and externally
• Problem Solving / Analytical Thinking Skills
• Strong political savvy and sensitivity to cultural diversity
• Willingness to confront and be confronted
• Ability to work successfully with other strong egos
• Expertise in Training, Mentoring and Coaching
Nice To Have:
• Certified or Equivalent Experience in at least one Agile Delivery Methodology (CSM / CSP / CSC /PMI-ACP / SAFe )
• PMP or Prince2 Practitioner designations an asset
• Experience in DevOps is an asset
• Client’s Experience
Practice Management:
• Decisive coaching and mentoring of teams around client's <method> Delivery methodologies
• Facilitate definition & sharing of accelerated delivery best practices through informal communication channels and/or formal training sessions
• Support the on-going modification and implementation of a new Target Operating Model for agile delivery
Portfolio Governance:
• Work with the executive team and key project stakeholders to facilitate portfolio planning sessions for fiscal and on-going portfolio planning
• Support the changes required to project delivery and governance roles to affect a more delegated authority at the project team level
• Provide input in the development and maintain ongoing the portfolio reporting that accurately reflects the project health and financial status of agile projects
• Evolve the center of excellence governance process by providing insights from the active programs / projects
Program/Execution:
• Consult on agile model specifics that apply to the unique attributes of large programs, including organizational design around a product enabled delivery approach.
• Show the way - enable and maintain processes and communication to support geographically distributed delivery for agile
• Work with team members and team lead to facilitate risk-based prioritization sessions for iteration planning
• Support team through work list preparation (reduction to smallest part), and estimation techniques (Planning Poker)
• Execute Workshops and Leadership Seminars
Deliverables:
• Creation of the agile blueprint for large programs and dedicated LOB through intake engagement and discovery approaches in partnership with business and TS leaders.
• Strong direction and guidance towards the achievement of the target Agile operating state for programs and LOB.
• Agile enabled delivery teams
• In-team active coaching
• Mentoring on agility including junior coaches within Agile CoE
• Engagement / Initiation support
• Value and Benefits Realization through agile enablement
• Health Checks and Risk Monitoring
• Governance Design
kick ass developer
agile mindset
coach teams on our
prescriptive method
Willingness to confront and
be confronted?
work with executives
evolve governance process
mentor/train coaches
team-level process
coaching
evolve agile transformation
roadmap
any certification please!
MIGHT I SUGGEST?
WHERE PEOPLE THINK COACHES WORK
C-Level
Various
Resources
SVP Delivery
VP LOB 1 VP LOB 2 VP Tech
Program Mgr Director
QA Mgr Dev Mgr Mgr
Director
Business
IT
C-Level
SVP of
something
VP LOB 1
Director
Mgr
WHERE COACHES ACTUALLY WORK
C-Level
Various
Resources
SVP Delivery
VP LOB 1 VP LOB 2 VP Tech
Program Mgr Director
QA Mgr Dev Mgr Mgr
Director
Business
IT
C-Level
SVP of
something
VP LOB 1
Director
Mgr
WHY?
C-Level
Various
Resources
SVP Delivery
VP LOB 1 VP LOB 2 VP Tech
Program Mgr Director
QA Mgr Dev Mgr Mgr
Director
Business
IT
C-Level
SVP of
something
VP LOB 1
Director
Mgr
Objective: Make pilot
team in LOB 1 more
agile.
DIFFERENT SKILLS NEEDED
C-Level
Various
Resources
SVP Delivery
VP LOB 1 VP LOB 2 VP Tech
Program Mgr Director
QA Mgr Dev Mgr Mgr
Director
Business
IT
C-Level
SVP of
something
VP LOB 1
Director
Mgr
TEAM LEVEL COACHES
MULTI-TEAM, MANAGEMENT, PROGRAM LEVEL
COACHES
EXECUTIVE LEVEL COACHES
THE FIRST COACH?
http://www.jamesshore.com/Agile-Book/the_xp_team.html
COACHING ECOSYSTEM
ACI
ICF
IAC Results
GROW
Popular “Coaching”
Frameworks
- principles
- masteries
- frameworks
- MUCH more rigor
- multi-year credentials
- (see notes for links!)
CTI
ACI FRAMEWORK
THE METHODOLOGY BIGOT
Strengths: knows their method inside
and out, knows how to apply it and
probably has lots of stories and
anecdotal evidence.
Weaknesses: dismisses ideas from
other methods, can become defensive
when their method is attacked or
misused.
Natural Habitat: Can be observed at their native <method> conferences
and trolling people on their <method> specific Linked In forms
Spotting One: number of times they say their method of choice in the
interview. Answers most questions with how their method works.
Challenging them: Tell a story where their method didn’t work and what
happened or how they’d work in an environment that uses multiple
methods.
That’s not how <method> works, you’re doing it wrong!!!!
THE GRANOLA EATER
Strengths: cares deeply for people,
brings more than ‘agile’ tools, extremely
thoughtful, deliberate, warm and caring.
Weaknesses: may not have a thick
enough skin for enterprise coaching, or
hostile environments.
Natural Habitat: The local hemp or organic food store.
Spotting One: Can become preachy at times, is EXTREMELY offended by
this slide. (sorry!) 8-D
Challenging them: The organization has decided to layoff 100 people, 12
of which are on teams you coach, what would you do?
“you need to build a learning org so we can all learn and share!”
THE PRAGMATIST
Strengths: well read, brings well-
rounded tools/ideas from multiple
disciplines, well connected to many
different communities.
Weaknesses: may confuse you with too
many options, may seem egotistical
due to their knowledge, will complain I
missed something in this preso
Natural Habitat: Multi-discipline conferences, re-posting IFL Science
posts on Facebook.
Spotting One: number of times they suggest ‘non-agile’ tools/ideas,
answers most questions with ‘it depends’, and/or answers questions
with stories.
Challenging them: Ask how they operate in a highly regulated
environment with established standards.
“here’s something I saw at another org, it might just work for you”
THE ZEALOT
Strengths: cares for people, firmly
believes in the Agile Manifesto,
courageous, inspiring at times, courage
of convictions
Weaknesses: may lash out when
values/principles aren’t enacted, unable
to budge from ‘their view’ of what Agile
is.
Natural Habitat: Trolling Linked In forums telling everyone their wrong.
Also tweeting out how wrong I am during this preso. (make sure to take
me!) 8-D
Spotting One: Gets preachy when challenged about ideas that contradict
the agile manifesto, may have a messiah complex, might walk out of this
preso after reading this. (sorry!) 8-D
Challenging them: Ask them what they’d do in a harsh environment, or
toxic culture that needs time to transition and “just can’t” follow the
values/principles yet.
“agile is mindset. You can’t DO Agile, you have to BE Agile”
THE TEAM PLAYER
Strengths: curious, extremely relatable,
strong at establishing great
relationships with teams quickly,
helpful and genuine.
Weaknesses: may ‘go native’ and try to
protect the team, might not be able to
(or interested in) address organizational
barriers due to strong team focus.
Natural Habitat: In their basement writing code or contributing to open
source projects in their spare time.
Spotting One: Goes right into the details of the project or technology
during the interview, wants to meet the team before deciding to join.
Challenging them: How would they operate in an environment where
senior leadership wants standard tools/practices across teams.
“cool! show me what you’re building…what technology are you using…”
THE DISRUPTOR
Strengths: stupidly courageous,
understands interconnectedness of
organizations, fair, takes the bullet for
the team/org, swears sometimes.
Weaknesses: can be disruptive for the
sake of disruption, appears egotistical,
writes offensive coach profiles, tells
brutal truth, swears sometimes.
Natural Habitat: Unemployment office.
Spotting One: challenges everything, asks “why not” instead of
following the status quo, attacks problems head-on, probably has long
hair and wears shirts with funny slogans.
Challenging them: go for it and see what happens.
“let’s try this…better to ask for forgiveness…”
THE INTELECTUAL
Strengths: wicked smart. skilled at
simplifying complex problems, helps
people attach meaning to their
observations through their knowledge
Weaknesses: uses words like
“obsequiousness”, may be long on
theory - short on experience, might
make you feel dumb.
Natural Habitat: Quora.
Spotting One: wears jeans and a sport coat, may or may not be named
Chris, has a nice haircut.
Challenging them: tell a story about how you applied <that theory>
“Coloniality may be thought as an initially imposed epistemology…”
THE COACH’S COACH
Strengths: Upbeat, extremely
inquisitive, authentic, genuine,
empathetic, doesn’t need context to
help coach people through challenges
Weaknesses: might not have worked on
a software team before, may be too
‘coachy’ at times, may not be disruptive
enough when it’s needed
Natural Habitat: A retreat, or top of a mountain.
Spotting One: asks more questions than you do. Uses open ended
questions and deliberate language.
Challenging them: say “stop freaking coaching me and tell me what
you’d do!!!”
“wonderful story! Tell me more about why you think that worked!”
YOUR ARCHETYPE
Methodology	Bigot	
Granola	Eater	
Pragmatist	
Zealot	
Team	Player	
Disruptor	
Intelectual	
Coach’s	Coach
not at all like
me
yup, that’s me
Dear Chris: yes I’m aware of the 100+ cognitive biases
that show why this can’t be accurate. Did you catch the other
problem?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
FINDING AND HIRING A COACH
1 Where will your coach play?
2 What skills are the most important?
3 What do you expect?
4 Match 1 - 3 with the candidate
5 Creative interview tips, and how to decide
FINDING A COACH
WHERE WILL YOUR COACH PLAY?
Organization
Executive
Management
Team/Project
1
FINDING A COACH
WHAT SKILLS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT?
2
FINDING A COACH
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?
3
MATCHING YOU AND YOUR COACH
what you want what they’re offering
4
INTERVIEWING AND DECIDING
5 Visualize	your		
candidate’s	profiles
decide	what	tradeoffs	you’ll	make	
let	the	team	interview	the	candidates	
hire	3	for	a	week	to	audition	them	
always	start	with	an	exit	strategy
CHOOSE A STAR!
Let’s	help	someone	find	a	coach	
One	person	is	the	client	
Other	table	members,	help	them	create	a	
profile	for	what	they’re	looking	for	
**If	you’re	an	Agile	Coach,	create	your	own	
profile	(coaches	don’t	participate	at	tables!)
LET’S DEBRIEF
Tell	the	group	your	situation	
Describe	the	profile	you	think	you’re	looking	
for	
Agile	Coaches:	show	your	profile,	give	
feedback
MORE INFORMATION
http://leanintuit.com/downloads
http://www.slideshare.net/LucaMinudel/leanagile-coach-
selfassessment
http://coachingcocktails.com/
https://itsunderstood.com/agile-training/new-coach-circles/

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How to Hire an Agile Coach

  • 1. How to Hire an Agile Coach @JASONLITTLE | LEANINTUIT.COM
  • 2. OK, WHAT THE HELL? Job Description: • This role is to provide direct coaching and support to programs, projects & teams that are standing up, actively planning, and executing using an Agile operating model that is being developed and adopted by <GROUP>. • The Senior Agile Delivery Coach will provide leadership in the definition of the agile blueprint and plan for delivery entities in the area of agile organization design; enablement of best practices that includes successful on-boarding, training, implementation and deployment of accelerated delivery principles for projects within <GROUP>. The Senior Agile Delivery Coach will provide direct support to the larger (Tier 1 & 2) programs while supporting indirect and SME support through the team of Delivery Coaches to the balance of the <GROUP> portfolios. Must Have Skills: • Minimum 5+ Years’ experience in an Agile delivery/transformation/training/coaching role • Minimum 5+ Years’ experience in large organizational transformations • Proven experience in coaching agile software development and/or delivery teams with regard to helping organizations adapt to an agile methodology and mind set. • Someone with a passion for agile, pragmatism about what agile looks like during a transformation; and a genuine commitment to helping people and organizations get better at what they do. • Hands-on experience and previous accountability for delivery outcomes using Agile practices. • Significant experience working with Agile methodologies, (Scrum is key) • Prior experience in Software development and exposure to modern technologies (Strong software development background) Must Have Soft Skills: • Be an effective communicator at all levels, in both structured and non-hierarchical, informal structures • Strong negotiations skills and ability to create ‘win-win’ outcomes. • Outstanding customer service attributes both internally and externally • Problem Solving / Analytical Thinking Skills • Strong political savvy and sensitivity to cultural diversity • Willingness to confront and be confronted • Ability to work successfully with other strong egos • Expertise in Training, Mentoring and Coaching Nice To Have: • Certified or Equivalent Experience in at least one Agile Delivery Methodology (CSM / CSP / CSC /PMI-ACP / SAFe ) • PMP or Prince2 Practitioner designations an asset • Experience in DevOps is an asset • Client’s Experience Practice Management: • Decisive coaching and mentoring of teams around client's <method> Delivery methodologies • Facilitate definition & sharing of accelerated delivery best practices through informal communication channels and/or formal training sessions • Support the on-going modification and implementation of a new Target Operating Model for agile delivery Portfolio Governance: • Work with the executive team and key project stakeholders to facilitate portfolio planning sessions for fiscal and on-going portfolio planning • Support the changes required to project delivery and governance roles to affect a more delegated authority at the project team level • Provide input in the development and maintain ongoing the portfolio reporting that accurately reflects the project health and financial status of agile projects • Evolve the center of excellence governance process by providing insights from the active programs / projects Program/Execution: • Consult on agile model specifics that apply to the unique attributes of large programs, including organizational design around a product enabled delivery approach. • Show the way - enable and maintain processes and communication to support geographically distributed delivery for agile • Work with team members and team lead to facilitate risk-based prioritization sessions for iteration planning • Support team through work list preparation (reduction to smallest part), and estimation techniques (Planning Poker) • Execute Workshops and Leadership Seminars Deliverables: • Creation of the agile blueprint for large programs and dedicated LOB through intake engagement and discovery approaches in partnership with business and TS leaders. • Strong direction and guidance towards the achievement of the target Agile operating state for programs and LOB. • Agile enabled delivery teams • In-team active coaching • Mentoring on agility including junior coaches within Agile CoE • Engagement / Initiation support • Value and Benefits Realization through agile enablement • Health Checks and Risk Monitoring • Governance Design kick ass developer agile mindset coach teams on our prescriptive method Willingness to confront and be confronted? work with executives evolve governance process mentor/train coaches team-level process coaching evolve agile transformation roadmap any certification please!
  • 4. WHERE PEOPLE THINK COACHES WORK C-Level Various Resources SVP Delivery VP LOB 1 VP LOB 2 VP Tech Program Mgr Director QA Mgr Dev Mgr Mgr Director Business IT C-Level SVP of something VP LOB 1 Director Mgr
  • 5. WHERE COACHES ACTUALLY WORK C-Level Various Resources SVP Delivery VP LOB 1 VP LOB 2 VP Tech Program Mgr Director QA Mgr Dev Mgr Mgr Director Business IT C-Level SVP of something VP LOB 1 Director Mgr
  • 6. WHY? C-Level Various Resources SVP Delivery VP LOB 1 VP LOB 2 VP Tech Program Mgr Director QA Mgr Dev Mgr Mgr Director Business IT C-Level SVP of something VP LOB 1 Director Mgr Objective: Make pilot team in LOB 1 more agile.
  • 7. DIFFERENT SKILLS NEEDED C-Level Various Resources SVP Delivery VP LOB 1 VP LOB 2 VP Tech Program Mgr Director QA Mgr Dev Mgr Mgr Director Business IT C-Level SVP of something VP LOB 1 Director Mgr TEAM LEVEL COACHES MULTI-TEAM, MANAGEMENT, PROGRAM LEVEL COACHES EXECUTIVE LEVEL COACHES
  • 9. COACHING ECOSYSTEM ACI ICF IAC Results GROW Popular “Coaching” Frameworks - principles - masteries - frameworks - MUCH more rigor - multi-year credentials - (see notes for links!) CTI
  • 11. THE METHODOLOGY BIGOT Strengths: knows their method inside and out, knows how to apply it and probably has lots of stories and anecdotal evidence. Weaknesses: dismisses ideas from other methods, can become defensive when their method is attacked or misused. Natural Habitat: Can be observed at their native <method> conferences and trolling people on their <method> specific Linked In forms Spotting One: number of times they say their method of choice in the interview. Answers most questions with how their method works. Challenging them: Tell a story where their method didn’t work and what happened or how they’d work in an environment that uses multiple methods. That’s not how <method> works, you’re doing it wrong!!!!
  • 12. THE GRANOLA EATER Strengths: cares deeply for people, brings more than ‘agile’ tools, extremely thoughtful, deliberate, warm and caring. Weaknesses: may not have a thick enough skin for enterprise coaching, or hostile environments. Natural Habitat: The local hemp or organic food store. Spotting One: Can become preachy at times, is EXTREMELY offended by this slide. (sorry!) 8-D Challenging them: The organization has decided to layoff 100 people, 12 of which are on teams you coach, what would you do? “you need to build a learning org so we can all learn and share!”
  • 13. THE PRAGMATIST Strengths: well read, brings well- rounded tools/ideas from multiple disciplines, well connected to many different communities. Weaknesses: may confuse you with too many options, may seem egotistical due to their knowledge, will complain I missed something in this preso Natural Habitat: Multi-discipline conferences, re-posting IFL Science posts on Facebook. Spotting One: number of times they suggest ‘non-agile’ tools/ideas, answers most questions with ‘it depends’, and/or answers questions with stories. Challenging them: Ask how they operate in a highly regulated environment with established standards. “here’s something I saw at another org, it might just work for you”
  • 14. THE ZEALOT Strengths: cares for people, firmly believes in the Agile Manifesto, courageous, inspiring at times, courage of convictions Weaknesses: may lash out when values/principles aren’t enacted, unable to budge from ‘their view’ of what Agile is. Natural Habitat: Trolling Linked In forums telling everyone their wrong. Also tweeting out how wrong I am during this preso. (make sure to take me!) 8-D Spotting One: Gets preachy when challenged about ideas that contradict the agile manifesto, may have a messiah complex, might walk out of this preso after reading this. (sorry!) 8-D Challenging them: Ask them what they’d do in a harsh environment, or toxic culture that needs time to transition and “just can’t” follow the values/principles yet. “agile is mindset. You can’t DO Agile, you have to BE Agile”
  • 15. THE TEAM PLAYER Strengths: curious, extremely relatable, strong at establishing great relationships with teams quickly, helpful and genuine. Weaknesses: may ‘go native’ and try to protect the team, might not be able to (or interested in) address organizational barriers due to strong team focus. Natural Habitat: In their basement writing code or contributing to open source projects in their spare time. Spotting One: Goes right into the details of the project or technology during the interview, wants to meet the team before deciding to join. Challenging them: How would they operate in an environment where senior leadership wants standard tools/practices across teams. “cool! show me what you’re building…what technology are you using…”
  • 16. THE DISRUPTOR Strengths: stupidly courageous, understands interconnectedness of organizations, fair, takes the bullet for the team/org, swears sometimes. Weaknesses: can be disruptive for the sake of disruption, appears egotistical, writes offensive coach profiles, tells brutal truth, swears sometimes. Natural Habitat: Unemployment office. Spotting One: challenges everything, asks “why not” instead of following the status quo, attacks problems head-on, probably has long hair and wears shirts with funny slogans. Challenging them: go for it and see what happens. “let’s try this…better to ask for forgiveness…”
  • 17. THE INTELECTUAL Strengths: wicked smart. skilled at simplifying complex problems, helps people attach meaning to their observations through their knowledge Weaknesses: uses words like “obsequiousness”, may be long on theory - short on experience, might make you feel dumb. Natural Habitat: Quora. Spotting One: wears jeans and a sport coat, may or may not be named Chris, has a nice haircut. Challenging them: tell a story about how you applied <that theory> “Coloniality may be thought as an initially imposed epistemology…”
  • 18. THE COACH’S COACH Strengths: Upbeat, extremely inquisitive, authentic, genuine, empathetic, doesn’t need context to help coach people through challenges Weaknesses: might not have worked on a software team before, may be too ‘coachy’ at times, may not be disruptive enough when it’s needed Natural Habitat: A retreat, or top of a mountain. Spotting One: asks more questions than you do. Uses open ended questions and deliberate language. Challenging them: say “stop freaking coaching me and tell me what you’d do!!!” “wonderful story! Tell me more about why you think that worked!”
  • 19. YOUR ARCHETYPE Methodology Bigot Granola Eater Pragmatist Zealot Team Player Disruptor Intelectual Coach’s Coach not at all like me yup, that’s me Dear Chris: yes I’m aware of the 100+ cognitive biases that show why this can’t be accurate. Did you catch the other problem? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
  • 20. FINDING AND HIRING A COACH 1 Where will your coach play? 2 What skills are the most important? 3 What do you expect? 4 Match 1 - 3 with the candidate 5 Creative interview tips, and how to decide
  • 21. FINDING A COACH WHERE WILL YOUR COACH PLAY? Organization Executive Management Team/Project 1
  • 22. FINDING A COACH WHAT SKILLS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT? 2
  • 23. FINDING A COACH WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? 3
  • 24. MATCHING YOU AND YOUR COACH what you want what they’re offering 4
  • 25. INTERVIEWING AND DECIDING 5 Visualize your candidate’s profiles decide what tradeoffs you’ll make let the team interview the candidates hire 3 for a week to audition them always start with an exit strategy