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How to Hire an Agile Coach

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In response to seeing a "how to pass your Scrum Master/Agile Coach Interview" we've created a way for employers to call BS on candidates who could otherwise dupe their way into a coaching role.

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How to Hire an Agile Coach

  1. 1. How to Hire an Agile Coach @JASONLITTLE | LEANINTUIT.COM
  2. 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!
  3. 3. MIGHT I SUGGEST?
  4. 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. 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. 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. 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
  8. 8. THE FIRST COACH? http://www.jamesshore.com/Agile-Book/the_xp_team.html
  9. 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
  10. 10. ACI FRAMEWORK
  11. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 21. FINDING A COACH WHERE WILL YOUR COACH PLAY? Organization Executive Management Team/Project 1
  22. 22. FINDING A COACH WHAT SKILLS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT? 2
  23. 23. FINDING A COACH WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? 3
  24. 24. MATCHING YOU AND YOUR COACH what you want what they’re offering 4
  25. 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
  26. 26. 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!)
  27. 27. LET’S DEBRIEF Tell the group your situation Describe the profile you think you’re looking for Agile Coaches: show your profile, give feedback
  28. 28. 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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