#1 – How is the holistic company transformation influenced by agile coaching?

I think agile coaching has a significant impact on a holistic company transformation. To work with the agile perspective needs expert knowledge and experience in areas like Lean, agile practices and frameworks (e.g. XP, Scrum, Kanban) and change management.

As agile coach I combine topic matter experience with methodical knowledge of change management (e.g. using facilitation and communication techniques).

Without proper guidance by agile coaches important questions may not be asked and key factors can be overseen. It’s my task to make bring the nasty, unpleasant aspects of a transformation to the surface and to guide the troubleshooting.

The transformation gets faster with my help as an agile coach. We can avoid the simple (stupid) mistakes, that happen just by missing the expert knowledge perspective.

#2 – What resistance and opposition do we face in our daily work as agile coaches?

Understaffing for essential roles like ScrumMaster and Product Owner leading to significant delays and (total) misunderstandings regarding agile approaches.

Missing budget to work with external support by experienced coaches that is in my opinion important to avoid the simple mistakes and speed up the transformation right from the beginning.

Department thinking and local optimizations instead of a holistic view and applying systems thinking.
It’s nice to have a performing, agile IT but what does it matter when on the other hand features wait 95% of their lifetime in queues outside the control of IT? Is a local optimization of the remaining 5% worth the effort or should we switch the focus to (maybe new) bottlenecks that get visible.

Sooner or later local initiatives will face system boundaries and there is the need to change boundaries and surrounding systems/departments too. An early inclusion of all members involved in this change is important.

Missing management buy-in. The classical role of management is challenged by modern approaches like Management 3.0, Holocracy and more that lead to a changing (leaner) or removal of this role at all.

It creates fear and resistance that needs professional guidance.

Self-Organization out of control, missing the frame provided by strong leadership.

Fear of decision making, especially when it comes to unpleasant ones. Sometimes people won’t be able to adjust to a new environment and vice versa. It’s important to face such situations and help to find the best environment for everyone.

#3 – How are my private live and decisions influenced by my work as an agile coach?

I can use many of my practical experiences in my private life too. For example I use Personal Kanban to organize myself.

Experiences from retrospectives show me that the looking backward approach enables an interpretation of complex systems – and this knowledge helps in discussion and decision making in my family too.

Companies I would like to work for need to provide an agile context.

#4 What will be the future need of agile coaching?

There are main differences regarding the meaning of what an agile coach role is about. Like Spotify’s approach to adjust the role to be used in Scrum and Kanban environments. 

Earlier on I got to know the role as a coach for ScrumMasters, the next level career step for ScrumMasters.
I think many companies are in the middle of an agile transition and still get stuck within IT. A challenge for agile coaching will be the holistic, whole company perspective. Communication with management and the executive board gets even more important. 
Knowledge of modern management approaches (e.g. Management 3.0), including the perspective of complex systems, is important to provide a picture of how the management role will look like in the new environment. 
A connection with other disciplines like psychology (e.g. in direction community building and teams), motivation, philosophy and many more areas that enhance our collaboration as humans is important and has to be further developed.
Agile coaches guide important change processes and are involved in conflicting situations and can benefit a lot by learning is these areas. 
Maybe there will be more agile coaches raising from these disciplines instead of IT?

Some time ago I summarized my view of the role agile coach (inspired by 42 tasks).

(DE) This interview was originally published by Stefan Müller at kickinthepants.de (thanks to Stefan for bringing different expert opinions together!).