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Agile Coaches or Trainers

The Job

When a company wants to integrate the Agile methodology into its product development process, it hires an Agile coach to educate, train, and mentor its employees; monitor the integration process; and provide suggestions to improve it. Other coaches are hired by companies that are already using Agile, but that seek to better integrate it into the development process. Some Agile coaches are salaried employees of companies, while others are hired as short-term consultants (for two to three months). There is some confusion about the differences between Agile coaches and Scrum masters. These roles share similar skill sets, but Agile coaches have more extensive knowledge and experience than Scrum coaches do. They are experts in multiple Agile frameworks and focus on how Agile methodologies can increase the “agility” of the entire company. On the other hand, the Scrum master typically leads one team and focuses on its success.

At the beginning of an assignment, the Agile coach meets with company executives to detail the Agile methodology and how it can be applied to and improve the organization’s software development process. This is an important step because buy-in from executives and managers is important if the implementation of the Agile methodology is to be successful at the company.

After meeting with company executives and managers, the Agile coach teaches the Agile methodology to workplace teams and/or to Scrum masters, who then convey this information to members of the team. They instruct managers and workers about the basics of Agile tools, such as Scrum and Kanban; provide role specific trainings and situational coaching/training based on the needs of the organization; address team member questions; encourage the proliferation of Agile best practices between different teams; evaluate the ongoing implementation of Agile by collecting and analyzing data and talking to managers and staff; identify and diagnose process issues, and suggest improvements; facilitate meetings, workshops, games, and other methods of assessment and continuous improvement; mentor and coach Scrum masters in order to improve their performance and effectiveness; and meet with company executives to report on the progress of Agile implementation.

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