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When to Hire an Agile Coach

Indications it is time to hire an agile coach

Anthony Mersino

February 14, 2015

9:05 PM

How does an organization decide it is time to hire an Agile Coach? What are the indications that coaching is needed? This quick guide gives 8 indications that it is time to hire an Agile Coach to support your transformation.

Exit and Entrance Criteria for the Agile Coach

Last week I wrote about exit criteria for Agile Coaching – how to know when you no longer need a coach. Thanks to those of you who shared your insights!

This week I am looking at ‘entrance criteria’ for coaching. That is, how would an organization know that they need an Agile or Scrum Coach?

Here are some of the ideas that I came up with.

  1. Bottom Up Agile – Many teams have started their own grass roots agile effort. If your bottom up agile approach is struggling to mature and grow it may be because you missed something basic.
  2. The Expert – An expert is sometimes defined as someone from out of town with a briefcase. If you tried a grass roots effort and your own employees are being dismissed as lacking credibility, it may be time to bring in an outsider. Sometimes the same words coming from the “expert” carry more weight and are received better.
  3. No Scrum Master – Some organizations are trying to implement the Scrum Framework but lack a competent or trained Scrum Master. In this case, it is helpful to bring in a scrum coach to build that expertise.
  4. Run an Agile Pilot – If you are trying Agile for the first time, it is helpful to have a agile coach on hand to maximize the learning and success of the pilot.
  5. Move Beyond the Pilot – If your agile pilot was successful, it may be time to expand. This is a good time to hire a coach to help you scale your agile efforts.
  6. Get Free – Some organizations are so top heavy that their command and control tendencies stop agile teams in their tracks. In this case, bringing in an Agile Coach to help spot and overcome control may be necessary.
  7. Time to Move On – Sometimes it happens that you have a coach that has helped in the past but you’ve outgrown them. It may be time to bring in someone with the expertise you need at this stage of your agile maturity.
  8. Agile is Under Attack – Sometimes the agile pilot goes well but scaling is met with massive resistance. Scaling and agile transformations threaten the status quo. If you find your agile transformation under attack by the organization’s agile-antibodies, it may be time to bring in a coach to help agile succeed.

What do you think? When do you think it is appropriate for an organization to hire an agile coach? What did you consider when you hired your agile or scrum coach?

If you are considering hiring an Agile Coach, you might like my article on the top 10 traits of an agile coach, as well as how to spot a bad agile coach.

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