Merely implementing agile practices can be done quickly, but is rarely sustainable. The agile coaching pillar of my work is helping you to enable agile ways of working throughout your organization by fostering agile mindsets. Agile coaching is more than just telling people how to do things – it’s convincing them why certain practices work and helping them internalize the underlying motivation of said practices.
My agile coaching always starts with “Why”. Together we will make impediments visible, escalate known and unknown problems. I’m supporting you in overcoming these challenges one by one and finding long-term sustainable solutions. This way, together we’ll be supporting the organization in setting itself up for success, enabling individuals, teams and the whole organization to move faster, implement highly efficient working and communication routines and get shit done.
The building blocks in this category can be roughly structured into
- (Agile) Organizational design and -structure
Scope: From team to company level, from individual contributor to C-level
Time: From a few days (kickoff workshop + initial coaching) to 3-6 months on site (incl. mentoring of key roles)
Agile organizational design and -structure
To me agile ways of working means first and foremost enabling better (faster and smoother) collaboration between different practices (functions) within a project. In most cases this means forming cross-functional teams. These teams ideally need to be collocated or – given the challenges of the times we live in – aligned around a tool set that enables remote work and building strong team relationships.
In order to enable these agile ways of working it might sometimes be necessary to do changes to the organization’s structure. Depending on the nature of the assignment these changes can be local and temporary (experiment), local and permanent (pilot) or global and permanent (rollout).
Under the umbrella of Agile Coaching I’m helping companies overcome organizational challenges. The main goal of Agile Coaching is transitioning an organization to better suit agile ways of working by adopting a (more) agile mindset.
The challenges, companies are facing, are often quite specific at a first glance, since each organization is made unique by the people within it. If those people are to follow agile principles, the solutions we’ll find together will have common denominators in the broad set of agile best practices. How long an Agile Coaching engagement is, entirely depends on how much or how little the organization has internalized agile values:
If those values are widely accepted and what’s missing are organizational prerequisites, Agile Coaching is task-based and can be a short-term engagement: Accompanying organizational changes, implementing these agile best practices in order to take (and keep) people on board. We need to address real problems and show results quickly. Without this, we lose people’s trust in the change and thus the leaders who support it. We must not lose people’s motivation or we will eventually lose them as employees. Agile Coaching is key to enabling (parts of) the organization to not simply “deal with” said changes, but to utilize them to achieve better results.
The adoption of agile values is a change in mindset and behavior. If the majority of an organization has not yet done that shift, performance and happiness of teams will be subpar, even though all organizational prerequisites are met. In this case the shift can be huge and Agile Coaching will be a mid- to long-term endeavor.
Mentoring is based on relationships and rather long-term. It’s primary objective is learning and (self-) development. Ideally this starts with key people in the organization or key people in the current change process. We’ll talk about currently relevant challenges and will reflect on possible solutions, drafting from past experiences iterating and improving.
Mentoring is not exclusive to people within a change process. Taking some time out of one’s busy schedule to reflect on problems, potential remedies and also one’s own behaviors around these holds tremendous potential. Not being alone in this process, but sparring with an experienced mentor (and coach, ScrumMaster, project manager and everything mentioned above) help unlock and utilize this potential.