Yesterday, during the last day of Construx Software Executive Summit 2015, Lyssa Adkins presented, Developing Your Staff’s Agile Coaching Ability. The talk validated my view that Agile Coaches are key to the uptake of agile. Many organisation believe they can send staff on 2 day Scrum course, get the certification, and immediately see the benefits. This mindset is utterly wrong. The change from Command-Control to an embracement of agile values doesn’t happen overnight. Agile coaches are key to aiding team to move into the new world. I’ve not read Lyssa’s book, Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition, but will do shortly as I’m expecting it to be good based on the talk yesterday.
Lyssa’s “Developing an Internal Agile Coaching Capability” offer an interesting read:
organizations need solid Agile Coaches to help establish the deep, institutional capability required to become a truly agile organization. Team agility is a first step, but ultimately withers without organizational agility. Organizational agility requires an agile coaching capability to establish self-organized teams (a new organization innovation), as well as a new form of agile leadership amongst management, and a re-thinking of organizational structures, policies and culture.
One of the key points in the above extract from Lyssa’s paper is “re-thinking of organizational structures”. In my view, many organizations attempt to be agile at the team/project level, but the organizational structures around them remain in the old world (managers, leaders, C-Level’s, HR, etc) which effectively become impediments in the organisation adoption of agile.
This leads nice to agile leaders, and the need for such individual who have:
the chief responsibility is to increase flow, minimize waste, and see (and help others see) the larger system.
A lack of agile leaders and coaches will constrain the ability to embrace agile. Without C-Level embracements of agile leadership, organizations will suffer challenges on the road to embracing agile. Managers and leaders need to re-think their roles and responsibilities in an agile world.