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Roles of the Agile Coach

The Agile Coach helps train organizations on Agile methodology and guides teams and leadership through the transformation process.

The Agile Coach helps train organizations on Agile methodology and guides teams and leadership through the transformation process.

This should ultimately lead to more successful organizational outcomes, e.g., more frequent releases, business/IT alignment, etc.

The Agile Coach takes on several roles throughout the transformation process, which can include the following.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is the Scrum team coach. When starting new teams, an Agile Coach may serve as the team’s first Scrum Master until the new Scrum Master is ready to take over.

Mentor

Agile Coaches serve as mentors to Scrum teams, particularly to the Scrum Masters and other team leads, e.g., dev lead, QA lead, or BA lead. The Agile Coach can work one-on-one with the Scrum Master or team lead and advise them on Scrum practices or on how to deal with issues within the team. The Agile Coach may serve as a sounding board or provide support to new Scrum Masters as they mature in their journey to become the team coach.

Observer

Another area where the Agile Coach can add value is by attending/observing Scrum events such as Daily Scrum, backlog grooming, or sprint planning. By observing how teams work, the Agile Coach can provide feedback and help teams to improve their Agile practices.

Trainer

The Agile Coach may provide training sessions for employees at all levels (e.g., Scrum team, senior management, etc.) that will enable the adoption of Agile throughout the organization. Training on topics may include writing effective stories, release planning, or scaling methodology such as SAFe, Nexus, LeSS, etc.

Facilitator

The Agile Coach may facilitate meetings between teams to help them move in the right direction towards a solution. For example, teams may struggle to manage dependencies on other teams, and meetings can be derailed as team members may not fully understand the issues or know how to move forward in an Agile organization.

Agile Coach vs Scrum Master

As we have learned, the Scrum Master is responsible for coaching the team on Agile practices. What is the difference between a Scrum Master and an Agile Coach? Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches do have commonalities, but the focus of their work happens at different levels.

the different levels on which Agile Coaches and Scrum masters work

The simple explanation is that Scrum Masters work with single teams and Agile Coaches work with multiple teams. In addition, Agile Coaches work with managers, executives, and with other areas of the organization outside of the Scrum teams.

Scrum Masters help their individual teams follow the scrum process while Agile Coaches help the organization determine what needs to be done and how to manage interactions between Scrum teams and other areas of the organization, e.g., UX/UI, release management, etc.

When the time comes, the Agile Coach will phase away to other projects or areas within the organization.

In the next step, we look at the responsibilities of the Agile Coach and some other areas that they typically focus on.

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Scaled Agile

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