Agile coach

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The three amigos are the product owner, the flow master (or ‘flow owner’ or ‘flowner’) and the agile coach.

The whole is larger than the sum of its parts.

Sometimes, the three amigos are at odds with each other—they have have differing missions and can pull the team in different directions.

For example, the product owner pushes for an essential new feature, and the flow master is concerned with the squad's frustrations over the mountain of technical debt in the existing codebase. Or the agile coach feels that the squad needs to stop and reflect more often in order to figure out how to improve themselves, but the product owner hesitates and seems worried that the rhythm of the team will be disrupted? Or the flow master feels that the team is agile enough and actively blocks the increasingly agitated attempts by the agile coach to help the squad help themselves?

The unity of purpose, the team charter, and vibrant personas help align these conflicting forces.

Organize potlack—pronounced as ‘potluck’—for operational coordination and synchronization of the sultans of swing.

  • The agile coach is dedicated to nurture an environment of engaged and healthy team members, that continuously improve themselves as team members, their product deliveries and their team collaboration.
  • The agile coach catalyzes mutual learning by all the different focus areas, for example by fostering a healthy relationship and regular meetings that matter of the sultans of swing.
  • Maximize mutual understanding to create synergy.
  • weekly sync gathering of sultans of swing, for 45 minutes maximum.
  • quick pre-gathering chat or flash sync to get last-minute feedback, reiterate the purpose, and verify that the goals are realistic.
  • mock meeting to prepare and practice the tricky parts, check for holes in reasoning, and discover unexplained assumptions just before the real gathering.

The sultans of swing provide a sandbox where conversations of empowerment, impediments and conflict were hashed out. It is also a classroom where we talked about approaches to stakeholder meetings, planning meetings, retrospectives and one-on-ones. It also develops into coaching sessions where you talk about your failures and what learnings. Instead of three individuals, each working toward our respective goals, we became a team—a leadership team with a united mission of supporting everyone around us.

Agile Coach Maturity

See The IT Risk Manager » Chris Matts » I am an Agile Coach. I am an Organisational Dysfunction. Rate your skills on the following scale:

  1. Can run it.
  2. Can tweak it.
  3. Can coach it.

Coaching skills:

Skill Coverage—In every location, do pair coaching, and try to get at every skill coachable by at least three managers to make the organization is self-sufficient. (The final answer might be 1,2,3,4,5 or who knows depending on context.)

Your goal as agile coach is to make the organization competent and autonomous in agile coaching—to achieve sustainable agile. You succeed when you make the organization better than you are in your profession.


  • you have done your job as agile coach when the organization takes on the yoke of coaching;
  • training every manager in every skill is impossible;