What is the Agile Coach for?

Why do we need to have an agile coach in a project? What is she/he there for? This is a discussion I run into very often, and it’s actually not so easy to explain. Recently this somehow came together for me in a very clear way, which I will now describe.

Agile coach (or in some cases e.g. scrum master) has two very specific focus areas.

First, coach focuses on getting things done. Customer’s main focus is on doing the right thing, and development team’s focus is on doing the thing right. In this equation, coach is there to make sure that we actually get things done. With what ever difficulties, constraints or problems the current system, or the people, or the organization might cause. Coach helps to get as much stuff out as possible, in the given circumstances.

Second, coach focuses on making sure we can get even more things done in the future. That is, improving our capability, removing constraints and obstacles, making people communicate, helping problem solving in all ways possible, ensuring continuous improvement. I.e. improving those circumstances that currently set a limit to our output.

In short, coach focuses on efficiency and capability.

In one word, coach focuses on flow.

Understanding this has really helped me to explain the role of an agile coach to others. It has also helped myself to focus on right things in my work.

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