Sunday, August 10, 2014

Agile Coach Competencies

When thinking about how I could further improve my skills and knowledge as an Agile Coach, I came to the question of ‘How does an Agile Coach differ from a Scrum Master?’ Both provide coaching and work in agile, hence any division could appear to be very arbitrary. Writing out the competencies that I feel a good Scrum Master should have and then the competencies a good Agile Coach should have helped me answer the question. One good way to split the roles; is to look at what they focus on.

If I assume a Scrum Master is someone focused on providing Servant Leadership for a single team or a couple of teams. Than an Agile Coach is someone who focuses on coaching the department (and/or company) that those teams exist in. The Agile Coach provides training and coaching that is aimed at delivering value across the department/company, not just the team level. Sure a Scrum Master can do this, however it is not their focus when there are Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters in the same company.

With all of that in mind, I have updated my post on Scrum Master Competencies, and I present the competencies that I want a good Agile Coach to have.

The information presented below is available as a two page PDFcheat sheet.

Agile Coaching Competencies cheat sheet

Competencies of a good Agile Coach

These competencies assume that the person already has most of the Scrum Master Competencies.


* Adaptable
* Persistent
* Observant
* Unassuming
* Inquisitive


* agile Manifesto
* Scrum
* XP
* Lean 
* Kanban
* Agile Fluency Model
* Declaration of Interdependence

Scaling Approaches

* Scrum of Scrums
* Lean PMO
* LeSS 
* SAFe 

Change Management

* Iterating towards agility
* Questioning to encourage action
* Create broad network of contacts
* Building strong relationships
* Crucial Conversations
* Fearless Change Patterns
* Kanban Method
* Kubler-Ross change curve
* Kotter’s 8 step model
* Lewin's model
* McKinsey 7-S model 
* ADKAR model
* Schein's organizational culture model
* Appreciative Inquiry


* Dangers of metrics
* Lean metrics
* Visualising metrics
* Personal KPIs
* Team KPIs

Thinking Tools

* Queuing Theory
* Systems Thinking
* Theory of Constraints

  • The Five Focusing steps
  • Current reality tree
  • Evaporating Cloud


* Questioning for realisation
* Questioning to encourage action
* Creating SMART goals
* GROW model
* FUEL model
* Neuro-linguistic programming 
* Body language to control the mind
* De-stressing techniques
* The Responsibility Process 
* Working with resistant people

Training / Teaching

* Reading the audience
* Keeping energy levels up
* Kolbs learning styles
* Learning Modalities
* Fleming's VARK model
* Games for learning
* Run Dojo’s
* Run Lean Coffees
* Run World Cafes
* Competency Based Training
* Creating training material
* Creating games


* 30s elevator pitch for agile
* Exhibit passion


* Interviewing Techniques
* Competencies to look for


* Awesome emails
* Excellent written
* Creating memorable presentations
* Presenting
* Using appropriate medium


* Backlog Prioritisation Frameworks

* Multi Team Boards
* Traditional Iron Triangle
* Agile Iron Triangle
* Release burn-ups
* Feature / Traffic Light charts
* MoSCoW categorisation


* Facilitate large groups
* Facilitate senior managers

Collaborative engagement techniques 

* Impact Mapping
* Value Stream Analysis

Self Development

* Experiment at work
* Self reflection
* Attend Meet-ups
* Attend Conferences
* Read Books, Articles, etc.

Motivating Others

* Autonomy
* Relatedness / Purpose
* Mastery
* Detractors / Inhibitors

Distributed Development

* Models
* Communication
* Engagement
* Technical Practices

Agile Contracts

* 10 types
* Building trust

Your Thoughts

Have I missed anything? 

Is there any that you disagree with?

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