Agile coaching is an important component of your Agile adoption. We take a holistic approach to team coaching that targets both your workflow and technical practices. The two halves work together like rails on a track. One half of the solution requires rethinking your workflow—the process used to get work done. The other half requires a new approach to software development. Your success depends on both working together seamlessly. That way, if one team goes off track, the other can guide them back to center.
When new teams attempt to apply classroom learning in real-world environments, they often encounter unforeseen obstacles, such as remote team members, legacy code, and absent business collaborators. Without a helping hand, teams can get stuck and grow discouraged. This is when coaching is crucial to team success. Coaching helps teams find ways to make Agile work in their world and accelerates their ability to achieve proficiency in essential Agile practices, increasing team productivity. Coaching builds a foundation to support continuous improvement, team autonomy, and Agile mastery. Coaches can also help experienced Agile teams work through long-term complex problems, reboot, and break through to the next level of performance.
Agile team coaching is an element of SolutionsIQ’s Integrated Learning program. Our Agile coaches help your teams identify and remove impediments that block their progress by providing them with alternatives, solutions, and examples of how others have overcome similar challenges. We model Agile behavior by collaborating directly with your teams, regardless of whether you are leveraging Scrum, Lean Startup, Kanban, and eXtreme Programming (XP) to achieve success.
Learn more about Agile Workflow Coaching
Learn more about Agile Technical Coaching
How We Engage
Typically, a coaching engagement has four key phases:
The assessment phase baselines your needs in terms of skills, practices, and environment.
We discuss with you the scope of the engagement and your readiness to begin. We may training or hands-on workshops to prepare the team for coaching.
Our coaches engage with the team and periodically checks in with you. Together we inspect progress and revise the program definition to incorporate new learning and information.
Our coaches review the outcome with you and together we agree upon next steps.
At SolutionsIQ Agile coaching is a profession and a vocation. Our coaches are highly experienced both as Agile coaches and Agile practitioners. In addition, our coaches are involved in professional development programs, including ongoing training and professional coaching credential programs. In addition to their own knowledge and experience, as members of the highly-collaborative SolutionsIQ consulting community, our coaches are able to draw upon the collective capability of the largest Agile consultancy in the world.
Here are just a few of the Agile coaches you can expect to work with:
Agile Coach, Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner
Michael has been working with teams and management to deliver software and services for over three decades, in organizations large and small. With experience in product, program, and project management at a director level at organizations developing a wide range of software and service products, he delights in helping teams discover ways to collaborate, manage their work, remove impediments, and deliver sustainably.
In a half-dozen years with SolutionsIQ, Michael has served clients as a trainer, coach, facilitator, mentor, and guide. His favorite engagements involve helping teams and management work happily together to deliver real customer value. Michael is a frequent speaker at national and local Agile community events, serves on the board of Agile Open Northwest, co-hosted “The Agile Coach” podcast (available on iTunes), from time to time writes on Agile and team topics at FeelingAgile.com, and was a founder of BeyondAgile, a Seattle-area user group for people making software that works.
Agile Coach, Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, SAFe Program Consultant
Katrina helps organizations transform the way they work to deliver what matters most more quickly. She has trained hundreds of people and coached dozens of teams as they navigated their Agile journey, in both large and small adoptions. Katrina is a SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) and has experience coaching at the team and program levels in one of the largest SAFe implementations to date. She has also trained others to become SPCs. Working with some of the largest Agile companies, Katrina is a practiced facilitator for team events and trainings ranging from 5 to 200 people. These events include team starts, user story workshops, Agile introductions of all lengths, ScrumMaster and Product Owner training, story mapping, and release planning within the SAFe framework and in a general Agile setting. Katrina also has great passion around developing coaching at client sites and helping these organizations become self-sustaining. A true Agile Champion, Katrina emphasizes the importance of Team, and encourages action and outside-the-box thinking.
Certified ScrumMaster, Scrum Coach
Simon is an experienced teacher and leader of high performance teams using values and principles based models. While empowering teams using Agile and Scrum techniques to ultimately lead themselves, he believes people need to feel they add value while having fun in the process. As a skilled communicator and collaborator, he has worked with cross-functional teams increasing their productivity through leveraging effective retrospectives. Showing others how to remove impediments, improve their backlogs, and coordinate team members as shared resources for different products or sprint lengths is a key component of the value Simon adds. He is accomplished at creative problem solving and skilled in areas of project, client, and stakeholder expectations management while consistently bringing projects and client solutions to successful closure. Simon’s 6 years of Agile experience includes Vertafore as ScrumMaster and AT&T as a ScrumMaster and Scrum Coach. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree.
Steve Smith accelerates team productivity by freeing teams from a web of technical and social difficulties. His Aha! moment came with the realization that social difficulties were the biggest impediment to his team solving technical problems, an area that Steve enjoys and excels at. He marveled over how much precious time was squandered by troubles such as squabbling between team members, fighting with management about direction, and warring with other teams over turf. Astonished by how much these troubles crippled the quality of his team’s product as well as the speed and economy of its delivery, he devoted himself to learning and applying methods teams can use to overcome both their technical and social difficulties. He now passionately consults, coaches, teaches, writes, and speaks about routes teams can take to produce better results faster, more economically, and without pain.
Coaching At Scale
Coaching at scale means coaching dozens or hundreds of teams distributed across several locales and time zones for a single client within a limited time horizon. Scaled Agile coaching is an integral part of our comprehensive Agile Transformation Solution.
SolutionsIQ is exceptionally well-qualified to provide Agile coaching at scale for the following reasons:
- Being the world’s largest Agile consultancy, we have the ability to deploy multiple coaches to multiple sites simultaneously for extended periods of time.
- Our structured modular approach to Agile practice coaching assures that learning is consistent across the organization and fosters a harmonious, aligned community of practice.
- SolutionsIQ helps clients reorganize their PMOs to include new mechanisms, such as internal coaching and/or a coaching office, to effectively cultivate and sustain the organization’s emerging community of Agile practitioners.
Modular Content, Structured Engagement
SolutionsIQ takes a modular approach to coaching that allows for specific learning objectives to be combined with hands-on coaching and guidance to form a structured coaching program. An example of objectives identified during the Assessment phase may include:
- How to identify and remedy negative coding and design patterns
- How to use refactoring to incrementally refine design and reduce technical debt
- Continuous integration practices
- Unit testing principles and practices, including how to write good tests
- How to effectively use test automation
- Tried-and-true collaboration techniques for working together as a team and working with the customer
- Pair programming
Our coaches then develop an engagement plan consistent with these learning objectives. Coaches can use SolutionsIQ learning modules as well as hands-on simulations to introduce these topics. As coaching proceeds, the coach periodically checks back and reviews progress with the client. Adjustments are then made to further refine the program. Our approach to coaching leads to several advantages:
- Clear learning objectives to increase the tangible value of the coaching engagement
- Ongoing adjustments to optimize the coaching engagement in light of new information
- Coaching engagements can be designed to cover the learning objectives needed to earn training credits toward the Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) credential
A Holistic and Comprehensive Approach to Team Needs
- For Agile teams everywhere. SolutionsIQ helps teams at all levels in every major industry including software development, finance, retail, and manufacturing.
- Solidifies learning. The Agile team gains a more thorough understanding of how these processes and techniques support and build upon one another, providing a holistic approach to team work products.
- Team development. Team members self-organize into a self-managing work team that sustains productivity within their real-world environment.
- Scaling. Organizations are assured that all teams receive a uniform set of proven methods that can be consistently adopted throughout the organization to foster a harmonious, aligned community of practice.
- Accelerated learning curve. Speeds learning while improving performance and establishing a solid foundation for future learning, autonomy, and ultimate mastery.
- Delivery in real-world setting. Provides the critical bridge from training to effective practice by concretely applying “pure” classroom examples to real work in a real team environment.