Agile Coaching Growth Wheel Guidance

What is Agile Coaching?

Agile Coaching is a collaboration with people in a thought provoking and creative journey using coaching approaches with an agile mindset and principles to help individuals, teams and organisations be the best they can be.

What is the “Agile Coaching Growth Wheel”?

The “Agile Coaching Growth Wheel” is a tool for Agile Coaches and ScrumMasters to help them reflect and grow themselves on their Agile journey and their journey to agile coaching certification. This tool is also best used with another coach to help support them.

The Agile Coaching Growth Wheel

The wheel has 8 segments or spokes which represent main competency areas.  Within each competency area there are 1 or more competencies that an individual can reflect on.  This guidance identifies 5 levels for each of those competencies.

5 Levels of assessment

  1. Beginner
    • Knows the theory but has no real practical experience of application
  2. Practitioner
    • Has applied in at least one situation and may still require support in the application
  3. Journeyperson
    •  Can apply in most situations independently
  4. Craftsperson
    • Unconscious competence, has mastered the application and knows when to bend and when to break the rules
  5. Guide/Innovator
    • Capability to change to meet the current situation and innovate to create new techniques

The tread around the outside represents the supporting competencies, these are knowledge areas that in-turn support the skills of the other 8 competency areas.

Why create this wheel

Misconceptions exist with clients and Agile Coaches, in regards to what Agile Coaching is. This confusion has resulted in unqualified people presenting themselves as Agile Coaches with little experience and low competence. This creates something of a lottery for clients choosing the right Agile Coach for them.

How does one become a great Agile Coach? There is no clear pathway, Agile Coaching is not yet a fully fledged profession. This Agile Coaching growth wheel lays down some core competencies, that allows an Agile Coach through a reflective process to go from good to great.

In 2011 Lyssa Atkins and Michael Spayed created an agile coaching competency framework for Agile Coaches. Intentionally this was not a competency model, as it did not define specific behaviours, skills, knowledge or levels of proficiency. However the creators of WhatIsAgileCoaching.org and the creators of this Agile Coaching Growth Wheel believe that more definition is required in order to professionalise the world of Agile Coaching.

We believe that defining the Agile Coaching journey will allow educators and other coaches to better support the growth of Agile Coaches by developing learning and development programmes. It will also build confidence in industry around the future profession of Agile Coaching. Making it easier for an organisation to select the right coach for them with confidence.

How to use the wheel and guidance

This part of the guidance is written from the perspective of a coach helping an Agile Coach to reflect. There are many different ways that the wheel could be used in a coaching conversation, but it could go something like this ….

Step 1: Identify area of improvement

Talk through each of the competency areas (the 8 spokes and 4 tread areas), use the guidance below to make sure the coachee has a high level understanding of each area.  You can’t improve everything at once, so get the coachee to select an initial area of focus to work on.

Step 2: Reflect on a competency area

For each competency within the competency area, go through the guidance and get the coachee to assess their own competence against the 5 levels of assessment. Some people will sell themselves short, others will overestimate their competence, your job as a coach is to try and hold them accountable to a true representation of themselves, ask for examples and be curious.

Step 3: Brainstorm options and generate actions

Use the insight generated in the reflection to brainstorm options for growth and then formulate a plan of action.

The rest of the guidance is just that, guidance, the detail against each level for a competence is just meant as reflection, not as a checklist. There may be guidance at the practitioner level that you cannot fulfil 100%, perhaps they are not important to you or your context but as you explore the journeyperson guidance you might find a better fit for where your coachee is at.

Agile and Lean practitioner

Agile Coaching is coaching in an Agile context, to work as an Agile Coach most clients would expect knowledge and experience here. Most Agile Coaches come from Agile or Lean backgrounds, but reflecting here helps us stay rooted. If you are coming to Agile Coaching from a non-Agile background, then investment in personal growth is likely to start here. There is also a lot of synergy between an Agile/Lean Mindset and a Coaching Mindset, an underlying belief in people, the idea that change is possible and people can be the best that they can be.

Agile/Lean Mindset

This includes the Agile values and principles, which guide our thinking and actions when approaching new situations. They also help us apply frameworks and practices in support of those values and principles, in the way they were intended. An Agile Mindset requires belief in yourself and in others, people are the foundation of Agile working. We trust, support and nurture people to unleash their full human potential. Being Agile over doing Agile.

Lean Manufacturing and Lean Product Development provide us with some foundational concepts that underpin the Agile frameworks and methods.

  • Focusing on the value that gives the most delight to our customers.
  • Optimising our organisations for Flow with small batch sizes with the shortest possible lead time.
  • Maximising quality and minimising waste.

At its heart Lean is about total respect for the people involved and a continuous improvement mindset.

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Able to summarise the Agile values and principles.

Practitioner

Can contrast an Agile mindset with a non-Agile mindset.

Demonstrate how the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto are present in how their team works.

Able to demonstrate an Agile Mindset.

Able to explain the core concepts of Lean Thinking.

Recognises when decisions help or hinder the adoption of agile principles.

Can help teams apply existing practices in a more Agile way, i.e. collaborative design over design upfront, testing right from the start.

Journeyperson

Models the values and principles.

Able to analyse their personal fulfilment of Agile values and identify how they could improve

Able to help those outside of their immediate team adopt Agile principles.

Can associate Lean principles and Agile approaches.

Can illustrate at least two concrete examples of how they actively applied Agile value(s) in their work.

Craftsperson

Describe an experience in which there is no obvious resolution to an impediment, requiring them to leverage Agile values or principles to help their teams or organisation select possible solutions.

Can judge Agile practices adopted at a team and organisation level that are disconnected from the underlying Agile principles.

Guide / Innovator

Thought leadership through creating their own new values and principles that help people achieve greater levels of agility.

Agile approaches – frameworks, methods and practices

There are many flavours of Agile, an Agile Coach understands that there is not one correct way, and therefore has experience with many Agile approaches.

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Describe how at least one Agile approach and how it relates to the Agile Manifesto.

Can explain a number of Agile frameworks or practices commonly used by Agile teams.

Practitioner

Able to use a prescribed framework or method, applying all of its elements in one situation

Can describe at least three Lean/Agile development frameworks/methods

Is aware of changing Agile trends and newer methods in the industry.

Can compare and contrast different Agile approaches and apply where needed.

Journeyperson

Associate at least three Agile engineering practices to Lean practices.

Analyse the benefits of a wide range of Agile practices and can help the team adopt them as appropriate.

Can apply Agile practices beyond the team.

Respected outside of the immediate work environment as somebody who knows about Agile practices.

Applied at least one framework or method in multiple situations.

Craftsperson

Able to evaluate different practices in different situations and help the organisation adopt them.

Helps the team evaluate the process that is most suitable for them.

Can describe a situation in which they might advise a client to apply XP, Lean, or a non­-Agile approach to work flow instead of Scrum.

Can describe the reasoning behind their advice.

Applies many frameworks and adapts to different situations.

Guide / Innovator

Invents and modifies practices to match the context.

Active contributor to the Agile community, consistently identifying developing, sharing existing and emerging Agile approaches.

Helps the organisation evolve the process that is of most value for them.

Facilitating

Facilitation is the practical neutral craft (an informed blend of techniques and insights) of creating environments of openness, safety and innovation[1].

Facilitation increases the effectiveness of helping everyone align in a collaborative way, to interpret their context and mutually identify the most valuable outcomes desired so that they can be the best they can be.

Guiding the process

Help individuals and teams set goals, and manage their coaching interactions to support the journey in pursuit of their goals.

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Understands the role that listening plays in facilitation.

Can list at least three ways they may facilitate the process.

Practitioner

Able to facilitate a small group towards a goal.

Creates an environment where the whole group are involved.

Prepares well for the meeting.

Facilitates the process rather than gives answers.

Can identify at least three indicators when a group is engaged in divergent thinking and at least three indicators when a group is engaged in convergent thinking.

Can identify at least three challenges of integrating multiple frames of reference (i.e. the “Groan Zone”).

Describes at least three ways a group could reach their final decision.

Describes at least five facilitative listening techniques (e.g. paraphrasing, mirroring, making space, stacking, etc.) for effective meetings/events and can apply at least two of them.

Plans the content and agenda for a collaborative meeting and facilitates the meeting.

Journeyperson

Has practised at least two alternatives to open discussion, in multiple contexts (e.g. structured go-arounds, individual writing, listing ideas, dialogue in pairs or small groups, etc.) and can explain when they may be effective.

Can identify at least one action the facilitator can perform to support meeting participants during divergent thinking, integration, convergent thinking, and closure that will support the development of an inclusive solution (e.g. powerful questions).

Can apply five visual facilitation techniques for a collaborative session (e.g. card question, clustering, dot voting, visual note taking).

Analyses situations where conflict arises and selects an appropriate strategy to deal with the situation.

Craftsperson

Able to facilitate in any context.

Can facilitate large events, such as Big Room sessions, Bazaars, organisational change events, Conferences, Fests, Gatherings, Retreats.

Works with other facilitators as a mentor to help them develop.

Guide / Innovator

Invents and modifies practices to match the context.

Active contributor to the community consistently identifying, developing, sharing existing and emerging facilitation practices.

Creating an environment of accountability

Hold attention on what is important for the individual or team, and leave responsibility with them for action. Hold the team accountable to what they say they will do and their plan.

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Describes three obstacles to clear communication and describes their impacts on both the sender and receiver.

Describes at least four ground rules to foster clear communication in a collaborative meeting and describes how the introduction of the ground rules impacts the interaction.

Understands the importance of the team following up on their actions.

Practitioner

Describes, using two concrete examples, when the Coach should not act as the facilitator for the group.

Able to hold the team accountable to the actions that have been agreed.

Creates at least three working agreements to foster clear communication in a collaborative meeting and describes how the working agreements impacted the interaction.

Journeyperson

Demonstrates at least two techniques for raising team accountability.

Demonstrates the ability to maintain unbiased views and leverage collaboration and consensus strategies to identify creative opportunities.

Craftsperson

Able to create an environment of trust and respect in any situation.

Works to build accountability within the team to reduce dependence on the coach.

Helps teams create the necessary mechanisms for the team to reach for high-performance.

Holds the team accountable to building and sticking to these behaviours.

Guide / Innovator

Creates new innovative techniques that enhance the team events, growing team ownership mindset.

Coaching

The International Coaching Federation (2013) defines coaching as:

“partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential…. Coaches honour the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  • Encourage client self-discovery
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable”

Coaching Mindset

Coaching is not about fixing people problems; it is about believing in people and helping them grow to be the best that they can be.

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Aware of coaching principles and ethics.

Practitioner

Demonstrates a coaching stance in an interaction with one or more people (i.e. neutrality, self-awareness, client agenda, etc.) and describes how that coaching stance impacted the interaction.

Journeyperson

Actively living the coaching principles.

Ability to demonstrate coaching stance in multiple situations.

Able to create a safe, supportive environment that produces ongoing mutual respect, trust, creative self-expression and opportunities for new learning.

Awareness that the coachees are the highest priority.

Ability to create a spontaneous relationship with an open, flexible, confident style e.g. dancing in the moment, “goes with the gut”, open to not knowing, willing to take some risks, lightness and energy, is confident with strong emotions.

Craftsperson

Can act as a personal coach outside of context.

Skilled in treating people according to their emotional reactions.

Able to be optimistic even in the face of failure.

Works with other coaches to help them develop as coaches.

Guide / Innovator

Coaching Tools

There are a number of different approaches to coaching, each of which may contain different models, practices, and tools that can help a coach given different contexts.

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Aware of one coaching tool/technique.

Able to describe the difference between facilitating, teaching, mentoring, and coaching.

Practitioner

Can apply at least three coaching techniques (e.g. active listening, powerful questions, reflection, feedback, GROW model, etc.) and describe how the coaching technique impacted each interaction.

Able to formulate a basic coaching agreement and contract.

Able to actively listen, without trying to solve the coachees problem some of the time.

Able to help the coachee create opportunities for learning and for taking new actions. Helps them explore alternatives, promotes experimentation and self-discovery, celebrates successes and capabilities, helps “do it now”.

Journeyperson

Received coaching and coaching supervision.

Received formal training or mentoring on coaching skills.

Describes at least five elements of a fundamental coaching agreement (e.g. role of the coach, duration, expectations, feedback, responsibilities).

Able to actively listen, without trying to solve the coachees problem most of the time.

Keeps to the coachees agenda.

Asks questions for maximum benefit, they evoke discovery and insight, challenge assumption, open-ended, forward-looking and pre-supposing success.

Craftsperson

Undertaken a coaching education, accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) or equivalent.

Has multiple coaching approaches to bring to bare at any time.

Complete focus on what coachee is/is not saying to understand the meaning of what is said e.g. client’s agenda, hear concerns, values, beliefs, summarises and mirrors back without judgement.

Guide / Innovator

Invents and modifies practices to match the context.

Active contributor to the coaching community consistently identifying and sharing existing and emerging coaching practices.

Facilitate Learning

Agile is all about learning, as an Agile Coach you will need to facilitate the learning of other people around you, helping them learn new skills and knowledge.

Teaching

The ability to convey information in a way that is understood and useful to the recipient.  As a teacher you will have to be adept at integrating information to help people gain awareness.

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Able to describe to a team their chosen method/framework.

Able to convey basic Agile concepts and describe at least 1 Agile practice to an individual.

Able to describe teaching.

Practitioner

Has facilitated at least one training workshop.

Able to present Agile concepts in depth to a team and stakeholders.

Applies at least one appropriate teaching style.

Journeyperson

Demonstrates the ability to create a suitable learning environment making use of the physical space.

Regularly gathers feedback and uses this to adapt their approach to teaching.

Practises with cultural sensitivity and adapts accordingly.

Creates an environment of emotional safety, so that learners feel safe to engage.

Able to create a learning environment where students can learn from each other.

Has applied multiple teaching styles in multiple training workshops.

Able to create an opportunity for different learning styles.

Uses effective storytelling to convey key concepts.

Craftsperson

Focuses on stabilising principles and varying practices to situationally align the client’s maturity with effective application of agility.

Ability to maintain the required energy level.

Practices effective classroom management.

Identifies and utilises effective instructional techniques (games, visual aids, etc.) to impart key concepts.

Has co-trained other aspiring teachers and given them constructive feedback.

Able to assess audience response and adjust accordingly, to maximise the learning experience.

Understands and can apply principles of adult learning theory.

Guide / Innovator

Able to develop new instructional techniques/styles.

Invents and modifies practices to match the context.

Active contributor to the Teaching community consistently identifying and sharing existing and emerging training practices.

Mentoring

As a mentor you are able to use your expertise to show others new skills and/or to develop existing ones, working alongside the mentee as they do their job.

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Able to describe mentoring.

Practitioner

Able to give feedback in a way that encourages growth.

Has mentored a team on at least one Agile practice.

Journeyperson

Gives feedback without interpretation or judgement.

Able to mentor in a number of areas.

Called on to act as a mentor outside of team.

Craftsperson

Regarded as a mentor and leader in developing understanding and awareness of agility within the organisation.

Able to challenge individuals or teams limiting beliefs and assumptions.

Guide / Innovator

Invents and modifies practices to match the context.

Building education programmes

In order to facilitate growth, especially deeper learning there is often a need to support individuals and teams on longer development programmes. This is likely to include working with different parts of an organisation, such as HR and learning & development, to design and deliver suitable programmes.

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Able to describe the learning needs of an individual or team.

Practitioner

Defines clear learning objectives, which are used to create and execute training for a team and/or stakeholders.

Has demonstrated the ability to integrate learning materials, to meet the need and objectives of at least one training event.

Journeyperson

Able to design learning and capability goals for one individual (or team) and analyse the execution of these goals.

Has demonstrated the ability to integrate learning materials, to meet the need and objectives for multiple training events.

Able to build new learning materials.

Craftsperson

Able to design and build a bespoke training and development programme, with multiple learning interventions and can evaluate the success of the programme.

Guide / Innovator

Invents and modifies practices to match the context.

Advising

Managing an engagement

  • Define client-coaching agreements
  • Define outcomes and objectives with key metrics
  • Create a coaching plan
  • Create clarity of purpose of engagement
  • Business of the engagement aligned to commercial terms
  • Ability to run the engagement in an effective way with feedback loops
  • Inspect the engagement frequently with the client
  • Record the results for sharing
  • Agree adaption of the coaching plan as needed
  • Implement the next coaching increment
  • Close the engagement effectively

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Understands the importance of setting goals, boundaries and rules to the coaching engagement.

Understands that organisations are complex, therefore engagements should be empirical in nature, with effective feedback loops.

Practitioner

Able to create an agreement with individuals and/ or with a team, that defines how an engagement will work.

Has identified clear goals within at least one engagement and identifies how those goals will be measured.

Can describe an engagement with at least one team/individual that allowed the coach and coachee to inspect and adapt towards the defined goals.

With at least one engagement the client is satisfied that the goals have been met or alternate goals have been identified and met. Either the engagement is at an end, or new goals have been identified.

Is clear and transparent with the engagement stakeholder.

Journeyperson

Can create a coordinated agreement with a team of teams (multiple teams)

Always identifies clear goals and measures for an engagement and has done this for many engagements.

Aligns goals to organisational outcomes.

Can describe multiple engagements that allowed the coach and coachee(s) to inspect and adapt towards the defined goals.

Able to describe the effective closing of multiple engagements.

Manages/grows relationships with management and leaders across an organisation.

Champion’s transparency within the engagement.

Able to manage engagement commercially.

Craftsperson

Creates agreements with leadership for engagements across an organisation.

Able to manage engagement commercially for a number of people.

Guide / Innovator

Giving advice

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Understands that sometimes advice needs to be given.

Practitioner

Able to use direct communication with a team, language is clear with feedback, reframes, clearly explains techniques or exercises, and does so in a respectful way.

Creates awareness by presenting hard facts to the team even if difficult – Be the mirror to the team.

Journeyperson

Has examples of using direct communication with multiple teams and can describe examples where this has been used effectively with management.

Creates awareness by presenting hard facts to the organisation.

Craftsperson

Able to use multiple styles and techniques to raise awareness within an organisation.

Guide / Innovator

A professional who is sought out by organisations for their advice.

Serving the team

An Agile Coach serves the team in several ways, including [2]:

  • Growing self-organisation and cross-functional teams;
  • Helping the teams to create high-value products;
  • Removing impediments to the development team’s progress;
  • Coaching the development team in organisational environments in which Agile is not yet fully adopted and understood.

Team Dynamics

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Can list at least three different challenges facing a self-organising team.

Practitioner

Explains the difference between a working group and a team.

Identifies at least three key attributes of effective Agile Teams (e.g. ground rules in place, awareness of capabilities and capacities, effective and efficient collaboration).

Applies at least two methods for improving team performance (e.g. common goals/purpose, shared accountability, working agreement, psychological safety, etc.).

Identifies at least two pitfalls of a homogeneous team (i.e. lack of different perspectives, experiences, and viewpoints).

Describes at least one multi-staged model for team formation and development (e.g. the Tuckman model).

Journeyperson

Able to apply at least two different models for team development (e.g., Tuckman model, team performance curve, etc.).

Appraise the effectiveness of at least two different development frameworks for supporting an Agile team’s growth.

Craftsperson

Contrasts the different team dynamics across multiple teams with whom you have worked, and evaluates the effects on team results.

Guide / Innovator

Coaching the team

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Able to list three ways in which you serve the team.

Practitioner

Applies at least two techniques to foster greater self-organisation within teams (e.g., powerful questions, autonomy/mastery/purpose, active listening, etc.).

Applied a countermeasure to reduce the impact of a challenge facing a self-organising team.

Able to describe how a self-organising team approaches at least three challenges.

Journeyperson

Demonstrates at least two tangible examples of how they developed and changed the culture of at least one team.

Identify two team formation and development challenges commonly encountered while introducing Agile. For each, describe a coaching approach to address the challenge.

Applies at least three techniques for addressing team dysfunctions, and have used these techniques multiple times.

Applies at least three techniques or activities for building trust in a team, in multiple contexts.

Able to create a coaching agreement with the development team.

Craftsperson

Able to evaluate different techniques used to increase team effectiveness across multiple teams with whom they have worked, and evaluate the effects on team results.

Guide / Innovator

Starting Teams

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Practitioner

Illustrates what is important for a new team.

Explains how purpose, alignment, and context are set and used during the start-up of a team to accelerate teamwork.

Able to organise and facilitate a change of context for an existing team that defines purpose, alignment, and context.

Journeyperson

Explains at least three reasons why the start of a new Agile team should be handled differently from a traditional project kick-off/charter (e.g. level of collaboration, lack of experience in

Agile environments, importance of shared understanding).

Explains how seeing the whole system, emphasising collaborative work, focusing on a good start, continuous learning, and “good enough for now” support the launch of a new Agile team.

Describes at least three responsibilities each for the sponsor (e.g. clarify constraints, context, and stakeholder expectations), Product Owner (communicate vision, purpose, and customer needs), and development team members (get to know each other, create transparency about capabilities, create ground rules and working agreements) when starting a new Agile team.

Has organised and facilitated the launch of at least one new Agile team.

Craftsperson

Has successfully organised and facilitated the launch of a number of new Agile teams.

Guide / Innovator

Serving the Product Owner

An Agile Coach serves the Product Owner in several ways, including [2]:

  • Ensuring that goals, scope, and product domain are understood by everyone on the Team as well as possible;
  • Finding techniques for effective product backlog management, that maximises value;
  • Helping others to understand product planning in an empirical environment;
  • Supports the Product Owner and business stakeholders understanding and practice of agility;

Facilitating Product Definition

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Practitioner

Has facilitated the creation (or refinement) of the product vision between the Product Owner and the Development Team.

Can explain at least two techniques for moving from product vision to product backlog (e.g., product vision board, business model or Lean canvas, customer journey, impact mapping, user story mapping).

Organised and facilitated a product backlog refinement session with one team and stakeholders.

Can explain two techniques that could be used to create product backlog items that are ready to be taken into the next sprints.

Journeyperson

Organises and facilitates the creation (or refinement) of the product vision between the Product Owner and stakeholders, with multiple teams.

Can apply at least two techniques for moving from product vision to product backlog (e.g. innovation games, user story mapping, user story workshops, brainstorming, etc.).

Can appraise at least three criteria that can be used for structuring a complex or multi-team product backlog (e.g., feature area, team).

Has a customer focus and able to support activities such as user research & Ttesting.

Able to facilitate Lean experiments.

Commercial awareness (e.g. funnels, understanding OPEX & CAPEX, action and vanity metrics, types of value)

Craftsperson

Able to support product kickoffs in almost any situation.

Guide / Innovator

Coaching the Product Owner

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Lists at least three ways in which you serve the Product Owner.

Can identify at least three effective collaboration techniques that a Product Owner can use to work with the team.

Able to discuss at least three negative impacts that arise when the Product Owner applies excessive time pressure to the development team.

Practitioner

Lists three benefits that arise if a Product Owner participates in the retrospective.

Can explain Agile to a business stakeholder.

Has built a coaching relationship with at least one Product Owner and helped them become more effective.

Journeyperson

Has built a coaching relationship with multiple Product Owners and helped them become more effective.

Craftsperson

Able to evaluate the effectiveness of previous coaching done with Product Owners and uses this to continually improve how to better serve others.

Able to support a Product Owner community in their growth.

Guide / Innovator

Serving the organisation

An Agile Coach serves the organisation in several ways, including [2]:

  • Leading and coaching the organisation in its Agile adoption;
  • Planning Agile adoption within the organisation;
  • Helping employees and stakeholders understand Agile delivery;
  • Nurturing change that increases the effectiveness of the teams; and,
  • Working with other Agile Coaches to increase the effectiveness of the application of Agile in the organisation.

Organisational Development

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Lists three ways in which you serve the organisation.

Can describe one example of a major organisational design change implied by adopting Agile (e.g. elimination of single-function groups, traditional career paths, or annual appraisals).

Able to list at least three ways that traditional management changes in the Agile workplace.

Describes at least two stakeholder behaviours that support the team’s success and at least two behaviours that do not support the team’s success.

Practitioner

Has applied at least two techniques to effect change in an organisation in order to help teams be more productive.

Journeyperson

Can describe the nature of complex systems (eg. cause-and-effect only visible after the event, high level of uncertainty and disagreement, emerging systems, products and practices).

Able to explain the importance of taking a systemic view (i.e. convince a stakeholder that the system as a whole needs to be optimised, regard the bigger picture, understand causal loops and delayed effects).

Can describe at least two systematic methods for helping organisations improve their Agile adoption (eg. causal loop analysis, value stream mapping).

Has applied at least one systematic development approach (e.g., systems thinking).

Can describe at least two frameworks for catalysing organisational change (e.g. Kotter’s 8-Step model, the Grief Cycle, 4D Model/Appreciative Inquiry).

Able to describe an approach to a complex intervention that addresses the root cause(s) of an organisational dysfunction and analyse the long-term impact (i.e. identify the situation, the underlying root cause(s), list measures/experiments and results).

Can demonstrate at least two tangible examples of how he/she developed and changed the culture of his/her team (or organisation) from a command-and-control to an Agile mind-set.

Able to identify at least three ways the cultural change from a command-and-control to an Agile mindset added value to the development team, Product Owner, and eventual product.

Outside of their team they are seen as someone who develops the organisation.

Craftsperson

Can identify three factors to introduce and cultivate in an organisation (business unit, department, programme) that can promote improvement in agility and value delivery. Some examples are collaboration tools, technical practices, and structural changes. For each, can describe how it enables and enhances agility and success.

Able to design and facilitate a retrospective with senior leaders and executives to foster improvement at the organisational level.

Guide / Innovator

Scaling

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Practitioner

Illustrates, with at least two reasons, why scaling might not be such a great idea (e.g. products created by small teams, communication overhead, TCO).

Can identify at least three techniques for visualising, managing, or reducing dependencies between teams.

Recognises at least three different scaling frameworks or approaches.

Experiment with at least one large-scale, participatory meeting format (Open Space, World Cafe, etc.) to scale meetings/workshops.

Journeyperson

Able to differentiate the impact of feature teams versus component teams on the delivery of value.

Describe an organisational design that enables multiple teams to work on the same Product.

Explains the pitfalls of too much or too little prescription (e.g. lack of autonomy, lack of alignment, no slack, integration mess, overly detailed planning, not meeting the Definition of Done, overly slow pace, death by meetings, etc.).

Contrast two patterns for scaling the Product Owner role (e.g. shifting clarification responsibility to the development team, defining feature areas or different sub-products, PO team, Chief Product Owner).

Can describe at least five techniques to improve inter-team collaboration and has experimented with at least two of them.

Able to explain at least three benefits of supporting strong technical practices when working with multiple teams.

Has organised and facilitated multiple large-scale, participatory meeting format (Open Space, World Cafe, etc.) to scale meetings/workshops.

Craftsperson

Evaluate an experience with supporting the work of multiple teams in an organisation; identify how you would do things differently.

Able to connect interdependencies and impact teams’ reflection, learning, and growth.

Knowledge and application of multiple change management frameworks. Demonstrates competency in successfully applying the frameworks.

Guide / Innovator

Resolving Impediments

Level

Reflection

Level / Reflection

Beginner

Can discuss at least two ways to help the team with responding to impediments (e.g. makes impediments visible, works with the team to resolve impediments).

Can identify and explain at least three common organisational impediments outside the scope of a team that can affect the effectiveness of teams (e.g. geographical distribution, people in multiple project teams, incentives and HR policies, no constructive safe-to-fail culture).

Practitioner

Able to identify at least three typical impediments for a team and describe at least one way to address them (e.g. late attendance in meetings, blocked work, supplier issues).

List at least three techniques to evaluate impediments in depth (e.g. root-cause analysis, fishbone, 5 whys) and describe when they might not be working.

Able to analyse an impediment and identify a root cause(s) and/or underlying issue(s).

Journeyperson

Has demonstrated ability to remove impediments from multiple teams in multiple contexts.

Craftsperson

Guide / Innovator

Knowledge Areas

The knowledge areas represent your domain expertise. This contextual expertise may help you build trust with the team or organisation with whom you are working. However the risk is too much domain expertise may make it more difficult to be objective in your coaching. Therefore it may be valid for an Agile Coach to allow a reduction of expertise in some areas (i.e. choosing not to stay up to date with the latest changes in technology), but still to seek to increase knowledge in other areas.

Knowing the team

Expertise in the technical work of the team, including:

  • Understanding of current technical practices, and practices that could be improved or adopted to increase agility; and
  • Technical understanding of the product a team is using or products across the organisation;

Knowing the business

Expertise in the business domain of the team or organisation, including:

  • Understanding of current market place in which business is being conducted; and
  • Understanding the needs and concerns of users, customers and other business stakeholders.

Knowing the organisation

Expertise in how the organisation works, including:

  • Knowledge of structures, policies, operating models
  • Understanding of relationships between people, teams, departments
  • An understanding of the organisational culture

Knowing Yourself

If you are going to be helping the growth of others then this needs to start with you knowing and growing yourself. A deep understanding of your drives, beliefs, values and strengths can be valuable to manage your emotions when interacting with others.

Acknowledgements

The original concept was conceived at the London Scrum Coaching Retreat in 2018, with thanks to the team:

  • Shannon Carter
  • Rickard Jones
  • Martin Lambert
  • Stacey Louie
  • Tom Reynolds
  • Andre Rubin
  • Kubair Shirazee
  • Mark Summers

Thanks to other reviewers who are numerous – some anonymous. Contributors who we know and can thank explicitly include:

  • John Barrett
  • Dean Bryan
  • Matt Hoskins
  • Helen Meek
  • Tim Robinson
  • Andy Spence
  • Christian Zander

If you are not listed here but have given feedback, a big thanks, let us know and we will add you to the acknowledgements.

References

  1. “What is Agile Facilitation?” by Cara Turner – source: https://facilitatingagility.com/2012/03/05/what-is-agile-facilitation/
  2. Scrum Alliance Learning Objectives for Path to Certified Scrum Professional®.
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