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Why Successful Digital Team Need both Scrum Master and Agile Coach

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Digital teams are challenging to work with. They necessitate significant modifications in how individuals think, respond, and conduct, which are inherently difficult. Unfortunately, many businesses misjudge the magnitude of these obstacles, and a lack of planning or inadequate funding can lead to a failure of the shift.

It Takes Time and Practice to Adopt Scrum.

Because Scrum is the most frequently used Agile methodology, I'll focus on it. According to a common saying, Scrum is "easy to comprehend but difficult to master." The Scrum Guide, which specifies the framework, describes the underlying principles and execution, which have been the subject of intensive study and decades of practical experience. Scrum is explained well in the Scrum Guide, but reading a 14-page booklet does not make you a Scrum expert. Many aspects of Agile, such as the capacity to react quickly in complex, rapidly changing environments, need time and experience to perfect. This way of working will go against long-standing tendencies that will be tough to break overnight.

Expecting newly established Agile teams to perform well is equivalent to expecting an amateur tennis player to beat Roger Federer after a day of professional instruction. However, this endeavor to get expert outcomes with limited preparation is a common method used by corporations migrating to Agile, where teams are formed, given rudimentary training, and then left to their own devices to bring agility to life. This is risky and might convey the impression that Agile is a passing trend. Scrum challenges individuals to think and act in novel ways, which is practically impossible to achieve without help. Simply teaching the Scrum Guide and expecting professional results is a huge error. This is where the interaction between the Agile coach and the Scrum master comes into play.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Agile Coach

The Agile coach job was formed by industry professionals who wanted to better prepare teams for success, although the Scrum Guide has yet to acknowledge it. Perhaps this is why many firms a) don't consider a coach to be a necessary part of an Agile transformation or b) regard it as interchangeable with the Scrum master function. While the two professions have comparable skill sets, an Agile coach's scope and expertise are more comprehensive than a Scrum master's. An Agile coach is simply an advanced-trained Scrum master with expertise. The Agile coach strives to improve overall agility and has a company-wide perspective on progress, offering help to numerous teams as well as at the executive level.

An successful Agile coach instills practice discipline and promotes lifelong learning. By example, the coach teaches servant leadership, recognizing the differences between mentoring, training, and facilitation, and when each should be used. Coaches, above all, guide teams to successful, creative solutions without spoon-feeding or encouraging reliance on the coach. The result is great, but it takes time, work, knowledge, and patience.

An Agile coach's day-to-day tasks include:

  • Instilling best practices and communicating the Agile approach
  • Educating teams on how to use Agile tools and tactics
  • Facilitating early stand-ups and retrospectives
  • Keeping track of the organization's development and striving to overcome any roadblocks
  • Encouraging stakeholder buy-in and leadership
  • Creating and upholding standards
  • Providing guidance to business executives as they transition to an Agile mentality

The Scrum Master

Many of the Scrum master's tasks are similar to those of the Agile coach. In fact, I think that if a company had enough competent and experienced Scrum masters, the requirement for an Agile coach would be greatly reduced, since Scrum masters might take on some coaching roles. New Scrum masters, on the other hand, are frequently migrated project managers, and their prior knowledge isn't necessarily applicable to Scrum, necessitating Agile training.

Scrum masters have a tighter scope than Agile coaches, and their attention is generally focused on a single team. Scrum masters are expected to have a good understanding of the team's strengths and weaknesses, possible difficulties, and development possibilities because they are entrenched inside teams. An competent Scrum master is dedicated to putting this information to good use by implementing methods and practices that are specific to the team. Scrum masters empower their teams by guiding them toward continual improvement. If a Scrum master is not sufficiently focused on the team's requirements, opportunities for team and individual growth will be missed.

A Scrum master's day-to-day tasks include:

  • Scrum concepts and techniques are taught.
  • assisting others in improving their Agile knowledge and abilities
  • Organizing and facilitating good, productive meetings and Agile ceremonies
  • Increasing the team's ability to communicate effectively
  • Assisting with sprint planning and backlog management for the team
  • Keeping track of and enhancing the team's performance
  • enabling the team to meet commitments and generate high-value increments

The Scrum Master/Agile Coach Relationship

The approach I recommend, in which Agile coaches train and empower outstanding Scrum masters, is a force multiplier that adheres to Scrum ideals and Agile principles. I've always argued that coaches are better used as advisors rather than workers. Because they have been effective in encouraging Scrum masters to build adequate knowledge and abilities, the perfect Agile coach will eventually work themselves out of a job. Coaching may be done by a group of experienced Scrum masters as a Community of Practice after some time and positive traction. If a coach is needed in the future, one might be hired on an as-needed basis.

Here are some recommendations for putting this strategy into practice, maximizing both roles, and assisting teams in reaching peak performance:

  • Agile coaches should enhance training, offer support, and promote the professional growth of Scrum masters.
  • Scrum masters should make sure they have the power and access they need to get things done for their teams, and they should concentrate on team-specific growth methods.
  • Scrum masters can anticipate to grow and improve Agile coaching abilities and competence as they progress through their careers.

The Coach Should Encourage Maturity of the Organization and the Team

When leaders expect Agile coaches to carry teams, they are doing their organization a disservice. Instead, empowered teams that gradually outgrow the requirement for extensive Agile coaching serve the business far better. There's an issue if team members are worried about what will happen if a coach goes. This indicates that the coach has enabled teams to rely too much on coaching, or that the teams have placed a greater emphasis on the coach than on their Scrum masters.

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