Agile Coach – Overcoming Fears and Ego in an Agile Transformation

It seems like everywhere we turn, we’re receiving advice and support for the Agile coaches and consultants out there. I mean, it’s a tough job right? But somebody has to do it.

Being part of an agile transformation isn’t easy, heck, if it was easy, everyone and their uncle would be doing it. But to do it well, one needs lots of experience, the good and the bad, failures and success.

We’ve been covering some of the many pieces of advice from fellow Agile coaches from asking the questions: “Do you  have what it takes to be an Agile coach?” to  “What small steps are needed to help guide an Agile transformation?” Another recent article we came across by Martin Proulx (Hey man! You provide great content!) helped us see another darker side of the monster practice we call “Agile Coaching.”

Lack of trust is closely related to fear – fear of uncertainty.

The reasons behind this are the fact that people want to make results more predictable, prevent mistakes, reduce perceived level of risk, and possibly, to hide incompetence. Change can really shake up an organization, we are creatures of habit, are we not?

I remember one particular Agile transformation where I literally had an individual who wasn’t willing to move his desk so we could have a better open office for communication and collaboration with the development team. He really liked his spot! While this was frustrating to the other developers, this individual quickly saw the value of being part of the group. I guess he didn’t want to get voted off the island!

Martin closes his post with the thoughts that, “To be successful as change agents, it is our role to dig into the reasons behind the need to control…I’m simply talking about root cause analysis of the situation in an attempt to properly address the symptoms.”

What would be great to see is a list of how an Agile coach can pragmatically hold a meeting or session to elicit those fears and uncertainties. Sounds like a collaborative session (with lunch provided), right?

In my estimation, you could have a working meeting to discuss these with particular business units:

1. Product Owners – Fears, concerns, processes, controls

2. Development – Constraints, frustrations, communication issues

3. Management – Ego, control issues, communication issues

I’m sure one could add much more to these particular topics listed above. In our opinion, if your an Agile coach that has passed the test and having Agile transformation frustrations, it would be valuable to have these discussions with your team, product owners, and management.

[Via Analytical-Mind]

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