A Few Good Agile Coaches


Son, we live in a business world that needs agile and that agile needs coaching. Who’s gonna do it, your QA guy? You, project manager? I am given a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for your transformation and you curse the Coach. You have that luxury; you have the luxury of not knowing what I know; that blown sprints, while tragic, were probably the result of your vague desires, and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you…actually makes your unrealistic idea work. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about during post mortems, you WANT me on this transformation, you NEED me on this transformation.

We use words like WIP, FLOW and DEVOPS….we use these words as the backbone of a life spent making your impossible organizational structure into an agile enterprise, you use them as a punch line!

I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a middle manager who runs his organization with the very agile environment I produce, AND THEN QUESTIONS THE MANNER IN WHICH I PRODUCE IT! I would rather you just said you would sign off on the acceptance and went on your way, otherwise, I suggest you go back to your waterfall. Either way, I don’t give a DAMN what you think was included in this PI.


did you order the white board?!?


PERFECT response!


Sadly I have been there to many time. This hits home.

I am glad to be in an org now that is ready to make the hard decisions. Like when people are uncoachable or do every thing in there power to stop change. They are generously sent on their way.

They accept that we just need an interative team based devlopment methods. If Scrum fits let’s collocate and get people in the right roles.

Removing waste, predicable delivery with quality and a culture of safe and trust Is what we value. Metrics are just a method to hunt problems spots and monitor the health of the delivery system.

It took us two years to get here. Hiring coach’s. Falling and skinning our knees and learning a lot.

I am have spent a quarter of the year in India flown Near 300k miles. Next year isn’t going to be much better but I soldier on because its been one amazing ride.


This is where I feel I am at the moment. The manager I’m currently working with keeps pulling me aside to tell me that I need to be more prescriptive and that it isn’t happening fast enough. Since day one I’ve told him I’m not here to tell them what to do, and that he should get used to the uncomfortable sensation he was feeling. Last week he made me come up with a plan of what I’m going to do this week and quantify it. He looked at the list of items and then asked (in a disbelieving tone) if that was enough to keep me busy. The main thing I want to work on is psychological safety, and he had never heard of it. He then wrote up this plan / list and emailed it to me CC’ing in my sponsor.

I said that the organisation had hired me for my expertise, and that I have done this before. At some point he’s going to have to trust me. His response was that he trusted I was an expert, and trusted that I’ve done it before, but that it’s going too slow.

Quote of the week from Him: I’m not afraid of failing. We can try everything and fail and that will be ok.