How does one break into the team facilitation space?


I’ve been giving this some serious thought lately. I’ll give this some background.

I’m developer and love writing code. I’m a big advocate of TDD and automation. I really love the work, I’m doing, I like the people I work with and I really like the product, but all is not perfect. We have discongruities that at times hinder us from doing our best. We have a process that could be best described as “Scrumban” and isn’t quite one or the other.

I have long believed that in order to help those around me I need to grow myself first. I recently paid and obtained my CSM and I’ve been reading in the Agile space for some time. To be clear, I have no authority and any changes that gets implemented has to be by the team agreeing to it.

We are seeing small wins, such as adding short retros each sprint with improvements. Certain changes such as making sure our stories are defined enough to complete them without ambiguity are starting to happen. The results are visible. I like the fact that I’m helping us move forward

All that is great. However know that my moving part of my role into a Scrum Master or Agile style facilitator is not going to happen here. I want to grow and I feel that I could do the role well. I derive great joy from helping others do their best. How do I transition from developer to Scrum Master / Agile facilitator etc? I know I can obtain a role as a team lead in another organisation, but I’m not sure if that helps me move into the Agile space further?

I would love to know others’ thoughts.


This has been posted on elsewhere in these threads, @andycleff being 1 such commentator, but I’d highly recommend the Agile Coaching Institute’s Bootcamp (see Powerful stuff… In the short term’ Lyssa Adkins’ book “Coaching Agile Teams” would be a great start for some self-focused learning.


I used to be in your position as a developer who was lumped onto a team during an “agile transformation initiative”. The scrum masters were essentially project managers who reported out status reports and agile metrics for no reason other than to feel relevant in a time of job ambiguity (sevant leadership). I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

I took the initative to start facilitating and engaging more people within the company by having open forums/discussions about the little things the teams did to improve. This usually involved project managers, scrum masters, leads, and other agile enthusiasts. Sometimes it was adopting a new framework or way of documenting. Other times it was the flow our of how the product owner funneled planned worked to the sprint ready state. Over time, role of what the company needed naturally evolved and it just so happened that in my situation, a (for a lack of a better term) product owner was needed to help ensure the teams and servant leaders/managers didn’t lose sight of continuous improvement and collaborate on it. I then became the evangelist/coach/senior scrum master of the digital space.

Attending external conferences, meet ups, or online collaboration (cough coalation) can also be beneficial in expanding not only your knowledge, but others as well. After doing that dance for about 5 years now, I’ve learned a lot of what not to do, what to experiment with, and where I can direct my focus based off my strengths.

Keep in mind that each companies needs will be unique. Some may need a more disciplined technical approach while others may need a better change management/lean approach. You’ll figure it out once you get going and start peeling back the layers of unknowns and opportunities. If you’re comfortable with being outspoken, I would start evangelizing the wins and failures of what your team experiments with to other teams, leads, or even management.

Summary: I fell into an agile leadership role through collaboration more than obtaining it through prescribed list of steps. If you feel that obtaining agility is of more interest over building software solutions, start by getting buy in on your vision with others.


Sounds like you’re headed in the right direction by introducing retros and building up your knowledge with CSM, reading, and joining agileuprising.

It’s interesting that you brought up that you have no authority with the team. Coaching and facilitation is more about empowering teams to find their way to agility rather than through edict.

To quote one of the principles in the agile manifesto:

"Build projects around motivated individuals.
Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.”

This holds true for not just architectural and coding decisions but for processes also.

Moving into the space, there are positions out there for agile coach, scrum master, agile project manager though the definition and responsibilities of each is highly dependent on the team and context. If you are up for contract work, that route may get you rapid exposure to multiple teams and projects in a short amount of time to build your chops.


To be honest, I don’t mind having no authority. I like that the gains have to be team gains. It is really nice to see our wins and know it was bigger than one person. It sounds like the path forward is reach out to teams around us and find more small wins for everyone.

And when I mention the no authority, I mean in the context of that I have a team lead, a product owner and tech lead in the office. If we are talking a pyramid, which at times it feels like, I exist at the wide part. It isn’t the worst. I guess the trick is to keep on learning and growing.