Agile coach

For teams to orient, grow and improve, they must actively develop their methods, processes and habits. Focusing on the day-to-day work often doesn’t leave the team members with enough time, motivation or distance to do so. Ignoring this need can lead to teams being overwhelmed.

We want to help VSHNeers reflect, learn, and overcome these issues. In doing so, VSHNeers and teams can grow together, understand and improve workflows, and reduce the burden on people.

For this we can assign an Agile Coach to a team, either as part of the team permanently or to be approached on-demand by the team.

Key responsibilities

Support the development of a team by
  • Regularly listening to the needs of a team and the wider organization and bringing these to the awareness of the respective people.

  • Helping to

    • understand and use appropriate patterns and methods, mainly from, but not limited to, S3 and Agile.

    • continuously improve productivity, collaboration and satisfaction of VSHNeers.

    • understand and transparently articulate and regularly review a team’s reason for existence, orientation, intentions and goals.

    • focus on the flow of work within the team and between teams to be aligned with VSHN’s strategic directions (strategy, goals and beliefs).

Ensure
  • Individuals and teams regularly reflect on their ways of working.

  • Continuous improvement is active and demonstrable.

  • The team is aware of opportunities for organizational learning.

Dependencies

  • Coaching can stimulate local optimizations within a group or a team. To become a truly aligned and performing team, they depend on information such as overall purpose and strategy.

  • The individuals, groups or teams have to actively invest time with the coach to actually make a difference. The coach alone doesn’t change anything.

  • Teams that don’t have a permanent coach role in their team actively approach coaches when they need support. Coaches don’t go actively looking for problems in the teams themselves.

Competences, qualities and skills

  • Excellent communication skills in the language of the team.

  • Sound knowledge of S3, Agile and other usable patterns and methods, and willingness to strengthen and develop these through learning and practice.

  • Experience in applying and adapting these methods and patterns.

  • Ability to look at changes in the organization from a systemic point of view.

  • Ability to manage conflicting demands and expectations professionally.

  • Ability to help a team introduce change in a process-oriented and participatory way in the social system.

  • High-level understanding of the technologies and products VSHN uses and sells regarding the use, development, operation and maintenance.

Evaluation Criteria

Seen as Team members
  • Self-management improved.

  • Competences of working together as a team improved.

  • Job satisfaction improved.

Seen as the Team
  • The team knows the relationship between the applied methods (for example MoSCoW), processes (for example Kanban) and structures (S3) - the "Why?"

  • The team’s intentions are known (What?)

  • The team’s tasks and projects are prioritized against each other (What?)

  • Work items (WI) are known and adequately formulated (What?)

  • Work items are distinguishable between idea and task (What?)

  • The team knows the relationship between different types of work (for example planned vs. unplanned work) (What?)

  • Elementary activities of own value creation are known (How?)

  • The team knows its flow efficiency (How?)

  • The team knows its delivery capacity each iteration (for example week) in advance (How?)

  • The team can adequately deal with blockages in the flow of work. (How?)

Seen as the Organization
  • Orientation and intention of VSHN clear within the teams?

  • The team is part of the collaboration on VSHNs value chain (aligned to reach our company goals)?

  • Work flow improved?

  • Employee satisfaction improved?

  • Customer satisfaction improved?

  • Product and service quality improved?

Assignment of Coaches

Especially for new teams or after big organizational changes it makes sense to have a coach as a member of the team to get through the "forming, storming and norming" phases. When a team has settled on a way to work together and continuously develop as a team, a permanent coach in the team might no longer be needed and some of the duties can explicitly or implicitly be handled by team members or as a shared effort.

This means that we see two general types of assignments of a coach:

  • An initial assignment, more internal to the team, for example as a full team member

    • get from forming, storming over norming to a performing team

  • A long-term assignment, more external, shared coach (supervision)

    • punctual help for the team, the team actively approaches the coach when they need support

    • the coach don’t directly interfere with the team anymore

We should have an agreement (VIP) per coach we assign to a team. That should include the driver, delegator responsibility, external constraints, key challenges, key deliverables, etc. See S3 Domain description which helps us here.


This role is tracked and reviewed as VIP-84