The Agile Coach Role: Coaching for Agile Performance Impact

Date
2021-01-05
Authors
Stray, Viktoria
Tkalich, Anastasiia
Moe, Nils Brede
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Abstract
It is increasingly common to introduce agile coaches to help gain speed and advantage in agile companies. Following the success of Spotify, the role of the agile coach has branched out in terms of tasks and responsibilities, but little research has been conducted to examine how this role is practiced. This paper examines the role of the agile coach through 19 semi-structured interviews with agile coaches from ten different companies. We describe the role in terms of the tasks the coach has in agile projects, valuable traits, skills, tools, and the enablers of agile coaching. Our findings indicate that agile coaches perform at the team and organizational levels. They affect effort, strategies, knowledge, and skills of the agile teams. The most essential traits of an agile coach are being emphatic, people-oriented, able to listen, diplomatic, and persistent. We suggest empirically based advice for agile coaching, for example companies giving their agile coaches the authority to implement the required organizational changes within and outside the teams.
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Agile and Lean: Organizations, Products and Development, agile software development, coaching, communication, coordination, teamwork
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