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In earlier days, Agile was implemented only for individual teams. But now, Agile is implemented in all organizations, including enterprise level. This is the result of a new method called 'enterprise Agility' being used by the whole organization to deal with the ever-increasing complexities of the market and to achieve better results. Organizations must completely change old mindsets to implement Agile at the enterprise level and adopt new thinking, processes, tools, techniques, and culture. Adapting to such drastic changes must be tough. But a coach who is more flexible, adaptable, and can support the implementation of Agile at the organizational level can make the task a lot easier. This is where an Agile enterprise coach steps in.
An Enterprise Agile coach is an expanded form of Agile coach working at the team level who works to support the implementation of Agile at the enterprise level. The Agile enterprise coach helps organizations design and implement Agile transformation at the enterprise level. Integrating the Agile development process with an organization's business is essential to achieving business Agility. An Agile enterprise coach strategically works in that direction. Here, the ability of the Agile enterprise coach to visualize the need for Agile transformation from a broader business standpoint becomes crucial. So, the difference between an Agile and Enterprise Agile coach needs to be re-emphasized. While an Agile coach transforms and implements Agile at the team level, an Agile enterprise coach works at the business level and implements Agile to align with the business goals. The reliability and knowledge and their high level of coaching skills make Agile enterprise coaches most suitable to coach the leadership team in Agile. An Agile enterprise coach draws from management consulting and organizational development principles and is extensively experienced in Agile, organizational development, change, and culture. Hence, they can work at any level in the organization.
A few traits are common in almost all enterprise Agile coaches. They focus on portfolios and have good experience in implementing Agile. They use this knowledge and experience in discussions on Agile topics. They help in implementing a method of implementation and building an Agile program structure.
An enterprise Agile coach acts as a catalyst for guiding the change. He helps guide the transformation. So, an enterprise Agile coach needs to understand business, technical aspects, and transformational Agility. An Agile enterprise coach usually performs the following tasks:
Every organization has its structure and culture, which they might be following for a long time. There may be a broad organizational culture and even sub-cultures in different teams or departments. Similarly, the overall structure of the organization and the structure of individual departments or teams may be varied. An Agile enterprise coach understands the Organization's culture and structure and then identifies the areas where the changes are needed. The identification part may be easy, but applying those changes may be difficult. It means bringing about a change in the mindset of the people involved. So, the Agile enterprise coach holds extensive discussions with the Stakeholders and presents the proposed changes’ benefits. And once they are convinced, the changes are implemented.
The Agile enterprise coaches work toward developing leaders. But before doing that, they should themselves be good leaders. As we said earlier, they are the best people to coach an organization's leadership team. This is particularly true for organizations run in traditional ways, and the information and instructions flow from top to bottom, and such organizations are trying to embrace Agility. Here, the role of enterprise Agile coaches becomes crucial as coaching the top leadership to adopt Agile practices is critical for the success of Agile implementation in the organization.
Further, they work with individual teams to develop leadership skills in them so that they can self-organize. They develop leaders who fully understand the how and why of Agile implementation and are willing to go along. This is an essential aspect of Agile enterprise coaching, and an enterprise coach has to be fully evolved as a leader to train and develop more leaders.
The working styles of different teams may be different. There might be cultural clashes between the teams, or the working of one team might hamper the progress of others. It becomes essential to align the working of different teams with the common goal of achieving enterprise-level Agility. An Agile enterprise coach creates a culture that encourages more cooperation between the teams so that they work in a coordinated manner. Increasing collaboration between individual team members and different teams is an important role that an Agile enterprise coach plays. Building a team culture that encourages and supports unhindered collaboration between the teams is crucial to any organization's success. Therefore, building a strong team culture where teams are willing to work transparently and share information regularly is a significant part of an enterprise Agile coach's role.
We feel this is one of the most critical and challenging tasks an Agile enterprise coach to perform. This covers a broad spectrum of activities. Preparing the people for change and then ensuring a smooth transition is by no means an easy task for anyone. Managing the change means first motivating the people to adopt the change and then overseeing the implementation of the change. Whether it is a cultural or a structural change, a technical change, or a change in the process, an Agile enterprise coach has to ensure that it takes place without any hiccups or resistance from the people concerned. Of particular importance is to obtain a commitment from the organization's leadership toward the proposed change or changes. A change management plan has to be made, and change is implemented according to that plan. An Agile enterprise coach must cooperate if the change is implemented successfully.
Leadership Agility is described as the ability to anticipate change. And this is an essential function of an Agile enterprise coach. They have to take a proactive approach in making decisions. This is a part of change management and requires the effective handling of organizational changes. Next, an Agile enterprise coach has to win the trust of all Stakeholders and engage them. It is their job to instill confidence in people. Once this has been done, it is time for action. Not just action but quick action is required; this is where leadership Agility becomes more critical.
So, we can say that the Agile enterprise coach is not a role but a function that involves specific skills and competencies through which a person can bring in the required organizational and cultural changes to implement Agile practices successfully. An enterprise Agile coach acts as a change agent who has to work with people at all levels. They may or may not have expertise in every field, but they have the general information and knowledge about some areas and expertise in some so that they can act as a catalyst for change.