Posts Tagged ‘Hiring Agile Coaches’

We want to hire you to help us go Agile

There is a saying in the entertainment business

 “The best day for a musician is when you get called for a gig, the worst day for a musician is when you get called for a gig!”

I think that can apply to what many of us do. I have been paid to play Bass in a band I also ended up managing. I always had a great time playing but it was never my sole source of income, perhaps that is the difference.  Now back to my sole source of income, software delivery, making software delivery fun for the masses!

I want to hire you to help us, no make us Agile!!  Of course I will..I think.. Wait a minute..let’s pause for a moment. When we’re done we’ll talk about this a bit more.

“I need a moment” – J.Cage – Ally McBeal. – Cageism


Taking a moment

Taking a moment


Should I drive up in my Scrum-mobile and whoosh off we go to Agileville? Well okay – let’s go! A little tongue in cheek humor, are you with me? I should start by saying right away, I can’t help or make you go Agile. I can’t. I can do a lot of things but one thing I can not do is make you do anything. I can help you with the change, I can help coach, train and facilitate. I can do all these things IF. We’ll start with the IF. It’s a bit like the old IF – THEN  – ELSE  statement with an OR thrown in for fun. I’d draw a picture but that would be boring because I’m a terrible artist!

Questions race through my mind. Why do you want that? What value is it going to add? Is there a financial reason to make this change because if there isn’t, if there are no business drivers, why would you make a change in a business? I ponder some more.

People? That’s a good reason to make a change. A true agile environment has been known to be a very enjoyable one in which to work. When people are having fun while working they tend to be more productive. When people are more productive this benefits the company but – it still involves change. And change is not fun for some people. So – have you thought of that? It is going to affect many people in many different ways. You’re going to have to hire someone who knows how to help people through change not someone who holds a CSM, CSPO, other certificates or degrees and has never coached people, teams and organizations through such a significant change. You’re going to need people who understand the mindset of what change does to an organization and the people in it as well as how to implement your agile flavor of choice. If you miss out on that part, you’re missing out on a critical success factor that is likely to determine whether or not the change will be successful. It is the most common mistake I see today. It is the most common mistake many of my colleagues see. Training, coaching, facilitating, knowledge of the art, knowledge of change and the affect of change in an organization are vital skills that the person you hire must have and have deep experience with. If you hire for titles, certificates and degrees, you’re likely going to miss these other critical success criteria. What is it you are trying to accomplish? Changing how your organization develops software or changing your organization for total optimization for people and company. These are very different goals. What is the destination? Can I help you figure it out?

Change is the most challenging part of implementing anything new. So where does this discussion really start?

This discussion starts with why. This is how I ask it. Interesting. Tell me why you want to do something different than what you are doing now. I’ll want do know what it is about me that made you think I’m your person to do this. Based on your responses, we may continue or we may not. If we continue I am going to do my best to help you understand, through a series of questions and based on your responses, if I am your person and if this is a good fit. From that I’ll likely give you a framework of where one might begin or continue. My goal is to depart information, not necessarily to get the job. In all cases when the call ends, my hope is that you know more than when it began. If we decide to work together in the future, this will have set the foundation.

I won’t know what Agile means to you or how much you already know. Where do I start? Where are you in your adoption process and what flavor are you using or are you using a hybrid? Why do you want to adopt any flavor at all? If you don’t know why you are doing something any something will get you there. You have to know where you are starting from and where you want to get to. A destination, a goal, something. I’ll start to think about a few things as I ask some questions. Here are some of my thoughts and questions:

Can I help you – as you’re speaking this will always be in my mind

  1. Is there someone else I know more appropriate for this role
  2. Was someone else doing it and was there an issue? Is this a replacement role or a newly created position. If this is a replace, can you share some of the previous challenges so I can understand what we’ll have to overcome
  3. What problem(s) are you really trying to solve by hiring this role, give it to me straight – what is keeping you up at night. Did someone dictate this change from above and say we’re going to go Agile now get with it? Did it start organically? Are you trying to scale and realize that the old way you did things will not get you there and you heard of this thing called Agile or SCRUM and it sounded good. The more you tell me the more I can understand if I can help or not
  4. What is working really well that we’ll have to be sure to let everyone know we’ll keep doing to mitigate that fear of everything is changing
  5. What is not working and needs to be resolved now, in the next 30 days, 60 days, 90 days.
  6. What do you see as obstacles to success
  7. What is the single most important characteristic that this person you hire must possess and why
  8. What do you want to work differently or better that has caused this position to become open
  9. After all of these questions, do we both feel I am still the right person

Maybe I am, maybe not. Depending on the outcome we might start walking in the same direction and I’ll help get you to the next step. We’ll map out a plan based on what we know today and go from there knowing that as things change, and they will, so will the plan. Our plan to move from where you are today to where you want to get to will be an agile one. We will use the same methodology and way of thinking to get you where you want to get to that you want to implement. This way you’ll learn the mindset behind it. That is perhaps one of the most important  tips to depart. The tools, the charts, the how-to’s, that’s the easy stuff. The mindset shift, a little bit more challenging. But we’ll use the new way to create the plan and move through it.

We’ll live it, day to day, that is how I’ll show you, and we’ll inspect and adapt every day as we learn more about how things are going.

So you want to learn how to go agile – live it. You don’t do agile, you live it. Just like a lifestyle change. You don’t go on a diet and start exercising, you decide to eat healthy and exercise for a lifetime of health. Same idea. It’s the journey, not a destination. You will hit plateaus and you’ll hit walls. You’ll take data and make changes.




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Marjie Carmen 978.609.4552
What people say

Ken Steinberg
CEO, Cambridge Research & Development

Marjie clearly lives, eats, and breaths her work. Her knowledge and compassion for all things Agile is readily apparent. Her knowledge of how to apply Agile techniques combined with her many years of experience make her the quintessential consultant. Embracing Agile is not for the faint of heart but if you want to get it done, Marjie will get you and your team there!