Today I was asked a really interesting question by a client: "Agile is very simple, why do you need Agile coaches?". That is a pretty fundamental question to ask of any Agile coach and after my initial shock we did come up with some good answers. But the question (and the initial answers) kept nagging at me all day. And while I sat down with a glass of good whisky in the evening I got back to the question. Here is what I came up with:
- Agile is simple, not easy
- Experience bootstraps learning
- Organizational gravity
"Gravity Works". Yes it does. Rock climbers know this and plan for it. So do Agile coaches.Agile transitions are not limited to the teams doing the actual development. They are part of much bigger picture. Other departments need to at least be aware of the transition and probably have to change considerably. For example walk into the operation department of a big company that is doing waterfall projects and tell them that you are going to release every project every month. They'll laugh at you. Most managers actually really like the fake certainty of waterfall projects.. Agile does not solve any problems by itself, it just makes them painfully clear. Not all organizations are mature enough to realize that and will usually blame Agile for all those problems that are suddenly surfacing. Those are only some examples where organizational gravity will play up. They will constantly pull your Agile transition towards the old status quo. An experienced Agile coach will recognize those signals and work with the clients to keep an Agile transition on track towards the goals that were set. Just like a regular coach.