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Agile Coaching and Project Team Leading — What's the difference?

Main Takeaways
Reading Time: 1 minute Agile Coaches focuse on Agile practices and orient themself at the Agile Manifesto: (1) people and interactions; (2) delivery working software; (3) customer collaboration; and (4) responding to change. The role of an agile coach is a transitory role not tied into project duration.

Agile Coaches focuse on agile practices and orient themself at the Agile Manifesto:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

According to Kent Beck,

...an agile coach “watches the process as a whole and calls the team’s attention to impending problems or opportunities for improvement.”
Kent Beck: Extreme Programming explained. Embrace change, Addison-Wesley Longman, Amsterdam,1999.

For short,

"an agile coach helps teams grow strong in applying Agile practice to their work."
Rachel Davies, co-author of the book “Coaching Agile Teams”.

The role of an agile coach is different to being a scrum master or agile project manager since it's a transitory role not tied into project duration.
Whereas team leads and project managers take care and report the progress of the project deliveries and the project status, a coach helps a team to implement changes and to work more collaboratively.

For sure, each ambitious project manager knows the importancen of good team collaboration. However, her primary focus are project deliveries.
A coach in contrast wants to boost the team performance and proficiency (in agile software development).
This can be a slow process because most people don’t like to change how they work. For this a coach must understand how to influence people and manage organisational change.

Thus, agile coaching is strongly related to Agile Leadership — and this closes the gap to Management 3.0.