How to Measure Agile Coaching

Carrying on from the “value is sustained change in behaviour” opinion I shared previously, allow me to humbly submit my idea (a strong opinion, loosely held) for how to measure how we are doing as Agile Coaches.

Agile Coaches (plural!) are usually brought on because some company (BIG!!) wants to go through an Agile Transformation (ZOINKS!!!). The word “transformation” means, to me, a change in state, thus this company has made a determination:

change to a better state… an “Agile” one, whatever the heck that means.

(an unfortunately pedantic-sounding logic train pulling into the station in 3… 2…)

If an Agile Transformation (RUH ROH RAGGY!!!) (…please get that reference…) is a change in state to a more Agile state, then this is a change in identity to a more Agile identity, reflected, per an Aristotelian quote, in a more frequent doing of Agile things:

adoption of Agile behaviours.

And since I can’t tell them what to do, I can only influence (independent, negotiable, faluable, no, wait… sorry, Bill Wake), towards transforming Agily, a binary measure being the adoption of Agile behaviors, reframed to reduce resistance as:

conducting of Agile experiments.

If we Agile Coaches are greatly outnumbered by Squads (JEEPERS!!!), we can scale our efforts by actively coaching Product Owners & Scrum Masters. Through these 2 roles, and their loosely characterized product- and process-related concerns, respectively, I fold this paragraph into the previous one, and, again, humbly submit the following:

I measure how we are doing as Agile Coaches, in part, by focusing on the conducting of product experiments by Product Owners, and process experiments by Scrum Masters.

By “process experiments”, I mean the Kaizen that come out of Squadular huddling, like Retrospectives. By “product experiments”, I mean the MVPs (…RATs) that come out of Build-Measure-Learn cycles, a la The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

I recognize this is not outcome- (noun) focused, but effort- (verb) focused, since I believe focusing on what we frequently do and how we frequently do it will get us to any Leadership-proclaimed outcome, and the next one, and the next one…

Now, in saying “focusing on the conducting of … experiments”, I leave out if it is the

  • success of the experiments, or
  • number of experiments, or
  • first time-derivative of the number of experiments,

since, well, this is where my thinking has basically stopped. (JINKIES!!!)

And if you’ve made it until here, and the idea vibes with you, well, this is where your thinking would be appreciated. (Would you do it for a Scooby Snack?)

Please. (Lemme at ‘em! LEMME AT ‘EM!!)