What does an Agile Coach bring to the team?

For a long time being asked the question of what an Agile Coach or a Scrum Master brings to the team would lead me to a stop and then I would launch into a long explanation using immense amounts of examples on what we do. For one reason or another a short but powerful explanation would never come to me. Until now!

If you are interested in getting someone to work with your team, or you coach, then I highly recommend watching a new Netflix series called ‘The Playbook’. It’s a short series of various sports coaches giving an insight to how they see their job and sharing the ideas that have led them to become the coaches they are now. We have already borrowed a sports word to bring to software development - scrum - so why not use the space where coaching is a norm to help us define what we do?

In the episode where Jose Mourinho talks about leading one of his teams he mentions Ronaldo as an example and that his job was not to tell a brilliant football player how to kick the ball or how to run. His job was to teach him and the team how to play together. And doesn’t that sound true to what an Agile Coach truly does?

An Agile Coach does not tell developers how to write code, or testers how to test. The job of an Agile Coach is to teach these field experts how to work together and produce the best results that they can.

So the next time I get asked again what we bring to a team, my answer is going to be nice and quick: An Agile Coach helps your field experts work out how to work together (that is, how to play together).