Some weeks ago, I received an email from Craig Larman telling me he read my blog on Larman’s Laws and he pointed out to me there is a new fifth law (actually added as number four), being:

4. As a corollary to (1), if after changing the change some managers and single-specialists are still displaced, they become “coaches/trainers” for the change, frequently reinforcing (2) and (3).

Courtesy of Craig Larman

And again, this one sounds familiar to me 🙂 .

In my new assignment, I encountered a company that actually chose to train someone to become an Agile coach. This person is an experienced Scrum Master and likes to know more about Agility and guide this company through this Agile journey. He will be supported by management and will be released from his former duties. With that, he will become a 100% dedicated coach for the company. Beside training he will receive coaching on the job over a longer period of time by an experienced coach. I have to admit that this is one of the rare occasions where a company, or rather it’s management team, is aware of the effort of an Agile transformation. They considering training for the employees, long term coaching by external and experienced coaches.

In earlier assignments it wasn’t uncommon to encounter ‘traditional‘ style management leading the Agile transformation. While most of the seasoned Agilists know that an Agile transformation enforces a company wide cultural change, those ‘traditional‘ managers tend to think of an Agile transformation as merely a Scrum implementation and a systemically one for that matter. They forget that, let’s say, 95% of a Scrum implementation is happening in the so called undercurrent. Treating these undercurrent symptoms with the traditional mindset and not with an Agile mindset will endup in a systemically implemented work form instead of a usable framework utilising its Agile capabilities to the fullest resulting in truly responsive enterprises. Ken Schwaber referred to this kind of not-so-safe implementations of Scrum as: “…like pasting America’s democracy onto Iraq’s culture. It just doesn’t work!” And I can’t agree more 😉 . I’ve seen managers fail, trying to implement their own Agile transformation. Stalling the Agile transformation and losing about one year of effort, even early on in the transformation.

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