I often find myself talking to people who are in the midst of a switch to agile and who find the change very difficult to get used to. They may be strong advocates, but their team just "doesn't get it". Through discussion, I find that many of them are attempting what I refer to as "Shock and Awe" agile. If you couldn't tell by the name, I consider this another agile coaching anti-pattern.
I saw a tweet this morning that got me thinking about a coaching anti-pattern I frequently see:
"Without knowing you, your Agile coach knows you use should start using stand ups, TDD and pair programming, etc.
Taylor would be proud."
THE PRESCRIPTIVE AGILE COACH
The Prescriptive Agile Coach is armed with a reliable set of practices. The practices have been documented, vetted, and implemented successfully on a number of teams. They are inarguably proven. To the Prescriptive Agile Coach, those not following these practices are not truly Agile.
I think there is great value in reading books on business management. That is, there is great value in reading them with intent, considering their points, thinking through the details, doing some research, assimilating, and drawing your own conclusions.
But there is another approach I see taken far too often.
Want to really set yourself apart as a leader? Try telling your employees, "Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions." This phrase will absolutely set you apart as a leader; apart from your people, apart from communication, apart from real issues, and apart from collaborative solutions.
As an "agile coach" over the past several years, I've seen a lot of different techniques and approaches. I've been impressed with the ability of some coaches to slowly and gently affect change; sustainable, genuine change. And I've been dismayed at the number of coaches who trivialize the complexity of change to check-lists and notions read from books, but never tried.
This series covers some of the (anti-)patterns I've seen among check-list agile coaches.