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Agile Coaching – Lessons from the Trenches

High performing organizations, high performing teams, and high performing people do not often happen organically. They are a return on investment.

We’ve spent time in the trenches, both giving and receiving coaching, at organisations of all sizes: from small startups to large enterprises. In this article, we will use our hard fought experience to shed light onto Agile Coaching. First, we will take a step back, helping define what being an Agile Coach means and what skills are necessary to be successful in an organization. Then, we’ll examine patterns and anti-patterns for both in-house coaches and coach-consultants. We will shine light on how to enable coaches to be successful in your organization.

What is a coach?

Agile Coach is an overloaded term. It’s applied to advanced scrum masters, trainers, and leaders who aren’t sure where they fit in an agile organization. Agile Coach is not a role mentioned in Scrum, Kanban, XP or any other agile framework or practice. It’s grown organically as larger organizations have realized the benefits of agility and appetite has increased for long-lasting change. Coaching can reap amazing rewards if done skillfully. What does a skillful coach look like?

Companies that rely on external agile consultants want to know if they are acquiring good coaches with a proven track record and broad industry experience. Companies that prefer raising their own coaches want to identify the people with coaching aptitude. Individuals that pursue the career of an agile coach wonder if they have what it takes to become a coach. Individuals that have established themselves in the role of agile coaches wonder where the industry is taking the role; what is the future of agile coaching as it becomes a broader role with a more diverse definition?

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5 Keys to Government’s Digital Transformation

An aging population, the rise of millennials, budget shortfalls and ballooning entitlement spending all will significantly impact the way government delivers services in the coming decades, but no single factor will be more important than the pure power of digital technologies.

Governments at all levels are in the midst of a historic (and frequently wrenching) transformation as they abandon analog operating models in favor of their digital counterparts. This is happening not only in the United States but across the world.

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The Future of IT Service Management

Digital transformation is on top of every CIO’s agenda these days. However, the increasing level of complexity that accompanies the fast-paced, cloud-based world of digital requires going back to basics — that is, implementing a solid, modernized IT service management strategy (ITSM), in order to make sure that digital transformation coincides with operational excellence, customer satisfaction and IT agility.

Service management is a collection of capabilities and methodologies an IT organization uses to plan, build, deliver, and ensure the quality of the services they provide to customers both internal and external — in IT, this relates to everything from applications, to networks, to data to connectivity. While the concept existed for years before, it gained momentum in the late 1990s, as a formal practice with standards and frameworks, when the IT Infrastructure Library, or ITIL, was developed. While ITIL remains a popular set of guiding principles and a level-setting framework, the discipline has evolved as digital transformation has emerged and IT service management has become more complex, says KPMG’s Mitch Kenfield.

“A solid ITSM strategy is so important for organizations to succeed at digital transformation because as they ‘build’ their digital engine, how do they make sure customers are happy?” he explains. “As those services change, whether in complexity or just the pace of change in applications and data and access, they can be harder and harder to manage — which requires a significant strategic shift.”

Even organizations that, in the past, were deemed mature in their service management disciplines are now stressed because the services they provide are changing, he adds, with quicker, more agile deployments and higher customer expectations for service. “What customers expected from their technology services 5 years ago is light years away from their expectations today, so the management of those services need to adapt and change,” he says. “But many of our clients haven’t necessarily been able to make that transition.”

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