What is the difference between a project manager and an Agile coach?
Curious about how Agile coaches differ from Project Managers? One has a great deal of authority and actively drives projects, the other has a great deal of influence and works with teams to create environments where the best product or service can be built. John McFadyen explains.
Where to begin.
A project manager possesses a great deal of amazing skills in project delivery. They are primarily concerned with delivering a project within a specified time frame and within a specific cost structure.
They work with partners, suppliers, employees, stakeholders and manage all elements of risk, potential impediments to progress, and costs.
They plan the entire project and carry a great deal of authority in how the project is delivered. In essence, they are in charge of the project from point A to point Z.
They are thinking about what needs to happen, managing dependencies, and overseeing each element of the project because they are often the lynchpin of the project.
An Agile coach is not involved in delivery at all.
An Agile coach trusts the Product Owner and the development team to manage those elements as they are the most knowledgeable and experienced individuals to accomplish that.
An Agile coach focuses on creating an environment where the team thrive.
They work with individuals and teams to ensure that the team is working as creatively, collaboratively, and productively as possible.
Agile coaches are keeping a lookout for how the team is doing, how effectively they are working as both individuals as well as a team, and they are looking at potential challenges down the pipeline that may disrupt the flow of the team.
They work with Scrum Masters to identify individuals and stakeholders within the organisation that can help to ensure that impediments to progress are removed and that the team can deliver the most valuable work.
In the 21st Century, individuals and teams are often faced with complex problems with a myriad of variables that are mostly unknown.
An Agile Coach works with individuals and teams to find the best answers to those problems and helps the team with their decision-making capability. Actively helps them figure out the answers to those problems and produce results that were previously unachievable.
They are actively coaching people through problems and helping them tap into their best work.
In essence, that is the single greatest difference between a project manager and an Agile coach.
One tells people what to do whilst the other coaches them to produce the best available answer to the most compelling problems they may face.
A project manager is often isolated in solving the problem and has to come up with answers to questions they have never encountered before. It sets them up for failure and places a great deal of stress in their world.
An Agile Coach works with a team of individuals to come up with answers to questions they have never encountered before and leverages the expertise and knowledge of the entire team to create solutions that have never existed before.
If you are interested in becoming an Agile coach, visit our Advanced Certified Scrum Master course page, the Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master course page and the Agile Coaching Academy course page.
You may also find the IC Agile Certified Agile Team Coaching course useful.
Agile Coaching FAQs
- What is an Agile Coach?
- What is the difference between a traditional coach and an Agile Coach?
- What are the career opportunities for an Agile Coach?
- Do you need to be a Scrum or Agile practitioner to become an Agile coach?
- Do I need to be an expert in Scrum to start my Agile coaching journey?
- Is an Agile coach a line management position?
- How do I integrate Agile coaching into a traditional management role?
- Do project managers make great candidates for Agile coaches?
- Can I become an Agile coach from both the scrum master and product owner tracks?
- What would be a great apprenticeship for an Agile coach?
- How is an Agile coach different from a Scrum Master?
- How will I know if Agile coaching is a good fit for me?
- Are there levels of seniority for Agile coaches?
- How effective is Agile coaching in an organisation that doesn’t embrace Agile?
- Is Agile coaching a natural evolution from Scrum Mastery?
- What is the difference between an Agile coach and a Project Manager?
- How will hiring an Agile coach help our business?
- I’m a project manager. Can I make the transition to Agile coach?
- How does Agile coaching help Agile transformations?
- How much of an impact can Agile coaches have on entrepreneurs?
- Will becoming an Agile coach help me lead my company more effectively?
- What is the difference between a Certified Enterprise Coach and a Certified Team Coach?
- Do Agile coaches work with individuals or teams?
- I lead a development team. Will becoming an Agile coach benefit us?
- How long will it take to go from Scrum Master to Agile Coach?