Tamás Frivalszki our Engagement Manager wrote an article about one of the most defining characters in the agile environment, the Grumpy Agile Coach.
The author is sure you all know an agile specialist, who knows everything and more about agile, he’s the brightest, knows all the rules by heart and is the strictest in guarding the agile processes. He’s a restless evangelist, helps everywhere, can always say something constructive, and only his confidence is greater than his maximalism. But it sounds amazing. He is the agility himself. He absorbed scrum mastery over the years and just improved and improved (very correctly) in terms of his professional skills.
Only a tiny(?) thing is missing: this agile god cannot deal with people. His knowledge of people management is insufficient, he may or may not have heard of assertive communication, but in reality, he’s not even interested in the human side of agility. After all, the processes and structures are there, you just have to follow and maintain them and suddenly everything becomes agile! He only has to deal with people as long as he pours into their ignorant little minds what, why and how agile works. From there, everything goes on its own way and the world becomes more agile” – he says. He has millions of papers and qualifications, but somehow ignores people. He doesn’t have the faintest idea, never even learned about it…
Our agile coach is a tough talker at work. He sharply points out mistakes, runs over people and teams in the spirit of the most sacred mission; correct agile operation. More often than not, he doesn’t shy away from introducing himself like this: “Guys, I’m an Agile Nazi!”. And when he filled the company with agile processes, he’s mindlessly repeating the same thing over and over again, without the expected effect. Even though the Agile Manifesto writes almost beggingly: “Individuals and interactions OVER Processes and Tools”, and although agile coaches are expected to have “Professional Coaching ability”, there’s certainly a void in the mind and soul, but above all in the heart of our agile person.
Companies (fortunately there are refreshing examples) are full of “process-oriented but weak in people management” agile coaches. And the result? Just ask people! Ask them how useful the lecturing is for them, how constructive are the senseless processes that smell of sweat and the tense corporate environment, where although everyone puts time in it, somehow the desired effect doesn’t come. Or even if they move forward, the previously livable workplace turns into a cold, soulless work environment.
The author knows his kind very well. The author meets him many times in person, but even more frequently from other people’s stories. In the past the author also tended to forget that sustainable development can only happen together with the development of people. Today the author knows: you can only make the world better through people.
And the author has no doubt that grumpy AC wants to help in his prickly, harsh way, but his means are limited. Just as we are also bound by language barriers if we want to express ourselves selectively in another language.
The author would like to ask the reader of these lines, that if you recognize yourself (partly or fully) as a grumpy AC, then start working on yourself and the experiences of success and great feedback will come. It’s a long way, but it’s worth it! You have acquired o much professional knowledge, it’s great that you want to pass in onto others, but at the same time, you also need to work on your marketing and human connections. “I am the grumpy agile man” can distinguish/emphasize you when writing articles, can give character on professional forums, but please, in real life, help people in a human way! We have enough difficult times in our lives, don’t make it even harder! I know you have a heart too.
And if you are or have been a victim of such grumpy AC expert, then give them feedback on what could work better for them, name the feelings they create, help them connect with others to put down his spikes!
Let’s make the world more livable! 😉
Author: Tamás Frivalszki