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Differences Between Agile Coach and Scrum Master

There is an exponential increase in the demand for Agile Coaches in the market. But at the same time, there is a lot of confusion regarding the differences and commonalities between an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. When the teams are already being coached by Scrum Masters, what is the need for an Agile Coach?It is really important to understand that there are many similarities between the two roles. Both Agile Coach and Scrum Masters are responsible to help develop an Agile mindset in their organisations. Even the techniques that they use to support and facilitate their teams are very similar. The difference lies in their scope.In this article, we are going to discuss the key differences between and see how a Scrum Master and Agile Coach complement each other and play important roles.Agile Coach vs. Scrum MasterScrum MasterAgile CoachFocus AreasWorks with one Scrum teamApply the basic Scrum practicesWorks with multiple Agile teamsDefines what has to be done, how, who does it, etc.KnowledgebaseScrum practicesScrum and other frameworks like Kanban, Scaling Methods, etc.ExperienceLess than 5 years in ScrumGreater than 5 years in multiple frameworksSalary$115,766$149,867Now, let us take a deeper and clearer look at the differences between the two roles.The Scrum MasterAs a facilitator of an agile development team, a Scrum Master is responsible for managing the process of how information flows. The Scrum Master is like a leader for his Scrum team and focuses on a single team or at the most, a couple of teams. He is up-to-date with everything that is taking place inside the workplace, and knows the whole team inside out.The Roles and Responsibilities of a Scrum MasterMake sure the team is well trained and is working in accordance with the Scrum framework and Agile practices.Impediment solving, that is, anticipate, identify, track, and remove any impediments that the Scrum team faces or might face.Manage and drive the Agile process, that is, scope and timeline of the entire project.The Agile CoachThe Agile Coach is expected to have a deep understanding of multiple Agile methodologies which are beyond the Scrum Framework.The main focus of an Agile Coach is not to support individual team members but rather implement an Agile working method in an organisation. Unlike Scrum Master, an Agile Coach is not a part of a specific Scrum team. The role of being an Agile Coach is independent and has the responsibility to coach various teams or management.An Agile Coach works directly with teams or works via a team’s management. Moreover, they work with Scrum Masters and managers to help increase a team’s agility.The Roles and Responsibilities of an Agile CoachOffer new tools and techniques to promote a healthy group dynamic.Make sure that teams work together effectively. For example, implementation of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) that requires active coordination at a team and enterprise level.Make the individual employees as well as the various teams aware of their strengths and weaknesses in order to develop a collective Agile mindset.In summaryThe roles of an Agile Coach and Scrum Master are used interchangeably, which is counted as a risky move. Though the roles of Agile Coach and Scrum Master have a lot in common, there are a lot of differences as well. Agile Coaches deal with the process and not the content, and are most in-demand when an organization is transitioning to Agile.You can gain distinct benefits out of both roles, all you need to know is how to leverage their skillsets and make the most out of the same to reap the benefits of Agile adoption.
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Differences Between Agile Coach and Scrum Master

18170
Differences Between Agile Coach and Scrum Master

There is an exponential increase in the demand for Agile Coaches in the market. But at the same time, there is a lot of confusion regarding the differences and commonalities between an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. When the teams are already being coached by Scrum Masters, what is the need for an Agile Coach?

It is really important to understand that there are many similarities between the two roles. Both Agile Coach and Scrum Masters are responsible to help develop an Agile mindset in their organisations. Even the techniques that they use to support and facilitate their teams are very similar. The difference lies in their scope.

In this article, we are going to discuss the key differences between and see how a Scrum Master and Agile Coach complement each other and play important roles.

Agile Coach vs. Scrum Master


Scrum MasterAgile Coach
Focus Areas
  • Works with one Scrum team
  • Apply the basic Scrum practices
  • Works with multiple Agile teams
  • Defines what has to be done, how, who does it, etc.
Knowledgebase
Scrum practicesScrum and other frameworks like Kanban, Scaling Methods, etc.
Experience
Less than 5 years in ScrumGreater than 5 years in multiple frameworks
Salary$115,766
$149,867

Now, let us take a deeper and clearer look at the differences between the two roles.

The Scrum Master

As a facilitator of an agile development team, a Scrum Master is responsible for managing the process of how information flows. The Scrum Master is like a leader for his Scrum team and focuses on a single team or at the most, a couple of teams. He is up-to-date with everything that is taking place inside the workplace, and knows the whole team inside out.

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

  • Make sure the team is well trained and is working in accordance with the Scrum framework and Agile practices.
  • Impediment solving, that is, anticipate, identify, track, and remove any impediments that the Scrum team faces or might face.
  • Manage and drive the Agile process, that is, scope and timeline of the entire project.

The Agile Coach

The Agile Coach is expected to have a deep understanding of multiple Agile methodologies which are beyond the Scrum Framework.

The main focus of an Agile Coach is not to support individual team members but rather implement an Agile working method in an organisation. Unlike Scrum Master, an Agile Coach is not a part of a specific Scrum team. The role of being an Agile Coach is independent and has the responsibility to coach various teams or management.

An Agile Coach works directly with teams or works via a team’s management. Moreover, they work with Scrum Masters and managers to help increase a team’s agility.

The Roles and Responsibilities of an Agile Coach

  • Offer new tools and techniques to promote a healthy group dynamic.
  • Make sure that teams work together effectively. For example, implementation of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) that requires active coordination at a team and enterprise level.
  • Make the individual employees as well as the various teams aware of their strengths and weaknesses in order to develop a collective Agile mindset.

In summary

The roles of an Agile Coach and Scrum Master are used interchangeably, which is counted as a risky move. Though the roles of Agile Coach and Scrum Master have a lot in common, there are a lot of differences as well. Agile Coaches deal with the process and not the content, and are most in-demand when an organization is transitioning to Agile.

You can gain distinct benefits out of both roles, all you need to know is how to leverage their skillsets and make the most out of the same to reap the benefits of Agile adoption.

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KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is a fast growing Management Consulting and Training firm that is a source of Intelligent Information support for businesses and professionals across the globe.


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3 comments

Joshua 19 Aug 2019

Hi, Thanks for sharing this very useful information

Lokesh 20 Aug 2019

Excellent understanding of the differences between agile coach and scrum master. Thanks for such a useful blog...

Chaturi 20 Aug 2019

When I comes to reading any topic related to agile. I always hit Knowledgehut from Search Engine! Thanks for all the information Knowledgehut.

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Scope for feedback and changes Traditional Each and every process is clearly detailed and defined at the start of the project in the traditional approach. It cannot deal with any big change or feedback that might require a change in the process. Mostly, the project delivery time and budget are fixed, allows change very rarely. Agile There is a high acceptance for feedback and change in this method. The process is very flexible and allows constant feedback that can help to provide better output within the fixed project delivery time. The main reason that managers or developers choose agile direction is for the flexibility it offers. 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The Agile methodologies stand in contrast to the traditional waterfall methodology, where all the requirements are initially analysed and documented before the development begins. While in Agile approach, requirements are like the actual software-development advances within each iteration. This approach provides flexibility in accommodating changes in the requirements and priorities of the business. The Agile development process aligns with the concepts of Agile Manifesto. Also known as Manifesto for Agile Software Development, the Agile Manifesto is a formal declaration of 4 key values and 12 principles supporting an iterative approach to software development. The Agile development methodology enables assessment of project direction throughout the development lifecycle. This is achieved through regular iterations, and when revaluation is done at every iteration, it greatly reduces the development costs and time. Agile helps the companies to build the right product. Benefits of Agile include as follows: Benefits the Customers In the traditional waterfall model, the high-value features are developed and delivered in longer cycles compared to the Agile approach, which enables delivery within short cycles. This enables the vendors to be more responsive to the development requests of the customers. Benefits the Vendors Adopting Agile benefits the vendors by having an improved customer satisfaction and customer retention, leading to more customer contacts through positive references. The Agile allows the vendor’s focus to be on the development effort of high-value features, decrease the overheads, and improve efficiency. Quality With Agile development, there is a regular inspection of the working product, with testing integrated at every iteration, as it develops throughout the lifecycle. This in turn retains the quality of the product and also allows the product owner to make necessary adjustments whenever a quality issue arises. Visibility Agile methodology is a collaborative approach that encourages active user participation throughout the product development. This gives an exceptional and clear visibility of the project’s progress and product development to the stakeholders. Cost Control Agile development process has fixed timescale where the requirements emerge and evolve as the project progresses and the product is developed. This enables a fixed budget. Risk Management In Agile methodology, small incremental releases are made visible to the product owner throughout the development cycle, which helps identify issues at an early stage, and it makes easier to respond to change, if any. Agile development ensures clear visibility, which allows necessary decisions to be taken at the earliest possible opportunity. Scrum Scrum, on the other hand, is a subset of Agile. A Scrum is a simple and flexible Agile methodology for software development. The Scrum is not a technique or a process but a lightweight and simple framework to address complex problems of a project and deliver a high-value product creatively. The major distinguishing attributes of Scrum are as follows: Simplicity The development in Scrum is done in sprints, which are 1, 2, and 3 weeks in length. The Scrum team consists of: Product Owner: The major responsibility of the product owner is to maximize the value of the product and work of the development team. Additional duties include managing the product catalogue. Scrum Master: The development team consists of self-organising professionals who turn the product catalogue into product increment at the end of each sprint. Development Team: The Scrum Masters make sure that the Scrum team is abiding by the Scrum theory and its rules. Flexibility In the traditional waterfall model, when the business and technical requirements are documented and detailed, it results in endless documentation. The Scrum makes use of user stories to describe the functions needed to be developed. A tool called Pivotal Tracker is used to store these user stories in a backlog. If a change needs to be made or a need arises to add to the user stories, in that case the team can adjust as early as the next sprint. This allows the business to change their minds and the development team to be flexible enough to adjust to those changes. The ability to accommodate change is a powerful attribute of the Scrum methodology. Communication and Collaboration In Scrum methodology, the communication between business users takes place on a daily/weekly basis according to the sprint schedule. This close communication and collaboration is a crucial factor, promoting the success of the Scrum methodology. The Scrum team achieves collaboration in following ways: The Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the development team work closely on a daily basis. Sprint-planning meetings are conducted, which allows the development team to organise its work based on the knowledge gathered from the business priorities. Conducting daily scrum meetings where the development team can account for the work completed, its future prospects, and deal with issues if any. Conducting sprint reviews allows the team members to evaluate their former work by recommending better practices with every sprint. There are more details on Agile & scum differences
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