What is Our Specialty as Agile Coaches at tangly?

2017 05 01 head

You have more agile coaches on the market than sand-corns on a regular beach.

They all promise the holly grail of agile product development, highly productive teams and perfect applications for internal and external customers.

Why should any sane customer hire us to deploy or perfect their agile approach?

Your overall goal is to continuously improve the products delivered to customers.

I am convinced to achieve ingrained success an agile coach shall:

  • Coach team members how to reach technical excellence. They build your solution, it shall fulfill the user’s requirements, be of high quality and affordable.

  • Learn them to attain mastery and build awesome products.

  • Coach the team how to improve, focus and enjoy the work on a daily basis. Flow shall be natural for them,

  • Coach the organization how to adapt, provide the ground to have the best collaborators and become most successful in the market. Use a lean approach.

In other words, you need technical coaching, team coaching and organization coaching. Avoid hiring management consultants with agile painting, coaches should understand software and product development.

At the end of the day, your products shall improve. Your customers shall be delighted. How your highly qualified teams develop software shall become more effective and efficient.

First comes quality, effectiveness and only later efficiency. Look at lean methods. First, we improve the quality-effectiveness for the customer, then the productivity and efficiency for the company.

Minimum Viable Change

What is coaching?

Coaching means that an experienced coach will work closely together with an organization to improve the organization’s product development.

This usually involves shortening feedback loops and focusing on improved quality.

This faster feedback cycle leads to benefits such as higher productivity and more flexibility.

— https://less.works/[LeSS]

How shall you coach?

You use Minimum Viable Change (MVC). So I am using yet another acronym. Each MVC has a hypothesis about how to improve an aspect of your organization or your team. It has measurements – often called KPI by management – to decide if the change was a worthy improvement. For the savvy readers, it is a variant of PDCA, a cornerstone of all agile and lean approaches.

Our core strength at tangly is we truly understand software technology and software craftsmen. We consistently connect organizational MVC with technical MVC. This is our special recipe for deep-rooted and lasting success.

Three Ways of Coaching

To improve your organization, you need these three levels of coaching.

Organizational coaching

The coach works with multiple teams and the management to improve the organization and its structure.

  • Change processes to be customer-centric.

  • Improve organization to see the whole product and the customer.

  • Delegate decision-making processes to your teams.

  • Remove functional silos.

  • Redefine the roles of product managers, middle managers, quality managers.

  • Eliminate waste: processes and artifacts not adding any value to the customer products.

Team coaching

The coach works with one or a few teams to improve their team-working and LeSS practices. It is common for a coach to take on the Scrum Master role.

  • Implement MVC.

  • Improve Scrum approach, teach agile values.

  • Introduce eXtreme Programming practices.

  • Improve decision-making, meetings, flow of customer value.

  • Learn, teach, coach through the stages of Shu Ha Ri (守破離).

  • Empower the team to turn into the best of breed.

Technical coaching

The coach works with (or on) a team on their actual codebase to improve technical practices and adopt agile development techniques such as simple design, refactoring, unit testing, test-driven development and acceptance test-driven development.

  • Discovering code/design smells. Places where code/design could be improved.

  • Explaining modern, clean code that is simple and easier to change and maintain.

  • Refactoring “smells” into clean code.

  • Test-driven development and test automation.

  • Continuous integration and continuous delivery.

  • Specification by Example (Acceptance Test-Driven Development).

  • Efficient and effective working practices (IDE, automation).

  • Applying design patterns.


I believe that the right mindset is boosted by good practice, just as good practice cannot be achieved without the correct mindset. When advising others, I spend much of my time trying to connect practice with a mindset, as they are symbiotic. You truly need both.

Wisely choose your coaches. Check they can coach at technical, team and organization level. Senior coaches shall have a decade of experience. Good coaches practice Gemba and should restrain drawing too many slides.