As an Agile consultant, our expertise in Agile and technology can help us to gain initial acceptance, but we do need softer skills (such as persuasion, facilitation, problem solving etc.) to have a continuous impact. We must also be able to combine these with human values like trust, respect, honesty to make lasting change.
I visualize successful change as being in the “sweet spot” where Expertise, Skills and Human Values converge.
Expertise refers to domain , technical or Agile experience in guiding the client through evolutionary change. At a minimum, Agile consultants must be experts in Agile values, Principles and different type of frameworks, methodologies, practices. They must have enthusiastically applied and repeated success with several clients.
Technical expertise/domain expertise can be an added advantage - if required, roll up your sleeves and start coding. It will help to show that “I don’t just preach, but I practice as well”. Setting a precedent in this manner can help skeptics to reconsider their position, and pave the way to be aligned with the Agile transformation goals. My colleagues have proven this time and again by mastering client’s need in a short span of time and serving them better.
A consultant develops certain Skills over a period of time. These can be as trivial as facilitating team level decisions objectively, or explaining specific Agile concepts in a language (not too technical) that is easily understood by management. Many times, Agile consultants are required to lead discussions among groups with different interests, priorities and demands.
A good Agile Consultant must exhibit their skills regardless of the organization cultural type. Culture can tend towards one of the following types (as per Schneider’s model for cultural assessment)
Agile consultants challenge the status-quo of process, culture and people’s belief. Understanding and championing the following Human values can also help to understand why people would support or resist change.
- Respect for people and client’s existing cultural norms
- Honesty (with no hidden agenda)
- Empathy for people who are going through change
Consultants lack the above characters often struggle to develop and maintain collaborative connections.
We have to remember that we travel with clients on a journey of constant “trial and error” to learn and discover, where the only thing constant is change. Periodic reinforcement of this will help us to keep grounded and seek for new learning.
Sustained cultural change resulting in building quality product, giving a great user experience, with a higher return on investment are some of the results that why innovation!'s focuses on Agile transformation.
Your thoughts to remain forever in Customer’s wall and mind!
Ram carries more than 17 Years of experience in the Information Technology Industry with good experience in all the areas of SDLC like Requirement Gathering, Detailed Analysis, Design, Development, Testing, Release processes. Diverse experience in Development, Maintenance, Production support projects across different geographies following Agile Methodologies. He is currently a Senior Consultant at why innovation!, dedicated to support Organization transformation at Program and Team level from waterfall to Agile in several Fortune 500 Customers across Airlines, Banking, Financial, Insurance and Telecommunication domains.