What happened to all the Agile Coaches?
Over the past year, dedicated agile contracts and, specifically, Agile Coach and Scrum Master roles seem to be disappearing from the federal acquisition space. Should Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters look elsewhere for work? Is agile dead in the federal space?
We don’t think so.
The Federal government’s approach to project management has evolved. When agencies decided to experiment with agile product delivery, there was knowledge to baseline, pilot programs to launch, and a steep learning curve to climb. A strict approach to agile was needed; it was a place to start.
Now, agencies across the Federal space know what agile is and don’t need someone to come in and explain it to them. They understand the value of collaboration, continuous communication, and flexibility. They’ve incorporated iterative development and product management into their delivery practices. (And frankly, people are probably sick of agile evangelists shoving agile lingo and strict practices down their throats.)
Though the names have changed, the roles remain largely the same.
Agile and its roles, per se, haven’t disappeared, but is instead being embraced as a cultural and strategic imperative. Its principles are evolving into the DNA of the agencies. We’re seeing language like digital transformation, product-centricity, and human-centered design used in RFPs. The government is moving away from purchasing Labor Categories (LCATs) – Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters– to purchasing product delivery teams. Agencies know they want product development done a certain way and are expecting their vendors to bring their high-performing team to lead the effort.
So, instead of agile call it Product Delivery or Organizational Excellence. Call us former Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters by a different name– Facilitator or Product Manager or Organizational Designer. Hell, call us Jeff. Just keep embracing the values of great product delivery and continuous improvement– by any name you want to call it.