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March 5, 2016

Chat between Agile Coaches - Case 1

The Context

In the United States of Fairy Land, there is this much celebrated automobile company that decided to embrace Agile to better position itself in the competitive market. The management at the top of the pyramid makes a huge bet on this initiative and extends its full support with much openness and belief. The company then hires hordes of Agile coaches from varied consulting firms. Its been a couple of years since this initiative has started and they wanted more Agile Coaches. They included another consulting firm in its basked and started to hire their coaches.

As things will have it, nearly every team has two coaches, one for processes and other for software engineering discipline. Mr. Gabbu is a certified Agile process coach (you name it and he has go it) who has been with a new product development team since its inception, for the last 6 months so to say. The team's management felt for a need to induce a software craftsmanship coach and calls for one. The company hires Mr. Kartz to help the team in technical discipline. Kartz has no certification to his credit and yet has the  all-round experience of learning things the hard/soft/nice way mostly from delivering software wearing varied hats.

It's day one of Kartz stepping into the company and being introduced to the team. Incidentally, Kartz and Gabbu seemed to be acquaintances from conference circuit. At the end of day, these coaches meet each other in cafeteria and have a conversation. A snippet of that conversation is below for you to read, think and share your thoughts in comments section below. Cheers!

The Conversation Snippet

Gabbu: On your day 1, how did you find the team? Pretty mature right?
Kartz: Mature in what sense?

Gabbu: In every sense - technically and otherwise.
Kartz: I can’t comment much with day one's time with the team, but guess I see a lot of scope for improvement.

Gabbu: (Emphatically) No way! They are pretty mature. They just need some guidance here and there.
Kartz: (hiding my discomfort) Why don’t we walk out of the team then citing that as the reason; after all you and I don’t need to be full-time for that? Shall we?

Gabbu: Well, between you and me. How do you plan to earn your bread and butter?
Kartz: I’d be happy to earn a living by doing service and certainly not dis-service. I respect my job roles and responsibilities. And how I wish we set an example for others to emulate us, for your right attitude and mindset.

Gabbu: This is not a start-up. What works for a start-up wouldn't work for an enterprise. Nobody works here because it is their passion. People work here because they need a job.
Kartz: (Realising that I'm talking to a half-baked person and suppressing my anger for that attitude in a coach) First it is not good to generalize the culture of a company by its size. Secondly, taking your statement on face value, don't you think that is the challenge you and I have in our plate, waiting to be solved.

Gabbu: Again, between you and me. Because I happened to know you earlier, let me confess, I'm here for a job. Why do I care and so should you, about what happens to this company. Think of it as just the 9-5 job, in our case 12-8 job, we'll be at peace. (chuckles)
Kartz: Frankly you disappointed me :/ And I'm not here for a job. I do not intend to stay here for years. I want to make a dent for good and move on to the next challenge. One reason, perhaps why I like consulting. That said, life is beautiful not when its rosy but when we get to see and appreciate all kinds of colors. Give it a shot ;)

Note

- These are (potentially), real world conversations. I'd appreciate, if you can share your thoughts (whatever it be) in comments of this blog post for our community to get a hang of on-ground reality or perceptions of it.
- All names and characters in this case study are cooked-up and does not mean to refer to any individual/entity/country.

Request

- Do feel free to write to me your experience (if you have one) of similar conversations that you've had as either of the coaches :P
 - Do feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks in advance!