The ICON Advantage: We help you sustain and succeed on your own.
Since 1992, ICON has cultivated a network of experienced corporate coaches to mentor our clients in their Digital Transformations. Specializing in SAFe, DevOps, Lean Portfolio Management, and Business Agility, these coaches have a reputation for showing heart in their work and rolling up their sleeves to help our clients in collaborative partnership. By ensuring that our clients fully understand, contribute to, and own their transformations, our coaches enable companies to sustain and succeed on their own.
Our Coaching Capabilities
- Help the enterprise meet its strategic initiatives by facilitating the people and processes needed to build systems and solutions.
- Create a focus on leadership behavior and mindset
- Guide and co-author transformation plans with Senior Leadership
- Train and coach the organization to adopt Agile mindset, principles and practices
- Develop sustainable Agile Centers of Excellence, Internal Coaching, and Communities of Practice
- Determine which metrics to use and track to translate into powerful data
- Conduct Agile Readiness and Maturity Assessments
- Offer tool experience and support through knowledge of leading industry tools
Creating a Culture of Sustainable Agility
ICON's goal is to empower and improve our clients’ own internal coaching organizations by creating a sustainable Agility practice. This entails creating an Agile Center of Excellence (CoE) and then building an Internal Coaching Practice within the CoE.
Agile Center of Excellence
What is an Agile CoE?
An Agile Center of Excellence (CoE) is an internal agile consulting practice that enables an organization to be self-sufficient. It’s a structure that provides leadership, best practices, training and coaching for driving Lean-Agile adoption across the enterprise. It acts as:
- A governing body for bringing the right training capabilities, consistent coaching practices, and standardization for processes and tooling
- A gathering of thought leadership to support and maximize the Agile Transformation investment
- An information radiator to share and scale Agile processes and practice innovation throughout the enterprise
- Support for strategic enterprise goals and specific program or project goals
- A focus on people and their work in the Agile ecosystem, including resource management of Scrum Masters, Product Owners and other key roles
Why do you need an Agile CoE?
Change is hard. Adopting, continuously improving, and scaling Agile requires strategy support by a centralized leadership team that promotes collaboration and Agile best practices across the enterprise.
An Agile CoE sustains the momentum of your transformation efforts. It helps the entire organization realize the benefits of scaling Lean-Agile practices and principles. A desire to support, to sustain, and to scale Agile work and behaviors should be the primary motivation and foundation for creating an Agile CoE.
Since very few organizations can support a fully functioning Agile CoE at the start of a Lean-Agile improvement program, most start by deploying a steering committee and getting expert training and coaching. ICON offers seasoned Agile Transformation coaches who have deep experience to guide and mentoring an effective Agile CoE.
What problems are addressed by an Agile CoE?
- No standardized training for Agile fundamentals
- No central resource for teams to find help and guidance
- Role confusion
- Current efforts are mini-time-boxed waterfall phases
- No common tool usage or tool education protocols
- No overarching vision for Agile across teams
- Agile/Scrum ceremonies are not being held or adhered to
- Planning meetings are overly inefficient and long
- Key agile development practices have not implemented
Portfolios and Programs
- Little or no cross-project/department communication and collaboration on Agile projects
- Perception that Agile circumvents the need for documentation, pre-deployment testing and inspection, or satisfactory regulatory governance practices
How do you get started with an Agile CoE?
- Gain support at the right level with a focus on delivering value
- For leadership and other key roles, identify people that are passionate about deepening their skills and delivering results
- Document and share skills and methods; train and mentor where skills fall short
- Apply important skills in pilot projects, while mentoring others to expand their capabilities
- Put in place output measures and metrics that track results delivered
- Formalize the team, integrate it with strategic planning, and expand it across the organization
- Continue to improve, adapt, and advance capabilities
What key activities are required for an Agile CoE?
- Establish Agile CoE Charter
- Develop transformation strategy, roadmap, and backlog
- Develop reusable assets and service offerings
- Develop Train the Trainer and Coach the Coach Program
- Develop engagement model for the Internal Coaching Practice
- Provide leadership coaching
- Develop an adoption strategy
- Develop OCM (Organization Change Management) strategy
- Gather metrics and feedback
- Identify improvement opportunities
Building an Internal Coaching Practice within the CoE
What is an Internal Coaching Practice?
An Internal Coaching Practice is set of carefully selected internal coaches who coach other employees in the organization. To help you build this practice, internal coaches are temporarily coached by an ICON team of experts to model behaviors and grow Agile capabilities within an organization.
What is the purpose of an Internal Coaching Practice?
Internal coaches reduce dependency on external coaches over time, which allows agile adoption to scale in a cost-effective manner. An Internal Coaching Practice enables, empowers, and improves your internal coaching capability.
What activities are required for an Internal Coaching Practice?
- Identify Internal Agile Coach candidates
- Create and organize learning cohorts
- Establish and use measures of coaching effectiveness
- Educate and guide candidate coaches through a Train the Trainer and Coach the Coach Program
- Add internal coaches as identified and needed
- Establish and support Communities of Practice, including a Coaching Community of Practice
- Identify improvement opportunities through continuous Inspect & Adapt
How are internal coaches identified?
ICON works with the client and uses a mix of communication and recruitment strategies to identify candidate agile coaches who can sustain, advance, and grow internal coaching capabilities after external coaches depart. Candidates come from a variety of roles and backgrounds, serving all aspects of the business.
How are internal coaches trained?
To create an effective learning environment and support system, all internal coaches selected are divided into cohorts of 5 – 15 people each. These cohorts are part of a larger coaching community of practice. Each cohort performs a self-assessment and then progresses through the coaching educational and practical sessions together.
ICON pairs with and guides the coaches through a mix of interactive learning sessions, games, practice sessions, and real-world coaching activities. ICON coaches provide continuous constructive and positive feedback. As coaches gain the desired skills and experience, they will graduate from the program, yet continue to be part of their cohort and the community of practice.