ScrumMaster? Coach? Agile Coach? The needs of the team and work define the role.
No matter the name, the intention of the role is to help teams learn new skills, continuously improve, and make the transition to a new way of working.
Some people say it’s a technical role, others claim that the role is primarily facilitation. I say, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to hiring an agile coach or ScrumMaster.
Understand the Needs of Each Team
Every agile team is alike in some ways and different in others. Agile teams are alike in that they strive to work cross-functionally to deliver working software. Most of them work in iterations. But from there, differences abound. Some teams need to learn solid engineering practices. Others need help with a specific skill such as automated unit testing. Still others need coaching to become a functioning team. Many need help making the mental shift to working in feature-slices that fit into sort iterations.
If your company is just starting out with agile methods, you may not know yet what teams need. Rather than hire a generic coach who may or may not fit the needs of the team, look to an expert help you. “Help” doesn’t have to be a prolonged and expensive contract. It can be a short assessment to gauge the areas where teams need support to make a successful transition to a different way of working.
Consider the Qualities, Preferences, and Style for the Role