The Roles of an Agile COE

Bart has been in ecommerce for over 20 years, and can't imagine a better job to have. He is interested in all things agile, or anything new to learn.

In a previous article—“Agile Centers of Excellence”—we talked about what an Agile Center of Excellence (COE) is, and why companies are forming them. Now, let’s take a look at just what this group of people actually does. It’s important to note that if an Agile COE does what previously centralized program management functions did, it will be a disaster for the adoption of agile, the health of the product, and the willingness of the teams to make the change.

Unlike a Program Management Office (PMO), the Agile COE is not meant to be a mechanism by which to control how teams operate, what they think is important, and how they have determined is the best way to add value. Rather, it is meant to help teams, executives and organizations make the transition, by supporting, guiding and communicating best practices, without trying to enforce standards, templates or creating consistency for its own sake. Let’s take a deeper look at each facet of the role of the Agile COE.

As a collection of coaches
In most organizations, this is the primary reason for crafting the group in the first place. While it would be wonderful to hire experienced agile coaches for each team in the organization, it’s usually not practical to do so. Finding dozens of experienced folks, who are all skilled at coaching teams new to agile through…

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