Sunday, February 21, 2016

What Colors are on your Agile Career Palette?

For those that advocate for Agile within their organization or help organizations adopt Agile, often times your career path is opportunistic based on what opportunities appear before you. This helps the Agile advocate at one level gain experience but can prevent the more methodical thinking of where you want your career to go.  At some point, isn’t it good to be in the driver’s seat of your own growth? 

For example, if the Agile advocate (e.g., Agile Coach) only has team level coaching opportunities, they will never gain the experience and skills needed to coach at a management or organization level.  If the Agile advocate only has Scrum based opportunities, they will not gain the experience of working with Kanban, Lean Development, or scaled frameworks.  Instead a methodical aspect to their career must be incorporated.  This is where the Agile Career Palette can be useful.  

The Agile Career Palette provides a colorful approach to better understand what Agile capabilities and experience an Agile advocate currently has and then provides an incremental approach to explore, learn, experience opportunities in the future based on gaps and interest. An Agile Career Palette provides the Agile advocate with what is artistically known as the colors they bring to their work.
These colors represent several key facets (IMHO) of what it means to be an Agile advocate of any type.  The key facets include the agile experience acquired, levels coached, agile roles played, fields where you apply agile, agile processes implemented, business and technical practices applied, agile training delivered, agile change management and soft skills applied, agile certifications acquired, and giving back to the agile community in the form of articles and seminars.  While there may be other areas of focus, I have found that these tend to cover most of the important Agile areas. 

Those who benefit most from the Agile Coaching Palette are the Agile advocates who play a role as Agile Coach, Agile Champion, Agile Sponsor, Team level advocates (e.g., ScrumMasters, Product Owner, etc), and Agile leaders of any kind who are looking to advance in their Agile journey. The Palette approach reminds those on their agile journey of the many areas they may desire to experience, learn, and play along the way.

Based on real experience, the Agile Career Palette is a methodical and incremental approach in helping you consider what you may want to do next, depending on where you’ve been and more importantly where you would like to go.  The “where you would like to go” is meant to be applied in an incremental manner.  Usually about 6 months gives you enough time to make progress but short enough to reflect on where you’ve been and where they want to go next.  

If you are an Agile advocate, consider trying an Agile Career Palette approach to help you better shape and color your future.  First start by establishing your current state of the key facets mentioned about.  Then, commit to an increment of improvement based on your interests or gaps.  It will help you be more laser-focused on building your future!

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