My First Agile Project: Did we need a coach?

Originally published on

Picture courtesy of unoguy on flickr

In the previous part of My First Agile Project I talked about the recent tempest in a teacup regarding the failure and fall of Agile. A commenter on that post ended up crystalizing something I thought during the reading of various posts on the subject; should we have hired an Agile Coach to help us start going on Agile? This is an important question for me in trying to figure out what we could have done better as well as for other teams starting out on Agile as well. This is an issue for Agile itself as well, whether a coach is needed for teams to succeed or not. Read on for more on this question and whether I think all new Agile teams need a coach.

When we started this project, our vendor brought Scrum to us. They recommended we buy Ken Schwaber's Agile Software Development with Scrum and had one of their people give a presentation about Scrum. After that, we were on our own. Most of us read the book, me included, but none of us apparently internalized all the important parts of Scrum. As I've mentioned before, we didn't do a good job of keeping track of our backlog or estimating things to know how much work we were adding to the project. These two omissions were the main reasons we got offtrack so badly without knowing it.

Would a coach have helped us with this?