Project Management

Difference between Agile Coach and Scrum Master Explained

It is true that a Scrum Master and an Agile Coach do similar things, however, at different levels. We are not saying that a Scrum Master cannot be that vehicle that the organization needs to have an agile transformation; it is just that it must simply be trained with technical skills in the different agile methodologies and human abilities to be able to be.

For this reason, agile coaches have a broader mandate, since they not only train teams in charge of the operational areas of the organization but also because they must train managers and leave disruptive thoughts to what they have worked in their entire lives.

 What is NOT an Agile Coach?

As we mentioned at the beginning of this entry, the difference between an agile coach and scrum master are several.

We tell you what is NOT an agile coach focused on projects: 

A Project Manager or Scrum Master who read three books, four articles, went to two Agile Nights and with that, he was awarded as Agile Coach.

NOT evrything is SCRUM

Someone Who guides your image and likeness

What similarities do these roles have?

Both the agile coach and scrum master help to provide value to the organization. Both use similar techniques to guide, facilitate and train teams to learn the essence of agile, as well as to deal with delivery problems as they occur and work together as a well-placed gear. If we stopped here, the two roles would be the same. on the other hand, the scope of the agile coach and scrum master is different.

Then what is the difference between an agile coach and scrum master

The biggest differences are what you are expected to do. A Scrum Master works with ONE team. A Scrum Master ensures that the team is following the Agile Scrum process, making meetings and behaving in the right way. The Scrum Master is the team’s tactical coach (scrum defines the team like the scrum master, the product owner, and the development team). He/she facilitate the use of agile technique equipment and helps protect the equipment from the outside world. Scrum Masters are the voice of the team level process; they are a critical member of all agile teams.

Agile coach responsibilities

An Agile Coach helps define what should be done, how, who does it, when, why, how it fits with the organization, change management, people management and interactions between agile teams and other parts of the organization (such as Dev Ops, Hosting, Team Building, Education, UX / UI, etc.).

Agile coach vs scrum master

There is also a salary difference. As reported by Outsourcing portals such as OCC, Linked In, Indeed, Glassdoor among others, a Scrum Master is between 25K and 35K, obviously depending on the company, its specializations, and experience on the part of the candidate.

An Agile Coach may be earning up to twice as much as a Scrum Master without any problem.

Although this can be quite a wide range, salaries depend a lot on the maturity of the organization that hires them, since new companies that are just beginning to know Agile may not give so much value to the role they deserve.

Agile Coaches generally pursue the implementation of an organizational vision of Agile or have the task of providing external knowledge and experience to a team. Unlike the Scrum Master, the agile coach does not have this in any specific project.

In order to make changes from outside the project, the coach needs a wider exposure compared to Scrum’s core roles. It’s like being a PMO Manager since he has the power to influence without direct authority and outside the team, interact with one or more teams, and then let the team synthesize and internalize in the decision-making areas of an organization.

The Agile Coach is typically the voice of Agile at the organizational level. In general, because there are few agile coaches who can perform this function, many organizations choose to hire external consultants to perform this function.

Scrum master certification and agile coach certification

To become a scrum master it is must-have Scrum Master Certification and which can easily attain by passing the test. And the same with the agile coach certification. But both tests are different and have different formats.

 So what is the difference between a Scrum Master and an Agile Coach?

In fact, there can be very little difference if a Scrum Master decides to play the role from the perspective of coaching. However, this is not always the case; some organizations see Scrum Masters as disguised project managers. In these cases the difference between Coach and Scrum Master is large.

There are perhaps two main differences between the role of Scrum Master and Agile Coach.

  • The Scrum Master has the task of ensuring that the team follows the Scrum process and rules. The scope of the role of agile coaches is somewhat broader, with greater emphasis on the strategy of change.
  • As such, the second difference is the duration. All Scrum teams must have a Scrum Master that works with the team in each sprint and stays with the team for the duration of the job.
  • An Agile Coach can keep a team but it can also move on, or it can go back in time.

Conclusion

Much of the work of the Agile Coaches is to change the mentality of people, mental models, and shortcuts that have been built over the years.

There are hundreds, even thousands of small decisions that are made every day during software development. These decisions are based on people’s mental models of how development works or how it does not work.

Part of the coach’s role is to help people unlearn many of these models and re-learn models based on Agile’s values.

Cumulatively, these many small decisions are more important than the few large decisions that are occasionally made.

Nitin Shende

Mr. Nitin Shende is a Subject matter expert in Project Management with more than 31 years of global experience. He is a member of Standard & PMBOK guide Sixth edition content and SME member for PMBOK guide Fifth edition.