The Story of an Agile Coach becoming a DevOps Coach

In January 2020, I and 8 other experienced DevOps and Agile practitioners from around the World became the first 9 DASA DevOps Coaches.

DASA (DevOps Agile Skills Association) is a community driven organisation with the aim to improve skills and knowledge for DevOps teams and transformations. The DASA DevOps Coach certification is their latest development after members spotted this gap in the Skills Map. Along with DevOps Leadership, DevOps Coaching is seen as a critical component to the success of DevOps Transformations and Implementations. This DASA member supported view is also backed by research findings detailed in Accelerate and numerous reports from the likes of McKinsey and Gartner.

become a DevOps coach

As an experienced and certified Agile Coach, you may wonder why I took on the DASA DevOps Coach certification. One common question I am asked is

“What’s the difference between a DevOps and Agile Coach?”

We can answer this in a couple of ways. To begin, let’s examine and contrast the Agile and DevOps manifesto principles:

devops-principlesThe 6 Principles of DevOps

agile-principlesThe 12 Agile Principles from the Agile Manifesto

There is evidently a lot of overlap between the two sets of principles. DevOps after all did emerge from product development teams implementing Agile ways of working then only to find that they needed to wait operation teams to release their work. There are however 2 areas where we argue that the DevOps Principles extend beyond the 12 Agile Principles. One is the focus on Continuous Improvement. Agile Principles acknowledge this facet of Lean Thinking through principle 12, which manifests in Scrum, for example, via the Retrospective event.

DevOps takes this more seriously, embedding the Continuous Improvement mindset through practices such as the 4 Step Kata and Kaizen Blitz Events. Sure, a Retrospective approach does not avoid or preclude these approaches. We would argue that, from our experience of many Agile implementations that we have been brought in to help recover, many teams have not heard of Kata or Kaizen and need support to adopt these practices.

In addition to the difference and overlap in Principles, we should consider the base knowledge needed to succeed as a DevOps Coach.

Officially, the DASA DevOps Coaching course requires no technical base knowledge in DevOps tools and systems. We do however recommend taking the DevOps Fundamentals course, and if you want to go hardcore then reviewing and revising the XebiaLabs Periodic Table of DevOps Tools is definitely a worthwhile activity.

This will certainly allow you start work with teams you are likely to be introduced to in your first DevOps Coaching assignment.

The 3 day DASA DevOps Coach training programme is the only coaching programme in the Agile/DevOps space developed by:

  • Certified Coaches from the International Coaching Federation and Gallup
  • A community of DevOps, Agile and Lean practitioners and trainers.

Having been part of this community we know that this course provides the solid foundation needed to succeed as a Coach in the DevOps Transformation arena. The focus on Active Learning throughout the course allows you to practice a huge range of skills and techniques, such as:

  • Active Listening
  • Powerful Questioning
  • Tact Filter
  • Comm. Style Matrix
  • Gemba Walks
  • Performance Dialog
  • GROW Model
  • 4 Phase Coaching Model
  • Coaching Principles
  • Coaching Kata
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Influencing Behaviours
  • Managing Interactions
  • Measuring Success
  • Metric Selection
  • Coin Feedback Model
  • DevOps Transf. Roadmap
  • DevOps Business Case
  • Assessment
  • Stakeholder Mapping
  • Team Centred Interaction
  • Intervention Strategies
  • Decision Making Model
  • Problem Solving
  • Feedback Belief Zones
  • Team Stages
  • DevOps Org. Models
  • Dysfunctions in Teams
  • 8 Elements of Waste
  • ..and more

“The way that companies deliver software has fundamentally changed, and the companies that want to drive that change at a cultural level through to the way software is released need an outside eye to make sure it’s being done right. That’s where you come in”

Source : DevOps Coach Job Opening – LONDON January 2020

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Darryl Sherborne

DASA Ambassador and Managing Director, Kaizenjoy,

Darryl has over 18 years of experience helping small (start-up), medium and large companies improve and transform to Agile/DevOps ways of working. He currently works…