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Guidelines for Selecting a Coach

A great trainer and a great coach will make a world of difference in your LeSS adoption. How to chose them? Use these guidelines:

  • hands-on experience
    Ensure your trainer/coach has hands-on experience of LeSS from both inside (as a team member) and outside (as coach). Avoid training providers who don’t care about who teaches, and avoid trainers with only theoretical knowledge. They aren’t useful.
  • a person, not a company
    You are looking for a unique person. Great coaching is personal. Find your coach and form a long-term relationship. Avoid giant consulting companies and training companies.
  • technical depth and understanding
    LeSS requires technical excellence. Technology, team, and organizational decisions are strongly related and your coach needs to have this broad and deep perspective. Avoid people with no or limited technical expertise. These are often ex-PMI-project managers.
  • long-term engagement
    LeSS adoptions require patience and take time. Find a coach that is committed to see your adoption through—for years. Avoid ‘drive-by’ coaches that come, comment, criticize, and go.
  • quality over cost
    Hiring a cheap but bad trainer/coach (ignoring the previous factors) is truly penny-wise and pound-foolish. Flawed and failed LeSS adoptions are certainly possible; a bad coach doesn’t help.
  • don’t delegate the selection
    The decision is too important to leave to people who aren’t going to be directly involved themselves. Avoid delegating the selection to a separate department, such as a PMO, Purchasing, or HR group—they aren’t involved enough to see the important factors.
  • deemphasize certification
    Most certification of people and courses is almost meaningless. It probably doesn’t hurt, but it’s not a reliable guide. The above points are infinitely more important.
  • evaluate multiple people
    The best groups evaluated multiple people before making a decision and investment in a long-term relationship.