Introduction to Agile Consultant
Agile is a method that has been used to develop and create new software. The approach undertaken for agile is an iterative approach. An agile consultant works on 3 principles
- An iterative approach
- Short feedback loops
- The disciplined project management process
Agile consultant as the name suggests is an expert on agile frameworks who has the expertise of working on agile. He acts like a consultant where firms using agile to develop new software are in need of assistance to create the software.
A consultant helps these companies to find solutions to their problems. Consultants rely on their vast experience in a particular field and over time develop sufficient knowledge that they are able to help others find solutions. The role of a consultant is mostly short term in nature, that they are hired on a contract basis to solve very specific problems, after which they are no longer required in the organization The agile consultant can also be viewed in terms of a freelancer who works on one project at a time
Definition Of Agile Consultant
The agile consultant is a professional with considerable expertise in agile frameworks, he is hired on a part-time basis by the company to solve a very specific set of problems occurred in software development. He provides a course of action for the team to implement.
A consultant is there to provide answers to a very specific set of problems, often the way they work is different from normal employees and this can create slight friction between the consultant and internal employees as they are not used to his way of working. But a consultant does not get bothered by such differences and focuses on providing top-notch solutions to problems for which he is hired
Agile Consultant often starts first as an agile coach, an agile coach can be viewed as an internal employee and is there to guide the team. The agile coach is also a well experienced and knowledgeable in the field of agile frameworks.
Coaching as the name suggests helps people in becoming better at what they do, the coach works closely with the team and helps them move forward by helping them find solutions their problems and increase their knowledge in agile frameworks.
Coach essentially works on the personal development of the members of the team. He needs to understand the potential of each member, there is a lot of interaction with the team so that he can gauge the potential and knowledge of each member and then accordingly formulate a plan to improve the member
Key Characteristic of Agile Consultant
However agile consultant is considered to be more knowledgeable than an agile coach, some key characteristic of a consultant is:
1. They generally have a process where they ask the team series of questions which in turn are meant to turn the teams focus on identifying key problems and issues
2. He keeps reminding the team of important problems and they must not drift away from these problems
3. One key trait is consultant always needs to keep a broader picture in mind even if the team fails to do so, because when a key issue arises a decision can be taken keeping the broader perspective in mind
4. He guides the team to solve issues that come their way
Agile Consultant Development Practises
The consultant needs to undertake a lot of work to develop successful agile practises at a firm. Each firm is unique and has hired the consultant for a specific problem that they face. There could be times where the consultant is faced with a similar type of problem at various firms, in that case, he has an opportunity to develop practise he employed at previous firms.
However, there could also be times when he is faced with a problem that he has not experienced or handled before. This would be a good learning experience for him but he needs to tap into his past expertise to solve this issue.
However there are certain development practises that consultant can use, they are
- Educate colleges- The first important step is to make sure all developers understand what is agile and how to use it. Employees at all levels must be educated, from senior members to juniors. And providing them with the necessary knowledge and tools to work on their own
- Mentor team- A consultant role is to make sure developers understand Agile frameworks, provide employees with frequent feedback so that they work on their improvement. Providing support to employees, coordinating across teams within the organization and overall making sure there is a good understanding of agile frameworks
- Implementing Agile- After spending considerable time in training developers and finding solutions to their problems, consultant being hired on a temporary basis will leave the organization; before he leaves he must make sure that developers are in a position to implement agile frameworks on any future development they do. Hiring a consultant can prove to be expensive for the company.
Agile Consulting Strategies
Each problem a consultant solves for a company working on agile can be used as consulting strategy for the next firm he works for, that is, he will be able to apply solutions he learned at one firm to another if the firm is facing the same set of problems. And over a period of time consultant will have developed very deep expertise in agile frameworks.
A consultant can use this expertise to design strategies at other firms, the first step is adoption at every stage, that is, all concerned teams come on board and become familiar with agile framework and principles.
Educating employees and building a culture where employees learn to use agile frameworks and practise it on their own. And lastly continually offering strategies for improvement.
Thus I would like to conclude this article by stating that job of Agile consultant is extremely challenging because every project they are working with a different company, different developers, different culture and maybe in a different company.
They start as an agile coach and after a lot of experience and perseverance, they become an agile consultant.
This has been a guide to the Agile Consultant. Here we discussed the concept, key characteristic, and strategies of Agile Consultant. You can also go through our other Suggested Articles to learn more –