Exclusive Chat with Agile Coach Preeth Pandalay

Hello Preeth. It’s an honor to interact with you. Well, before we move ahead, can you tell us what agile coaching means and what sparked your interest in the world of agility?

[Preeth] Hello and thank you for this wonderful opportunity.
In a world of accelerating change and growing uncertainty, agile provides organizations the ability to deal with and succeed in such a turbulent environment. Agility is an organizational capability that can & needs to be developed, enabling them to generate more value for its clients continuously. To do so, the organisation requires a change in the way work is carried out, because a traditional organizational setup was not designed for innovation or delighting clients.

An agile coach is one who facilitates an organization’s move from the traditional way of working to an agile way of working by helping it empower the team doing the work to facilitate collaboration, rapid learning and innovation.

Agile brings with it a shift in values like the people-first approach, customer-centricity. It dismantles the inherent bureaucracy of the system that is a hindrance to accommodating change, the ability to innovate and source of employee disengagement in the domain of knowledge work. Having experienced this, it is impossible to go back to the traditional way of working and so here I am.

What do you think – has agile changed or is it pretty much the same thing, as it was when you first decided to enter into the agile world?

[Preeth] Agile to me is a value system, decision-making framework that helps one arrive at decisions and even strategies, that will enable teams and organizations be adaptable in the volatile environment they are operating in. The manifesto for agile software development that was signed in Feb 2001 constitutes of 4 values, and 12 principles and those are still relevant today as they where then. The understanding of those values and the agile ways of working have been evolving over the years and will continue to do so. In fact continuous improvement by inspecting and adapting is the crux of agility. But yes, it is still as challenging and as interesting and exciting as the first time I decided to focus on this.

What changes do you see coming to agile and where do you see things going in the next 5 and 10 years in the agile world?

[Preeth] Though agile is accepted as the way forward, unfortunately, even today the focus of many organizational transformations has been marginalised to process transition rather than the organisational transformation. The certification industry, the agile coaching fraternity in an attempt to capitalise the revolution called agile have equally contributed to the current state. It is rather unfortunate as indicated in the State of Agile survey, that close to 80% of organizations are still struggling with the change. We really need to start focusing on three areas namely – rethink how agile is being perceived, reinvent leadership with the capability of leading in the ever-changing, complex and ambiguous environment, and the third focus on restructuring organization around business value generation. If we don’t, then I feel it won’t be too long before we move on from agile and related frameworks to something else in pursuit of creating a sustainable business.

Well, I want to know your favorite part of being an agile coach, and I am sure our readers will also be interested to know this. So, what’s your favorite part of being an agile coach?

[Preeth] I am a firm believer in the agile way of working. Also being an agile coach means working with people to help them engage better, co-create smarter ways of execution with flexibility to accommodate changes and a good work-life balance that is quite skewed in the eastern hemisphere. The overall positive impact the transformation has on the people and thus the organization and to be part of this is exhilarating and I guess addictive. This is my favourite part of being an agile coach.

Tell us about your success stories, about your achievements as an agile coach that make you feel like you’re doing a good job as a coach.

[Preeth] When folks reach out saying that they were at the brink of resigning from a company but the transformation brought in changes like sense of belonging, a sense of purpose because of which they stayed back or when a person who decided to quit the IT industry itself, stayed back and started enjoying and growing professionally in his business unit, I get a sense of accomplishment. When you get an email from a C level exec stating their company grew 4 times more than the industry average and we had a role to play in it, or when a business unit head thanks you for helping them reduce their time to market by 20%, I guess you know that you are doing a fairly good job at a business level too.

Terence Jobs

Terence Jobs is a freelance writer who has been reporting on entertainment news and trending stories for over half a decade. His expertise lies in the fields of celebrity, television and music.

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