Let’s cut to the chase: here are 10 agile coaching interview questions for YOU to ask. Because every time you go to a job interview you should remember YOU are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.
This blog post is short and it’s food for thought for you. My hope is that not only this will give you insight into what the company and the position is all about come interview day, but also will showcase a little bit of yourself and what YOU are all about to the interviewer.
Do you rather listen? Then watch it on YouTube. These 10 agile coaching interview questions can apply to your interview as a scrum master as well and maybe similar positions such as an Agile manager.
Do you rather read? Scroll to do so!
1 – Is this a new position? Why?
This is a combo question, I know. But by using something like this you get a sense if they company is expanding into agility (yay, growth!) or replacing people. And if they are replacing people you certainly want to know why!
Don’t feel shy to ask. They will do similarly to you: why are you leaving your current job, why did you make the choices you make.
You are their equal. Match that with challenging questions.
2 – Why do you need an agile coach? What do you expect me to do?
This is a great question to grasp the company’s current maturity and understanding of agile, but also about the role you will play as an agile coach. Do they think you just come in and teach agile to people and “float” around the rest of the time? Do they expect to be giving agile training? Will you work with software teams only? Marketing HR and support as well? Do they expect you to be embedded in teams? Do they expect you to manage people or give performance reviews?
3 – Who will I support?
This is different than the question before and it includes individuals and teams. We are asking here which hierarchy levels you are expected to support. Are you expected to coach at organizational level? At team level? All of those? Will you have access to your executives to make a case for agility?
In this bracket I also encourage you to understand if your are working alone or in a team of coaches, maybe even in a center of excellence.
4 – How long has the company been using agile?
You would expect company using agile for a while to be at a certain maturity. If they do not display a certain maturity yet, you can gauge their level of success and probe a little more on why they had not made much progress despite running in agile for so long.
Likewise, you get the idea there is A LOT of work to be done if they just started with agility.
5 – What agile framework do you use?
Always good to know. Maybe it’s your dear framework and you can come in and shine, or maybe it’s one you are not very comfortable with.
Or maybe… the company runs framework-neutral agile (my favorite!)
Make the time to probe them on the framework to see if you can spot dissonances. It is yet another way to gauge their agile maturity.
6 – How excited or how resistant to agile is everybody in the organization?
I like this question for a couple of reasons. First of, it lets you know the company cares about their employees and is gauging and monitoring the evolution of agile across the organization.
The other more obvious reason is that you want to discover if there are pockets of excitements in the company, which are excellent for quick and shareable wins. And in the negative case, you want to know and prepare if there are groups who will resist you.
7 – Do you work remotely, hybrid or in person?
I used to ask this question long before the pandemic, because remote work is not new. Neither is offshore teams!
By asking this question, not only will you know about your own working conditions, you will understand what happens in the life of the teams. You will then consider the difficulties and opportunities of each style and be able to make a more informed decision.
8 – What tools do you use?
One of the most ignored agile principles is the number 5 in which we say we give our teams the tools and support they need. So, what do they make available for their teams in person or remotely to create more effectiveness and collaboration?
You will get a great sense of how the safety, trust and respect is for everybody in the organization, or at least for those you will be supporting.
9 – Where do you use agile?
Most companies will be using agile on software development, product management but… do the HR team use agile as well? I mean, there is such a thing as Agile People Manifesto. And any department that is completely on the sidelines of agile for an organization is actually a point where agility will slow down.
Kinda like the weak link of the agile chain in the organization. Make a point to know what they are.
10– What do you expect from me in the first 90 days?
90 days or 3 months is a great period for defining success. You are still new to the company and it’s easy to adapt but it’s long enough for you to have made some progress with whoever you support.
It also let’s you know if they have a clear focus for you or if they are more lost and actually waiting for you to give more direction. Or if they are completely lost!
So how do you like the 10 agile coaching interview questions?
Getting a new job can feel exhilarating. Tap into that energy and remember you do add value and you are interviewing prospective companies just as much as they are interviewing you.
Let me know how your interview goes if you use this post for inspiration! Good luck and share some more questions if you’re feeling generous.