- to provide additional private feedback to any of the candidates.
- Provide intensive training and/or coaching for your newly-minted process facilitator. Get this person off to a good start. Make sure that the training or coaching will cover all the aspects of the Process Facilitator's responsibilities.
- Without delay, get the Process Facilitator started on the agile effort.
The core features of the above method are that it allows people in your organization to self-organize, and that it provides transparency and an appropriate level of management support. If you are having trouble finding an appropriate candidate inside your organization, you might consider hiring a new employee or contracting with a coach. In either case, you want to find people who have excellent references, specifically pertaining to their agile experience and to their honesty and trustworthiness. Again, because Agile Work is highly values-based, copious experience is less important than attitudes and relationships.
The Hard Part
At some point, the Process Facilitator has matured enough that he or she will start to deal with the fact that you as a manager will be doing things that are obstacles for the team. This can be extremely uncomfortable and awkward. Try your best to welcome it when it happens.
Managers produce a large variety of obstacles. Sometimes managers have a "command-and-control" or micro-management approach. This prevents team self-organization. Sometimes managers are too hands-off and leave the team floundering. Sometimes managers are not open and honest about the reasons behind their actions or the actions of the organization which leaves team members feeling cynical or apathetic. Sometimes managers set a bad example by being unwilling to admit to mistakes and take efforts to improve. Sometimes managers just don't give their teams enough face-time.
The person who is your Process Facilitator will be obligated to point these failings out to you in order to do justice to the team. Hopefully, you will be able to take this as your opportunity to contribute directly to the improvement of the process, the team, and ultimately the success of the organization.
The career path for a Process Facilitator is often unclear when you are first looking at agile methods. If you are in a small organization, you can probably get away without defining this clearly for quite some time. However, as a manager in a larger organization, it won't be long before your Process Facilitators start thinking: "is this a career choice?" "What do I do next?" There are many possible ways to set up a career path. However, it is again important to realize that the values of Agile Work must not be sacrificed when this is done.
At one large financial organization, the first draft of a career path went like this: Apprentice Process Facilitator to Process Facilitator to Master Process Facilitator. An apprentice had to work with and be recommended by a master before graduating to the next level. To become a Master Process Facilitator, there was a certain amount of experience required as well as the approval of the other masters.
The problem with a formal, well-defined career path is that the role of the Process Facilitator actually becomes less important as the organization and the teams within it become more mature in their implementation of agile methods. A formal path encourages the same kind of excessive specialization that self-organizing teams are trying to get away from. Specialization leads to inefficiency and other unhealthy organizational behaviors. In fact, the ideal career path for a good Process Facilitator is to be rewarded on how many teams he or she has developed to the point that they