(This page is written for recruiters.)
That’s my elevator pitch. Note the punctuation after Sweden. It is not a question mark or a exclamation mark. It is what it is. With a high tail and great safety, I can state this as I not only have been involved from the beginning of the Agile movement as a software developer, but also decades before when we struggled with projects and old-school managers. With only a handful of years left until retirement, I also add perspective from many different and big organisations, and not only start-ups, as icing on my cake. And on top of that, a long leadership training in the army as well as coaching and management assignments at the elite level in team sports. I (big I here and a pause) know what a TEAM is and what they need from the organization. Especially form the management team.
It is difficult to be a die hard team player like me and in parallel have the self-confidence like i have. In sports we call them Divas. But I’m trying, Ringo. I’m trying real hard not to be the diva. As a coach, regardless of sports, business or what, you need to put the team first, always. But my tail wagging was not so high ten years ago when I suffered severely from the Impostor syndrome, a feeling of not being good enough. One day a manager told me to speak up and say what I thought, and not come up with it afterwards. ”-You always have something sensible to say, but often say it too late”. Since then, I am the opposite and maybe sometimes a little too much aka Dunning Kruger?
From mainframe operations to PCs and system development, onward to a life as a consultant on software development and later agile ones, I was among the first on the ball in Sweden when agile was launched in 2001.
Unlike DOACs (Depends-On-Agile-Coaches) who refer to frameworks, I challenge the status quo with the help of my experience, my safety and my perspectives. When others say that it depends (which is often true), I go in a completely different direction where a discussion is born. For example, I can stubbornly claim that the earth is flat (or that you have a dysfunctional organization) until someone convinces me and then i often say ”sorry, my bad” and admit that the earth likely is round, to foster Psychological safety and new insights.
My tactic is to sow a doubt and challenge first. The discussion that follows is what grow a possible belief in this, or vice versa. With the discussion, we have created a hypothesis we can go ahead with and verify with empirical facts or/and happy customers, rather than trusting a commercial product with its certified priests as our handrail.
Doubt is the basis of all knowledge and the engine of all change.
Being in the industry for 35 years leaves its mark. Working in 70+ organizations can seem fluttery, but through this flutter I have built up a great deal of experience and a network. The experience comes from all the roles I have shouldered and the challenges of the various organizations. I have worked as a tester, CIO, project manager, system developer, technical project manager, procurer, investigator, buyer, coach etc. The only thing I miss is UX, something I’m really weak at.
Psychological safety (PS) is a trending concept. Unfortunately, there is too much talk about it and less walk. Trade unions that should carry this banner high under the Work Environment Act, duck the concept. I stand on the barricades for PS and at the time of writing this I have given about fifty lectures and courses on the topic. With PS in my CV, I create a breeding ground for safety. People come to me instead of the union, or the lack thereof, I have noticed.
What really differentiates me from other experienced Agile coaches is that I have perspective and do not come in a context with a hidden agenda of sales. While most experienced Agile coaches out there operate in a world of startups, where agility comes with breast milk, I can in add a dozen startups and a handful of organizations in the public sector, the sports world and larger scaling on multinational companies where the real challenges lie. I work alone but together with your Agile coaches, at your company, doing short gigs and set clear goals during this period. Then i am gone leaving behind internal new agile coaches for a sustainable work. Read more about my Agile Coach Harakiri philosophy here.
It is frustrating to roam the plains of non Agile organisations with this strategy as i seldom see the outcome of my work, as the real effect with an Agile organization takes more time than my usual six months. So if you have a open permanent position as coach of your Agile coaches or similar i am happy to apply given no probation period or a six month consultancy gig first.
I do not work for companies with doubtful or illegal business or culture like online gaming and countries not sanctioned by EU.
So during 2022 i will find a permanent position where i can work the rest of my life and therefore i write this post for managing expectations.
/ Ove Holmberg
+70 Companys i have worked for