Interview with Agile Coach Derek Huether

Derek Huether is a Agile coach and over the last 25 years has held titles like U.S. Marine, Start-Up Founder, Project Manager, and Federal Government Project Management Office (PMO) Advisor, helping start-ups, private corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies. He has been involved with the PMI-ACP development process since the PMI North American Congress in 2010 and has transitioned to a new role as Co-Lead of the PMI-ACP Support Team. His book "Zombie Project Management" is available on Amazon.

How did you move into Agile Coaching? 
I used to be a traditional project manager, doing my best to deliver software projects following a waterfall process. I could do it but it wasn't easy.  I discovered taking a disciplined iterative approach got more to the customer earlier.  In the end, I was able to have more "successful" projects, leveraging iterative and incremental approaches.  I began evangelizing these methods to my customer.  Over time, I realized I could do more good if I coached more organizations than just a few internal teams.  And so began my coaching career.

When you are working with teams and organizations  and transforming them into an Agile organization, do you see a lot of resistance specially if they are moving from waterfall methodologies? How do you handle those situations?
I've always seen pockets or resistance, regardless of how badly an organization or team say they want to become an "Agile" organization.  If waterfall is working for them, I'm going to ask why they think Agile will work better.  Depending on the culture, they may have limited success trying to leverage Agile.  As the character Morpheus said to Neo in The Matrix: ...I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.   They hire us to show them the way.  I can't force them to change.

What according to you, is the ONE quality that Agile coaches shouldn't have?
Dogmatic beliefs

As a co-lead for the ACP Support Team for PMI; how do you think getting the PMI- ACP certification creates a differentiation for a professional from other available certificates in the market. How important is a certificate?

If you're looking for a new job, unfortunately, certifications are what HR departments are using to find people, rather than actually seeing if they are a good skill and personality fit.  As certifications go, I think the PMI-ACP is well balanced and I like the fact that you need previous Agile experience in order to quality to take the exam.  Some other certifications don't require any previous experience but HR departments either are unaware of this or don't care.  One differentiator of the PMI-ACP is that it certifies you as a Practitioner, not a Master or Professional in the given domain.  

How should a team get ready for a transformation, so they are ready to co-operate with the coach and participate in the change?
They just need to be receptive to change.  They need to have an open mind. They need to be honest with themselves and the coach.