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Agile coaching in Norway and the USA: The role of the agile coach in teamwork, organisational culture and leadership


Agile coaching is a recently-emerged activity that is meant to promote successful
implementation and use of agile methods of software development. However, agile coaches
address issues that also lie within the field of organisational psychology, such as interaction in
teams, organisational environment and leadership. The purpose of this study is to describe
how agile coaching is practiced in Norway and the USA. Fifteen qualitative interviews with
current agile coaches were analysed through an inductive thematic analysis and three
overarching themes were identified: teamwork, enterprise agility and better products. The
resulting thematic structure is compared across the informants from Norway and the USA.
The thesis applies organisational psychology literature to discuss what role agile coaches play
in teamwork, organisational culture and leadership in their organisations. It is suggested that
agile coaching has the potential to improve teamwork by facilitating coordination
mechanisms within teams. Moreover, it appears to transform organisational culture in line
with agile principles. In addition, agile coaching seems to promote transformational
leadership that is argued to be compatible with agile software development methods. The
comparative analysis indicated that Norwegian agile coaches pay more attention to the quality
of organisational environment than their American colleagues, while at the same time being
less focused on coaching managers and customers. Companies who wish to successfully
apply and use agile methods are recommended to give their agile coaches sufficient authority
to influence context of the teams. Norwegian agile coaches are recommended to increase the
amount of attention they pay to managers and business partners.


Masters thesis


  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 267704




  • SINTEF Digital / Software Engineering, Safety and Security
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • University of Oslo





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