Meet the Coach: Konrad Pogorzala
Konrad Pogorzala is one of the agile42 coaches based in Berlin that provide training and coaching throughout Germany and Europe. We asked him some comments and views based on the day-to-day work with real Agile teams in startups and larger companies. The interview first appeared in the “Meet the Coach” section of our monthly newsletter.
You have been a coach with agile42 for quite some time. Can you tell us about your background and career?
I started my journey as member of an agile team in 2006 working for a Canadian IT consultancy called CGI, a project including more than 10 agile teams. Having a business background my team voted me to be their ScrumMaster which proved that an IT background is not mandatory for this role. After two years I took my first Scrum Alliance CSM certification followed by the CSPO one.
With the goal of proving my agile knowledge I moved to Berlin and focused on agile transformations at a few Berlin startups. Here I concentrated on creating agile mindset and structures within the entire organizations. At that time I was alone and faced the challenge of missing the right feedback for what I did.
Being active in the local agile community (e.g. regular ScrumTisch meetups) gave me an opportunity to learn about agile42 and their awesome coaches. I joined the team about 2 years ago and since then I’m continuously improve my agile skills and help diverse organizations adopt agile methodologies.
You actively coach Agile teams, if you had to evaluate the time and energy spent on explaining specific techniques (either TDD, Scrum, etc.) versus the time and energy spent on explaining the Agile approach, how would it be? And has it changed over time?
My main focus is always on explaining Agile approach first. Without deep understanding of main concepts like Empirical Process Control, Pull culture, Iterative and Incremental development and roots from Lean Thinking there is no need to start with specific techniques.
Many agile adoptions tend to forget the main concepts and over time I realize more and more that time need to be spent on agile basics without going deep on specific techniques. First we help an organization to clearly answer why they want to do agile and which specific success factors they what to reach on this journey. All specific agile techniques need to support the overall organization goal.
How is Berlin? Is it really the epicenter of tech innovation in Europe?
I love Berlin! I moved to this spectacular city 18 years ago and finished my business studies here. There are two main reasons why I love Berlin, the dynamic of change is tremendous, Berlin is redefining itself year by year,
and there is huge diversification, anybody from anywhere is able to find his place and friends here.
In Berlin on one site are many good educated people from every country on the globe who loves this city like me and on other side really cheap living costs. The combination of the two aspects in Berlin create the conditions for a more safe environment compared to other locations, which allows taking risks and starting up new initiatives. It’s easier to start a multinational company with low risk in Berlin than in any other locations.
Meanwhile in Berlin there are a lot of investors especially venture capitalists willing to invest in good, proven ideas. We have already several clients within the startup scene in Berlin, all of them are grew fast in the last years and plan to continue growing in the next years too.
Anything new that you enjoyed or caught your attention recently?
The most important point on my agile journey is receiving good, valuable feedback during my work and I’m experiencing this within our team of coaches at agile42. Thanks to the feedback I’m able to improve continuously. We live a culture of sharing and supporting each other and this is the main reason why I love my job as agile coach and trainer!