Ethics — Front and Center…Again!

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Ethics — Front and Center…Again!

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In March of 2022, I posted an article with the title—Agile Coaching Ethics – Front and Center

In a nutshell, I was reacting to a situation that a fellow agile coach brought to my attention. It was a clear violation of ethics, and, honestly, it pissed me off.

It also inspired me to look around our agile community, particularly agile coaching, to check on the ethical focus from the primary agile certification and influencing bodies.

My assessment wasn’t exhaustive, but it was intentional. And I found that, outside of the Agile Alliance, there was less than stellar focus on agile coaching ethics from the following groups—

  • iCAgile

  • PMI

  • Scaled Agile

  • Scrum Alliance


  • Scrum Inc

Well, it’s been over a year since my first post, and I thought it time to follow up to see what has improved or changed in this space…

The Good News

The good news is that the Agile Alliance is still leading the pack of influencers in our community with their focus on Agile Coaching Ethics. Their role model and example inspire me.

And I’ve noticed working group members Shane Hastie and Craig Smith have been sharing about Agile Coaching Ethics, the initiative, and where it’s going—

and with Craig Smith—

The Scrum Alliance is also sponsoring a community-driven working group working on a coaching framework called the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel. As part of this effort, ethics are being explored within the Wheel’s emerging definitions, particularly the Self-Mastery competency.

The Fantastic News

Essentially, I called out a bunch of groups last year. Two of them have responded to my challenge—iCAgile in a big way and in a meaningful way.

iCAgile – They’ve now emphasized the Agile Alliance – Agile Coaching Ethics in all of their coaching classes (learning objectives and instructor emphasis).

Here’s their announcement. iCAgile, I’m incredibly proud of your listening AND reacting to this challenge. Thanks for stepping up and making such an impactful change to your coaching-centric certifications! – Last year, they had a few ethics-related resources, and I deemed them the best of a poor crowd. This year, I noticed that they’d added an agile coaching-centric ethics quiz to their website. It does an excellent job of revealing and validating your understanding of and alignment with the Agile Alliance code of ethics.

The Not-So-Good News

Scaled Agile – I found nothing a year ago and found nothing again. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am with the lack of ethical leadership, in general, or agile coaching, within SAFe. You just released SAFe 6.0, so an opportunity was missed. How hard would it be for you to take a leadership stance in this space? Sure, it might not drive revenue, but it’s the responsible thing to do. So, please do it!

Scrum Alliance – While you have general ethics statements, you do not do enough in the agile coaching ethical space. With your broad and influential position in the Scrum community, it saddens me that you aren’t doing better. The Agile Coaching Growth Wheel efforts are more community driven than Alliance driven, and you’ve not made a visible effort across the CTC & CEC certifications. To be frank, you should be a leader in this space and a role model alongside iCAgile and the Agile Alliance.

Scrum Inc. – Still nothing on coaching ethics. Nothing! I’m sorry, but you can do better.

PMI – with your deemphasis of Disciplined Agile, I guess it doesn’t matter if you improve or not.

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