Agile Coaches at CVS Health; The Success of Agile Coaches at CVS Health: An Actor-Network Analysis

Saviano, Jessica, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Morrison, Briana, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Laugelli, Benjamin, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

My technical project and my STS research paper are connected because they both evaluate the performance of Agile coaches at CVS Health. The goal of my technical work was to complete a 10-week project as an Agile coach intern, aiming to improve the use of Agile practices at CVS Health. Meanwhile, my STS research paper investigated the primary actors impacting the coaches' efficacy. Specifically, new digital team members, including myself, were among these key actors. Therefore, the technical experience improved my understanding of agile practices and served as a primary data source for my STS research paper. Overall, my technical project laid an essential foundation for my research project, as it gave me a firsthand view of how new digital team members can help or hinder the Agile Coaches' success, which further guided my exploration and analysis of the other main actors that impact the Agile coaches' success.
My technical work explores the process of being a new digital team member at CVS Health, where I focused on optimizing the scrum schedules of 50+ software development teams at CVS Health. My intern group and I carried out a Time Optimization Project to enhance the
team's productivity and adoption to Agile methodologies. To be a successful Agile coach, we had to take a comprehensive Agile 101 course and achieve a certification, which was crucial for the successful completion of our project. By adjusting the timing and structure of these scrum
meetings, we allowed the teams to get the most out of their scrum ceremonies while increasing the engineers' independent coding time. After the teams had used these new schedules for a few weeks, we heard very positive results. The teams reported that the meetings became more meaningful and structured, and they were happy to have more free time to code. Overall, the outcome of our project demonstrated how beneficial Agile coaches can be in driving a company to be more efficient and Agile-focused.
My STS research paper aimed to determine what main actors affected the Agile coaches' efficacy. Using Actor-Network Theory, I created and analyzed a network of actors surrounding the coaches. To build the network, I drawed on my own experience interning as well as the experiences of lead Agile coaches at CVS, which I collected through survey responses. Using these sources, I claimed that new digital team members, digital tools, and executive directors are the key actors impacting the Agile coach's effectiveness. These findings showed that these actors significantly shape the Agile coaches' success by supporting the implementation and acceptance of Agile practices within the organization. This study emphasizes the importance of these relationships in enhancing the efficacy of Agile coaching, offering insights that could improve Agile implementation in other large companies.
Working on these projects in the same year was very beneficial, as it allowed me to stay focused and educated on Agile practices and the role of Agile coaches. Completing a firsthand project as one of the main actors in the Agile coaches’ network allowed me to truly understand just how vital specific actors can be in leading or hindering the efficacy of their work. This primary work led me to explore and analyze the various actors that influence Agile coaches, resulting in a comprehensive review of their roles and impact.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Agile, Scrum

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Technical Advisor: Briana Morrison

STS Advisor: Benjamin Laugelli

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