Rahul Bhattacharya spent the better part of the last decade working in different industries and different countries on finding ways to make organizations, teams and individuals more effective at what they do. Having joined Delivery Hero earlier this year as a Global Agile Coach, Rahul is passionate about coaching others about Agile, Lean, and Antifragility principles in organizations to solve customer problems, enhance business processes and achieve measurable outcomes.
Hey Rahul, when did you decide to pursue a career as an Agile Coach and what inspired you to do so?
Hi Erik! It was a somewhat gradual move. What I find really interesting about other Agile Coaches that I meet, is that they all have really unique educational and professional backgrounds. It’s one of those positions where the more varied your interpersonal experiences are, the more you can offer the people that you work with.
My educational background is in medicine, management information systems, and entrepreneurship. During my studies, I had the opportunity to conduct oncology research and experimentation on neurological disorders, intern in the IT departments of companies such as CSL Behring and SAP, work at a hospital for US veterans, as well as co-found two startups in the film and wine industry, which eventually failed. Through these varied experiences, I gradually realized that my passion lay in working with people and being part of a journey where we solve problems together and grow professionally.
In the initial stages of my career, I worked as an analyst, developer, project manager, and product owner. After learning about working in an agile way in my free time and during weekend courses, I volunteered to drive the Agile implementation effort at the organization that I was working for. That sparked the beginning of my journey in something akin to an Agile Coaching role and I’m still hooked! What inspires and motivates me to this day is the change in human behavior after putting theory into practice. As an Agile Coach, I relish my role in guiding teams and individuals through this journey.
What sparked your interest in working for Delivery Hero and what was your experience in joining during these difficult times (COVID-19 Pandemic)?
I had never worked in the delivery industry before and wanted to continue my career trajectory by exposing myself to different industries and stimuli. I was particularly attracted to the fact that in my role as a Global Agile Coach, I have a chance to work with different Delivery Hero brands and individuals across the world, thereby impacting the organization at multiple levels – from the individual and team level to the executive level.
Beginning to work with a new organization during the pandemic was mixed. It was strange not to meet people that I was working on a daily basis with, face to face. It is also sometimes hard to form professional relationships based solely on audio/video interactions. However, the pandemic has given me a chance to explore other ways of interacting remotely. As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention”!
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the complete support from Delivery Hero, from helping with the move to Berlin, getting all the equipment and access required to work, to frequent gifts and vouchers delivered to my doorstep. I’m grateful that the pandemic has acted as an accelerant by challenging the status quo, the traditional way of working, and the values that we placed on certain things both in our professional and personal lives.
Tell us about your current team structure.
My current “team” consists of my manager and I. As Global Agile Coaches, we work with teams and individuals across different Delivery Hero entities around the world and support them on various topics such as individual and team trainings, Agile support, mentoring, and change management. Having such a small “team” allows us to tackle different opportunities and challenges both together and separately without much overhead.
What is the biggest accomplishment your team at Delivery Hero has achieved?
A recent success that we’ve recently had was creating a strategy framework for Hunger Station, Delivery Hero’s Saudi Arabia-based entity. In Q3, we created the framework, along with their leadership, trained the appropriate people, and rolled it out to the rest of the company. Although it’s not perfect, it has already helped units align, create value and transparency. In Q4, we are iterating the framework based on the feedback and making it even better!
What exciting projects are you currently working on?
In my role, I am working with different units of Delivery Hero and it’s entities with sessions ranging from leadership training to team and individual coaching. I am currently focused on developing a few Agile trainings for the company as well as organising Delivery Hero’s first Agile Summit for its Agile Coaches across the world. I’d like to contribute to the evolution of the Agile Chapter at Delivery Hero, both internally and externally.
Internal to the Agile Chapter, I’d like to help the Agile Chapter grow even closer so that together, we can tackle topics commonly seen across the different entities and learn from each other’s skills and experiences. External to the rest of Delivery Hero, my vision is for the Agile Chapter to act as a unified source of knowledge, trainings, and coaches for the rest of the company and its entities to leverage for value creation. I believe that although locally optimizing each team/subset of the organization for efficiency is valuable, there’s a big potential for the Agile Chapter at Delivery Hero to contribute with the systems thinking aspect and focus more on enabling others to be effective at what they do.
Are there any Agile related projects that you’re working on outside of your work at Delivery Hero?
All the time! I am quite passionate about engaging with the greater Agile community. I host and curate an Agile-themed podcast called Agile Atelier (www.agile-atelier.com) and frequently speak at external engagements on related topics. One of the best ways for me to learn in the past few years has been by rubbing shoulders with industry experts and developing my own ideas and sharing them with others to see which ones resonate with them. For the ideas that stick, I incorporate them into my trainings and workshops that I offer to other individuals and organizations. I enjoy taking my learnings and experiences, and re-applying them back into my work at Delivery Hero.
What is your advice to people who want to pursue a career as an Agile Coach?
Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. No amount of certifications or theoretical knowledge replaces practical experience in the trenches. For those who would like to start a career as an Agile Coach, I’d recommend learning the principles and basics first. Start applying the practices as much as possible, and in as many different contexts. The lessons that you’ll learn through these applications won’t be found in any book, blog or podcast. Find ways to share and get feedback on your thoughts and learnings with a network of peers, both externally and internally to the organization that you’re a part of. This personally helped me steepen my learning curve and bring more value to the organizations that I’ve been a part of.
Lastly, it’s important to have humility and be open to being wrong. As an Agile Coach, a lot of times you’re expected to give people the right answers and solve their problems. One of the most self-empowering things that you can do when you’re unsure is to say “I actually don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you.” Not only does this take the pressure off of you for imposter syndrome, but it also creates transparency with the other person – that you’d rather not give a wrong answer to them. Be sure to investigate and learn about the topic and get back to the individuals that had initially asked you. Enjoy the journey and feel free to reach out to me if I can help you along the way!