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Meet Thomas Deiler, the mountaineering Agile Coach

Thomas Deiler is a Bavarian, Mountaineering, Senior Agile Coach. In this Showcase, you will learn about his journey from software engineer to project manager, his freelance philosophy, and much more. Enjoy! 
Where are you from? What is your current role?
I am located in the heart of Bavaria, Munich. I’m lucky enough to work as a freelancer and my focus in on coaching teams and management who’d like to adopt agile work practices. I also consult with companies using Atlassian products.
What steps did you take in your career to become a Senior Agile Coach? 
After I finished my studies in computer science, I started working as a Software Developer. After 2 years, I changed my focus to project management. That was the time where I got infected by the H7N6-Agile-Virus. That completely changed the way my brain functioned. Around the same time, I had my first contact with Jira 3.
Then, by a stroke of good luck, I met Joseph Pelrine. He was the master to my pupil (a little bit like the Sith, but better). His influence led me to quit my job and start working as a freelancer. During this excellent period, I learned a lot and held many jobs across Europe. Then, the other side of the force got me for 2 years, as I worked as Head of an Operations department. But this force (salary and career) was not strong enough to pin me down. So I continued working as a 'free agent' Agile Coach. I earned all my xp around Atlassian products I along the way.
How would you summarize your role and responsibilities as a Senior Agile Coach?
Well, every project is different: it's all about people and not technologies. Finding the right path to coach the individuals involved is the main work. Very often the responsibilities are unclear from the beginning. It starts with the proclamation "we want to be agile," but in reality, they don't know what they’re about to get themselves into ;). Then, occasionally, I get asked which agile tools I can recommend. That's the moment, where the agile + Atlassian worlds meet.
What's the biggest challenge in getting teams to adopt Agile practices? 
In many cases, its all about coaching the upper management and not the teams. They are used to working in a command-and-control style (this goes back ages) and are driven by numbers and budget. To turn them into agile evangelists is hard and sometimes (nearly) impossible.
What's your biggest professional accomplishment to date?
I am not really on a quest to acquire huge professional accomplishments as I am not trying to climb any sort of social ladder. As a freelancer, the most important thing for me is to deliver good work, regardless of the project's size. The feeling I get after a job well done, that I could change this working world (infecting them) a little bit, that is my personal accomplishment.
What do you like to do for fun? 
I am addicted to mountaineering (when not on the path of an agile evangelist and when the family allows). I have some additional education, similar to a mountain guide but not on that high level, so I am also allowed to educate people and guide them through the mountains. But only within the boundaries of an Alpine Club and voluntary. Oh yes, and writing answers to challenging questions sent to me by the Atlassian Content manager ;). 


Monique vdB Community Manager Feb 21, 2018

Wow! Amazing pictures @Thomas Deiler!

I went to Munich on my honeymoon. Loved it. :) 

Very nice pictures! And a very interesting profile!

Keep being an amazing Champion! A pleasure to know more about you: really like how you describe yourself :)

Another great showcase by @Bridget 

Erica Moss Community Manager Feb 23, 2018

We're very fortunate to have you, Thomas! 😄

Thomas Deiler Community Leader Feb 25, 2018

@Erica Moss, thanks! I am glad that I can contribute something "useful".

@miikhy + @Monique vdB, thanks, but compared to this ..... 8) It would take me half a day to climb up there, but with rope and partner ... ;)

woah!! this is another very interesting showcase on Love for mountains & agile!! :D

Great and inspiring showcase! I tried the climbing wall - without any training it was exhausting! But I hope to do this again ;)


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