Establishing a Tactical Agile Center of Excellence (TACE)

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

By Ernesto Custodio


An Agile transformation is a significant undertaking for an organization of any size. Agile is not something you do, it is what you become as you embody its values and principles. It is not something you buy off the shelf or order a batch of it.


A successful transformation changes your culture and how the organization thinks about delivering value to the customer. A team of people dedicated to implementing the necessary changes and cementing the Agile mindset can be a powerful force toward becoming an Agile company. These Tactical Agile Center of Excellence (TACE) teams are becoming more popular as larger organizations undergo Agile transformation initiatives.


In general, a TACE provides the direction that agile teams use to improve their Agility within and across teams. They also assist with connecting the Agile changes to the larger organization as well as identify new opportunities to adopt Agile. TACE teams are made of Agile change agents, managers, process improvers, and technical experts. They can be volunteers driven by the passion for positive change, or dedicated teams chartered by the organization.


Scrum@Scale recommends creating an Executive Action Team (EAT). An EAT acts as the central Scrum Master to the organization. The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) recommends a Lean-Agile Center of Excellence (LACE) for the enterprise. This group is chartered with driving the transformation throughout the organization. The small team has a number of responsibilities that includes:

  • Communicating the needs throughout the organization

  • Developing the implementation plan

  • Establishing consistent and useful metrics

  • Facilitating training and coaching

  • Fostering communities of practice

  • Communicating progress

TACE can be assisted by committees that self-organize around specific interests. These are Communities of Practice (CoP) or Virtual Teams (VTs). CoP are volunteer members while VT are assigned accountable. These teams put their area of expertise to practice during the transformation. They are often made up of proactive, natural leaders that emerge from the initiative. I have seen these teams form around many subjects in the past, but they generally organize around four major areas:

  • Talent Development – This team focuses on training and coaching Agile members, teams, and the leadership

  • Culture - This group reinforces an organizational mindset necessary for Agile teams to succeed

  • Scaling - Focuses on the coordination between Agile teams and on connecting the Agile teams to the larger organization

  • Automation - This is a technical team that considers the capabilities to achieve continuous integration, test automation, and release coordination

Regardless of which Center of Excellence structure you implement in your organization, what's important is that you have a centralized approach to move your Agile transformation forward. By establishing a TACE, you ensure that the necessary considerations are addressed on an ongoing basis to improve your chances of a successful Agile implementation.


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