Session Details

If We Are Agile, Why Do We Need Managers?  

Level :
Beginner
Date :
3:30 PM Saturday
Room :
1501
Interested : (211) - Registered : (189)
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Presentation

A common misconception about agile is that managers are unnecessary. After all, agile is based on self-organizing teams. If the teams organize themselves, what do managers do?

Unfortunately, most scrum training plays into that. Think about it: how many trainers or coaches have you seen sketch the structure of a scrum team with a drawing that includes a manager? While there's always a scrum master and a product owner, the core team and maybe some stakeholders, have you ever seen a manager in that drawing? 

This misconception can be a problem all around: A frequently cited barrier to agile adoption is managers who don't know what to do when their teams become self-managing. When they're not included in training, how would they (or anyone else, for that matter) know how to characterize their role. At the same time, organizations often lay down expectations of managers, some compatible with agile, some not. 

Agile has clearly shifted the old roles and responsibilities. Managers bent on command-and-control are clearly a barrier to agile adoption. But managers who take a hands-off approach or are treading water in a sea of ambiguity will almost certainly stymie adoption, as well.

Ron Lichty believes (and so do a lot of the early agile thought leaders) that managers have critical roles to play in enabling success, both of transitions to agile and of agile itself. This session is about those roles.

Speaker also has a workshop at our pre-conference event Code Stars Summit Titled:   "Managing the Unmanageable 1-Day Workshop"

The Speakers

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Ron Lichty

Ron Lichty has been managing and, more recently, consulting in managing software development and product organizations for over 25 years. Before that, as a programmer, he coded compiler code generators, was awarded patents for compression and security algorithms he designed and coded for embedded microcontroller devices, wrote two widely used programming texts, and developed the computer animation demo that Apple used to launch and sell a next-generation line of PCs. The primary focus of his consulting practice has mirrored what he did as a manager: untangling the knots in software development. As Ron Lichty Consulting, he takes on fractional Interim VP Engineering and Acting CTO roles, trains teams in scrum, transitions teams to agile, trains managers in managing software people and teams, and advises organizations and coaches teams to make their software development “hum.” His 450-page book, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams, was recently released as video training - LiveLessons: Managing Software People and Teams - both from Pearson and on O’Reilly’s Safari Network. He also co-authors the biannual Study of Product Team Performance.

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