Managing in an Agile World
Agile is based on self-organizing teams, so if teams organize themselves, what do managers do?
It turns out that managers can play a critical role both in agile adoption and in agile success long-term.
Unfortunately, scrum training mostly doesn’t address the role: when trainers and coaches sketch the structure of a scrum team, they almost never include a manager.
Managers not knowing their changed role can be a problem: 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 the contributions to which managers need to apply themselves. Worse, their larger organizations often lay down expectations for them that are incompatible with agile.
Agile has shifted the old roles and responsibilities. A manager bent on command-and-control is clearly a barrier to agile adoption. But managers who take a hands-off approach or are unclear on the contribution they must make will almost certainly stymie adoption, as well.
Ron Lichty echoes many of the early agile thought leaders: managers have critical roles to play in enabling success, both in transitioning to agile and in agile itself.
This session is about managers’ critical contributions, and is for managers, for prospective managers, for team leads, and for members of teams thinking through how to make their teams the best teams they’ve ever been part of.
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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