Agile Leadership Is Overrated - Isnt It?


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Presentation for Mile High PMI Workshop on April 11, 2009


This workshop will focus on the concept of leadership in organizations which use an agile development process. When people speak about agile it is common to hear terms like “no command and control,” “there is no one particular person in charge,” and “managers support rather than manage.” In this type of environment, where is there room for “leadership?” The workshop will look at leadership from several different perspectives and examine whether or not leadership is necessary. If it is necessary for leadership, where does it come from and how is it manifested? For project managers a thorough understanding of the realities of agile leadership is not a nicety, it is a necessity for success with agile projects. The workshop will consist of approximately equal parts presentation and hands on exercises.

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Agile Leadership Is Overrated - Isnt It?

  1. 1. Agile Leadership is Overrated<br />Isn’t It???Presented by Bob Hartman<br />Presentation Copyright © 2009, Agile For All, LLC. All rights reserved.<br />
  2. 2. Cell phones, pagers, PDA’s, etc. to silent<br />If you have a question, please ask it. Don’t wait! It is better to answer the question while we are still in the same area than to go back.<br />We will take a break after about 90 minutes<br />2<br />Before We Start<br />
  3. 3. Introductions<br />
  4. 4. 30+ years of software industry experience<br />Certified Scrum Practitioner<br />Bachelor and Masters degrees in Computer Science<br />Roles included Tester, Developer, Dev Manager, QA Manager, Product Manager, Project Manager, VP…<br />Started with agile in 1999<br />4<br />Bob Hartman (Agile Bob)<br />President Agile For All<br /><br />303-766-0917<br />Blog:<br />
  5. 5. Please introduce yourself including:<br />Name<br />Company and role<br />Agile experience<br />5<br />Who are you?<br />AboutMe<br />
  6. 6. What Is Leadership?<br />
  7. 7. All definitions in this section are from:<br />The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.<br />7<br />A word of thanks…<br />
  8. 8. One who handles, controls, or directs, especially: <br />One who directs a business or other enterprise. <br />One who controls resources and expenditures, as of a household. <br />One who is in charge of the training and performance of an athlete or a team. <br />A student who is in charge of the equipment and records of a school or college team. <br />One who is in charge of the business affairs of an entertainer. <br />8<br />man·ag·er(mān&apos;ĭ-jər) n.<br />
  9. 9. The act, manner, or practice of managing; handling, supervision, or control: management of a crisis; management of factory workers.<br />The person or persons who control or direct a business or other enterprise. <br />Skill in managing; executive ability. <br />9<br />man·age·ment (mān&apos;ĭj-mənt) n. <br />
  10. 10. Management – skill in managing, executive ability<br />Manager – One who handles, controls or directs…<br />Putting the two together means “handling”, “controlling” and “directing” are essential skills of managing, and indicators of executive ability<br />Most classically trained managers fit this mold<br />10<br />According to the definitions…<br />
  11. 11. One that leads or guides. <br />One who is in charge or in command of others. <br />One who heads a political party or organization. <br />One who has influence or power, especially of a political nature. <br />A conductor, especially of orchestra, band, or choral group. <br />The principal performer in an orchestral section or a group. <br />11<br />lead·er  (lē&apos;dər) n.  <br />
  12. 12. The position or office of a leader: ascended to the leadership of the party.<br />Capacity or ability to lead: showed strong leadership during her first term in office.<br />A group of leaders: met with the leadership of the nation&apos;s top unions.<br />Guidance; direction: The business prospered under the leadership of the new president.<br />12<br />lead·er·ship(lē&apos;dər-shĭp&apos;) n.<br />
  13. 13. 13<br />A big problem<br />Some people are appointed to be leaders, but have no leadership skills<br />
  14. 14. An even bigger problem<br />14<br />The classic definition of management and manager are very different from leadership and leader. Why???<br />
  15. 15. 15<br />Group discussion<br />What would change if managers were true leaders with proper leadership skills?<br />
  16. 16. 16<br />Questions to ponder<br />Are you a project manager, or a project leader?Which do you want to be?<br />
  17. 17. Herding cats!<br />Otherwise known as Agile Leadership<br />
  18. 18. Agile is all about…<br />Working together to solve problems<br />Not using command and control<br />Allowing teams to self-direct<br />So why do you need a project manager (remember the definition of manager is one who handles, controls, or directs)?<br />The “unfortunate truth” is you don’t need this!<br />18<br />Agile – the problem child<br />
  19. 19. 19<br />Agile projects need LEADERS, not MANAGERS!<br />Are you up to the challenge?<br />
  20. 20. Who are Leaders?<br />
  21. 21. Who leads or guides agile teams?<br />Who else?<br />Any others?<br />MIND-BENDING THOUGHT ALERT!!!<br />On an agile team, anyone can be a leader depending on the situation!<br />21<br />Putting this in an agile context<br />
  22. 22. Only our entire thought process about how to help teams improve!<br />We need to grow EVERYONE as leaders<br />AND<br />Help them grow as FOLLOWERS as well<br />The dynamics of communications change based on the situation and context<br />22<br />Does this change anything?<br />
  23. 23. Exposing the truth<br />
  24. 24. Managers often believe…<br />being belligerent is necessary in order to get people to work hard<br />interrupting someone is acceptable in order to get to the point faster <br />micromanaging is the only way to have teams do what is expected of them<br />listening to others is unimportant because their opinion isn’t going to change anything<br />Are these acceptable values???<br />24<br />The path to success<br />
  25. 25. According to published studies, many managers who have the beliefs from the previous slide have been very successful!<br />When asked why they were successful the managers often referenced those beliefs as key success factors.<br />During 360 degree interviews, others interacting with those managers had a different story to tell…<br />25<br />The big surprise<br />
  26. 26. 26<br />Most of the managers in the studies have been successful IN SPITE OF those beliefs NOT BECAUSE OF THEM!<br />
  27. 27. Break into small groups<br />Discuss<br />How do you find out how you are perceived by others?<br />How do you let others know your perceptions of them?<br />27<br />Exercise: How do you get the truth?<br />
  28. 28. Keys to Success<br />
  29. 29. Competence<br />Having the ability to be successful<br />Connection<br />Adding value to your relationships with others<br />Character<br />Being an honest example<br />Cost<br />Sacrificing self for success of others<br />29<br />The 4 C’s of Leadership<br />
  30. 30. Are you technically competent to do the job<br />Do others know you are competent<br />Are you able to help others become more competent<br />Are you able to look forward and see problems before they arise<br />30<br />Competence<br />
  31. 31. Do you have enough relationships to lead<br />Do you add value to relationships, or just suck value from them<br />Do people know you care<br />Are you quick to help, slow to blame<br />31<br />Connection<br />
  32. 32. Do you hold yourself to high standards<br />Always honest with reports<br />Always acting with integrity<br />Holding others accountable<br />32<br />Character<br />
  33. 33. Are you willing to pay the price<br />Will you take the blame for the team in order to protect them<br />Does the “buck stop here” or “pass through here”<br />Do you believe team success leads to personal success, or is it personal success in spite of the team<br />33<br />Cost<br />
  34. 34. Break into 4 groups<br />For your assigned “C” come up with an argument for why that particular characteristic is most important<br />Competence<br />Connection<br />Character<br />Cost<br />34<br />Exercise: What is most important?<br />
  35. 35. Servant leadership is an approach to leadership development, coined and defined by Robert Greenleaf and advanced by many other authors of books on leadership.<br />Servant-leadership emphasizes the leader&apos;s role as steward of the resources (human, financial and otherwise) provided by the organization. It encourages leaders to serve others while staying focused on achieving results in line with the organization&apos;s values and integrity.<br />35<br />This is really Servant Leadership<br />
  36. 36. 1. Listening – actively listening to what others are saying<br />2. Empathy – feeling the pain and thrills of others<br />3. Healing – helping others after they have been hurt<br />4. Awareness – understanding the big picture<br />5. Persuasion – persuading others to do what is right<br />6. Conceptualization – helping the team understand<br />7. Foresight – seeing problems before they arise<br />8. Stewardship – helping the team use resources most effectively<br />9. Commitment to growth of others – helping others improve<br />10. Building community – helping the team become more than a group of individuals<br />36<br />Characteristics of servant leaders<br />
  37. 37. We all fell for it!<br />
  38. 38. We get it…<br />Agile projects require leaders, not managers<br />Managing and leading are different<br />Management and leadership are different<br />What did we miss?<br />38<br />We didn’t fall for anything!<br />
  39. 39. 39<br />This isn’t only about agile projects!<br />
  40. 40. Break into groups of 3-6 people<br />Discuss the following:<br />How would things change in your company if managers had leadership skills rather than management skills?<br />As a worker, how do you tell the difference between the two?<br />40<br />Exercise: Leadership Advantages<br />
  41. 41. What will you do?<br />Creating an action plan for success<br />
  42. 42. For each of the 10 characteristics of a servant leader rate yourself on a 0-10 scale where 0 represents you don’t even know what it means to 10 means it is part of your DNA.<br />42<br />Exercise: Become a Great Leader <br />
  43. 43. 43<br />Exercise: Become a Great Leader <br />
  44. 44. For the 3 characteristics which are your weakest develop an action plan for getting better.<br />For each of the 3 include<br />3 things to start doing<br />3 things to stop doing<br />Identify a person you know who is strong in this area and what you can learn from them<br />How you will know you are making progress<br />44<br />Exercise: Become a Great Leader <br />
  45. 45. 3 things to start doing<br />3 things to stop doing<br />Person strong in this area:<br />How I know I’m getting better:<br />45<br />Characteristic 1:<br />
  46. 46. 3 things to start doing<br />3 things to stop doing<br />Person strong in this area:<br />How I know I’m getting better:<br />46<br />Characteristic 2:<br />
  47. 47. 3 things to start doing<br />3 things to stop doing<br />Person strong in this area:<br />How I know I’m getting better:<br />47<br />Characteristic 3:<br />
  48. 48. For the 3 characteristics which are your biggest strengths identify 3 tips you would give someone who struggles in that area. Be specific!<br />48<br />Exercise: Become a Great Leader <br />
  49. 49. 3 tips for others<br />49<br />Characteristic 1:<br />
  50. 50. 3 tips for others<br />50<br />Characteristic 2:<br />
  51. 51. 3 tips for others<br />51<br />Characteristic 3:<br />
  52. 52. Identify 2 people you want to help become great leaders so they can take over after you get promoted!<br />Identify 2 specific actions you will take with each of them to help grow their skills<br />Imagine you are not going to be able to help either of these people in the future, list 3 tips you would give to them to help them succeed.<br />52<br />Exercise: Become a Great Leader <br />
  53. 53. 2 action items<br />3 tips for them<br />53<br />Person 1:<br />
  54. 54. 2 action items<br />3 tips for them<br />54<br />Person 2:<br />
  55. 55. Break into groups of 2-4 people<br />Identify a few areas where you have 1-2 people struggling and 1-2 people who are strong in that area<br />Talk about the potential action plans and the tips identified in early parts of the exercise.<br />55<br />Exercise: Become a Great Leader <br />
  56. 56. Find a partner who can hold you accountable to your action plan<br />Tell the people closest to you at both home and work what you are trying to improve so they don’t become worried about changes they see<br />Ask people who excel in your weak areas to mentor you<br />Keep a journal of how you are doing<br />56<br />Going out on a limb<br />
  57. 57. 57<br />Great reading<br />“What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith<br />“The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell<br />
  58. 58. A parting thought<br />58<br />Multiply your growth and effectiveness by developing leaders, not followers<br />
  59. 59. Questions?<br />
  60. 60. Thank you!<br />Please fill out evaluation forms!<br />