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Dmytro Yarmak: How Agile Coach applies leadership skills as an Officer in UA Army

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Dmytro Yarmak: How Agile Coach applies leadership skills as an Officer in UA Army

Dmytro Yarmak: How Agile Coach applies leadership skills as an Officer in UA Army

Global Online PMDay 2022 Summer


Dmytro Yarmak: How Agile Coach applies leadership skills as an Officer in UA Army

Global Online PMDay 2022 Summer



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Dmytro Yarmak: How Agile Coach applies leadership skills as an Officer in UA Army

  1. 1. How Agile Coach applies leadership skills as an Officer in UA Army
  2. 2. Enterprise Agile Coach, Partner 14 years in IT 3 y in consulting Key clients: Officer in UA Army Around 150 people
  3. 3. Feb 23rd, 16:00 PM Feb 24th, 18:00 PM
  4. 4. Scrum Team 3 Scrum Teams Common combat task 15 Scrum Teams 5 combat tasks
  5. 5. - New in a role and “domain” - No onboarding time - Leading 150 armed men - Divided in units and geographically distributed - Men that you haven’t hired - Men that you cannot move or fire - Job that you cannot quit - War
  6. 6. 06:30 am
  7. 7. My Option is to Enable Leadership on every level via: 1. Providing Clarity 2. Creating Psychologically Safe Environment 3. Raising Competence
  8. 8. Provide Clarity via Common TaskBoard
  9. 9. Provide Clarity via Information Radiators
  10. 10. Provide Clarity via Information Refrigerators
  11. 11. - Daily check-ups twice a day - Demo, Retro and Planning on a daily basis - Every week visit each Platoon - All have my phone number and call me at any time 24/7 Provide Clarity via Short Feedback Loop
  12. 12. Provide Clarity via Proper Communication - Take a pic of all soldiers - Give a number of thermal imagers you have - Create different reports - Write autobiography - Give your vehicles’ registration numbers
  13. 13. Psychological safety
  14. 14. Psychological safety To create psychological safety environment in the army it needs courage. 1. I do not biased with “how-to-do-in-the-army” knowledge 2. I do not care about my career in the army - “Caring but not caring”
  15. 15. What are the learnings we can take from the situation?
  16. 16. Motivation
  17. 17. Cadence for trainings
  18. 18. Delegation
  19. 19. My Option between Command and Control is to Enable Leadership on every level via: 1. Providing Clarity 2. Creating Psychologically Safe Environment 3. Raising Competence

Editor's Notes

  • On a picture you can see a map of air alarms over different regions of Ukraine. This is the map that all Ukranians know and monitor. Sometimes it can be all over Ukraine, sometimes it might be just some regions. The closer to the front line, the Russia border the regions the more often you will have air raid siren (еір рейд сайрен)
  • And basically this presentation was made during times of air raid siren as this was a time when I had to sit in the bomb shelter and do not worry that someone will disturb me.
    Funny the quiet time for me is air raid siren.
  • A bit about me.
    Agiledrive. Manage greatly in such turbulence times.
    Awesome company, one of the best if not the best in Ukraine that helps companies with their transformations, organisatonal, IT, helps top management teams, build teams, different type of skills: coaching, consulting, teaching, mentoring, facilitating, And really knowing when to chose witch hat.
    Agiledrive has clients not only in Ukraine, but in Europe and South Africa as well. And after war, after victory of light over the darkness, we will be even more open to EU, US and other markets.

    And on the right, this is me, in a new style :)
    My life and as life of millions of Ukranians have changed on Feb 24th.
    And I haven’t spoken English for five months, so please bare with me :)
  • Here you can see a meeting of one of the teams in one of the Top UA banks making a Demo for CEO of the bank and product manager of the agriculture sector.
    This was my last peaceful meeting, it was on 23rd of February, 16:00 PM.
    I didn’t know that in just 12 hours my family will have to live Kyiv and move to house nearby Kyiv.
    This is Feb 24th - and my daughter sitting in the cellar that we together with my son have organised into bomb shelter, that we have organised with my son on Feb 24th.

    So yes, life has changed. Has changed a lot.
    I haven’t seen my two kids, my dog for almost 5 months. They are living in Denmark now and today I’m super exciting because in few hours I should meet my wife :)
    I’m lucky that my wife is coming from Denmark every two months.
  • I have the most junior officer rank and should lead Platoon unit. I did so for a week and then I was asked to lead a Battery.
    Why I was asked to lead the Battery.
    I think it was just communication, I could find anyone among 400 people in few minutes. I just made a proper channel structure in Signal depending on the platoon and battery :)
    So people started to use me in case they had to find someone in the crowd.
  • Well, so imagine a young man, who needs to lead in completely new circumstances, don’t have experience.
    What helped me is that my father was an officer and my mom is working in military base. So a lot of things that I heard in childhood now I can recognise, it is a bit easier.
    And need to lead right now.
    And there is no onboarding or knowledge transfer or education time. There is just war.
    So today I will tell you what helped me in such context

    Domain :)
  • How many of you have heard about Cynefin framework? This is a sense-making framework.

    The Cynefin® Framework was developed to help leaders understand their challenges and to make decisions in context. By distinguishing different domains (the subsystems in which we operate), it recognises that our actions need to match the reality we find ourselves in through a process of sense-making. This helps leaders cultivate an awareness of what is really complex and what is not and respond accordingly, so that no energy is wasted in overthinking the routine but they also never try to make the complex fit into standard solutions.

    Knowing this concept helped me to save a lot of energy and time!
    Many of other officers have worried that there are no plans, ot the plans they made for a week or even for a day are ruined by new circumstances. Worried that they cannot communicate to their men what we are going to do next day, or concrete details of some events.

    Knowing this framework I knew that before responding to event and making a decision, first I had to understand in what context I am, and then act accordingly.
    If I were in CHAOTIC domain then I just act, did a tiny planning of the act, and that’s all.
    It helped me do not have illusion that I can find best practices or even good practices for problems. So I haven’t spend time on this.
    Also I have rejected some of the procedures made many years ago as best practices, but that are not working in a new world of digital communication and access almost to any information.
  • Examples of some situations.
    The guys that are clearing the lethal litter of war.
    You can look at this situation from two sides: from the side of the officer that should find people for these trainings.
    But more importantly to look at this situation from the side of the people who will go for this training. Any plans that they had in unit, or even in life will change.
    Can you plan for this? No. Can you plan your day.

    One of the Agile Manifesto values is Respond to change over following a plan.

    And over time I worked on reducing

    О 6:40 дзвонить комбат і каже, щоб до 07:20 прислати прізвище двох солдат з роти, які поїдуть вчитися на Сапера! За 40 хв, коли половина спить, підйом о 7:15, половина стоїть на варті і там безе телефонів, дати прізвища двох солдат, судьба яких зміниться. І не було інформації, куди поїдуть вчитися, коли і наскільки. Могли поїхати і на реальні майданчики розміновувати. І це така професія, де необхідні правильні навички, координація, терпіння, психологічний стан, готовність до того, що одна посилка буде останнєю. В армії зазвичай вибрали двох людей не питаючи їх, але я розумію, що для успіху справи, людина повинна хотіти цього. Інакше ніяк. О 7:15 у мене було 3 людей, які бажали. Двоє не розлий вода. Пришлось рощлити, бо були з одного відділення. О 7:17 список двох людей, які бажали був зроблений.
  • Few advices Ive got was that you need to Command and Control everything :)

    Accepting that it is ok to live in such turbulence was a great relief.
    Knowing how to make decisions also.

    Still a lot of time were spent on reacting, where I wanted to dedicate time to look how to improve and systemize things.
    So what I have worked on.

    But still i worked on how to move from reactive to more proactive and stable days. So i had time for important things to improve the things.

    I’m lazy, so I wanted to delegate as much as I can :) and still be responsible.
  • Well, sorry, but you cannot control 150 armed men! And they are in different geo locations.
    I knew this from my times of Release Train Engineer in awesome company SimCorp, when I led 14 Scrum teams in different geo locations.
    Control - Even don’t try. Instead raise competence, give clarity, and
    Instead of controlling them trust that they will do the best! Better than you!
  • First we had to keep all tasks, deadlines in our head. And I had to monitor and remind my officers about them.
    Then we have created a common task board. It is not a kanban board, but it has some elements of it. Backlog, in a queue, in progress and Done.

    Providing clarity. Clear expectations.
  • It may look obvious, but you should remember that this is Army. And there is a tendency to close information or to make it available only for officers.
  • Different reports should be made almost every day. Quite often the same information is asked but in different formats.
    Whenever information is asked we are keeping it in the table for each soldier, so we can easily to get it, Pivot it to any format.
  • Communication. Велика проблема - комунікація. Накази віддаються нечітко, несвоєчасно, не усім, не має часу довести до особового складу. Буст продуктивності у 1000 процентів було створення груп у меменджерах. одна з найбільших проблем - це невміння, просто тупе ставлення наказів. У 90% випадків кажуть , що саме зробити, але не з усіма деталями. Мало, коли кажуть Навіщо і Який результат треба отримати, зазвичай - дію, яку треба зробити. Через те, що за неможливо дати весь контекст (через військовий час в швидкість рішень) накази виповнюються або невірно або частково невірно.

    My commanders hated me again because I didn’t just executed the task, but asked Why this task and how they imagine the successful execution.
    Sometimes tasks were cancelled when they started to explain Why.
    Often we executed completely new solution.
  • Psychological safety. Not easy. At least learn on mistakes. Share stories. AAR.Командири не завжди вітають, коли задають уточнюючі питання до їх наказів, тому підлеглі питають ще менше. Відсутність психологічної безпеки. І я це змінюю. Не хвилююсь, що про мене подумають, “ти як візьмешся за горло” ))
    AAR приклади: самостріл, учбовий напад на пост (каски, БК, не своя зброя), загублені набої. Фокус на уроки, які ми можемо винести, а не покарання винних. на помилки, як на подарунок стати кращим
  • This is not easy when your commanders haven’t worked in this manner. They could see a weakness in this. But I’m in a lucky position :)
    I’m in a slightly different position compare to professional army officers.
    Having open eyes, being curious, asking questions, challenging, experimenting
    caring about my men and caring little about the career consequences to myself
    I can always say - just fire me :)
    History about exact volume of gasoline to go from one point to another, we have lost the way, so we took a hook 5 km longer and guess what, we stopped 5 km before the base, because we were short on gasoline.

    Photo of changes on object under guard every day
    Prohibit vacation on weekend

  • After-action review або hotwash - standard in NATO

    And the key is not in having this event, We had such event in USSR army as well.
    Key is a focus during this event.
    There are still Post Mortem style like AAR.

    Instead what I’m doing is to focus on learnings.
    One simple question: What are the learnings we can take from the situation?

    Based on learning we make systemic changes to achieve better results, not only avoid mistakes.

  • Well, both commanders and soldiers know about
    I remember when one of them with light and
    Stick and Carrot way of motivation.
    I am a problem for them:
    I do not believe in it :) probably they think I’m stupid :)
    Extrinsic Motivation
    Instead I’m explaining Daniel Pink’s approach
    Delegate, change Squad leads from Sergants to Soldiers
    Explain delegation levels from Management 3.0
    Trainings. And also schedule, the sam cadence for entire squadron. C1 - C4 trainings.
    Very clear :)
  • I have heard a lot of complaints that there are no proper trainings for guys.
    I agree there are no proper trainings, or they are too short.
    I would say someone is looking for excuses, someone is looking for opportunities.
  • Had a lot of sceptics on what I can learn? We need a proper education, etc.
  • Делегування: командир взводу створював список звільнень, дуже болюча тема, і завжди хтось був незадоволений, хтось частіше іде, або раніше, або взагалі не ходить, бо були зальоти. Порадив делегувати це на рівні Consult і один з солдатів, який мав авторитет, взяв створення списку на себе. Всі питання тепер до нього. А командир взводу тільки затверджує.
    Про звільнення до 2-х ночей затверджується на моєму рівні, зменшило вейтінг тайм, але під мою відповідальність, якщо щось станеться.
  • I knew that Globe 🌎 is small, but didn’t know that so much 🙂
    Take care and glory to Ukraine 🇺🇦
  • So i have time for my new hobby.
    I actually use this motorbike for inspection of my units. The problem is that it is quite loud so they can hear me half km before I enter the object:)