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Do we still need managers?


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Many companies have implemented Scrum and are “doing agile.” However, many companies struggle to achieve the expected benefits. The management team has implemented scrum and then expects a miracle to happen. However, often they have failed to embrace the true nature of scrum and especially forgot the part that talks about creating self-organizing autonomous teams. Agility isn’t a gem that can be bought; transforming your operating model to become future-proof is a difficult task. It’s not just a small update, it’s a major overhaul of how your organization operates. Agile is not just a framework used in the IT department; becoming truly agile requires a digital transformation of the business and other departments like HR, finance, and operations. You also have to overcome organizational impediments like anti-agile company culture, top-down leadership behaviour, counter-productive organization structure, and approval processes. Only top management can enable this shift. If we look at some the Silicon Valley-style digital first organizations, we discover that these companies still heavily rely on managers. However these managers do something completely different than the ones we find in traditional enterprises. In my presentation we’ll dive into some of the learnings from how management works in these companies.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Do we still need managers?

  1. 1. Photo by Reynermedia Do we still need managers?
  3. 3. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” Albert Einstein
  4. 4. “Insanity: implementing scrum and expecting a miracle” Jurriaan Kamer
  5. 5. AGENDA - management in agile orgs - how to apply these insights? - agile management team transformation
  6. 6. How many managers in the audience?
  7. 7. “Management, like the combustion engine, is a mature technology that must now be reinvented for a new age.” Gary Hamel Photo by McKinsey & Company
  8. 8. Do companies like Spotify still have managers?
  9. 9. How does management operate in agile organisations?
  10. 10. photo by Giuseppe Milophoto by Techcrunch
  11. 11. Photo by eGuide Travel Spotify
  12. 12. At Spotify, a manager has a maximum of 5 direct reports Photo by
  13. 13. “As a leader, always blame yourself first” Photo by
  14. 14. “I was used to people telling me ‘shut up and do your job’”
  15. 15. “Now they say: my job is to make you successful, what do you need?”
  16. 16. Agile à la Spotify
  17. 17. At Spotify managers are focused on coaching, mentorship, and solving impediments rather than telling people what to do.
  18. 18. With 60 teams, do you get 60 bricks or a nice castle?
  19. 19. Photo by Airbnb
  20. 20. Photo by “We simply give the team a clear purpose”
  21. 21. Photo by “Our tech managers are engineers”
  22. 22. photo by Steve Jurvetson What drives your people to work for your company? A powerful purpose drives the company.
  23. 23. Facebook
  24. 24. “No manager will tell you what to do”
  25. 25. “I don’t want people asking me for permission. In almost every case, if someone asks me for permission, something’s wrong”
  26. 26. “When people ask you for permission, they don’t bring any of their own responsibility to the request”
  27. 27. AGENDA - management in agile orgs - how to apply these insights? - agile management team transformation
  28. 28. How to apply these insights?
  29. 29. Simply following the checklist won’t work
  30. 30. (c) Jurgen Appelo From boss to leader
  31. 31. “We need to have a shorter time to market, be able to faster respond to change, and have more innovation.” Find the executive 
 who feels the pain
  32. 32. Provide a clear transition path: start small
  33. 33. Bring the challenge to the team € What do they need to make more impact?
  34. 34. Managers get coaching to be able to let go of the old ways
  35. 35. “On higher management levels, it feels like losing control”
  36. 36. Continuously communicate about the necessary change and the challenges. €
  37. 37. Executive sponsorship Consistent example behaviour Communication Management enables the transition
  38. 38. Management team agile transformation EXPERIMENT
  39. 39. Photo tiarescott - decision making based on detailed memo’s - information is filtered out and is often wrong or out of date - not always of impact of decisions Management team meetings as an impediment to agility
  40. 40. Can you help us: • learn what it is to be agile • spend more time fixing impediments • be more transparent and accessible • let go and give more responsibility to teams
  41. 41. Kanban: backlog out in the open Agile inbox: get on their agenda instantaneously Sprint review: question for their people, “did we work on the right things?” Retrospective
  42. 42. Drawing by Henrik Kniberg A3 management Helps management teams to prioritise which areas they want their company to improve on, and delegate.
  43. 43. Photo by ICT media ANWB has an agile CIO
  44. 44. Photo by Reynermedia Do we still need managers? The most agile and innovative companies on the planet still have many many managers, but they operate very differently. To move to this new way of management, we need management to enable the transition.
  45. 45. Image by “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” Lao Tzu
  46. 46. Thanks! Follow me at @agile_cio WWW.AGILECIO.NET