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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.