Line Managers - A Changing Role in Agile


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This is my presentation at the Agile Scrum International Summit 2012 in Bengaluru, India. In this, I reflect on current role of line managers and traditional practice heads. I suggest how this role needs to transform to be relevant in an Agile setting. I have taken a stab at what I think the transformed role would look like. I also share my insights based on working with line managers who have started their Agile journey - how to make this transition.

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  • Transitioning from managing to leadingWht is managingLeadingWhats the transitionHow to transitionWht I am transitioning to , how to do itHow do I know I reached there
  • Business AnalystProject ManagementQuality AnalystProcess groupTechnical Competencies - CoEs
  • Setting expectations with the teamConducting performance appraisalsAgreeing on Personal Development PlansIdentifying Learning and Development interventionsDeveloping people’s careers Understanding the wider organisational context and identifying opportunities and constraints ‘Selling’ the team’s achievements and goals within the wider organisationReporting up the line Setting budgets and managing finances Compliance with important company policies or regulations Signing off and managing holidays, sickness, expenses, invoices, etc – i.e. the administrative side of management Hiring and firing Setting vision and directionPrioritising and Assigning Tasks and so on…
  • Self Organizing TeamsTeams with shared responsibilities and accountabilityEmpowered EmployeesIncreased collaboration between Business Stakeholders and ProducersIncremental and Iterative workFast feedbackAdaptive Planning Product OwnersScrum Masters
  • Loss of Authority Power derived from no. of people reporting Wasn’t I adding any value?
  • ON GroundTurf wars for people, processes, toolsSimmering resentmentTeam gets conflicting messages Dual reportingShared resources across projectsTeam collaboration is reduced instead of increasingToo many meetingsMetrics that are not aligned to agile
  • Agile mindset to managementProviding direction & guidance Coaching & mentoringHelping the team to deliver better & fasterFostering collaboration & communication
  • “Light” in decision making but heavy in Building a Shared Vision – Squash politicsKeeping the Big Picture relevantLook ahead and identify risks & issuesImprove team dynamicsSupport communication & collaboration across teams & projectsProvide platforms for sharing and learningCapability development
  • Accept hard truthsTrust your teams
  • Break the reflexive loop by Selecting data that contradicts your believes. This should help build new mental models that aid in fostering collaboration and communication
  • Provide support to enable team to perform Ensure the team has everything they need to deliverRemove any impediments that get in their way or slow the team downEncourage experimentation and innovationAccept hard truthsTrust your teamsThere is no harm in being a “Pig”
  • Openness, Honesty and IntegrityProvide room for failureStand by your team
  • Physical ObstaclesOrganizational Red tapeCross team communication and follow upsResources and Training obstaclesTeamwork & personnel issuesReduce WIP – portfolio, projects, tasks
  • Not everyone is self starterFoster communication and collaboration Team over IndividualCoach your management – expectation settingFrequent one on ones to understand betterNot just individuals but also as TeamFeedbackRaising issuesManaging conflicts
  • Line Managers - A Changing Role in Agile

    1. 1. www.scrumindia.i n Line Managers – A Changing Role in Agile Pankaj KanchankarDate ScrumIndia.In Proprietary Information 1Name
    2. 2. Agenda Line Managers & their Role Transforming the role Transitioning to the new Role
    3. 3. Line Managers Traditional Line Managers Practice / Vertical Heads
    4. 4. Activity 1A day in the life of a Line Manager On the sheet on your table draw a fictitious timeline for a day of a Line Manager Time: 10 mins
    5. 5. Traditional Role of Line Managers People Process Administration & Tools
    6. 6. What Agile says to managers? Create a clear vision Establish appropriate boundaries Facilitate team collaboration And then, get out of the way!
    7. 7. What this means for team? Self Organizing Teams of Empowered Employees Increased collaboration Incremental and Iterative work • Fast feedback Adaptive Planning
    8. 8. What this leads to? Feeling of being “Left Out”
    9. 9. Issues / Symptoms Observed Turf wars for people, processes, tools Team gets conflicting messages Team collaboration is reduced
    10. 10. SO… Are managers irrelevant in Agile? NO You still need Leadership However…
    11. 11. The Role needs to TRANSFORM…
    12. 12. How the Role can be relevant? Agile mindset to management Helping the team to deliver better & faster
    13. 13. Activity 2A day in the life of an Agile Line Manager On the sheet on your table draw a fictitious timeline for a day of a Line Manager with Agile Mindset Time: 10 mins
    14. 14. The Transformed Role Light on Decision making Coaching & mentoring Fostering learning & sharing
    15. 15. How to make this transition?
    16. 16. Mindset Change Open your mind Suspend Mental Models Let Go
    17. 17. What is a Mental Model?
    18. 18. Mental Model I take actions based on beliefs Update beliefs about the world I draw Conclusions Reflexive Loop I make Assumptions based on meaning I add meaning (Cultural & Personal) I select data from what I observe Observable Data & Experience
    19. 19. Activity 3 - Mental Model Write & share your mental model about any colleague or team
    20. 20. Leadership with a Twist Managers are working for the team • Team has everything they need to deliver • Accept hard truths • Trust your teams • Encourage experimentation and innovation There is no harm in being a “Pig”
    21. 21. Lead with Agile Values
    22. 22. Remove Impediments Move away from status reporting to asking “How can I help?” • Organizational • Physical • Resources / Infra & tools • Team / Personnel • Reduce WIP
    23. 23. Coaching and Mentoring Communication & Collaboration Team over individual Frequent One-on-ones Team • Feedback • Conflict resolution
    24. 24. Questions?
    25. 25. Suggested Reading and References “Behind Closed Doors – Secrets of Great Management” - by Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby “The Fifth Discipline” – by Peter Senge “Agile Project Management” - by Jim Highsmith need-to-do-differently/ - by Kelly Waters
    26. 26. Thank you!ThoughtWorks is a global custom software solutions consultancy trusted bymany of the world’s leading businesses with their most complex and criticalsystems. We deliver consulting grounded in delivery expertise, build custom applications and help organizations across all market sectors to drive IT efficiency – working to an exceptionally high standard. Pankaj Kanchankar @pkanchankar