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Leading Agile Teams
The New Role of Management in an Agile
Organization
www.allisonpollard.com
Allison Pollard
 Agile coach and consultant
 Firm believer in continuous
improvement
 DFW Scrum user group leader
and Dallas Agile Leadership
Network board member
 Glasses wearer
www.allisonpollard.com
What is agile?
1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and
continuous delivery of valuable software.
2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile
processes harness change for the customer's competitive
advantage.
3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a
couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
4. Business people and developers must work together daily
throughout the project.
5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the
environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job
done.
6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to
and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
http://agilemanifesto.org/
7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The
sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a
constant pace indefinitely.
9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
enhances agility.
10. Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done-
-is essential.
11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge
from self-organizing teams.
12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more
effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
www.allisonpollard.com
How do you implement values and
principles?
Agile
frameworks
Scrum
XPYours
www.allisonpollard.com
Scrum only defines 3 roles but other key
roles exist
Those key roles DON’T:
 Assign work to team members
 Tell the team how to do the
work
 Talk in the daily scrums
What does this mean for
managers?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/cutiemoo/3111207407/
www.allisonpollard.com
Are managers no longer needed?
www.allisonpollard.com
No Team is an Island
Self-organizing teams exist to
produce a product or service
that is valuable to the
organization and its
customers.
https://flic.kr/p/jijopb
www.allisonpollard.com
Managers can play a valuable role as
teams become self-organizing and take
on more responsibility.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/eekim/14352861405/
Managers need to learn a different way of
managing.
www.allisonpollard.com
Acknowledging the Management
“Trifecta of Doom”
https://www.flickr.com/photos/63425234@N05/5772772604/
1. Individual fear of seeming
unqualified for management.
2. Organization encourages the
“right now” answer rather
than the “right” answer.
3. People have been taught
that a manager’s job is to get
other people to work hard.
All these work against learning,
so we have to shift our
perception of the management
role.
www.allisonpollard.com
The Old Manager
Actions:
 Enforces decisions
 Commands respect
 Controls the process, the team,
the deliverable, and the effort
Perception:
 Distrusts the team
 Dictator, Ruler, Controller
https://www.flickr.com/photos/andy_tyler/3308288463/
www.allisonpollard.com
The New Manager
Actions:
 Relies on the team to decide
 Earns respect
 Has a team that creates and uses
their process, that commits to
their deliverable, and raises and
lowers their effort to make their
commitment
Perception:
 Trusts the team
 Coach, Mentor, Leader
https://www.flickr.com/photos/uzi978/3977937339/
www.allisonpollard.com
Create the conditions that enable
teams to thrive
How do we create and support effective teams?
https://flic.kr/p/eLTeSZ
www.allisonpollard.com
Team Effectiveness:
The 60-30-10 Principle
Design of the team
Way team is launched
Leader coaching once
team is underway
www.allisonpollard.com
Designing Flexible,
Long-Lived Teams
1. Organize the work so teams
are creating a product or
service that has meaning
from a business perspective.
2. Form teams that have the
breadth of skills to handle a
broad range of work.
3. Bring work to the teams
rather than reforming teams
for each new project.
https://flic.kr/p/ar9Zon
www.allisonpollard.com
Characteristics of Thriving Teams
Thriving
Team
Cross
functionality
Camaraderie
and mutually
accountable
Visibility
Flexible work
processes
and
continuous
improvement
Attention to
technical
excellence
www.allisonpollard.com
Launching the Team: Articulate a
Compelling Goal
https://flic.kr/p/hJqxnM
An effective goal statement does
two jobs:
 Focuses the attention and effort
of the team
 Engages the team in a
meaningful challenge
www.allisonpollard.com
Leader Coaching: Pillars of Support
Image by Esther Derby
www.allisonpollard.com
Leading the Team
 Developing people
 Seeing across the organization
 Creating environments where
people can build products and
services that delight customers,
satisfy stakeholders, and
empower employees.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/almostinfamous/4884741424/
www.allisonpollard.com
The New Manager Job Description
 Build Teams
 Coach
 Partner with Product
Owners and Scrum
Masters
 Meet with other
Managers
 Provide Vision
 Build Strategy
 Provide Leadership
 Listen
 Have Fun
www.allisonpollard.com
Now what?
 Find out what the team needs
 Remove impediments
 Highlight and celebrate team
successes
 Help focus the team on their
goal
 Provide visibility – share
organizational information with
the team
 Be agile and help others to be
agile
www.allisonpollard.com
https://flic.kr/p/3eir4a
References
 Esther Derby’s blog,
http://www.estherderby.com/category/insights
 Brian Sobus’s presentation, Functional
Management: There IS a place for it in Agile,
http://submit2011.agilealliance.org/files/session_pdfs
/Functional_Management.pdf
 Barry Oshry, Managing in the Middle
www.allisonpollard.com
Contact
Email: allison@allisonpollard.com
Twitter: @allison_pollard
Blog: www.allisonpollard.com
www.allisonpollard.com

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Leading agile teams

  • 1. Leading Agile Teams The New Role of Management in an Agile Organization www.allisonpollard.com
  • 2. Allison Pollard  Agile coach and consultant  Firm believer in continuous improvement  DFW Scrum user group leader and Dallas Agile Leadership Network board member  Glasses wearer www.allisonpollard.com
  • 3. What is agile? 1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. 2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. 3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. 4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. 5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. 6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. http://agilemanifesto.org/ 7. Working software is the primary measure of progress. 8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. 9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. 10. Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done- -is essential. 11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. 12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. www.allisonpollard.com
  • 4. How do you implement values and principles? Agile frameworks Scrum XPYours www.allisonpollard.com
  • 5. Scrum only defines 3 roles but other key roles exist Those key roles DON’T:  Assign work to team members  Tell the team how to do the work  Talk in the daily scrums What does this mean for managers? https://www.flickr.com/photos/cutiemoo/3111207407/ www.allisonpollard.com
  • 6. Are managers no longer needed? www.allisonpollard.com
  • 7. No Team is an Island Self-organizing teams exist to produce a product or service that is valuable to the organization and its customers. https://flic.kr/p/jijopb www.allisonpollard.com
  • 8. Managers can play a valuable role as teams become self-organizing and take on more responsibility. https://www.flickr.com/photos/eekim/14352861405/ Managers need to learn a different way of managing. www.allisonpollard.com
  • 9. Acknowledging the Management “Trifecta of Doom” https://www.flickr.com/photos/63425234@N05/5772772604/ 1. Individual fear of seeming unqualified for management. 2. Organization encourages the “right now” answer rather than the “right” answer. 3. People have been taught that a manager’s job is to get other people to work hard. All these work against learning, so we have to shift our perception of the management role. www.allisonpollard.com
  • 10. The Old Manager Actions:  Enforces decisions  Commands respect  Controls the process, the team, the deliverable, and the effort Perception:  Distrusts the team  Dictator, Ruler, Controller https://www.flickr.com/photos/andy_tyler/3308288463/ www.allisonpollard.com
  • 11. The New Manager Actions:  Relies on the team to decide  Earns respect  Has a team that creates and uses their process, that commits to their deliverable, and raises and lowers their effort to make their commitment Perception:  Trusts the team  Coach, Mentor, Leader https://www.flickr.com/photos/uzi978/3977937339/ www.allisonpollard.com
  • 12. Create the conditions that enable teams to thrive How do we create and support effective teams? https://flic.kr/p/eLTeSZ www.allisonpollard.com
  • 13. Team Effectiveness: The 60-30-10 Principle Design of the team Way team is launched Leader coaching once team is underway www.allisonpollard.com
  • 14. Designing Flexible, Long-Lived Teams 1. Organize the work so teams are creating a product or service that has meaning from a business perspective. 2. Form teams that have the breadth of skills to handle a broad range of work. 3. Bring work to the teams rather than reforming teams for each new project. https://flic.kr/p/ar9Zon www.allisonpollard.com
  • 15. Characteristics of Thriving Teams Thriving Team Cross functionality Camaraderie and mutually accountable Visibility Flexible work processes and continuous improvement Attention to technical excellence www.allisonpollard.com
  • 16. Launching the Team: Articulate a Compelling Goal https://flic.kr/p/hJqxnM An effective goal statement does two jobs:  Focuses the attention and effort of the team  Engages the team in a meaningful challenge www.allisonpollard.com
  • 17. Leader Coaching: Pillars of Support Image by Esther Derby www.allisonpollard.com
  • 18. Leading the Team  Developing people  Seeing across the organization  Creating environments where people can build products and services that delight customers, satisfy stakeholders, and empower employees. https://www.flickr.com/photos/almostinfamous/4884741424/ www.allisonpollard.com
  • 19. The New Manager Job Description  Build Teams  Coach  Partner with Product Owners and Scrum Masters  Meet with other Managers  Provide Vision  Build Strategy  Provide Leadership  Listen  Have Fun www.allisonpollard.com
  • 20. Now what?  Find out what the team needs  Remove impediments  Highlight and celebrate team successes  Help focus the team on their goal  Provide visibility – share organizational information with the team  Be agile and help others to be agile www.allisonpollard.com https://flic.kr/p/3eir4a
  • 21. References  Esther Derby’s blog, http://www.estherderby.com/category/insights  Brian Sobus’s presentation, Functional Management: There IS a place for it in Agile, http://submit2011.agilealliance.org/files/session_pdfs /Functional_Management.pdf  Barry Oshry, Managing in the Middle www.allisonpollard.com
  • 22. Contact Email: allison@allisonpollard.com Twitter: @allison_pollard Blog: www.allisonpollard.com www.allisonpollard.com

Editor's Notes

  1. where you work your history why this topic ...is a Principal Consultant for Improving Enterprises and has worked with Agile teams as a project manager, as a Scrum Master, and in coaching roles. A firm advocate of continuous improvement and the power of teams to affect change, she believes the world needs more strong teams in order to be Agile and meet the demands of today; her goal is to help others create them, shape them, and support them. Allison also volunteers locally as one of the organizers of the DFW Scrum user group and serves on the Dallas Agile Leadership Network board.
  2. The manager is not responsible for getting the work done—the Team is responsible for completing their commitment in the sprint. And the manager does not commit dates on behalf of the team—it is the Product Owner’s responsibility to deliver the release on schedule. With creating strong, empowered, self-organizing teams, there can be an initial reaction of “ha ha, we are empowered! We don’t need no stinkin’ managers...”
  3. Self-organizing agile teams are not out there on their own, disconnected from the organization. Self-organizing teams exist to produce a product or service that is valuable to the organization and its customers. They are accountable to make their progress visible and work within financial boundaries.
  4. By now, most people realize that organizations still need management (and people in management roles) after they adopt agile methods. However, if those organizations want all the benefits of agile, managers must also change the way they work. Agile companies look for leadership rather than management.  This is a real change in mindset, both by team members and also in how managers view themselves and their role. A traditional management team spends much of its time focused on telling teams what to do. If managers want teams to take more self-responsibility, they need to shift your focus from monitoring the day-to-day work of individuals and let teams grow up. Managers need to learn a different way of managing. Does that sound intimidating?
  5. The adoption of agile/scrum is a culture change, and managers need to be agile and learn continually. In the US, we face a trifecta of obstacles in creating a learning culture for managers, so it is natural to feel uneasy as the organization culture changes. When someone is promoted to management, it is a sign he’s “made it,” proved that he is “management material.” When you’ve made it, asking for help can signal that you weren’t “management material” after all.  In many organizations, it is more acceptable to be sure and dead wrong, than admit uncertainty and be approximately right. In such organizations it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help or show uncertainty.  That slows the learning curve for new managers. Most people are motivated when they start a new job. But motivation drains away when people must work hard to overcome obstacles in the form of procedures, rules, and organizational hoops rather than value-adding work.  People don’t need managers cracking a whip to get them to work hard. Managers need to focus on creating an environment where it’s easy to do the right thing and do valuable work. Then people will work hard on their own. All these work against learning.  So we have some hard work to shift our perception of the management role.
  6. The Old Manager was responsible for everything—overseeing delivery of projects, managing daily operations, coaching team members. That’s a lot of plates to keep spinning when you are trying to manage them all at a low level. The Old Manager seems to be in perpetual motion, carrying never-ending lists of meetings to attend, items to accomplish, errands to run, unfinished paperwork to edit, constant intrusions, and so on; they may have difficulty seeing themselves as “significant” in a system where the action seems to lie with those above or below them.
  7. The New Manager relies on the team to make decisions because they are closest to the work and are the ones committed to delivering. New Managers distribute out to the organization the “essence” of the teams they manage and bring into the teams the “essence” of the organization. The contacts and information available to them makes them apt see the total system more clearly than those above or below them.
  8. It is the responsibility of managers to create the conditions that enable teams to thrive and continue to self-organize. Managers need to work across the organization to create a work system that enables teams to deliver value to customers and the organization. But focusing only on the diffusion of information outward to the organization and inward to the team can lead to disintegration where teams tend to become isolated. For diffusion to work well, it needs to be partnered with integration. The integrating group is a collection of peers within an organization—other managers. They integrate by connecting and integrating with each other, and by bringing the fruits of their collaboration back to their teams as well as to the organization as a whole.
  9. Harvard professor J. Richard Hackman has been studying teams for decades. One of his most significant findings is that 60% of the variation in team effectiveness is attributable to the design of the team, 30% to the way the team is launched, and 10% to leader coaching once the team is underway. By “design of the team,” he doesn’t just mean picking the best people. And managers need to work with individual team members to realize their needs and coach them.
  10. 1.Analyze and organize the work in the pipeline so that teams have “whole” work–creating a product or service that has meaning from a business perspective, and look at the trade-offs and tensions inherent in the product. Make sure people who represent those aspects are part of the team. Look for dependencies and to the extent possible, keep them within a team boundary. 2. Form teams that have the breadth of skills to handle a broad range of work. Determine if any specialists or additional training are needed. Some team members might have hidden talents from previous experiences that they have not yet used in the organization. 3. Then, bring work to the teams, rather than reforming teams for each new project. You won’t find a team that’s perfect for all the work in the pipeline. When teams lack a specific expertise, keep the core team in tact and add expertise. In many organizations, managers form cross-functional teams to meet the needs of a specific project. In some cases, that means the team will be together for a long time. More often, it means teams will be disbanded after a few weeks or months. That’s barely enough time for a team to gel and gain the benefit of the team effect.
  11. You can call a group of people a team the first day they come together. But that doesn’t mean they’ll achieve teamwork right away. The pressure cooker method of team formation will more likely burn people out than result in the productivity of a real team. Calling a group a team and turning up the heat, doesn’t make it so. People need time to understand each others strengths, weaknesses and work styles. They need to agree on, try, and adjust the way they work together to find their groove. This slide shows just a few characteristics of thriving teams. The organization benefits because a thriving team makes faster, higher quality decisions; is able to respond better based on need and context; has code that is easier to modify and is higher quality; has a broad skill set so they are more flexible; reduced turnover because people have a chance to grow; work gets to “done” faster; and they provide earlier info when more options are available.
  12. An effective goal statement does two jobs. First, it focuses the attention and effort of the team. When the team has a shared understanding of what their task is, they pull in the same direction.  When teams have don’t agree on the goal–or the goal is so vague it’s open to many interpretations–team members waste time and brain cycles arguing, working at cross purposes, or doing the wrong work. Second, a well-formed goal engages the team in a meaningful challenge. An effective goal provides a sense of purpose to the teams work. The goal might be solving an important problem, enabling business, launching a new product, or meeting a  customer need. State the goal in a way that taps into purpose. Take the goal handed down to the FinCore team: “Maintain the FinCore Product.” That goal isn’t enough to get someone out of bed in the morning. It talks about a process (maintenance), but leaves out the purpose. It misses the opportunity to tap into pride-in-work.  A more compelling goal might be: Sustain the FinCore product by adding necessary functionality and ensuring the technical integrity of the code, so we can provide uninterrupted service to 40,000 customers. Not all work is exciting and sexy, but all work should have a purpose. Making that clear will help people focus and engage.
  13. The right people and a compelling goal are a good start. But if you neglect the pillars of support, the team may still wallow. The pillars of support are: Information related to the situation, domain, problem and technology. These reinforce the goal, and provide the context for the team to make good decisions. Material support, such as machines, tools, facilities, adequate budget, and supplies. Adequate material support communicates that the work of the team is important. Starving a team for resources undercuts the goal and creates cynicism. Paradoxically, providing too much isn’t good either. A certain level of constraint can drive creativity (and over constraint kills it). Expertise to supplement the knowledge and skills of the team when needed. Even when the team has all the skills required by the task, they may need an expert eye for consulting or reviewing. Sometimes there is some aspect of the work that requires scarce knowledge. They may need to consult with SMEs. It may not make sense to develop that knowledge on the team, or it may only be needed for a short time. Feedback loops that connect the team to the organization. The team needs to hear how their product is being used in production and the impacts it is having within the organization. If any one of these pillars is missing, you’ve put the team at a disadvantage.
  14. Managers should spend 1:1 time with team-members at a frequency that feels right. This is not a task update meeting – this is time for coaching and mentorship. Ask about HR concerns. For many agile teams, traditional job descriptions, career paths, and other personnel systems don’t fit agile work very well, so you want to know when there’s dissatisfaction and understand when and how policies are getting in the way. At the organizational level, managers can often see potential impacts across teams that they cannot see, so make sure those teams talk to each other to work out them out.
  15. When teams are working well, managers don’t need intervene. The hard work is in establishing a real team and ensuring enabling conditions are in place. When managers of self-sufficient teams feel like they aren’t doing much, it’s a sign they’ve succeeded. But managers shouldn’t abandon the team. Teams need support and a connection to the organization. Don’t tamper if things are working.  Ask what is getting in the way, and go fix it.  Ask what the team needs, and obtain it for them. Ask what you can do to help. If the team says “nothing,” don’t inflict help.