Managers Hold the Key to Unlock Agile Transformations
 
Everyone has seen the famous Monster.com commercial with little kids posing as adults saying, “I want to climb my way up to middle management.” It may not be the pinnacle of our professional aspirations, but middle management is often the “make it or break it” point on the career ladder for you and your organization.

This is especially true for organizations transitioning to agile. As I reflect back on my past coaching engagements and training sessions, it’s clear that mid-level managers are actually the key to unlocking agile transformations. Middle managers get executive authority to "make it happen." They are EXTREMELY powerful in enabling (or disabling) an organization’s agile adoption!


To provide a bit of support for transformational middle managers, we'll dust off the agile manifesto and begin a 4-part agile value (mini)series. This month's value: 

Individuals and Interactions OVER process and tools.

As a manager, your job is to promote the power of people over the power of processes. Here are actions managers can take to create an environment where individuals interact to get the job done:

  • Work with facilities to build team rooms with a team board so face to face communication is easy
  • Change the structure of your global teams by building cross-functional teams in the same geographic location
  • Break down departmental silos by having Development, QA, BA’s, etc. report into the same manager who can enable the team as a whole and rely on centers of competencies to bring coding, testing, automation, etc. standards.
  • Build partnerships with other managers to streamline processes, which are cumbersome (audit, release management, security).
  • Evaluate the tools with your team(s)- are they getting in the way of how we collaborate and/or communicate?  Is there a better or easier way to leverage them or replicate them, allow your team(s) to find the right balance of tools needed to get their jobs done.

It won't be easy or quick, because there are no silver bullets. Change is hard and transformations need to be seen as a journey.  

Next month: How do managers enable Working Software OVER comprehensive documentation?

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