I Am Not an Agile Manager
So please don't call me one. The preferred nomenclature is 'servant leader.'
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I would not want to call any role in an agile organization a ‘manager.' For starters, Agile is about self-managing individuals, not requiring anyone else to manage work or time for them.
I truly believe ‘managing’ can and should be replaced with ‘empowering.’ So, a manager in an agile organization is someone who can role model agile values and principles through his/her daily behaviors towards teams.
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If I were the manager in an agile organization, here are a few pointers on how I would influence my team:
- Be empathetic
- Be an active listener
- Be a servant leader
- Be a facilitator for problem-solving
- Be a systems thinker
- Be a team coach
- Be someone who practices what I preach
- Be someone who is always learning
- Be someone who is open to feedback
- Be someone who facilitates feedback
- Be someone who always questions the ‘WHY’
- Be someone who leads with intent
Practices that I would encourage my team to adopt:
- Leaner ways of thinking by helping them understand the importance of value stream and helping them see waste in the system
- Experimentation as a way of working: In large organizations where scaling is a big challenge, I will always encourage my teams to experiment to learn and then scale (or decide not to scale).
- Build an ecosystem for my team where they are feeling safe, open, and willing to try new things
- Celebrate failures and successes equally
- Emphasize continuous improvement through continuous learning
- Facilitate and help the team remove impediments that come their way
- Don't call me their ‘manager'
- Reflection on a regular basis, which forms the foundation of continuous improvement
I will measure my success as a ‘servant leader’ by:
- Taking the happiness metric of my team on a regular basis
- Measuring cycle time and lead time for my product and see how it improves over time
- The quality and quantity of questions my teams ask
- Retrospectives and how they improve based on it
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