I Am Not an Agile Manager

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I Am Not an Agile Manager

So please don't call me one. The preferred nomenclature is 'servant leader.'

· Agile Zone ·
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Team empowerment

Traditional management has no place in Agile. Rather, team empowerment is where it's at.

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.

You may also like:  Managers and Agile: Where Do I Fit In?

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

Further reading:

The Manager's Role in an Agile Transformation

Line Management Is Not Agile

agile adoption ,scrum adoption ,servant leadership ,agile values ,manager ,organizational behavior ,empowering teams ,leadership

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