Time to break down some silos. Learn about the role that managment has in removing the obstacles in the way of dev teams, particularly interdepartmental dependencies.
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Of course, we are all clear that in the Agile way of working, management has a limited role to play to allow the team to be accountable and own commitment until the project delivery. However, in an enterprise project or product development with dependencies on multiple constructors or downstream systems, this will not be an easy path for the team to deliver on its own without some solid commitment from the management. And there could be the situations, where those constructors or downstream systems might not be following an Agile way of working or might not be in sync with the team's release cadence. That's when the team requires management's involvement and commitment to make sure the downstream system's dependencies are resolved to proceed smoothly.
Specifically, in a large organization, where a specific user journey involves multiple Scrum teams and downstream systems, the dependencies or impediments between them are resolved in the Scrum of Scrum meetings. Most of the time, the Scrum of Scrum meeting involves constructor team's Scrum Masters and the related management team. Management plays a pivotal role in these meetings to resolve the interdependencies between the teams through organization-wide prioritizations, negotiations or escalations. Just like the retrospection happens for the individual Scrum teams at the end of each sprint, management teams should work through their continuous improvement on resolving the impediments and dependencies and providing effective business prioritizations for the team.
In Agile, the primary focus is on the continuous improvement of the execution of the delivery team only. But we are always missing the fact that the management's continuous improvement is equally important and this will, in turn, affect the Scrum teams' delivery. It is something like a cog wheel as shown in the diagram below. Continuously improving only the smaller wheel alone or working on the continuous improvement of the Scrum teams alone will not provide an efficient and effective delivery. Unless both the wheels are continuously cleaned up, the overall delivery will not be effective.
The management team includes the Business Project Manager, Delivery Head, Product Managers and related positions.
The management retrospection will have more emphasis on:
- Quicker dependencies prioritization and resolution
- Organization-wide strategy alignment with the Delivery team
- Management's improved response time on impediments
- Stakeholders' Management
- Improved management of program/project level RAIDs
I would recommend this retro to follow the format of De Bono's Six Thinking Hats to bring out the diversified experience of the management team members.
- Green Hat - Bringing up any creative new ideas for providing a smooth avenue to the Scrum teams.
- Black Hat - Play the role of Devil's Advocate, bringing up dangers or disadvantages in the current process.
- White Hat - For positive or negative ideas, help to collect the facts.
- Yellow Hat - Identify the positive things and drill down more to get the values and benefits.
- Red Hat - Call out hunches and intuitions about the progress of the project or program in the future.
- Blue Hat - Managing the Six thinking Hat rules or the thinking process. Preferably the Scrum Master can wear this hat.
During every retrospection, each of the management team members can wear a different hat to get a different perception. All the details to be recorded in confluence for future retrospections. Management retrospection can be anchored by the Scrum Master. And this can happen irrespective of the number of Scrum teams. The management retrospection's relevant outcomes should be transparent enough to share it with the Scrum teams to enable the team to be in sync with management expectations. This continuous activity will bridge the gap between the IT, the business and the management teams which will eventually help deliver an effective release. Besides, it will also provide another dimension to the Agile way of working by including the management to be part of the team by enabling the Scrum team to give their best.
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