Agile is based on self-organizing teams, so if teams organize themselves, what do managers do?
It turns out that managers can play a critical role both in agile adoption and in agile success long-term.
Unfortunately, scrum training mostly doesn’t address the role: when trainers and coaches sketch the structure of a scrum team, they almost never include a manager. (Think about it: While there's always a scrum master, a product owner, the core team and maybe some stakeholders, have you ever seen a manager in that drawing?)
Managers not knowing their changed role can be a problem: A frequently cited barrier to agile adoption is managers who don't know what to do when their teams become self-managing. When they're not included in training, how would they (or anyone else, for that matter) know the contributions to which managers need to apply themselves. Worse, their larger organizations often lay down expectations for them that are incompatible with agile.
Agile has shifted the old roles and responsibilities. A manager bent on command-and-control is clearly a barrier to agile adoption. But managers who take a hands-off approach or are unclear on the contribution they must make will almost certainly stymie adoption, as well.
Ron Lichty echoes many of the early agile thought leaders: we managers have critical roles to play in enabling success, both in transitioning to agile and in agile itself.
This session is about managers’ critical contributions, and is for managers at all levels, for prospective managers, for team leads, and for members of teams thinking through how to make their teams the best teams they’ve ever been part of.
Ron Lichty has been alternating between consulting with and managing software development and product organizations for over 25 years, almost all of those spent untangling the knots in software development and transforming chaos to clarity, the last 19 of those in the era of Agile. Originally a programmer, he earned several patents and wrote two popular programming books before being hired into his first management role by Apple Computer, which nurtured his managerial growth in both development and product management roles.
Principal and owner of Ron Lichty Consulting, Inc. (www.RonLichty.com), he both is a VPE firejumper and has trained teams in scrum, transitioned teams from waterfall and iterative methodologies to agile, coached teams already using agile to make their software development "hum", and trained managers in managing software people and teams. In his continued search for effective best practices, Ron co-authors the periodic Study of Product Team Performance (http://www.ronlichty.com/study.html).
Ron's most recent book is Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams - http://www.ManagingTheUnmanageable.net. Published by Addison Wesley, it has been compared by reviewers to the software development classics.