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Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.

Vol 10 #11: Lead Your Agile Transition Through Influence
ISSN 2164-1196

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013

Lead Your Agile Transition Through Influence

I bet you’re transitioning to agile or something like it. How’s it going for you? If you are anything like many of my clients, the answer is, “meh.”

Kelly, a colleague had trouble with her stories. “Everything takes us forever. We can’t get anything done in two weeks. Everything takes us three, four, five weeks. What do I do?”

You know that keeping stories small will allow for feedback earlier. And, if you are like Kelly, you might not be in the position to enforce shorter stories. In that case, influence is your friend.

Consider these options:

Ask people to experiment. “What if we tried swarming on one story all together at the same time to reduce the time it took us to complete one story. We could get feedback earlier. It could be our experiment this iteration.”

Say something in the retrospective such as, “I’m worried that we don’t get enough feedback early enough in our stories. Agile is about the ability to integrate change, and I’m worried we don’t integrate change fast enough. Is there something we could do differently?”

Invite people to consider the Rule of Three. That makes the problem solving theirs, not just yours. With the Rule of Three, you consider more options than just one option, just as I’ve suggested here. You provide three valuable options, which helps people consider their alternatives. It might even help them develop new alternatives.

Notice that you have not said, “We need to reduce our story size.” Or, “We need to keep our iterations to two weeks.” Those are solutions. With influence, you are trying to have people see the problem first. Then you can help them see the solutions, too. Who knows, they may develop solutions even better than you can imagine.

Agile changes the culture of the organization. Influence fits that culture well. Use it and see your agile transition succeed.

Join Me at the Influential Agile Leader

Would you like to experience coaching and influence to build your leadership skills, in an intensive two-day event?

Gil Broza and I are leading the Influential Agile Leader twice in 2014. You can join us April 8-9, 2014 in Toronto. Or, you can join us May 22-23, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The super early bird pricing, a 33% discount, expires Dec 31, 2013, so register now.

Any change to how you manage projects is a cultural change. Cultural change is a slow process, and requires change at all levels of the organization. Many workshops and conferences ignore leaders “in the middle.” The Influential Agile Leader is for you, the leader “in the middle.”

We will be helping leaders experience coaching and influence. Yes, we’ll be practicing speed coaching and speed influence! We have many more tools to add to your toolbox to help your cultural change.

New to the Pragmatic Manager?

Are you new to the Pragmatic Manager newsletter? See previous issues.

See my articles page for my articles. If you see one that interests you and you would like me to speak about it, let me know.

I keep my blogs current with my writings: Managing Product Development, Hiring Technical People, and Create an Adaptable Life.


© 2013 Johanna Rothman

One Comment

  1. Love the Influencing Style as work in this blog. You model how to ask questions and suggest solutions. Leading Agile Teams is quite often not telling, yet sharing observations and asking for feedback. Great blog piece!


  1. Lead Your Agile Transition Through Influence - PM Hut - […] The original article can be found at: […]

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