In your organization, agile has helped your teams improve their value delivery. Although the teams retrospect, you expected more improvement. You think your agile journey might be stuck. Maybe it’s time for you to build a culture of agile leadership.
Tip 1. Make your work transparent.
Do other people know what you do as an agile leader? I recommend a kanban board with these columns: Ready, In Progress, Stuck, and Done. When you see too much in the “Stuck” column, you can ask for help.
Nicole is a Scrum Master in an organization where agile is helping, but not as much as she thought it would. When we discussed how she tracked her work, she told me she kept a private electronic list. After we discussed the pros and cons, she made a board outside her office. Her project team could see what she was working on and what was in her Stuck column. They realized she was “working the system” as fast as she could.
Tip 2. Ask for help.
One of the great things about agile is that we work as collaborative teams to finish work. If you are a leader, you might not know who your team is–you might have to work across the organization to accomplish your work. When you ask for help, you can learn even more about your organization.
Nicole asked the development and test managers for help removing several impediments. Once they saw Nicole’s board, they realized how they could help and how it would benefit them, too. Nicole realized her team larger than her Scrum team. She was also part of an informal leadership team.
Tip 3. Practice.
Leaders require time and safety to practice, just as technical people do. Nicole wanted to practice her influence skills to remove specific impediments. She asked her manager if she could practice her influence on him so it would be safe. He agreed.
She selected an impediment he could help remove. She explained what she wanted to influence with, “I want to make sure you understand me here,” as she spoke. They laughed together, which helped their conversation. He explained what would make this a winning solution for him, and they came to an agreement. They also discussed how she tried to influence and what worked–and didn’t work–on him. They were both happy with the outcome.
Building your agile leadership skills takes practice and requires a safe environment. If you want to build and practice your agile leadership skills, please join us at the Influential Agile Leader.
If you’re concerned your agile approaches are not providing the results you want, join Gil Broza and me at the Influential Agile Leader. You’ll practice the skills that agile leaders require. We’ll be in Boston April 6-7, 2016. We’ll be in the London area May 4-5, 2016. Registration ends March 24 for both workshops. Register now.
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© 2016 Johanna Rothman
Tags: agile, influence, servant leadership, transition to agile