In this issue:
People tell me agile is past mainstream now, into the late adopters. I don’t buy it. Oh, agile has jumped the shark and made it into our vernacular. The result: I too often see agile as something the teams should do, without management using agile to improve the environment or their management.
When leaders see agile as a team thing and not a management thing, they create opposing expectations on the part of the team and management. The result? Lackluster agile and disappointment everywhere, in team members and management. Another organization that says, “We’re agile,” and isn’t.
Agile is a transformation that requires the entire organization—all the people—to participate. I’m not a fan of revolution. I am a fan of evolution, with everyone making small changes to experiment and succeed.
How can you be an agile leader, so your transformation works? Here are three possibilities:
Tip 1: Coach across the organization.
One of the coaching misperceptions is that you need to know “everything” about the topic to coach. You don’t need to know everything to be an effective coach. You do need to have an idea of the risks, to know how to ask questions, and where to look for more information.
As I said in Coaches, Managers, Collaboration and Agile, Part 1, people respond to their environment. If you understand the environment, you can help people (in teams and in leadership positions) see alternatives.
Coaching is about helping people see possibilities to change their behavior. Agile is a cultural change. Coaching–informal and formal–can help with those behavioral changes.
Another benefit of coaching is that you can build allies all over the organization. You might be surprised by how that person in Finance or that person in Marketing can help the teams or managers.
Tip 2: Influence with a short-term and long-term perspective.
“I see a problem. I want to fix it now!” You might feel that urgency also.
Seeing problems and having some urgency to fixing them can help your agile transformation. And, you might have several steps to fixing the real problem. You can use an agile approach to your agile transformation–and I recommend you do.
Instead of transforming everything all at once, consider the first small change you can suggest and help implement. That would be your short-term perspective. I often find that stopping multitasking on the part of people, even if we want teams to work on multiple projects at the same time, helps a lot.
Then, you can take a longer-term perspective and see what else you might do. Maybe your allies have other ideas, too.
Tip 3: Create and publish a roadmap so you can see your progress
One of the things I like best about agile is the transparency I see at all levels of the organization. Maybe you prefer the collaborative culture or seeing work in progress.
You can create a roadmap that shows people your agile transformation plans. You can update it and show your parking lot. (See this roadmap post and this parking lot post.)
You can see many benefits of this kind of transparency. You can see your progress and celebrate your small successes. Other people might take these ideas and create their own progress boards. You can work by attraction, to nudge your agile transformation along.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the organization. You can be an agile leader. If you want to learn and practice how to be an agile leader, please join us at Influential Agile Leader.
Gil Broza and I are offering the Influential Agile Leader in Toronto May 9-10, 2017. We help you see where in the organization you might want to address next, and how to coach and influence at all levels in the organization.
Have questions? Email me.
Are you new to the Pragmatic Manager newsletter? See previous issues.
If you like the idea of romance between smart technical women and just-as-interesting men, I’m starting to write romance in my spare (!) time. See Johanna’s Fiction.
Till next time,
© 2017 Johanna Rothman
Tags: agile, coaching, influence, risk, risk management, roadmap, servant leadership