In this issue:
Many people start their agile transformation with teams. That's great, and it's not enough to build and maintain an agile transformation—to change the culture. Too often, your agile approaches stall or create dysfunctions for the people and teams.
If you want a successful agile transformation, invite the managers. Why? Because the managers hold and refine the overall corporate culture.
Notice I used the word “invite.” I do mean to request a person's participation with respect and courtesy.
Here's a conversation Dawn had with her manager, Stu. She'd asked Stu for time on his calendar separate from their one-on-one time. She provided an agenda in advance: explaining her recent metrics, her assessment of their group's use of agile approaches, and what she wanted from him.
They discussed several measurements including the product backlog burnup charts and project lead time for several projects. When Stu saw the data, he asked clarifying questions. He was surprised that their project lead time was still so long. He asked why.
Dawn explained, “We still treat each function as a silo. The teams are pretty good integrating development and testing. But the product owners are still affiliated with the product people. They don't spend enough time with the teams.” She paused.
Stu nodded and sighed. “You want me to talk to someone?”
Dawn took a deep breath. “Sort of. I want you to form a management team to assess each project every couple of weeks to make sure everyone works to optimize ‘up'.”
She drew the pictures of flow efficiency as in Defining “Scaling” Agile, Part 5: Agile Management.
Stu nodded. “That makes sense for teams. But for managers?”
Dawn nodded. “Yup. When the managers create a management team, they can see the data as I showed you. They can fix the resource efficiency problems because the managers can see the data. I don't think you need to meet a lot. But, I bet you save a ton of management time you spend now expediting certain issues.”
Stu nodded. “Yeah, we often need to expedite work.”
Dawn said, “You'll be able to see and clear the problems the teams encounter. You'll see the problems of busyness instead of productivity. That's what you all want, more productivity, right?”
Stu nodded. “That's what I want.”
They spoke for a few more minutes, and Stu agreed to convince his colleagues to try a management team.
Dawn facilitated the first few management-team meetings. After the managers understood what she wanted and how they might get there, they proceeded on their own.
Their organization's agile transformation is progressing. All because Dawn dared to invite the managers.
Learn to use your influence as Dawn did and learn to invite your managers to create your agile culture at theInfluential Agile Leader workshop, June 7-8, 2018.
If you also want to learn how to influence your managers—or bring them with you—there is still time to join us at the Influential Agile Leader workshop, June 7-8, in Boston. I teach this with Gil Broza. We help you see your options, for you and your organization. We're practical and pragmatic—as you would expect from us!
Sign up now at Influential Agile Leader.
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Till next time,
© 2018 Johanna Rothman
Tags: agile, influence, management, servant leadership, transition to agile