trusting

8 Proven Steps to Agile Leadership [#Agile #AgileLeadership #Leadership]

1. Trust Your Teams
2. Build Relationships
3. Be Flexible
4. Discard Management
5. Celebrate Your Successes
6. Participate
7. Budget
8. Understand Importance of Product Ownership

1. Trust Your Teams
Trusting your teams is the foundation of successful Agile leadership.

Implementing and embedding Agile practices is really important but building mutual trust and respect is critical.

Traditional management hierarchies and techniques are no longer valued in many organizations. Instead, leaders must empower individuals, encourage collaboration, and serve their teams.

For some this is a complete shift from what they know and how they have always acted. For others, however, it is an extension of their natural leadership style, and having a supportive framework will help them, and their teams, become even more engaged and productive.

2. Build Relationships
What we are looking for in a leader, especially in an Agile environment, is the intention to build and transform the team for the better.

For example, do you know what motivates each of your team members? Do you know what their individual strength are?

The Strengths Discovery course based on the international Gallup Strengths Finder assessment is highly recommended. Discovering one another’s strengths is not only a great way to get to know the team better, but also very useful in optimizing the team.

3. Be Flexible
Flexibility is key in today’s dynamic marketplace.

It is imperative that leaders quickly adapt to changing market conditions, competitor activity, and most importantly, customer needs.

It is only through welcoming and encouraging change that you remain relevant in this environment of constant disruption and transformation. As the saying goes: change is the only constant, so keep yourself flexible by not emotionally connecting yourself to an idea or a plan.

4. Discard Management
Leadership is in and management is out.

If you lead by example, your team will follow. To foster a self-organizing team, give them options and guidance, but get them to make core decisions – even strategic decisions such as who to bring into the team, and who to move out. Support them in their decisions as far as possible while remaining true to your goals, objectives and challenges.

5. Celebrate Your Successes
Create a culture of celebrating every small success.

With the emphasis on collaborations, celebrating successes creates a team camaraderie where we fail and succeed as one.

6. Participate
Your participation and style can make a team succeed or fail, so be aware of your influence within the team.

Too many managers’ lack of participation negatively impacts on the team and team morale, and team members become despondent. Disengaged team members are a big cost to an organization and result in knee-jerk demand for traditional managers, which in turn kills innovation and creativity.

You want to instead create a seamless flow, making use of the Agile frameworks like Scrum or Kanban, and then simply support the team without dictating direction. Allow the team to explore while the flow ‘manages’ and creates the efficiencies required.

7. Budget
Start a project with a short assessment in order to estimate the initial project and team cost (if it is a new product) or the running cost in the case of an advanced product.

Once that is done, decide on a budget that would make business sense and feel free to stop after any given sprint when the Product Owner and team are no longer delivering value to the customer.

Budgeting an Agile project is vastly different from traditional projects. Calculate a running cost (per sprint or team flow) and keep the scope variable to ensure responsiveness to the customer, Product Owner and market while new information is discovered during the process.

Driving value (and the MVP) becomes the focus, not the end date (since Agile teams regularly deliver value).

8. Understand Importance of Product Ownership
With the biggest reasons for failure still tied to the Product Owner role either not being clearly defined or available to the teams, leaders need to give this practical focus.

If there are key personnel dependencies, find creative ways to work around them. For example, establish a Product Owner committee and use ground rules to satisfy the team requirements.

If the team needs a decision to be taken immediately, agree that anyone in the Product Owner committee can make the decision on behalf of the group.

If the decision was not ideal, discuss it in the next Product Owner committee meeting or retrospective session. Always ensure Product Owners are involved in the activities of the team and attending (if not initiating) all demo review meetings.

Adapted from
Eight proven steps to successful Agile leadership:
ITWeb

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