Management is so important on agile delivery teams that we do it every single day, but that doesn't imply that we
need team managers. Having said that, there are still some manager roles needed, albeit far fewer than in the past, when we scale agile both tactically and strategically within our IT organizations. So where do the rest of the
This presentation examines what happens to traditional managers when their organization adopts agile and lean strategies. We work through the implications of several critical forces that enable us to thin out the ranks of middle management. First, agile methods push many technical management tasks into the hands of the team, thereby taking that work away from managers. Second, leadership tasks are assigned to new team roles such as the Product Owner, the Team Lead/Scrum Master, and the Architecture Owner. Third, the move away from a project-based mindset to a product-based one results in stable teams that require far less functional/resource management. Fourth, application of business intelligence technologies to implement automated team and portfolio dashboards reduces the need for manual status reporting.
Some management-oriented work remains. Teams that haven't yet automated reporting will find that someone needs to track and report progress. Large teams, also known as program teams, will likely need a Program Manager or more accurately a Program Coordinator. To support IT-level functions you are likely to need people in roles such as Portfolio Manager, Operations Manager, Help Desk Manager, and Community of Practice (CoP) Lead. Managers are still clearly needed, but in practice there tends to be far fewer management positions within agile organizations than what we find in traditional ones. This implies that many existing managers will need to reskill and transition into one of the new agile roles. The good news is that there is room for everyone within agile if they're willing to learn new skills and change with the times.