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(In Agile) Where Do All The Managers Go?

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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
managers go?

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.

Publicado en: Software

(In Agile) Where Do All The Managers Go?

  1. 1. (In Agile) Where Do All The Managers Go?
  2. 2. Scott W. Ambler •  Pioneered Agile Modeling and Agile Database techniques in the early 2000s •  Co-creator of the Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) framework •  Executive Transformation Coach •  scott [at] •  @scottwambler © Disciplined Agile Consortium Helps IT departments around the world become awesome 2
  3. 3. Our strategy: Observe what happens in practice © Disciplined Agile Consortium 3
  4. 4. Let’s explore three important questions…. What important trends are happening? Where do managers fit into agile? What can you do? © Disciplined Agile Consortium 4
  5. 5. Important Trends © Disciplined Agile Consortium 5
  6. 6. Trend #1: Technical management tasks are performed by the team © Disciplined Agile Consortium 6
  7. 7. Trend #2: Leadership is addressed by new roles © Disciplined Agile Consortium Team Lead Architecture Owner Product Owner 7
  8. 8. Trend #3: Experienced organizations are moving towards stable teams © Disciplined Agile Consortium Work Work Work Work 8
  9. 9. Trend #4: Status reporting is being automated away © Disciplined Agile Consortium 9
  10. 10. Implications for Existing Managers 1.  Empowered teams è Less work for managers to do 2.  New leadership roles è Leadership is the responsibility of non-managers 3.  Stable teams è Much less “resource management” is required è Budgeting is greatly simplified 4.  Automated status reporting è Less work for managers to do © Disciplined Agile Consortium 10
  11. 11. Where do managers fit into agile? © Disciplined Agile Consortium 11
  12. 12. Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) Roles © Disciplined Agile Consortium 12 Primary Roles Secondary Roles (for Scaling) Team Lead Independent Tester Architecture Owner Product Owner Team Member Technical Expert IntegratorSpecialist Domain Expert Stakeholder
  13. 13. Team Lead •  Responsible for the effectiveness and continuous improvement of the team’s process •  Facilitates close collaboration between team members •  Keeps the team focused on the project vision and goals •  Removes impediments for the team and escalates organizational impediments •  Protects the team from interruptions and external interference •  Maintains honest communication between everyone on the project •  Coaches others in the use of agile practices •  Prompts the team to discuss and think through issues when they are identified •  Facilitates decision making (but does not make decisions or mandate internal team activity) 13 © Disciplined Agile Consortium
  14. 14. Potential “Management Responsibilities” for a Team Lead 14 © Disciplined Agile Consortium Managing the project budget Producing project status related metrics E.g. Iteration burn downs, defect trend charts, task boards Assessing team members
  15. 15. Product Owner •  The Stakeholder “proxy” •  Go-to person for information on the solution requirements •  Prioritizes all work for the team •  Participant in modeling and acceptance testing •  Has access to expert stakeholders •  Facilitates requirements envisioning and modeling •  Educates team in business domain •  May demonstrate solution to key stakeholders •  Monitors and communicates status to stakeholders •  Negotiates priorities, scope, funding, and schedule 15 © Disciplined Agile Consortium
  16. 16. Team Member •  Is a cross-functional, generalizing specialist •  On small teams every team member is typically a developer, but on larger teams non-developers may appear •  Volunteers to do any work that allows the team to most efficiently deliver the work committed to for the iteration •  Seeks to both learn about other specialties as well as coach others on their own specialty •  Goes to the product owner for domain information and decisions •  Works with the architecture owner to evolve the architecture •  Follows enterprise conventions and leverages and enhances the existing infrastructure 16 © Disciplined Agile Consortium
  17. 17. At scale you may need a few people in specialized management roles © Disciplined Agile Consortium 17
  18. 18. Potential Management Roles at Scale •  Community of Excellence (CoE) Lead •  Community of Practice (CoP) Lead •  Data Manager •  Functional Manager •  Governor •  Operations Manager •  Portfolio Manager •  Program Manager •  Release Manager •  Support (Help Desk) Manager © Disciplined Agile Consortium 18
  19. 19. The Bad News: There Are Fewer Management Positions in Agile Orgs Before Agile © Disciplined Agile Consortium After Agile 19
  20. 20. The Good News: You Have Several Choices Available to You © Disciplined Agile Consortium 20
  21. 21. What can you do? © Disciplined Agile Consortium 21
  22. 22. Observe what is actually happening © Disciplined Agile Consortium 22
  23. 23. Be flexible © Disciplined Agile Consortium 23
  24. 24. Choose to evolve © Disciplined Agile Consortium 24
  25. 25. Questions and Answers •  During the webinar on February 23, 2016 we received numerous questions. We answered many of them during the webinar but did not get to all of them. •  We have written a blog answering the questions in detail at •  There is also a recording of the webinar available from the Disciplined Agile YouTube channel at © Disciplined Agile Consortium 25
  26. 26. Thank You! scott [at] @scottwambler Disciplined Agile Delivery Disciplined Agile Delivery © Disciplined Agile Consortium 26
  27. 27. Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) is a process decision framework The key characteristics of DAD: –  People-first –  Goal-driven –  Hybrid agile –  Learning-oriented –  Full delivery lifecycle –  Solution focused –  Risk-value lifecycle –  Enterprise aware © Disciplined Agile Consortium 27
  28. 28. Shuhari and Disciplined Agile Certification At the shu stage you are beginning to learn the techniques and philosophies of disciplined agile development. Your goal is to build a strong foundation from which to build upon. At the ha stage you reflect upon and question why disciplined agile strategies work, seeking to understand the range of strategies available to you and when they are best applied. At the ri stage you seek to extend and improve upon disciplined agile techniques, sharing your learnings with others. © Disciplined Agile Consortium 28
  29. 29. Would You Like This Presented to Your Organization? Contact us at © Disciplined Agile Consortium 29
  30. 30. Scott Ambler + Associates is the thought leader behind the Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) framework and its application. We are a boutique IT management consulting firm that advises organizations to be more effective applying disciplined agile and lean processes within the context of your business. Our website is We can help © Disciplined Agile Consortium 30