Category: Leadership

Agile And The Middle Manager Identity Crisis

| By David Hawks in Leadership | 0 Comments

When a company goes Agile, middle managers can feel a loss of identity.


Going Agile causes a lot of change within an organization, from a process, strategic, and cultural standpoint. A side effect of the Agile adoption is the confusion regarding roles and responsibilities, particularly for middle managers.

For managers, everyone is telling you what not to do, but no one is telling you what to do. You have been told that you can no longer:

  • Set the priorities for the team
  • Assign tasks or participate in planning
  • Estimate work
  • Attend Retrospectives or tell the team how to improve their processes

The good news is that with Agile, the tactical work is owned by the team. This frees up leadership to be more strategic.

In an Agile environment, here are four areas I see where management can make a huge impact:

  1. People Management
  2. Technical Excellence
  3. Organizational Improvement
  4. Business Alignment

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Path To Agility: Adoption Patterns To Overcome Pitfalls – Keep Austin Agile 2016 [Video]

| By David Hawks in Agile Training, Agile Transformation, Leadership | 0 Comments

Where are you on the Path to Agility?

In a presentation for Keep Austin Agile 2016, David Hawks explained each phase of the Agility journey including examples of typical challenges encountered along the way. Apologies for the abrupt pause in the middle of the video…a fire drill caused us to evacuate. Thankfully, the drill was just that. Watch the full video or read the transcript below.

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Shared CARGO™And Successful Agile Teams

| By Doc List in Agile, Agile Transformation, Leadership | 0 Comments

AGILE cargo boxBooks like Khoi Tu’s “Superteams” and articles in the Harvard Business Review discuss what makes successful, high-performing teams. In the Agileverse¹, we talk a lot about self-organizing teams, transparency, servant leadership, and the power of cross-functional teams. One of the important aspects of these teams is the sharing that occurs and how it leads to their success. Successful Agile teams share. Agile teams recognize that to be successful they have to move away from the traditional ego identification with their work product and toward something collaborative.

Let’s consider the first of the four value statements in A Manifesto for Agile Software Development (“The Agile Manifesto”): Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. That word interactions is critical in all of this. As one colleague said to me ages ago, “processes and tools don’t create software, people do.”

I’ve identified several characteristics that I’ve found to be shared by those successful teams. I call it Agile Shared CARGO™. And of course, being a techie, it’s an acronym.

Let’s dig in…

CARGO = Commitment, Accountability, Responsibility, Goals, and Ownership

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How To Build Trust In The Workplace

| By David Hawks in Agile, Leadership | 0 Comments

trustImage courtesy Paul C. Bronson

My team is asking for extra resources because they don’t have enough time to get everything done. But they want to spend part of their work day on trust activities. What gives?

For some, the team building, focus on communication, and opportunities to reflect provided in the Scrum framework are too much, a little too hippie. It may seem like a waste of time. However, lack of trust in leadership and among team members can result in decreased productivity, halfhearted attempts at innovation, and a hostile workplace. Read More »

Agile Transformation Pitfall #9 and #10: Misalignment between the team, customers, and the IT enterprise organization

| By David Hawks in Agile, Agile Transformation, Leadership | 0 Comments

Since these Agile transformation pitfalls are straightforward and related to one another, we thought it would be easier to deliver them in one post. These pitfalls are geared more towards the IT Enterprise rather than a product shop but still good lessons to keep in mind. Read the previous posts if you need a refresher.

Agile Transformations Pitfall #9: Teams Not Aligned With Customers


IT organizations are shifting the focus from projects to products. This is a good thing for a few reasons.

In a project-focused environment, a team is assembled for a specific project and re-allocated to another when complete. This has two impacts:

  1. Breaking the team apart and moving members around will cause a decrease in performance. Everything you have invested in team building and domain knowledge by the team is lost.
  2. Customers lose support and attention. When a team goes away after the project is done, in order to get any additional enhancements to the product they have to get another project approved. y This typically requires getting something approved again through their portfolio management budgeting process which may happen months or years later.

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Agile Transformations Pitfalls #8: Focusing Only On The Team

| By David Hawks in Agile, Agile Transformation, Leadership | 0 Comments


And…we’re back to our regularly scheduled program. Before the holiday break, we discussed Agile Pitfall #7, Not Improving Technical Practices. Time for number eight, solely focusing on optimizing at a team level instead of optimizing  across the whole organization.

How leadership deals with issues raised by the eighth pitfall could mean the start of a great era in the organization….or a failed transformation.

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5 Tips to Overcome a Stalled Agile Transformation

| By Kirsten Maitland in Agile, Agile Training, Agile Transformation, Leadership, Process, Scrum, ScrumMaster, Uncategorized | 0 Comments

You finally received executive support to move forward with the agile transformation that you spent months trying to sell to them. The team is excited to start, and so are you. The department is large, approximately one hundred people, and there are several initiatives underway. You start to plan the transformation but feel paralyzed, as there are so many different ways to approach this. Panic ensues. Where should I start? What if I run into hurdles? How will I convince the teams?

Don’t worry. As agile coaches, we are faced with these questions almost daily.

In this article we will share some tips which we have found to be invaluable in overcoming this hurdle.

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Keep Austin Agile Conference – Agile Velocity Presentations

| By agilevelocity in Agile, Agile Training, Leadership, News, Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Keep Austin Agile Conference is coming soon! Agile Austin hosts the conference on Friday, May 8 at the Renaissance Hotel in Austin. Join Agile Velocity, the conference title sponsor, for a rich day of agile learning and networking, with several of our coaches presenting sessions.  Make sure you attend our sessions to learn best practices as well as gain implementable tips and tools. Read More »

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