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How can leaders support the agile journey?

7 WAYS LEADERS CAN SUPPORT THE AGILE JOURNEY

According to Jerome Parisse-Brassens in a recent article from InsideHr,  “The number one challenge facing a leader in an agile culture is letting go of fears related to losing control and not being needed”.

So, before we get to the list,  let’s set the scene.

This letting go of control and fully embracing the mindset of trust,  is where leaders can go from hindrance to hero very quickly in an Agile organisation.

At ADAPTOVATE, one of our co-founders – Doug Ross believes leaders can support the agile journey “By communicating clear goals for the organisation, and publicly rewarding teams and people that deliver testable outcomes that illustrate progress towards that goal.”

WE SEE IT, DAY IN DAY OUT.  What works, and what doesn’t.

Steve Walton – a consultant in our New York office,  says that “When leaders adopt a mindset which focuses on concepts like responding to change rather than enduring it and empowering over directing, they create a culture where people are more able to confidently talk about what is important rather than what has always been done. Their actions create the context in which people operate.”

We asked some of the Adaptovate’s consultants on their thoughts about how leaders can support the agile journey.   Our global consultants, see every day the world over,  how teams in organisations, big and small, cope on their own agile journey’s.

So we’ve developed a list for leaders, to assist their teams on their organisation’s agile journey.

7 WAYS LEADERS CAN SUPPORT THE AGILE JOURNEY

  1. EMPOWERING THE TEAM

Laura Scott , a senior consultant in our Sydney office , unequivocally believes, it’s this simple

“By empowering their team!!! If the leaders buy into the journey and empower their team to make decisions agile will be successful!”.

However as Slawek Koziol from our Poland office says “Leaders and the way they shape company culture are the most significant enablers of agile journey. They should discipline themselves to adopt new creative and collaborative mindsets in order to support their teams along the journey.”   He continues “Only then will they be able to empower and coach diverse teams and allow people who have a clear view of the customers to make their own day-to-day decisions.”

“By giving the team the latitude to determine the “How””, believes our Principle and Managing Director of our Singapore office, Charles Tan .

  1. CLEAR VISION

Steve says that leaders should “set a clear vision of what the organization is trying to achieve, and ensuring that teams have a prioritized backlog of work to move focus on. “

Charles  agrees “Leaders need to ensure the team understands the vision, then give them the space to work out how to deliver the vision”

  1. BEING TRANSPARENT AND OPEN

“Leaders can support the agile journey by being open, transparent and showing vulnerability at times.” Says Chelsea Bates, our principle in the Melbourne office of Adaptovate.  “Showing the team they don’t always have all the answers and being able to make decisions on what information is available”.

  1. BEING WILLING TO CHANGE DIRECTION

Chelsea also states that it’s also important being able to acknowledge when new information shows a change in direction is needed and deciding to change direction instead of waiting another month or two.

Charles agrees.  He says “By being open to review sacred institutional processes, I.e. strategy develop occurs only once every three years, corporate budgeting and project funding review only occurs annually etc.”

 

  1. DISCIPLINED PLANNING AND PRIORITISATION

Slawek believes that some of the key leadership behaviors supporting the agile journey should include a disciplined planning and prioritization approach.  Although he explains “This must be supported with informal rapport as well as prioritizing steady cadence of work over perfection.

Allowing for failures might seem like something utterly unnatural for a leader to do but is critical to building strong agile teams.”

  1. SHOWING INTEREST.

Charles Tan believes that leaders can support the agile journey by showing interest in what their Agile teams are doing. He says “Being Agile involves not just teams behaving in an Agile manner, but management engaging with the team in an Agile manner as well”

“Leaders can support the agile journey by cascading down the benefits of agile to their teams.” Believes Rachna Verma – a consultant in our Sydney office.  She continues “If the message does not come from top down then staff are not empowered to deliver and there is a misalignment between expectations.”

Shilen Modi, as associate in our Sydney office, says enthusiastically “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey and if a company/team wants to achieve agile, they need a leader to drive them there.

He continues  “The best thing a leader can be is show their thirst for transitioning into agile. If it is something they really want then they need to be able to convey this back to the team by being enthusiastic about Agile.”

  1. ENSURE THE ORGANISATIONAL HYGIENE FACTORS ARE DONE

Steve says “From an Agile perspective, leaders should ensure organizational hygiene factors.  Such as stable funding, appropriate workplace/tools to do get the job done.  And mechanisms to enable the team to work with other parts of the organization.

So try these steps if you are a leader, working with an organisation setting out on their Agile journey. Or perhaps your organisation is struggling with the agile journey.  By following these 7 points  will ensure  you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly things will fall in to place.

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