Agile Methods Are No Match For Outdated Leadership

Three Key Leadership Plays to Succeed with Agile

Two groups of leaders

Not too long ago, I was talking to a potential client, let’s call him Steve, who was interested in “going Agile”. Steve informed me that he was already very knowledgeable about Agile. He wanted his organization to “go Agile” to have faster product deliveries, better predictability, and better metrics.

  • “An organizational culture that is at odds with Agile values,”
  • “Inadequate management support and sponsorship” and
  • “…general resistance to change.” (ColabNet VersionOne)

The Outdated Leadership: Management vs. Workers Schism

Leadership Is Enablement: Farewell schism, hello management and workers unity…

For the Agile Methodology to be effective, leadership needs to transform its management processes along with the execution teams. While efficiency is still important, the management approach should be based on the effectiveness in relation to the value created from the eyes of the customer. It needs to shift from the top-down to a more collective/servant leadership that I like to refer to as “enablement leadership.”

  • What conditions are necessary for preparation for “planting” Agile?
  • What is the definition of fertile ground in which Agile will thrive?

Enablement Of Conditions: 3 Critical Plays To Position Your Organization For Success

The shift to “enabling” the necessary context and culture and thus the fertile ground for Agile to thrive requires three significant shifts in the mindset, beliefs, and actions of Group 2 leaders. The three shifts are:

  1. Focus on collective intelligence
  2. Creation of psychological and professional safety to innovate
  3. Base KPIs and rewards on value creation, not utilization



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Agile Alliance

Agile Alliance is a nonprofit global member organization, supporting and serving the Agile community since 2001.