How does an organization’s leadership style affect the adoption of Agile. The focus of the question oft-times begins as a question about teams, which I generally steer to a discussion of the tendency of the organization or at least the senior leadership. The organization’s leadership culture (usually the same as the senior leaders’) are a leading indicator of whether Agile can take root and grow. There are numerous leadership styles, some are more conducive to adopting and keeping organizations Agile. If we consider ten of the more prevalent leadership styles, there are some that are conducive to Agile and some that are downright hostile.    (more…)

Attention Dogs

Delegative management?

During a keynote speech at a conference I recently attended I listened to a Phillip Lew challenge the orthodoxy of Agile’s over-reliance on group decision making (participative management) styles.  Agile teams are typically built a presumption that group decision making is all that is needed to deliver value to the customer. Group decision making is often compared to classic command and control forms (autocratic) of management. In many cases, autocratic management is portrayed as the antithesis of Agile which casts the discussion in terms of good and evil.  Casting the discussion of management styles in terms of good and evil is probably an overstatement and just believing that are there only two management styles is a miss-statement. Let’s deal with the miss-statement first. There are at least five common management styles. Before we can wrestle with whether Agile only works if a pure participative management is used we need to agree on a few definitions. (more…)