We are honored to be part of the Agile20Reflect Festival and excited that Ron Lichty is here to discuss the role of a Manager within the Agile World, which is a very important topic for the Agile Enterprise.
A common misconception about agile is that self-organizing teams make managers unnecessary. After all, if teams organize themselves, what do managers do?
Unfortunately, most agile training plays into that. Training tends to address the roles of scrum master and a product owner, the core team, and maybe some stakeholders. Seldom does it address the role of Managers?
This misconception can be a problem all around: A frequently cited barrier to agile adoption is managers who don’t know what to do when their teams become self-managing. When a manager’s roles are glossed over or left out of training entirely, how would they know what to do, or anyone else knows what to expect of them. Meanwhile executive management, equally uninformed, often sets expectations of managers incompatible with agile.
Agile has shifted the old roles and responsibilities. Managers bent on command-and-control are clearly a barrier to agile adoption. But managers who take a hands-off approach or are treading water in a sea of ambiguity will almost certainly stymie agile effectiveness, as well.
It led Ron Lichty, who wrote the book Managing the Unmanageable and advises business and product leaders how to make their software development “hum”, to add to his book’s second edition an entire chapter on the critical roles managers play in enabling agile success. This talk is about those roles and their contribution to making your software development more effective agile.
Ron Lichty has been managing software development for over 30 years, in one company after another untangling the knots in software development and transforming chaos to clarity, the last 19 of those in the era of Agile. Originally a programmer, he earned several patents and wrote two popular programming books before being hired into his first management role by Apple Computer, which nurtured his managerial growth in both development and product management roles. At companies like Fujitsu, Schwab, Razorfish, Stanford, and dozens of startups of all sizes, he grew to VP Engineering, VP Product and CTO roles.
For the last eight years principal and owner of Ron Lichty Consulting, Inc. www.RonLichty.com, he trains teams and executives in agile, coaches business and product and engineering leaders, and on occasion takes on interim VP engineering roles, all in pursuit of making software development “hum.” In his continued search for effective best practices, Ron co-authors the periodic Study of Product Team Performance http://www.ronlichty.com/study.html.
Addison Wesley recently released the 2nd edition of his fifth book, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams http://www.ManagingTheUnmanageable.net, compared by many readers to programming classics The Mythical Man-Month and Peopleware. He co-chairs the Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Community, and Enterprise Agile SF, as well as the Managing Software Teams in the Seattle community.