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Agile leadership for the future

Agile Leaders August meetup
Presentation by Giles Lindsay
Organized and Hosted by Nasima Shafiul

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Agile leadership for the future

  1. 1. Agile Leadership for the Future © Giles Lindsay Agile Leaders Meetup 26th August 2020
  2. 2. About me… agiledeltaconsulting.com Giles Lindsay: 25 years working as a Software Engineer Former CTO and now CEO of Agile Delta Consulting Limited Fellow (FBCS) - The Chartered Institute for IT Fellow (FIAP) - The Institute of Analysts & Programmers Fellow (FCMI) – The Chartered Management Institute Certified Enterprise Agile Coach Certified Disciplined Agilist Certified Scrum Coach Member of the Advisory Board of the PMI Disciplined Agile Consortium Mentor for the Women In Technology Group. Member of the International Working Group for the ISO standard for Agile
  3. 3. Purpose of this talk… …is to look at some the challenges that are limiting agile leadership from being truly successful in the workplace… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  4. 4. How is agile perceived today?
  5. 5. How is agile perceived today? As a cult or ideology? As the goal? As just ‘about doing’ and not ‘about being’ agile? As being too prescriptive and bureaucratic? As being fake? As only about implementing parts of the process? agiledeltaconsulting.com
  6. 6. How is agile perceived today? A tool for software development only? All about scaling and brands and methodologies and transformations? As the whole answer? As a tick in a box exercise? Just about qualifications? As Agile Theatre? agiledeltaconsulting.com
  7. 7. Organisations aspiring to be Agile…
  8. 8. Organisations aspiring to be Agile… Surveys by Deloitte and McKinsey: More than 90% of senior management in technology organisations, are giving high priority to the mandate of making organisations… Agile. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  9. 9. Organisations aspiring to be Agile… McKinsey global agile survey: 80% of respondents have undertaken digital transformation initiatives over the past 5 years… a mere: 16% reported a success… but only: 3% claimed successful sustained transformation. McKinsey & Company (2018). Unlocking success in digital transformations: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our- insights/unlocking-success-in-digital-transformations Adventures with Agile (2019). Raconteur Enterprise Agility publication. p7.
  10. 10. Organisations aspiring to be Agile… The results from respondents who did report a success (the 16%), point to 5 categories, in order of importance, all of which make a transformation more likely to succeed: * Leadership * Capability building * Empowering workers * Upgrading tools * Communication agiledeltaconsulting.com
  11. 11. Organisations aspiring to be Agile… Large delta between aspiration and reality… Too many organisations claiming to be agile, when clearly they are not. Right leadership required to bring about required changes to improve on that 3% score. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  12. 12. What is Agile Leadership?
  13. 13. Wherever you are on your agile journey… Agile leadership is: The practice of creating change that helps build a truly agile organisation. The craft of creating the right context for self- organisation. About building an environment where agile teams collaborate, learn from each other, get quick feedback from users and are focused on quality and continuous learning. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  14. 14. What is Agile Leadership? These leaders focus on: Culture Ownership Mindset Feedback Long term goals agiledeltaconsulting.com
  15. 15. Who is an Agile Leader? Think of the role of the Agile Leader as a placeholder for whatever you decide to call the role. A critical role and function that is a key part of any modern organisation. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  16. 16. Putting Agile Leadership into practice… Agile leaders need to: Be present Inspire creativity and innovation in your employees Adapt to any situation as it happens Be resilient and creative Continuously learn and embody a growth philosophy Let go of what doesn’t work Connect the dots agiledeltaconsulting.com
  17. 17. Agile Leadership Effect… It has an effect on two levels: Structural Level Behavioural Level agiledeltaconsulting.com
  18. 18. Leaders Managers • Mobilise people and resources • Explain the vision • Focus on goals • Take risks • Sell it • Go against the grain • Motivate • Inspire trust • Foster ideas • Innovate • Mobilise people and resources • Explain the vision • Focus on tasks • Mitigate risks • Tell it • Go with the flow • Approve • Expect control • Assign tasks • Use what works Perception of Leaders vs Managers… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  19. 19. The Challenges… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  20. 20. Challenge #1 Where organisations wrongly claim to be agile...
  21. 21. Where organisations wrongly claim to be agile... Agile is often applied to organisations that have no substantive claim to any kind of agility. Many organisations being called agile, even though they are managed through traditional bureaucracy. Over-eagerness to self-identify as agile, has created fake agile or agile theatre among organisations. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  22. 22. Where organisations wrongly claim to be agile... agiledeltaconsulting.com
  23. 23. Where organisations wrongly claim to be agile… Agile in name only applies to organisations that are only implementing parts of the agile processes... To avoid uncomfortable scrutiny, organisations may cover themselves in… agile camouflage… These organisations are simply: doing agile without truly being agile. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  24. 24. Where organisations wrongly claim to be agile… Claims by organisations calling themselves agile, can never be genuine, if they do not have the right leadership embracing that agile philosophy and set of values… This is a substantial hurdle to overcome… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  25. 25. Challenge #2 Where agile is for the software teams only…
  26. 26. Where agile is for the software teams only… Agile Manifesto and Principles originally written for the context of software development. Agile Manifesto is less than adequate as a definition of Business or Organisational Agility. Agile processes just for software teams run into conflict with other parts of that business, that are less flexible to change. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  27. 27. Where agile is for the software teams only… Senior management often become confused asking: “Isn't agile just for software only?” Non-agile leaders think all that's involved is the software teams learning a new framework… Being able to manifest agile values at all business levels, is critical for the agile leader to succeed. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  28. 28. Without the right leadership, agile is often just a couple of pieces of the process cobbled together… No adoption within the rest of the business. Intensifies idea that agile is simply: the coding part… Agile refers to the ability of that organisation to rapidly respond to change. Where agile is for the software teams only… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  29. 29. An agile leader brought into this environment needs to find a way, to enable agility throughout the whole enterprise and not only just for the software teams. This can be achieved by things like: * Systemic coaching * Sharing the why * Learning from other organisations * Introducing communities of practice * Finding your organisational champions * Creating the right ways of working… Where agile is for the software teams only… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  30. 30. Challenge #3 Where agile is disliked by the command & control gang…
  31. 31. Where agile is disliked by the command & control gang… Agile to control-minded management, recognises that a very big problem lies in control itself. Execution and innovation, lies in giving greater freedom to those doing the work… Agile leadership thrives on transparency… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  32. 32. Where agile is disliked by the command & control gang… Dirty not-so-little secret of traditional management: control thrives on non-transparency. Agile leadership means exposing non-transparent tricks that hierarchical managers play on their subordinates, to maintain power. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  33. 33. Where agile is disliked by the command & control gang… Is it any wonder that agile leadership isn’t naturally popular with the command and control gang? Agile leaders need to assess if an organisation is truly ready or not for agile… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  34. 34. Where agile is disliked by the command & control gang… The hardest lesson for this gang is learning to trust the agile leaders and the talented people, then recognising when to get out of their way. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  35. 35. Challenge #4 Where agile is constrained by bureaucracy…
  36. 36. There is still loads of pressure from the top-down. C-levels should transform too… C-levels still focusing on - snapping their fingers, - trying to become agile magically, - and hoping for a faster time to market… …which ultimately never comes. Where agile is constrained by bureaucracy… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  37. 37. Where agile is constrained by bureaucracy… Senior management doesn’t understand what agile is. Think it might be some new kind of anti-bureaucracy or voodoo, associating it with a lack of control or management… Believe they might lose of control of the processes and products and not be able to make changes to them as and when they see fit. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  38. 38. Senior managers often experience friction with new agile ways of working… They also lose sight of the real goal which is: - achieving successful business outcomes - not simply doing agile… However it is not all their fault ☺ Mainstream agile has offered little guidance to those people who have to change most… Where agile is constrained by bureaucracy… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  39. 39. Senior management cannot cope with the pace of agile. This agile WoW becomes re-diverted into yet another company re-organisation… This wrongly leads to a Way of Organising instead of a Way of Working. Where agile is constrained by bureaucracy… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  40. 40. Where agile is constrained by bureaucracy… The Business Agility Report 2019 preface states: “The report is a sobering account of the obstacles along the way, particularly in larger organisations that suffer from: * Risk-averse cultures, * Organisational silos, * Bureaucratic layers, * Workforce passivity, * Traditional mindsets and, above all… * lack of strongly supportive leadership at the top.” agiledeltaconsulting.com
  41. 41. Agile leadership is harder than traditional leadership. If you’re doing it right, you care a lot more. Must help organisations understand that it is not a new level of anti-bureaucracy and that they will not lose control of their products. Help support senior managers to become senior leaders… Where agile is constrained by bureaucracy… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  42. 42. Where agile is constrained by bureaucracy… Genuine Agile Leadership = Living the Agile Mindset agiledeltaconsulting.com
  43. 43. Challenge #5 Where organisations have a fixed or traditional mindset…
  44. 44. Organisations that are very agile often shy away from the label Agile, or are moving away from a particular brand... Main difference between those that can claim to be agile and those that can’t, is down to those adopting an Agile Mindset as a part of the company culture. Where organisations have a fixed or traditional mindset… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  45. 45. An agile mindset does not simply see things in a polarised view i.e. Agile or not… An agile mindset is that set of attitudes that support a truly agile working environment. This mindset is necessary for agile leaders to cultivate high performing teams, who in turn deliver amazing value for their customers. Where organisations have a fixed or traditional mindset… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  46. 46. Independent of terminology, labels, specific proprietary processes or particular brands… Agile is all about embracing that different mindset… Where organisations have a fixed or traditional mindset… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  47. 47. Agile is: o Not a system o Not a methodology o Not a platform o Not an organisational structure Where organisations have a fixed or traditional mindset… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  48. 48. When organisations have the right leaders and mindset, it makes things come out right. Conversely, if they don’t have the right leaders and mindset, no benefits will flow… Where organisations have a fixed or traditional mindset… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  49. 49. The agile mindset is the environment within which teams truly flourish, enabled and supported by great responsible leaders. Where organisations have a fixed or traditional mindset… https://medium.com/@ruth_obe/growth-mindset-a3b13566a78d agiledeltaconsulting.com
  50. 50. If we want agile leadership to succeed in the future, we need to collaborate, evolve and overcome these 5 challenges in the present and no doubt many others too. Where organisations have a fixed or traditional mindset… https://medium.com/@ruth_obe/growth-mindset-a3b13566a78d agiledeltaconsulting.com
  51. 51. The journey for successful leadership…
  52. 52. Agile isn't just a methodology to implement within the existing management framework. Agile is all about working smarter, rather than harder. Not about doing more work in less time… It’s about generating more value with less work. The journey for successful leadership… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  53. 53. Don’t do Agile if you simply want the benefits, you have to be Agile. When you have the right agile leaders, the teams generate value for the organisation, as well as their customers. Our goal should not be just about implementing agile… Our goal is enabling successful business outcomes. The journey for successful leadership… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  54. 54. Agile leaders are the key to enabling people and organisations, to have the courage, knowledge and belief to be truly successful. The journey for successful leadership… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  55. 55. Parting thoughts…
  56. 56. True Agile Leaders… Embrace every aspect of agility. Set a clear vision that their team can embrace and own. Believe in their mission and live it on a daily basis. Build a culture of self-organising teams. Create an environment that allows agile to flourish. Focus on what really matters - delivering value. Help their team members take care of the customers. Are awesome. agiledeltaconsulting.com
  57. 57. The Challenges wrap-up… agiledeltaconsulting.com
  58. 58. Final Question and have your say… “What is agile leadership for you and what are your agile challenges?” https://bit.ly/36hup4j For more information: giles@agiledeltaconsulting.com
  59. 59. The End

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