21 Concrete Practices for Agile Managers (Part 2)

At the ALE2011 conference in Berlin I organized an open space session about Concrete Practices for Agile Managers. For almost an hour at least 30 people discussed with me suggestions for concrete techniques an Agile manager can apply to grow an Agile organization. These were the suggestions by the participants:

  1. Ale2011a Take part in a team’s stand-up meetings, and also answer the questions “What I did yesterday”, etc.
  2. Attend a team’s sprint demos and ask at least one open and respectful question.
  3. Have regular lunches with the team and/or the ScrumMaster to better understand what they’re thinking.
  4. Organize open talks once every six weeks with multiple teams and the business side.
  5. Organize workshops about Agile adoption strategies and practices.
  6. Apply an Agile approach to the working relationship with direct reports (with a board, stories, etc.)
  7. Maintain a transformation backlog that you use to track impediments and other issues to resolve.
  8. Do NOT place or touch a team’s sticky notes!
  9. Keep every morning free of meetings, so you can do a gemba walk and solve problems.
  10. Have weekly stand-up meetings with the product owners, business analysts, etc.
  11. Ale2011b Keep a log about team members so you can remember and reflect on what you discussed in one-on-ones.
  12. Ask questions from fellow managers to improve good relationships with them.
  13. Set up a community of practice about management in the organization.
  14. Organize 360 degree feedback (or 360 degree meetings as I would do) to get input from the entire team.
  15. Organize/attend management circles to discuss management with peers.
  16. Reserve slack time/organize FedEx days to support team learning.
  17. Regularly look at a team’s feedback door or happiness index.
  18. Regularly have a look at a team’s output (the application that they are building).
  19. Physically sit together with the teams, not in a separate office.
  20. Apply collaborative hiring, so that the team is involved in the selection of team members.
  21. Significantly reduce the reliance on email. Force yourself to have face-to-face conversations.

And I received two extra contributions just before publishing this post…

  • Play Delegation Poker with your teams.
  • Ask to take part in retrospective meetings.

And that it is the summary of what we discussed in almost an hour, and beyond. I hope I remembered everything correctly. If not, please add your comments!

(Jurgen Appelo is author of Management 3.0, a best-selling management book for Agile developers. It has a picture of a monster in it.)

  • Concrete Practices for Agile Managers (Part 1)
  • ALE... Self-Organization without Management?
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