Why? Because Agile development supports the notion of empowered teams, meaning that the team manages and monitors its own work. This can even go so far as self-selection of team members and even helping to set product direction, but my impression is that operating at this level will vary based on the company and circumstances.
Personally, I haven’t found this difficult to accept. But for some managers who are used to regularly assigning and monitoring work, teams that manage and monitor their own work is a significant change, prompting questions such as:
- If a team is managing its own work, what is my role?
- How do I accomplish performance reviews?
- What can I – or should I – do if an empowered team is failing to deliver?
What they need is context.
Context that is provided in the form of clearly articulated long-term business goals and objectives, more often than not coupled with tactical targets that are balanced against those inevitable short-term issues that need to be addressed while taking smaller, intermediate steps towards the long-term goals and objectives.
OK, that was a mouthful, but the concept is that management, particularly mid-level management, is well-suited to the planning and communicating required in balancing long-term and short-term needs of the organization. Mid-level managers are close enough to the action to understand the daily challenges of those in the trenches as well as being positioned to ensure that the long-term vision doesn’t get lost or pushed aside.
My short list of management activities that I’ll explore in upcoming posts:
- Assessing, Coaching, and Developing
- Removing Impediments
- Championing Process Improvements (internal efficiencies)
- Improving the Business (external opportunities)