# The Agile Manager's Role

This model is about how the manager's roles change within an agile organization.

# Subject


# Definition

One main part of an agile transformation is the resulting mindset. For many managers, it is really difficult to be part and accept these changes. A good basis are self-organized agile teams. It is also a state, which is not achieved overnight. An agile leader has to create an environment, where self-organization can happen. Traditional management roles will evolve into leadership roles.

# Benefit

Traditional managers have a hard time becoming agile leaders since many organizations still run on old, very hierarchical and directive paradigms. A Servant Leader stands out by breaking through these political power-hierarchies.

# Procedure

The graphic below visualizes five stages of development. At the beginning, the agile coach introduces each stage of leadership to the participants. Each of the stages has a relation to the maturity-level of the Scrum team. The five stages of leadership are: Director, influencer, facilitator, advisor and leader. The director has a huge necessity of controlling as much as possible. For him/her, the scrum teams are groups or factories, where machines execute some orders. The focus is on execution. Teams commit to time, scope and budget to make sure plans are executed. The influencer role is "dressing" the director, when he/she needs to delegate things to trustworthy people. The influencer still has a need to control things. He/she still makes the top-down hierarchy very clear. The influencer delegates Planning execution to the Product Owner. The influencer also wants to improve the scrum master's role and the process. The scrum team's velocity is very important for him/her. When Scrum Masters are building successful teams, responsibility increases. An influencer needs this to feel comfortable enough to delegate more work and responsibilities. Influencers turn into facilitators when this happens. The facilitator decides the strategy but at the same time the teams agree about consensus. The facilitator agrees on planning with the Product Owner and the other stakeholders. He/she frequently visits sprint reviews. He/she uses velocity as an indicator for fixing issues instead of enforcing them to the team. He/she has a supportive attitude towards the teams and people feel responsible for what they do. As soon as the facilitator lets go of critical decision making, he/she becomes an advisor. Decisions are taken by the people who do the work. The Scrum Master has the freedom to decide about the process, tools and improvements. He/she works closely with the advisor. The Product Owner decides on product planning & stakeholder management. The advisor has no need to involve. Development Teams are responsible for quality and how they do their work (using the Definition of Done). The advisor facilitates and supports the development team in order to build high quality products. There is a big overlap in the work of a Scrum Master and an advisor. While the Scrum Master is focused on coaching the teams, advisors coach the Scrum Masters and/or Product Owners. The advisor becomes a Servant Leader, when the Scrum Team requires and feels responsible for the entire end-to-end value chain. At this stage, the Scrum Team is fully responsible for the product quality. Product Owners are responsible for budgets, profit and loss of their product. Scrum Masters are in charge for continuous improvement of the team and the organization. The Servant Leader facilitates innovation in every employee. The Servant Leader provides guidance to everyone and takes care, that the environment won't "fall back" to the old behavioral patterns. Now, the agile coach should navigate together with each participant by following the simple structure and questions: "Where would you place yourself in this graphic today?" "Who do you want to become?" "Why"? "What are your goals and how can I support you to achieve them?".

# Facilitator

Agile coach/agile master

# Participants

Stakeholders, managers, everyone who has a leadership role, the agile teams (optional)

# Tools


# See also

Evolution of the Agile manager