An Agile leader plays a major role in the performance and output efficiency. Migrating to Agile does not only mean change of process. It means a big change in culture and mind-set, and that is mostly the tough part. People become comfortable with their existing processes. Also, it is very difficult for them to transition to a process that accepts and embraces change. Following an Agile process also means that some people will become redundant, because efficiency increases which leads to increase in productivity with less resources. Again, all the managers are trained in agile to control ownership and dictate terms. Agile believes in delegating responsibilities, which can again cause resentment among managers. For all these reasons, an Agile leaders needs to be proactive, and should follow the following parameters:
- Foster an Agile culture: Agile practices such as high customer interaction, collaborative design and value driven delivery should be encouraged very early during the transition phase itself, so that it becomes a habit by the time 3 to 4 months pass. Then it gets internalized and becomes part of the team culture.
- Hire a good Agile Coach: A good Agile coach guides, motivates and helps a team stay away from pitfalls. The past experience and track record of the Coach should be carefully evaluated and once chosen, he/she should be given 3 – 4 months to make an impact, because implementing Agile Processes take time.
- Avoid a cookie cutter approach: Business scenarios are very dynamic now-a-days, with customers becoming more and more demanding and smart. Some experts are of the opinion that one flavour of Agile is a panacea for all the hurdles. But this is not a good approach, as it greatly restricts the processes’ impact, and also makes Agile less flexible. It also goes against the Agile principle of providing maximum value to the customer as the highest priority. The Agile Coach should evaluate all the factors within and outside the organization/team, and then recommend any one flavour of Agile, or a mix of different flavours. Customization is embraced in Agile and it should not matter which flavour is followed.
- Equation with other managers: Here, the Coach or the Scrum Master should have the respect of all the stakeholders through his/her performance and people management skills, as the line managers do not directly report to the Coach. So, here it’s more about collaboration and trusting and respecting one another.
If the above mentioned parameters are followed, the Agile leader can successfully help his/her teams transition in Agile.