Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What do Agile Managers Look Like?

What does an Agile manager look like? According to Alan Cooper at Code Freeze, you can't manage craftspeople. Instead, you have to facilitate. A good Agile manager will:
  • Define and reiterate the overarching goal (focus on the quality line, not the deadline),
  • promote standards,
  • focus on what to avoid and potential obstacles,
  • help everyone on the project focus,
  • own the problems and eliminate roadblocks. [author's note: as a manager, I consider this to be paramount. Making sure developers can come to work, sit down, and start coding, is priority number one for a good manager, whether they be Agile, or traditional waterfall].
The factory has moved to the brain, and managers who continue to follow an outdated factory floor management paradigm are going to have an issue with that change. Don't think you can convince them. Just do the right thing and drag them along so they have to confront reality.

Sanjiv Augustine in "Managing Agile Projects" repeats this same criticism, "Managers trained in predictive, plan-driven project management techniques face a learning curve when entrusted with the management of agile development projects." (xvii)

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