Agile has been around for about 20 years and has supported significantly improvements within teams. Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of the Agile framework “Scrum” famously described Scrum as “doing twice as much in half the time“.
Most of the success, though, happened within software development teams. And this is to no surprise: The Agile Manifesto of Software Development in 2001 was the first attempt to create a new belief to improve the quality and predictability of Software. Up to then, most software projects failed due to delay in delivery or suddenly increasing costs.
Therefore, a group of thought leaders in the software industry, who all already worked with other development frameworks than waterfall came together and created with the Agile Manifesto a new way of thinking when approaching software development. While there was a lot of effort already done on the framework side of Agile Development (Extreme Programming, Scrum, Crystal, etc.), this Agile Manifesto is often considered the starting point for Agile as we know it today.
Thanks to the success of Agile within banks such as ING, many other brick & mortar companies are nowadays looking at Agile as a way of new collaboration, cooperation and improved success. Many insurances and banks are starting to implement cooperation frameworks based on the Agile mindset.
But often those companies fail in their attempt. The thought leaders created Agile to help teams to understand that even if you are planning for years, your forecast and estimation won’t become better. But, if you develop a small piece and ask for feedback as soon as possible, you then can incrementally and iteratively create better products.
Agile is based on the scientific theory of complex adaptive systems: If you are a part of a complex adaptive system, then you might have knowledge about the environment near you. But this will not give you automatically knowledge over the whole system. This is why Agile invites for short feedback cycles so teams can adjust their plan thanks to newly acquired knowledge. Agile invites also for self-organizing teams, as they have more knowledge about their environment, than their individuals ever can have. Finally, Agile invites for cross-functional teams, so they are not dependent on other functions to move forward and decide iteratively & incrementally for quicker feedback cycles.
Agile was for teams. Nowadays, the whole organization wants to become Agile. But originally, Agile itself does not address one important factor: The Managers. If teams are supposed to be self-organized and cross-functional, why do we still need Managers?
In Agile, the role of the Management changes. While in the past, managers got to that position due to their role in their job and where their knowledge leaders, in Agile environment, this does not work any more. If teams do not understand the system completely, but only their part, the same is true for Managers: Nowadays, most Managers do not need to have the knowledge about everything any more. They understand that their team has the better knowledge of their individual tasks.
Agile Teams need to be self-organised, cross-functional and competent to realize the desired value for the customer. As the team is competent, they do not need to tell the team any more, what to do, but rather coach, mentor and lead them towards achieving constantly improved cross-functionality, self-organization and competence. The Manager becomes a facilitator, who nurtures the team to grow.
But how would that look exactly in the daily work? Management 3.0 is a set of principles and mindset with practices achieving such a team. It does look at Management in the following six views:
In Management 3.0, each of these views address a need of the Manager in agile teams. Every view has several leadership practices applying directly in the office. If you want to learn more about Management 3.0, come to our event on 18 October 2020 from 9am – 12pm in Hardrock Café.