Bridging the Management Gap

Why many Agile initiatives fail to bridge the management gap and how we can avoid this

by Tiago Garcez

Short:

While Agile implementations have been experiencing considerable successes in many cases, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the size of the company adopting Agile and the level of success experienced in the adoption.

Why does this happen? Why do we keep asking at conferences - "where are the managers"? Why does Enterprise Agile seem like an unachievable goal?
And most importantly, what can we do to bridge the management gap?

Goal of the session: Understanding of why management can be resistant to Agile and how we can try to avoid or overcome that resistance
Intended audience: Georges, Vincent, Joke, Ellen (see Personas)
Experience level: Basic knowledge of Agile and/or Lean
Session Type: presentation and workshop
Topic: Process and Improvement
Duration: 60 min
Max participants: 80
Laptops required: no


Detailed Description

While Agile implementations have been experiencing considerable successes in many cases, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the size of the company adopting Agile and the level of success experienced in the adoption. Large organizations still do, in general, treat Agile as an "IT initiative", while smaller organizations (who are more used to being flexible and responsive) typically have an easier time treating Agile as a company-wide philosophy.

Why does this happen? Why do we keep hearing the same question in Agile conferences - "where are the managers?" Why does Enterprise Agile seem like an unachievable goal?
And most importantly, what can we do about this gap that often manifests itself between organizational management and Agile teams?

This session will address this topic by going through 4 distinct parts:

1. Are companies starting off their Agile change initiatives with the correct mindset (and goals)?
Successful change initiatives in large organizations typically follow a top-down approach, but even in such cases, many initiatives seem to identify limited or narrow objectives, which can ultimately doom an Agile change initiative.

2. Experience in implementing Enterprise Scrum in large Belgian organizations (bpost and Belgacom)
I have participated in two large-scale Agile initiatives within large Belgian organizations and will use them as references when identifying some typical challenges encountered and lessons learned from the initiatives.

3. Retrospecting on successes and exploring the root causes for problems and difficulties experienced in these cases
Based on my experience at bpost and Belgacom, and adding information from other sources (case studies and colleagues), I will explore the root causes for the challenges faced in these large-scale Agile change initiatives and why they typically end up experiencing a "management gap". Here I will also rely on feedback from the audience as we identify common root causes for the challenges experienced in large-scale Agile change initiatives.

4. Proposing actions, behaviors and community activities to effectively close the gap
The session will close with a discussion on concrete actions that can be taken on many levels to effectively close this "management gap". This includes actions for Agile coaches, IT Managers, Agile communities and Agile companies, and here again I will call on audience participation to contribute with ideas based on the root causes that we have identified together.

While the session will contain a lot of presentation material, I will also count on interactivity from the audience to gather more data and explore the root causes and implications behind this challenging issue. While the presentation material will lay the groundwork and boundaries for the interactivity, the conclusions drawn at the end of the session will rely heavily on audience participation.

Created: 13/07/12 13:12 -- Modified: 18/11/12 17:06
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