Project Management

4 Agile Leader Lenses

Bart has been in ecommerce for over 20 years, and can't imagine a better job to have. He is interested in all things agile, or anything new to learn.

Agile teams are self-organizing, and sometimes self-managing, but they still need leadership. Agile leaders create space for failure (and learning) while ensuring that individual performance is aligned with organizational goals. Four "lenses" — areas of focus — are helpful: mechanism, culture, process and motivation.

One of the difficulties in becoming a leader in an Agile organization is that it takes different skills and a different point of view than what probably made the leader successful in the first place. Rather than being “laser-focused” on producing results, Agile leaders need to have a dual focus when it comes to leading the organization: the environment in which the teams are acting, and the teams themselves.

In Agile Leader Mindset, we discussed that the right approach is not to manage the delivery of the teams, but rather to manage how the teams are performing while not managing what they are doing. The leader is responsible for creating and protecting the environment that helps the team succeed, improve, and continue to be agile. This means the leader does not necessarily lead in the traditional way, but instead clears obstacles, provides resources, and makes certain that tenets and principles of what it takes to be Agile are being followed. Given a good environment, the team should be able to self-organize themselves into high performance.

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I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they choose a king, they don't just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas.

- Jack Handey