LEADING IN AN AGILE WORLD

Much has been said about religiously following the spirit of agile methodology:  collaboration with the team.  As one of the core principles of the Agile methodology, collaboration is critical during implementation of this particular approach.  However, we are beginning to see a paradox emerge in which there is an apparent leadership gap.  In fact, so much emphasis has been placed on collaborating, that there appears to be some confusion regarding who is actually leading.
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Even though Agile has been referred to as a team-based game, it still requires effective leadership for it to be successfully integrated into an organization.  Over the years, Agile team members have received leadership training but have not always successfully carried it out due to confusion regarding this conceptual change or even resistance to this new role.  To overcome this, it is important that Agile leaders embrace their new role by knowing when to:

1.  Become engaged

2.  Take a step back

3.  Use relevant metrics

4.  Ask pertinent questions

5.  Divulge the nature of the project and motivate the team to action

6.  Think like a coach

In essence, there needs to be a captain steering this ship.  Otherwise, it can veer off course due to the sheer nature of its flexibility and fluidity and result in the failure of an Agile project.  To close the leadership gap, organizations will need to continue supporting the training of its Agile leaders and encouraging the open lines of communication between cross-functional teams.

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