What Agile Really Means for Managers and Leaders

MBA2U - Supporting Your Internal Leadership University

Speed – Yes

Flexibility – Yes

Chaos – No

 

Leadership Competency: Influence and Power

What This MBA2U Covers

What Agile Really Means for Managers

Ever wonder what your role is as a manager of agile teams? Ever wonder how to allow teams to create, self-organize, become self-healing and yet still retain the right amount of control and drive the strategic alignment that the organization needs?

Agile is a framework for nimble speed. It is not a license for chaos, loss of control, or random projects. Learn the role a good leader plays in helping agile teams be successful. We will explore how to increase productivity immediately and drive strategic value, while fostering an environment of speed and self-directed teamwork.

Leaders adopt agile in the hope that they will achieve speed to market combined with an ability to be nimble in adjusting to market feedback. Leaders then get frustrated when that hope doesn’t materialize. As a result, instead of focusing on the simple business practices that make an agile project successful, they fall back on adding layers of process that can encumber and slow down project velocity. The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate how to simplify agile in both large and small shops; and, to use agile to deliver value quickly.

The presenter draws on personal experience, historical context, and business leadership principles to teach how to use agile for fast effective impact. The presenter also exposes where agile specifically breaks down and how to fix it by discussing five problems that plague failing agile attempts:

  • Product leadership fails to engage and share the workload.
  • Misunderstanding the backlog grooming process and the value of iteration discipline.
  • Saving testing for the end.
  • Failing to see the holistic agile process as MVP throughput and missing the real constraints.
  • Making common, but debilitating, people leadership mistakes.

Harvesting the potential of agile can have an important market impact. This presentation provides fundamentals that any leader can follow and implement immediately.

Objective 1: Understand the role of leadership in the success of an agile project, and be able to implement organizational process controls that keep product leadership focused and engaged.

Objective 2: Understand that design and documentation are intertwined and must be allowed to dynamically grow throughout the product management process. The agile method is designed to be nimble and fast. Good design and documentation facilitate speed in delivery.

Objective 3: Understand and defend against the five enemies of agile: (1) Poor design, (2) Bad backlog grooming habits, (3) Forgetting to do test-driven development, (4) Missing an MVP throughput focus, and (5) Having good people leadership skills.

How Can I Schedule This MBA2U Topic?

Frequent Questions

More About MBA2U

What is MBA2U?

Organizations interested in developing leaders in the context of relevant business problems use MBA2U to augment their leader-development program. We bring a unique blend of field experience, scholarly research, and industry best practice to each of our topics. Our presenters are engaging university professors and successful business professionals.

What are the leadership competencies you focus on?

Competencies are the best way to judge if someone is performing (or capable of performing). Clearly identifying the vital leadership competencies that are important to your culture and organization allows you to set an orientation for the leader development program. Consider these big 6 leader competencies identified in the book Competencies at Work:

  • Relationship building
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Influence and skillful use of power
  • Drive and energy
  • Organizing and planning (time management and delegating)
  • Communicating
Why so passionate about developing leaders?

The development of leaders, especially first-time leaders, is an important function in both society and business. There is no question that one of the most demanding positions of leadership is found at the line-level. The obstacles faced by the first-time leader are huge and contain a number of challenges, including:

  • Problems with being a working manager.
  • Dealing with vague or inconsistent instructions by upper management.
  • Leading one’s peers for the first time.
  • Resisting the urge to micro-manage.
  • Falling back on what worked in the past as an individual contributor.

Lack of leadership development and training stunts our understanding of what management and leadership ought to be. Often, the first-time leader has unrealistic expectations of what management does, and as a result becomes discouraged, inadequately manages resources and relationships, and has a difficult time transitioning from individual contributor to leader.

Organizations should focus on holistic development of emerging leaders in a way that integrates the view and responsibilities of leadership consistent with the organizational culture, while at the same time providing tools and support enabling success.

When we put together leadership development programs we follow a pattern of education integrated with practical development.

We like to organize internal programs to help people develop within their frame of responsibilities and future opportunities. We look at business competencies and leading competencies and customize a long-term program that is sustainable within the organization itself. We pattern our ideas after Nike, the Marine Corps, and GE.

Who should attend and why?

Who Should Attend?

  • Managers
  • Team leaders
  • Senior leaders
  • Anyone interested in developing as a leader

What’s the Biggest Reason to Attend?

How leaders work with their people determines success or failure, especially in the modern age where people are incredibly knowledgeable, independent, creative, and enjoy doing great things. As a leader you’ll either enable the talents of those around you to blossom and grow, or you’ll stifle capability and frustrate the very people who could help you be successful. Most leaders who are failing don’t even recognize it until it is too late.

Don’t Fail!

Leaders who don’t get preparation for their leadership role usually fail to make the most of their opportunity. Don’t let that happen to your future leaders.

Can I watch an entire presentation?

Would love to point you to an entire presentation. Send me a note and I’ll provide you the link.

Email Gordon

 

Our Difference

How are you different?

We don’t focus on the typical feel good ideas of leadership. We don’t provide stock answers. We don’t develop boring content.

Leadership is a people art. That means we’ve got to bring a realness to the things we talk about that will help people learn how to work with people better. Leadership isn’t hierarchical – it is multi-perspective (up, down, in, out, across, and side-to-side).

We don’t teach the typical surface concepts of leadership. We dig deep and work to help our clients understand how their leadership affects the lives of the people they lead. For example, have you ever thought about the overused word of “empowerment?” So often leaders throw that word around and think they are doing good. However, if a leader says they are empowering someone, but don’t give them the two key elements of empowerment (authority and resources) then all they’ve done is employed the word empowerment as a therapeutic fiction. That technique always backfires when people ultimately discover the truth, and they always do.

 

Where do your ideas come from?

I’m the founder. I pull ideas for topics in from all kinds of sources including: history, business, politics, social science, and human observation. Our content is current and designed to help people right now.

For over 30 years I have been involved in the process of leading people and organizations, developing strategies, and worrying about how future leaders should be developed.

From the football field to the Marines, from the high-speed action of Nike to the intense complexities of the high-tech startup world, and from Vice President to Entrepreneur, I’ve covered a lot of ground and have seen how leadership makes a difference.

I’ve seen organizations who promote their people into leadership responsibilities without giving them any framework for success. In those cases, the leader is miserable, his or her people are miserable, and the production of the group falls to a stand-still. The results are always catastrophic.

On the other hand, I’ve seen great organizations such as Nike, who invest heavily in the development and support of their leadership talent. While in the Marines I spent almost a third of my 13 years in some sort of school or training, that is an organization that believes in developing people. While at Nike, I noticed the first thing they did for their new managers was to send them to a week-long course called Basic People Management skills. These were profound examples and are modeled heavily in our programs.

Leaders need opportunity to discuss, share, and study leadership in a safe environment, to be able to ask questions, and to dig deep within themselves to discover their capabilities and potential.

If you are genuinely interested in leading people, then you’ll want to get to know us. Our goal is to advance the art of leadership. We believe leadership is both a learned skill and an acquired art. To be good at leadership requires constant study, practice, self-evaluation, and an eagerness to learn from others.

What is the difference between an MBA2U session and a workshop?

Each MBA2U session is organized for 50-60 minutes including time for questions and answers.

The workshop extends the session by an hour and focuses on applying the concepts of the MBA2U session in your business context. Our facilitator creates an experience-action engagement for workshop participants, which helps them to immediately implement the principles introduced.

Are these short segments effective?

Yes!

Here’s the deal – you are super busy. We live in the “Twitter” generation. We transfer powerful information in short segments and our content makes a difference. People can use what we teach immediately. While we are not quite as brief as a tweet, compared to our competitors, it’s pretty close.

We pattern our delivery from what we learned of a good meetup. Deliver value quickly, use short segments, and people stay engaged.

Prices and Logistics

What are your prices?

MBA2U sessions are a flat fee of $950. Additional travel and expense fees may apply for customers outside of our region of operation. Contact us for details.

Workshops are a flat fee of $950, plus $35 per attendee.

Do you offer discounts?

Contact us for custom pricing. We offer a variety of discounts depending on size of the organization and quantity of MBA2U sessions and workshops.

What's the venue?

We deliver the presentations and workshops at your site. Typically, our clients like to invite their participants in for a working lunch as part of the session. However, we are flexible and can arrange a session for various times throughout the day.

How do I get started?

Fill out the “How Can I Schedule” form or just drop us an email and we will get you on the schedule.

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