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Scaled Agile management roles

The primary goal of the Agile manager is to build an Agile culture and drive change within the organization.

The primary goal of the Agile manager is to build an Agile culture and drive change within the organization.

The need for mutual trust between management and teams is critical, and managers have the role of creating and shaping the business environment so their teams can thrive.

In the scaled Agile environment, managers are required to wear many different hats. Let’s take a look.

the many roles that a manager takes on in a scaled agile environment illustrated as hats worn on top of each other

Servant Leader

Managers working with scaled Agile have the goal of achieving authority rather than power. This is especially significant when managing multiple large teams on a project where team members work in a self-directing fashion. Managers should empower individual team members with the ability to make decisions at the local level. This often results in higher quality products and increased productivity.

Teacher

Managers are responsible for educating all employees, and sometimes clients, in Agile principles. In order to make informed decisions for the project, managers must also understand software development practices so they can then instruct their teams. Managers are also responsible for ensuring that all team members have similar perspectives in order to promote efficient development practices. This is especially true when globally-distributed teams are already in place, or utilized, for a project.

Facilitator

Managers are responsible for identifying and addressing project dependencies between the teams and stakeholders, along with identifying and resolving risk issues as they occur. It is also important for managers to continually research and apply Agile techniques across the teams to improve team velocity. Although managers are not recommended to attend team retrospectives, they are expected to ensure that resolutions are implemented. Managers also work with the Scrum Masters and Product Owners to identify impediments that may diminish a team’s effectiveness. Rather than telling the teams what to do, managers work to remove these impediments.

Mentor

Rather than merely ‘assigning work’ as in a traditional managerial role, the manager’s role in a scaled Agile environment is centered on ‘coaching and mentoring.’ Managers provide guidance in the work environment. They act as mentors for the scaled project teams by supplying the tools necessary to implement agile within the various ongoing projects and across the organization as a whole. They also coach teams on Agile best practices. Therefore, managers may need to receive further training themselves in order to better coach team members across the organization.

Managers should also utilize their roles to enhance the adoption of the scaled Agile culture. In the next step, we look at some other areas that managers should consider when scaling Agile practices.

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Scaled Agile

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