Avoiding the Dilbert Syndrome: What does the manager do now?

We answer the question “What does the manager do?” We focus on enabling flow and value delivery, using visible progress to guide behaviour, holding teams accountable with iterative and incremental delivery and increasing throughput with catalytic leadership.

We focus on how traditional management responsibilities move from tactical to strategic.

  • Line management - push responsibilities into the team, with managers keeping an eye on decisions and looking for outliers

  • Functional management - facilitate functional leaderships through an advocacy role within communities of practice (instead of waiting and hoping good practices will emerge)

  • Project management - the product owner/scrum master handles much of the overall problem solving/identification, responsibility for progress, and team management

  • Catalytic Leadership - enable continual flow through the team for fastest possible delivery to the customer. Get things done without being the choke point

There are many dependencies across the organization to understand and smooth-out. Catalytic leadership guides your teams to high-performance through the right guidelines, constraints, and safe-to-learn environment.

 
3 favorite thumb_down thumb_up 0 comments visibility_off  Remove from Watchlist visibility  Add to Watchlist
 

Outline/structure of the Session

Description (internal - time line)

  • [10m] Introduction - light-hearted look at classic Dilbert dysfunctions to provide context and connection.

  • [10m] What is management? Definition (through feel-in-the-blanks worksheet) of line management, functional management, project management drawing from Drucker’s classic definition of the manager of a firm coupled with observations of how managers spend their time

  • [10m] Context for catalytic leadership role: many managers feel cut adrift when asked to lead agile teams.

    Once they realize the mundane aspects of management are no longer necessary (at least, at the same level they have been used to), they often become concerned that their role is diminished.

    Instead, we look to help managers understand the Importance of safety (creating an environment in which their teams are safe to learn) and help them switch from giving people fish (solving their problems) to teaching them how to fish (creating self-organized teams that can problem solve)

    Managers influence and change the behaviour (and hence results) of teams indirectly, rather than directly telling them what to do or what is expected, by:

    providing guidance and visible progress
    expecting iterative and incremental change
    focusing on flow and value delivery
  • [20m] What do you actually *do*? Work on 1 of 3 case studies taken from real-life examples (names changed to avoid embarrassment, lawsuits and copyright infringement):

    Intro and team formation: Each 1-page summary of a case study is printed on different coloured paper. Groups form around same colour of paper - 3-4 people
    Each case study is printed on different coloured paper, and the audience is asked to find groups of 3-4 with people with the same colour paper. In this way, we have diverse groups as well as each person having the case study to read and references.
    [orange] How do I manage/discipline a cantankerous, bullying developer
    [pink] How do I get teams that don’t deliver enough work to perform better
    [blue] How do I get teams to take ownership of code quality and their environments?

    [10m] Discuss the case study to decide what the manager should do?

    The goal is to come up with 2-3 options, option A, option B, and option C. Each option is written on a 4x6 card.

    [10m] Selected feedback and debrief.

    Each team places their 2-3 options on the Dilbert Scale - a large range drawn on a wall ranking them from good to bad.
    Facilitators walk along the wall to share different ideas from the wall. Includes summary of key takeaways.

    [10m] The goal is first, to answer the question “what does the manager do” with as much detail as possible

    Focus on enabling flow and value delivery, use visible progress to guide behaviour, and iterative and incremental delivery to hold teams accountable.
    Second, we focus on a second takeaway based on what will (eventually) happen to the more traditional responsibilities of management, showing how management responsibility moves from tactical to strategic:
    Line management responsibilities - generally, these responsibilities can be pushed into the team, with managers keeping an eye on decisions and looking for outliers
    Functional management responsibilities - managers can facilitate functional leaderships through an advocacy role within communities of practice (rather than simply waiting and hoping good practices will emerge)
    Management responsibilities - much of the overall problem solving/identification, responsibility for progress and team management falls under the purview of the PO/SM
    Catalytic Leadership - about getting things done (without being the choke point for getting things done) - enable continual flow through the team (with the shortest possible cycle time to delivery to the customer). Sounds simple, but rarely is, since there are many dependencies across the organization to understand and smooth out. In addition, catalytic leadership involves guiding your teams to high performance through the right guidelines and constraints coupled with the right safe-to-learn environment

    [10 min] Questions & Feedback (where time permits)

Learning Outcome

  • Be able to answer the question “What do you do as a manager of an agile team?"

  • Understand the difference between line management, functional management and program management.

  • Describe how to move responsibilities safely into a team through knowledge transfer, expectations definition, visible progress and accountability.

  • Experience why good management decisions vary depending on the experience of the team.

  • Be able to guide and influence agile teams to change behaviour without simply telling them what to do (and losing the opportunity for teams to take ownership for their own growth and results).

Target Audience

Managers, Team Leads, Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters

Prerequisite

Have some experience of working with or managing agile teams.

schedule Submitted 3 months ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal

  • Liked Declan Whelan
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Declan Whelan - Technical Debt is a Systemic Problem - Not a Personal Failing

    Declan Whelan
    Declan Whelan
    Agile Coach
    Leanintuit
    schedule 3 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    You often hear technical debt described as a personal failing. Why didn't you code with greater rigor? By creating technical debt, how could you have made life harder on people working in the code? More often than not, technical debt is the result of bigger, systemic problems.
    Chances are, you're not a bad person. You didn't want this to happen. It's the system, not you, that's chiefly responsible.
    In this talk, we will present some of the conclusions from the Agile Alliance's technical debt working group, which has looked into the systemic causes and consequences of technical debt. While marginal amounts of technical debt will always accrue, that does not explain why substantial technical debt is a widespread phenomenon. The organization in which software development teams work is the much bigger culprit. Many systemic causes, such as deadline pressures, under-investment in skills, and even the unwillingness to measure technical debt, conspire to create a growing burden on software professionals, who would otherwise choose not to create this problem if given the opportunity.
    Just as technical debt has systemic causes, the real cost of technical debt lies at the system level. The increasing drag on software innovation has effects not just on individual and team productivity, but on the software value stream, the portfolio, and the organization as a whole. Sometimes, the cost is obvious, such as the valuation of a start-up company's code; other times, the consequences are far more subtle and insidious.
    During this session, we will use the language and methods of systems theory to better come to grips with the causes and consequences of technical debt. Don't worry if systems thinking is unfamiliar — we will cover the basics during the talk. We will also do an exercise in which you will create a simple systems model of your own challenges with technical debt, and discuss how this model should help you shape a plan of action for dealing with technical debt.
    Ultimately, the goal of this session is to give you the tools to better deal with technical debt. Rather than blaming individual developers, you will be able to show the systemic sources of technical debt, and assess the relative value of addressing each of them. Rather than depending on technical measures to convey the costs of technical debt, we will help you to put the costs of technical debt in stark business terms.

  • Liked Sue Johnston
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Sue Johnston - It's Not About The Tools: Facilitating Effective Meetings Across Distance

    40 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    A face-to-face conversation is the most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team. So states the sixth principle of the Agile Manifesto.

    Reality comes with a big "however." Work-at-home, outsourcing and inter-company partnerships mean that, more and more, we find ourselves n meetings where other participants are not in the same room. They may be around the corner or around the world. Some organizations invest in powerful tools to make this arrangement work well - or, sometimes, not so well. Others make do with audio only. Are we fooling ourselves when we call these events "meetings?" Maybe. Yet they're part of our world, so why not make the most of them?

    In this lively session, you'll examine a proven pattern for facilitation, discover ways to overcome the challenges of virtual meetings and learn techniques that encourage meaningful participation. Most of these require more focus and ingenuity than expense.

    Sue will share some of the techniques she learned as a teleworking pioneer in the '90s and a trainer of coaches, via distance, since 2003. Join us to explore ways you can bring your meetings with remote participants to life and respect everyone's time - including your own.

  • Liked Sue Johnston
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Sue Johnston - Do Your Product Owners Speak A Foreign Language? Techniques for creating shared understanding

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Effective interactions, between product owners and designers and team members who develop and make those products real, are key to team, product and organizational success. It's reflected in the first value of the Agile Manifesto.

    Still, one of the chief complaints, from both the product side and the dev side, is poor communication. The list of irritants includes: lack of clarity, lack of understanding, lack of time, lack of access, too many meetings, too much jargon, too many badly written user stories and too many people involved.

    Communication isn''t the only obstacle, but it’s a big one - and it can be overcome with no cost or organizational disruption.

    Regardless of the role we play on the team, part of everyone’s job is to create shared understanding. In this session, Marilyn, an experienced product owner and product manager, and Sue, a communication specialist and coach, will share their research about communication gaps in the product-development relationship and approaches that can close the gap.
    Join them to explore tips and ideas to improve communication flow and help teams move from concept to cash.

    NOTE TO TAC TEAM
    Because we are doing some original research on this topic, I would like to include a co-presenter, Marilyn Powers, PEng, who, at the time of posting, is not yet on confengine. Info about her is available at https://www.linkedin.com/in/marilynpowers

    Here is more biographical info about Marilyn:
    Marilyn has more than 10 years experience bringing products and services to market as a Product Manager. As a licensed professional engineer, she has experience working in a variety of fields, from manufacturing to operations to simulation to SAAS software. Currently, Marilyn is a Product Manager at D2L, a leading Ed-tech company, where she works closely with Product Owners, Dev teams, Designers, Senior Leaders and many other stakeholders to deliver quality software tools to educational institutions and corporations who value learning and development. Her expertise is creating shared understanding between diverse groups, be it external customer advisory groups or internal stakeholders.

    Previous presentations or workshops
    Marilyn has presented at a variety of conferences over the past 20 years, the career highlight of which was a live demo on the main stage keynote at the D2L Fusion 2016 conference. Other conference presentations included Online Learning Conference ( New Orleans, LA 2017), Fusion (2015, 2016), Learning Impact Leadership Institute (San Antonio, TX 2016), Industrial Engineering Student Conference (Kitchener, 2016), ModSim World Canada (Montreal, 2010), Montreal Neurological Institute Day (Montreal, 2009), McGill University invited speaker on Haptics (Montreal, 2006). Prior to these presentations, Marilyn was an Instructor of Engineering at Mount Royal University in Calgary, AB.

  • 40 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Although self-organizing teams are crucial to carrying out a successful Agile transformation, organizations that implement Agile at scale invariably realize that the introduction of such teams forces the organization to re-engineer numerous aspects of its operating philosophy. In particular, various management layers are often removed. The individuals in these layers are routinely re-purposed or laid off.

    This talk highlights the approaches I used as an Agilist in various organizations to help people in different roles on their journey of transitioning into the world of Agile. Specifically, the talk will focus on 5 key roles: Project Managers, Product Managers, BA Managers, Development Managers, and QA Managers. It will provide insight into how managers can effectively transition to some of the new Agile roles, or redefine their existing role to effectively fit in an Agile world.

    The emphasis in this talk is on pragmatic strategies for managers that are struggling to find their place in this new Agile world. Armed with these strategies, participants will be able to effectively adapt to the Agile transformation, as well as discover potential new career paths for themselves and for the individuals reporting to them.

  • Liked Scott Ambler
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Scott Ambler - The Executive’s Guide to Disciplined Agile: Business Agility for Established Enterprises

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    An agile enterprise increases value through effective execution and delivery in a timely and reactive manner. Such organizations do this by streamlining the flow of information, ideas, decision making, and work throughout the overall business process all the while improving the quality of the process and business outcomes.   This talk describes, step-by-step, how to evolve from today’s vision of agile software development to a truly disciplined agile enterprise. It briefly examines the state of mainstream agile software development and argues for the need for a more disciplined approach to agile delivery that provides a solid foundation from which to scale. We then explore what it means to scale disciplined agile strategies tactically at the project/product level. We then work through what it means to strategically scale across your IT organization as a whole and discover what a Disciplined DevOps strategy looks like in practice. Your Disciplined Agile IT strategy, along with a lean business strategy, are key enablers of a full-fledged disciplined agile enterprise. The talk ends with advice for how to make this challenging organizational transition.

  • Liked toddcharron
    keyboard_arrow_down

    toddcharron - I'd Buy That For A Dollar

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    What happens if we build it and they don’t come?

    Building features no one cares about is not only bad because the feature isn’t getting used, but is also a wasted opportunity that could have been used to build something truly valuable for your customers.

    But how would we know?

    In many companies, features get prioritized by the HiPPO principle (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion). As it turns out, this is often not the most effective way to prioritize your backlog.

    But if not this, then what?

    In this workshop we explore what value is, how to talk about it, and how we might measure the value we have achieved.

  • Liked Johanne Boyd
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Johanne Boyd / Carlo Rosales - Why can't the business be agile too? How ADP is incorporating business Agile practices to keep up with technology

    40 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Does your business struggle to catch up and understand the technical deliverables from your Sprint Reviews? Is there unnecessary re-work and scope creep because requirements are not properly described by the business? ADP has sought to address these issues by incorporating business Agile practices to keep up with technology. The result? Clearer requirements, strong engagement during Sprint Reviews and a collaborative solution with business readiness aligning with technical deliverables. Join our session to find out more!!

  • Liked Mishkin Berteig
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Mishkin Berteig / David Sabine - JIRA is the Worst Possible Choice

    90 Mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    A rant, with evidence, on why electronic tools in general, and JIRA in particular, are anti-Agile. Participants will use the Agile Manifesto to evaluate the electronic tools they are currently familiar with. JIRA is used as a case study.

    NOTE: Scrum asks us to have courage. The Agile Manifesto asks us to value individuals and interactions over processes and tools. I hope the organizing committee will consider this proposal despite the risk that it might offend some tool vendors. If we can't speak freely about our experiences with tools, we will fail as a community.

  • Liked James Gifford
    keyboard_arrow_down

    James Gifford - Descaling the Enterprise Instead of Scaling Agility

    90 Mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    In spite of all of the nuanced discussions, debates and frequent diatribes, scaling agile is about one thing: getting large groups of teams to deliver value in an organized fashion while maintaining empathy, rapport, trust, safety, and ownership across the enterprise. During this session, we will explore the case study of the Value Steam Container, looking at organization design, challenges and success. Focusing in on topics ranging from

    • Organization designs used by WL Gore, The Dunbar number

    • Delivery Triads - Product, Delivery, Technical Excellence

    • Venture capital style funding

    • Focusing on business value

    The second half of the session is a workshop focused on creating a Value Stream Container and resource based on team funding 

  • Liked James Gifford
    keyboard_arrow_down

    James Gifford - 5 Metrics to Create Safety and High Performing Teams

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Description:

    I see that a lot of organizations use metrics in inappropriate ways to measure teams. At the heart of these metrics, nine times out of ten, are velocity and story points. These metrics lead to a lot of mistrust, fear, and bad technical practices. This talk will focus on shifting the focus to diagnostic metrics.

     Before shifting focus to diagnostic metrics, we need to understand what inappropriate metrics are. When questioning teams about why their velocity was lower from one sprint to another, teams are more likely to inflate their estimates to avoid questions in the future. This is one of my scenarios. We will explore this case and my other top-ten based on the 165 teams I have interacted with. Focusing on one metric does not provide a balanced view of the team.

    For balance, I promote five metrics. The combination of metrics balances each other. These five metrics are lead time, quality, happiness, agile maturity, and business value. Focusing on these five metric areas can be used as a diagnostic tool to help teams grow and support coaching. During the session, we will use my Excel-based tool and visual model to simulate this balance.

    When you push shorter lead times (how fast) on a team with a lower agile maturity, the first thing to change is quality, followed by happiness and then the delivery of value. Conversely, if a team focuses on TDD, the first thing to change is quality, followed by agile maturity, reduction in lead time, and increased delivery of value.  

    Teaching teams to harness data in a positive way will help them to flourish.

  • Liked Dave Sharrock
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Dave Sharrock - Epic Budgeting - or how agile teams meet deadlines

    Dave Sharrock
    Dave Sharrock
    Agile Coach
    agile42
    schedule 3 months ago
    Sold Out!
    40 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    According to this year's State of Agile survey, the most common success measure for agile initiatives, at 53%, is on-time delivery. But if agile teams can choose how much work they take into a sprint, how can teams be sure of delivering pre-committed scope on time and on budget? There is more to agile delivery than product owners ordering a backlog of work for teams to work on.

    Epic budgeting is one tool that allows the product owner to steer a product across the line, delivering the expected scope on time by managing scope creep or an unsustainable focus on the perfect over the pragmatic. During this session learn about how product owners and their teams work towards a fixed date or budget by applying double loop learning to epic sizing and breakdown. Expect some tales from real companies and a few light hearted moments. And I'm at least 53% certain we will finish on time!

  • Liked Paul J. Heidema
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Paul J. Heidema / Iaroslav Torbin - Think Agile Retrospectives are Boring? Think Again: Let's Create a Whole New Set of Activities

    90 Mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    Last year, I was at an Agility Day in New Jersey for my company (ADP). During this day of fun, we uncovered and created new ways of improving retrospectives and new retrospective activities.

    You don't have to always do "Start, Stop, Continue" or "Pluses and Deltas". There are plenty of activities that are more creative and more joyful for teams and groups!

    In this workshop, we will follow a powerful technique to brainstorm ideas, filter down to the best ones, and then try them out on each other to uncover new and more effective retrospective activities. Come prepared to contribute to a new group of retrospectives!

    Gamestorming - Divergent Emergent Convergent

    We will go through a divergent process, and emergent process, and a convergent process in creating our new retrospective techniques. These and other powerful techniques will be utilized from the book Gamestorming to harness the power of the participants to create powerful and useful retrospective activities.

  • Liked Paul J. Heidema
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Paul J. Heidema / Iaroslav Torbin - The Agile Coach Program: Scaling from 20 Teams to Over 60 Teams

    40 Mins
    Experience Report
    Intermediate

    The number of agile teams that I support went from 20 (too many) to more than 70 (absurd) in a few months. What could I do? How could I help them?

    From this need came the Agile Coach Program that Paul created and facilitated at ADP with a small group of individuals - one was Iaroslav Torbin. These participants already support (or wanted to support) teams (be they using Scrum or Kanban) and the individuals around them. This is the story of that journey and the results.

    Feedback from the program:

    • "The agile coach program has been a valuable experience both personally and professionally. It was a fun, interactive and engaging."
    • "I really enjoyed being a part of this program. With its interactive and constructive parts."
  • Liked Stuart Oakley
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Stuart Oakley - Multiple Intelligence Theory - An Agile View on How It’s Used

    Stuart Oakley
    Stuart Oakley
    Scrum Master
    Dealertrack
    schedule 3 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Agile teams are always working to discover how they can work best together. By exploring Dr. Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligence, we can discover new ways of understanding our teams. With this understanding, we can better adjust how we work to improve teams.

  • Liked Shahin Sheidaei
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Shahin Sheidaei / Shawn Button - Community-Driven Change

    40 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    Many organizations flatten management structure when they transform to agile. It soon becomes obvious that important activities done by managers are still needed.  A community can fill these gaps. They can provide morale, governance, learning, and mentorship, recruiting and hiring, mutual support, coordination, sharing, innovation and more!

    Unfortunately few companies manage to create a strong community. Even fewer empower that community to fill these gaps. This means they are missing the ultimate benefit of community: a strong, empowered community can transform the organization itself!

    Join Shahin and Shawn in this interactive session to explore communities in organizations. Examine the benefits of building great communities. Learn how to spark the community, and how to support it as it evolves. Hear stories of communities empowered to improve the organization. Learn how to make a community into a driver of positive change.

  • Liked Shuman Ip
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Shuman Ip - Richer in my wallet, poorer in our wallet?

    Shuman Ip
    Shuman Ip
    Scrum Master
    LoyaltyOne
    schedule 4 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Does your company do performance review?

    Since the goal of all for-profit companies is to make profit, how effect is performance review in actually contributing to your business goal?

    In this session, we will go through some activities to explore the hidden side of performance appraisal process, along with some story-telling and discussions on our perspectives.

    Last but not least, there will be some suggestions on things that we can do in place of the traditional performance review.

    If you want to unmask the mystery behind performance review
    If the current performance appraisal process is one of your pain points, or
    If you have experience and stories to share with us regarding performance evaluation, then come to this session and let's have a conversation

  • Liked Ardita Karaj
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Ardita Karaj / Cheezy - What's my MVP?

    60 Mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Are you having trouble finding a small Minimum Viable Product? You've heard about delivering in small, incremental releases, you've tried to chisel out a small slice out of the big product you have to deliver, but what you get is not viable and there's no incremental thinking around releases. Why is this so?

    Join Ardi and Cheezy for this session where they will give you some tips and tricks on how to create your first MVP and then look down the road for future ones. They will give some examples from their experiences and challenges when dealing with teams that believe MVP does not apply to them.

    You will leave this session with some ideas on how to prepare the strategy for your MVPs, how to work with your team to find your small product that is viable and still delivers value, and understand how to organize your efforts to deliver the product incrementally.

  • Liked Dave Dame
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Dave Dame - Design thinking and Agile: Infinitely more powerful together

    40 Mins
    Talk
    Beginner

    When Agile first came on the scene it was premised around putting the customer first. But, over the years its focus has evolved and the general perception of Agile today is that it’s mostly a tool for delivering software. Agile’s original focus was mainly on developers and testers, but it never really contemplated design thinking as a discipline. Design thinking, which has been around for decades but is only recently having its ‘moment in the sun’, compliments agile beautifully in that it focuses on trying to solve the right problems for the right people. Design thinking allows us to iterate and test assumptions before too much coding and production-readiness is done, which helps ensure the team is investing in the right things at every stage. It really provides a focus on innovating rather than simply burning down a backlog. In this talk we will discuss different ways to incorporate design thinking into the agile process. You will learn how to yield benefits from bringing these two practices together – most importantly how to best serve the users of the product or service you are delivering. At Scotiabank, we’ve been using these fantastic tools in combination for over a year. It is a journey, and although we haven’t completely solved everything yet, there are a lot of lessons we have learned that can be applied elsewhere.

  • Liked Louis Morisset
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Louis Morisset - What is the impact of your organization's culture on your agile transformation

    Louis Morisset
    Louis Morisset
    Agile Coach
    Agile Partnership
    schedule 4 months ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins
    Panel
    Intermediate

    More and more companies are, right or wrong reasons, deciding to do agile transformations.  In this talk, we question ourselves on what it takes to start an agile transformation in big corporation. We will introduce the maturity model of Mickael Spayd and Lyssa Adkins and reflect on the importance of understanding the maturity level of our company before starting an agile transformation. We will also explore, based on each maturity levels, what are the realistic expectations of an agile transformation and where people should focus on to help more the initiative forward. Finally we will also look at the individuals level of maturity and see how this impacts their companies agile transformation as well as the people themselves. 

  • Liked Alexander Kress
    keyboard_arrow_down

    Alexander Kress / Sergey Dvornikov - Remote teams: From 0 to self-organizing in under 2 hours.

    90 Mins
    Workshop
    Intermediate

    Getting to Agile is not easy, doing so with remote teams is more so. As a trainer you need to convince, often sceptical, audience of the soundness and viability of Agile postulates. In particular you need to show that self-organizing is not just a sound bite but rather an achievable goal. This workshop will present an original approach to doing so when training a distributed team.

    The counting game is designed to be played over the phone, or an audio/video bridge, with or without any additional collaboration tools. It is simple to understand and difficult to get right at first. To solve the problem the teams will need to organize into roles, iterate over approaches and come up with a working algorithm. The winning teams will organize themselves in 3-5 iterations into efficient counting machines able to accurately process greater and greater inputs.