Author: Michael Hamman

As we all know, the job of the Agile manager is challenging. One of the manager’s biggest challenges is giving up the old mindset that managing is about 'driving to results.’  In fact, as we teach in our Managing Agile Environments class, one of the mindset shifts which the agile manager undergoes is the shift from managing (or driving) to results to designing environments that generate results.

One key environment design practice is to cultivate relationships with, and empower agile 'champions' within your organization.  Agile champions are individuals, from different parts (and levels) of your organization, who may or may not be on agile teams, who are passionate about the transformational potential of agile, and have some particular skill or set of connections to bring agile thinking and capability to their particular area of work.

In my 11 years coaching in agile enterprises, it has struck me that while we in the Agile community continue to develop ever greater tools and practices supporting the evolution of agile teams, programs, and agile coaches, it remains the case that very little has been offered for agile managers and leaders: no coherent set of tools, few if any practices, and an utterly unclear role definition. Lacking education, lacking distinctions, and frequently lacking credence from within the Agile community that the role is even valuable, it is no wonder managers and leaders have struggled with what it means to lead and manage in an agile environment.