How to be a SUCCESSFUL manager in an AGILE environment?

Management 30 blog
Management 30 blog

Today, we live in a world where a change in the business environment has become a constant, driven by factors such as e.g. globalization and world economic challenges. Many organizations, therefore have a big problem adapting to the challenges of today’s international business world.

Globalization means that impact from one side of the planet can have unpredictable consequences around the world, transmitted almost in real-time. Instability and constant change pressure decision-makers to act in a much shorter timeframe than most leaders would like. To succeed in such an environment, organizations must accept change as a constant and reflect it through the processes, structure, and technologies they use. This requires great flexibility and an accelerated pace of decision-making.

With all that in mind, we can conclude that the traditional approach to management should be replaced by an approach that accepts today’s challenges. The traditional approach to management leads us to a linear way of thinking where everything has its cause and effect and in which we approach the management of the organization as if it were a machine in a predictable environment, assuming that improving the whole requires monitoring, repairing and replacing individual parts.

Today, more than ever, we need to replace the “cause and effect” way of thinking with the so-called complexity thinking approach where we see the organization as a whole (complex adaptive system) made up of “parts” that interact with each other, intertwine and, in the end, give a unique end result. Organizations must embrace change and explore future opportunities – these are some of the essential characteristics of an agile organization.

The traditional management and leadership style does not fit into the modern environment. Some research even shows that “old-style” managers are one of the biggest obstacles to agile transformation in many cases due to fear caused by not knowing their role in an agile environment. Management 3.0 actually gives us an answer to the question: What is the role of management in an agile environment?

Let’s put things this way – you work as a manager in a company that has decided to implement the Scrum framework. After some time, success, failure, and happy and sad moments, one day you realize that you have succeeded! You have successfully “implemented” Scrum!

Ok, not everything is 100% perfect… However, retrospectives give results that guarantee continuous improvement.

You don’t have to prioritize work anymore – that’s now the role of the Product Owner. You don’t have to worry about the process anymore – that’s the role of the Scrum Master now. There is no need to tell the team how to organize things – the team is self-organizing.

Um? What then is the role of management in an agile environment?

There are six areas to focus on: energize people, empower teams, align constraints, develop competence, grow structure, and improve everything. Each of these six areas represents a separate view of the Management 3.0 model.

People are the most important “parts” of any organization and therefore management activities must be directed towards keeping people active, creative, and motivated. Self-organizing teams are one of the foundations of an agile environment, and therefore empowerment and management trust must be present in everyday work.

Self-organization does not know good and bad and can lead us to many things, and to avoid self-organization in the wrong direction, it is necessary to give teams a clear purpose and defined goals. Teams cannot achieve defined goals if team members are not sufficiently competent, and precisely because of this, management activities must contribute to the development of competencies.

Today, teams are in a complex environment (organization) and therefore it is important to consider organizational structures that improve communication and facilitate daily work. The environment we are in brings change as a constant and because of this people, teams and organizations must continuously improve to avoid failure.

Author: Vladimir Kelava

Learn more about this topic at upcoming Management 3.0 Foundation Workshop.