Thursday, January 29, 2015

Empowering Agile teams: culture clash. Part II

This is a follow up to the earlier article on this blog "Empowering Agile teams: culture clash".

Agile frameworks empathize empowered teams, flat structures, and meritocracy. Agile transformation is about re-defining who holds authority and responsibility.

Agile approach both allows and requires all participants to care. This is the other side of the struggle. While it is hard for command-and-control management to step away and let the team self-manage, it is even harder for the team members to suddenly start to care.

Power concentrated on the top of the org chart leads to classical principal-agent problem. In many a traditional organization team members have no reason to care about technical quality, steady pace of delivery, or building the product that customers actually want. Management makes decisions about what gets done and how results are accessed, and carries responsibility to the customer. Team members are expected to show up and do what they are told.

Self-managed teams, the corner stone of the Agile organization, have the information, the skills and the power to deliver what the customer wants. To become self-managed and claim that power, the teams also needs a will, and perhaps some incentives, to care about the organizations’ success. Agile transformation is about reminding people of their power, and waking up that will to care and be in control.