Managers in an agile shop. It’s an interesting—and sometimes controversial—topic. In fact, Andy Cleff and I collaborated in June on this. We go in depth in his blog post titled Managers and Agile and Riding an Elephant. Since I haven’t yet written about managers in an agile shop on my own blog, I wanted to summarize our conversation. I encourage you to read Andy’s article in full, if time permits.
First, I draw my inspiration from two places:
- Henrik Kniberg and the Spotify example. If you’re unfamiliar, don’t worry. I’ll be referring to and explaining the model in a bit. For more information, see Andy’s blog post.
- Leading Marines. I spent ten of the most formative years in the Marine Corps as an intelligence operative and martial arts instructor. I served as both a commissioned officer and as a non-commission officer, and I was fortunate to serve with some of the world’s greatest leaders.
Having said that, my philosophy is a very simple one:
There is no place for managers in an agile shop, only leaders, coaches, and mentors.