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Über dieses Buch

If you have tried to implement Agile in your organization, you have probably learned a lot about development practices, teamwork, processes and tools, but too little about how to manage such an organization. Yet managerial support is often the biggest impediment to successfully adopting Agile, and limiting your Agile efforts to those of the development teams while doing the same old-style management will dramatically limit the ability of your organization to reach the next Agile level.

Ángel Medinilla will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what Agile means to an organization and the manager’s role in such an environment, i.e., how to manage, lead and motivate self-organizing teams and how to create an Agile corporate culture. Based on his background as a “veteran” Agile consultant for companies of all sizes, he delivers insights and experiences, points out possible pitfalls, presents practical approaches and possible scenarios, also including detailed suggestions for further reading.

If you are a manager, team leader, evangelist, change agent (or whatever nice title) and if you want to push Agile further in your organization, then this is your book. You will read how to change the paradigm of what management is about: it is not about arbitrary decisions, constant supervision and progress control, and the negotiation of changing requirements. It is about motivation, self-organization, responsibility, and the exploitation of all project stakeholders’ knowledge. We live in a different world than the one that most management experts of the 20th century describe, and companies that strive for success and excellence will need a new kind of manager – Agile managers.



The Agile Manager


1. A Brief History of Management

From Silver Back Gorillas to Konosuke Matsushita
One of the main problems I have found when talking to people about Agile management is that not everyone used the same meaning for the concept of “manager” or “leader.” In fact, I seldom find two people who use these words with the same meaning. And of course, that is what I call the “three blind men and the elephant” situation.
Ángel Medinilla

2. Lean and Agile in a Nutshell

Create Value, Eliminate Waste, and Adapt to Change
In Chap. 1, we started to develop the concept of “management” and “leadership” that you can read on the cover of this book. Now is the time to go into the “Agile” part of it.
Ángel Medinilla

3. The Agile Manager’s Role

Managing an Agile Organization or the Joy of Herding Kittens
Management literature is a profitable and recurrent business. Hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been written on the topic of motivating employees, setting strategies, making decisions, growing the company, and so on, so why do we need new books specially suited for the Agile organization?
Ángel Medinilla

Agile Management


4. Motivating the Agile Workforce

From the Happiness of Survival to the Meaning of Life
The principles behind the Agile Manifesto include “build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.” But why is motivation so important? Wouldn’t it be enough to make sure that everyone does his part of the job and delivers on time, no matter how grumpy or listless they are?
Ángel Medinilla

5. Self-Organization

From Roman Legions to Guerrillas
As we’ve already seen, command-and-control and hierarchical military-style management has been the prevalent paradigm for centuries. It survived during the industrial revolution, but as it happened with classical military operations that evolved from the brutal clash of well-formed battalions to guerrilla-style warfare, command-and-control management started to tumble down when the information society was born and the rise of knowledge workers changed the world’s economy.
Ángel Medinilla

6. Agile Structures: Scaling Agility

From Resource Pools to Cross-Functional Teams
One of the most fast-growing organizational example is the start-up in the sense of a high-growth-rate, technology-oriented company. The start-up usually begins with a small set of people, maybe as few as two to five cofounders. The nature and potential of this group is considered by venture capital firms as one of the main drives to invest in this company.
Ángel Medinilla

7. Managing Capacity and Workload

Or How to Finally Acknowledge that You Can’t Fight the Universe
From my own perspective, Agile managers shouldn’t be the ones caring the most about workload and team capacity, especially in the short term. If we use Scrum terminology, that is the product owner’s role. Managers should give some guidance about operational and strategic priorities, maybe in the form of resources to use for each project or relative importance. But when managers start to arbitrarily set deadlines, scopes, and budgets without consulting the team or the product owner, very bad things happen.
Ángel Medinilla

8. Agile Culture and Driving Change

From Dilbert to Googlers
In his 2001 book, Good to Great (Collins 2001), American business consultant Jim Collins presented a research done on 1,435 good and profitable companies over 40 years, trying to find those that systematically beat the average good companies, and found out 11 companies that exceeded their industries average results by at least three times – the average being 6.9 times greater than their market’s average – and they did it over 15 years in a row. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
Ángel Medinilla

9. Final Thoughts

Positive and Useful Insights for the Agile Walk
The J-curve is a frequent behavior where results first fall for a while but then rise higher than the starting point. When you invest your money in something, your bank account’s balance will drop – the money is not there anymore – but when you hopefully start receiving revenues from your investment, it will slowly rise to the point that you’ll end up having more money that you had before.
Ángel Medinilla


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