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Hone Your Agile Leadership Skills to Help Your Organization Transform and Thrive
To leverage the immense opportunities associated with accelerating change, organizations need teams capable of trying new ideas quickly, learning from their experiences, and adapting based on that learning. Helping these teams to grow and thrive requires agile leaders who support, inspire, and encourage, and who can leave behind the management skills of directing, monitoring, and rewarding or punishing.
The Professional Agile Leader is a realistic, practical guide, written by experienced agile leaders who share their collective experiences in helping agile leaders to grow responsive and adaptive teams. They structure powerful lessons around a case study based on decades of experience helping agile leaders achieve and sustain agile transformation. Best of all, they never settle for high-level hand-waving--they show you how it's really done.
Great agile leaders aren't born that way--they're regular people who care deeply about helping others achieve shared goals and have discovered a better way to lead. Whatever your role in the organization, this guide will help you master those skills and mindsets a whole lot faster.
"Drawing on vast experience, Ron, Kurt, and Laurens tease out practical tips and patterns for good leadership [and show] how a leader can help shape the environment for agile teams to succeed. . . . The narrative style of the book makes it easy to read, and I am sure there will be many times that you see yourself in it."
--From the Foreword by Dave West, CEO and Product Owner, Scrum.org
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Download the sample pages (includes Introduction)
About the Authors xxvii
Chapter 1: An Organization at a Crossroads 1
Complex Challenges Create Urgency for Agility 2
Reducing Dependencies Makes Change Possible 4
Organizational Change Requires Protective, Progressive Dictatorship 10
Two Paths, One Goal 12
Reflections on the Journey 15
Chapter 2: Forming Teams and Discovering Purpose 17
Changing the Organization, One Team at a Time 18
Finding the Right People 22
Empowering Teams 26
Placing the Customer at the Center of the Change 29
Reflections on the Journey 35
Chapter 3: Shifting from Output to Impact 37
"What Gets Measured Gets Done" 38
Reflections on the Journey 53
Chapter 4: Learning to Let Go 55
Empowerment Doesn't Come for Free 56
Agile Leaders Help Teams to Grow Their Ability to Reach Audacious Goals 60
Letting Go in Small Steps 65
Slow Decision-Making Kills Team Self-Management 69
Reflections on the Journey 73
Chapter 5: The Predictable Existential Crisis 75
New Ways of Working Threaten the Old System 76
Reflections on the Journey 97
Chapter 6: Leaders, Everywhere 99
Nurturing and Growing an Agile Organization 100
Reward Building Teams and Leadership, Not Silos 114
Promotional Rewards Lock in Organizational Structures 117
Performance Reviews Don't Go Away, but They Do Change Dramatically 118
Reflections on the Journey 122
Chapter 7: Aligning the Organization 123
Evolving the Operating Model 124
Scale Agility by Removing Dependencies 131
Consolidating Support and Eliminating Opposition 132
Realign Compensation Plans 140
Realign Career Paths 141
Embrace Catalytic Leadership 142
Replace Status Meetings with Transparency 143
Be Realistic About How Long the Transition Will Take, and What It Means 146
Reflections on the Journey 147
Chapter 8: Aligning the Culture 149
What Makes Changing Culture Hard 150
Agile Leaders Must First Find Their Own Way 152
Build Bridges to the New Culture 153
Anticipate and Overcome Setbacks 159
Use "Self-Sustenance" as a Measure of Success 162
Agile Journeys Never Really End 165
Reflections on the Journey 168
Appendix A: Patterns and Anti-Patterns for Effective Leadership 169
Appendix B: Doreen's Sketchnotes 171