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Leadership, Scale

Trust – The Anchor of Agile at Scale

Agile at scale, expanding Agile delivery teams out to the wider enterprise as a ‘way of working’, a mindset, establishing Agile principles and practices as THE way of delivering value to the customer. (read Agile as the broader context of all the various flavours and movements, used fit for purpose)

Scaling Agile requires great leadership, to build and maintain the sense of vision, provide the environment for teams to be empowered and to be able to re-build innate structures and processes. All necessary to influence and redefine the culture of the organisation so that it can support doing and being Agile.

Great leadership requires influence, the ability to move beliefs of the masses to take a leap of faith that Agile will deliver the results experienced at a smaller scale. No doubt the initial entry in to Agile for organisations will be small, niche, confined or incubated. As you scale you will engage with or rely on teams outside of the Agile microcosm, you will need to build trusted relationships to influence an alignment with this more dynamic, collaborative, more customer centric way of operating.

Influence, therefore, requires trust and THIS is the crux of it all. The use of communication tools such as showcases, big visible charts and planning meetings are crucial to information flow that builds trust, but it is trust it self between teams and individuals that is the foundation of successfully scaling Agile to the enterprise.

Cracking the formula for building trust is a matter of managing the four elements:

  • Disclosure – Provide openness and transparency. Call things out, with respect. Give people the chance to fix mistakes you may make. Clarity of communication. Make everything visible so that people can take action.
  • Reliability – Keep commitments. Meet expectations. Provide short feedback loops for accurate understanding and measurement.
  • Character – Act with integrity, ethics and morals. Be servant leaders.
  • Competence – Use your skills to the best of your ability. Seek input from those with knowledge and skills you dont have.

So ….. Trust means influence, influence means leadership….. change happens, simple!

Of course if it was that easy everyone would do it. So whats the missing piece?

Being introspective! An ability to examine each relationship you have and improve on all the four elements as you see fit.

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About Gary O'Brien

A Principal Consultant with 20 years experience in ICT and a diverse background as an IT Business Strategist and People Manager. I specialise in helping executives, teams and individuals to adopt and improve Agile methods, principles and practice. Using a strong emphasis on facilitating organizational change, and the role of management and leadership in an Agile world. As an Agile Coach I look to help teams adapt Agile and Lean thinking to their specific environment and impediments they face. Experience includes working with CIO’s and senior leaders to create and execute a vision and strategy for and adopting Agile as an enterprise approach to improving outcomes for delivering customer value and optimising IT.

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