Sunday, November 21, 2010's all about Leadership!

I just returned from Agile Development Practices East Conference. It hit me how critical leadership is in all endeavors and in particular with Agile.

Agile, for those who may not be familiar, is a set of approaches, mostly focused on software development, that focus on just enough planning to get work going; just enough work to demonstrate and deliver value to the customer. In software there are numerous approaches with the most common in the US being Scrum and XP (eXtremene Programming). There are not as many for non-software efforts, although Commitment-Based Project Management, CBPM for short, in an approach that I and others have used successfully in various efforts.

Agile's approach is to have the team be responsible for the output of the effort; for the team to be self-organized and self-led. However, it is very difficult for teams to form in this way to be successful, so a guiding hand is needed to get them going.

That's where leadership comes in, in particular Servant Leadership. The leader must help the team come together, organize, start delivering, and then the leader needs to step back and serve and support the team. If the leader doesn't step back and continues leading the team, s/he will be responsible for the output of the effort and many of the benefits of Agile will not be achieved.

Have you used Agile in your efforts? What's your experience?

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