Just enough structure

Brian Marick blogged in an unhappy trend: Leadership about “the great man theory of management” gaining tracktion in the agile space. I couldn’t agree more.

As far as Leadership has a place in agile teams, I believe it should be, as much as possible, self-organizing so people (and teams) lead themselves.

We’re exploring this by example for xp days benelux through relentless reflection and continous improvement; Pascal outlined how we facilitate the presenters in perfecting their sessions, and how we try to walk our agile talk, because we expect nothing less than perfection.

One Response to “Just enough structure”

  1. Jonathan Clarke Says:

    Hi Willem,

    Thanks for this post and Drawing Carousel at Agile2006. I enjoyed the session greatly (that’s me with Elisabeth Hendrickson in the second photo).

    The most striking comment in the final wrap up was that some of the team were unhappy not knowing the overall state of the project. We traced that to having stuck to the limitation of pairs not communicating during iterations. I checked to see if you would have allowed us to have someone overseeing – you said yes – so the restriction was self-imposed or we were too blinkered to think of it.

    This is a sign that there is a desire for co-ordination and overseeing – I’m going to call that leadership. And that self-organising teams may well not put someone in this role.

    I suggest that “An unhappy trend: leadership” is wrong. The unhappy trend is the Great Man theory being adopted by Agilists. A good scrum master functions by leading in an agile way, not leading in a great man way.

    And a self-organising team will benefit from considering appointing a leader in a way that suits the team.