This week, I attended Global Scrum Gathering in Bangalore, the conference hosted by Scrum Alliance. It was quite a rewarding and enjoyable experience. As an added bonus, I got a chance to hang out with Manny Gonzalez, CEO at Scrum Alliance and engage in a discussion of organizational transformation that needs to take place for agile mindset and behaviors to take root. He mentioned Scrum Alliance is actively working on developing coaching sessions for Leadership roles as they face unique set to challenges in transforming the culture in an organization.
As expected the opening keynote session by Dr. Kiran Bedi – ‘Transforming Organizations, Transforming Lives’ was splendid – energizing everyone at the conference. Also loved Manny Gonzalez’s talk, wherein he shared his personal journey and talked about the day he realized that his personal belief systems perfectly aligned with Agile manifesto. An awesome and humble guy as he actively listens to the people unlike many leaders, who are eager to tell you what they think and why their organization functions the way it functions.
The sessions were a mixed bag, wherein some of them had really good insights and shared the different methods and techniques that they used at the organization they consulted or worked with. A few were disappointing wherein they were just interested in marketing their company and services, including the lead sponsor who only tried to market his company, added very little value.
The third day the concept of ‘Open Space’ was introduced wherein hundreds of attendees self-organized to form a learning marketplace. It was as simple as creating 45 minute workshops around any topic of common interests. We basically announce the topic of interest; put it down on a poster along with time and place. Pretty soon you will find people who feel the common pain you might have also been experiencing and you dive into lively discussions which are supplemented with lively discussions.
The topic that I facilitated was ‘How does the role of middle managers change after introduction of Agile in the organization?’ Soon there were 20 to 25 people relating their personal experiences and how they managed to either survive or thrive who transitioned from being Dev Managers, QA Mangers and functional managers. On the other side a few of the executives shared their frustration wherein the managers were unable to cope of with new skill set required and had to be let go.
The image above image was the output of the session, wherein everybody agreed that the role of middle managers should change to that on an Engineering manager or a Product Owner. This new roles are no longer about status updates and acting as information buffer between the teams and senior management. He or she is expected to actively contribute to the team by bring in best practices that facilitate agile development like Test Driven Development (TDD), Development of automated testing and regressions suits, Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CICD) etc