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Agile Boardroom

4 November 2013

Lizzy Morris

The question is: Does executive transparency act as a catalyst for Agile transformation?

Are executives willing to go through the pain their teams endure during an Agile transformation?

Should what goes on in the boardroom stay in the boardroom?

The Vegas rule of secrecy applies only to Vegas bedrooms and casinos. That kind of thinking has no place in the fast-paced world of business. Instead of boardroom secrets, senior leaders need to become transparent with the teams they lead.

Here is the key to a strong run . . . and an even more powerful finish.

Share with the entire team the ups and downs, the struggles and pitfalls associated with the changes and operative directives. There is no doubt that the boardroom sets the goal, sounds the charge, and is the rallying place for everyone to check their launch plans. Not to mention that there is support there that will encourage everyone in those times when making changes can bring about uncertainty and paranoia.

The words our, us, and together can become explosive. Before you know it, those words can ignite the command-and-control culture. But from its ashes can rise a collaborative body of individuals who value real teamwork. Arise. Agilists!

Vital to the success of any project is the awareness of the strategic Agile boardroom.

An Agile boardroom births an Agile organization. To not have executive leadership embrace the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto, while expecting to reap the rewards of an Agile transformation, is a recipe for failure. And it often rears its head after the all the coaches and have packed their bags and left.

The boardroom gets the team into the game and effects the much-needed change.
But their change sustains the transformation.

1. Transparency on every level. Everything on the table means everything!

2. Teaming. Be part of the team. Abolish departmentalism and promote cross-functional behavior by asking questions like, "How can I help you get done what you have to get done?" That kind of communication will show and announce to all that you are choosing to team with your peers.

3. Communicate. Use every medium available to promote communication with your teams. While email, phone, and memo communications are great, nothing beats a one-on-one conversation!

4. Retrospect. Use retro techniques and come up with action plans to resolve issues and create accountability to your team.

Leaders: Join your teams in the Agile transformation. Open the boardroom doors and invite your teams to join you in drinking the Agile nectar! Tell them why there are dysfunctions and how, together, you will solve them and make the much-needed change.

"A company that changes together grows together."

Be a courageous leader! Challenge your peers to see how their titles and positions can be a resource to empower, manage, and inspire accountability among your teams.

Agile can and will lead to higher-functioning teams that create an even higher-producing organization. Never forget, even those firms that are hierarchical in nature and structure are capable of transforming and creating that "zing" atmosphere so often found in start-up companies.

Agile transformation begins to take root when management at every level chooses to adopt and promote a transparent, team-centric, collaborative, communicating, and retrospective company.

The choice must be made in the boardroom. If there is no boardroom Agile, there will be no true Agile transformation, regardless of how many Agile transformation coaches you bring into your organization.

Agile works in the atmosphere of a boardroom where the executive leadership lead the charge for change by example, not by mandate. Change starts with choice. Choosing to change starts the process that creates results.

A transformed boardroom transforms teams, who transform organizations.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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