Managers Don’t Have to Hate Agile

Earlier this year Forbes published an article titled “Why Do Managers Hate Agile?”  The author, Steve Denning, builds a case for managers hating Agile due to “management” and “Agile” being defined as two different worlds. It’s like Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus, only we’re talking about the IT world and management and developers, instead of men and women. The article caught my attention for the obvious reason that CollabNet sells products and services to help support Agile development efforts, sparking the question, “Why would managers hate Agile?”

In the article, the first world of “Management” is referenced as “The vertical world of hierarchical bureaucracy”.  Management is seen as the boss at the top of the totem pole and individuals at the bottom. This world is governed by roles, rules, plans and reports.

The second world of “Agile” is referenced as “The horizontal world of Agile,” and described as one operating horizontally with a focus on the customer instead of a vertical dynamic with people reporting upwards to bosses. Therefore, there is tension between the two worlds and the perception that managers hate Agile because it turns their world on its side and creates confusion. Management may not understand the needs of Agile developers and vice versa. The two entities speak a different language and don’t know how to communicate with each other. Sound familiar?

So what is the solution to relieve the tension for Agile and enable these two different worlds to not only get along, but also to work collaboratively to produce innovative products and services for their customers? The answer is…transparency. It sounds so simple…transparency, visibility, awareness. Yes, this is the key for managers to truly understand Agile developers and begin to work together.

TRANSPARENCY = TRUST

The concept of transparency is one that CollabNet wholeheartedly embraces. Our TeamForge platform is specifically designed to give developers the tools they want to use and managers the end-to-end visibility and traceability they need – across the entire tool chain – and advanced data analytics and trending reports. As a result, transparency creates trust between management and developers.

When managers have visibility into the work of their developers and access to the reports they need, then the two worlds can come together not as enemies, but as partners. And the result is that managers don’t have to hate Agile.

What is your experience with the two Worlds of “Management” and “Agile”?

 

Flint Brenton

Flint has extensive experience leading innovative software companies and has an exceptional track record of accelerating growth through product innovation and sales execution. Most recently, he served as president and CEO of AccelOps, a provider of a leading IT operations analytics platform for cloud and virtualized infrastructures. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of Tidal Software, a leading application automation software solution provider, which later was acquired by Cisco. After the Cisco acquisition, Mr. Brenton served in various follow-on capacities, including Vice President of Advanced Services and as Senior Vice President of Engineering for Cisco’s cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) software offerings. At both AccelOps and Tidal Software, Mr. Brenton more than tripled sales under his tenure while focusing both companies on disruptive product introductions.

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