As a leader, you remain accountable for results, which means you need to ensure that the people on your team have the necessary competence and know the framework of their role. In terms of competence, go into a coaching role and support your team wherever there are difficulties.
In terms of frameworks, you have different roles. For example, a product owner can only manage the requirements well if both the overall goal and his or her scope for decision-making are completely clear. Defining the overall goal is your task as a manager, ideally with your team. Clearly negotiating the respective scope for decision-making is also your job as a leader.
In agile frameworks such as Scrum, various new roles are introduced, e.g. the Scrum Master, the Product Owner or in larger setups also Chapter Leads. In the process, the agile roles are given individual management tasks that were previously classically collected by a manager.
If you work with such roles in your area, it is advisable to create transparency as to who is responsible for which topics. In this way, you can avoid duplication of effort, misunderstandings and possibly frustration when managers knowingly or unknowingly block each other.
Empowered and self-organized teams are an important pillar of agile working. They are based on the belief that people and interactions matter and that employees know their availabilities, skills, and processes best through daily collaboration.
In the agile context, one speaks of an empowered team when a typically small team can take over all things itself for a defined task area without having to rely on competencies from outside for this.
Self-organization in the agile context means: The team has autonomy over the solution finding and the “how?” within a work process. It controls its own work flow. Agile teams act in a self-organized manner within the guidelines and guard rails set by management.
The Delegation Poker tool is well suited for a visualized and documented negotiation of decision latitude with your team. Once you have defined the decision-making power, stick to the agreements and encourage the team or the authorized representatives to actually make decisions themselves within the agreed framework. Always make sure to question and renegotiate the arrangements made at regular intervals.
Transparency is a cornerstone of all agile ways of working. The principle applies: a lack of transparency leads to unnecessary inquiries or misunderstandings and thus always to extra work.
For you as a manager, this means: Let’s get it done, together!
Don’t hold back with information, but be as open as possible with your team and other teams. If you create a Microsoft Teams board, for example, then regulate the visibility in such a way that as many people as possible within the organization have read access.
Whether you like it or not, you will always be a role model for your employees’ behavior to some degree. If you want agile values such as transparency and openness, focus and clear priorities, and true customer orientation to be lived, you must also represent them credibly yourself:
By holding regular retrospectives with your leaders, you signal that it is wanted that team leaders also ensure time for reflection with their teams.
If there are boards where you plan specific milestones in the leadership circle, make that as transparent as possible. Show employees and managers that you trust them.
Be a role model for agile values and principles and live the principle “Inspect & Adapt”.
Communicate openly and promote open communication and transparency.
In the VUCA world, it’s no longer the case that once you create a plan, it’s immutable and you’ll be working off it for years. But it’s also not the case that you can work on a myriad of equally important priorities in parallel.
That’s why it’s important that you, as a division manager or department head, support your team leaders in courageously deprioritizing topics. In this way, you clarify the priority of another topic. If you regularly ask for all topics, it will be more difficult for the other levels to establish a meaningful prioritization.
Therefore, create a clear priority list for the entire team that everyone knows and is always up to date. It is best to involve your team in the development and regularly look at the list in the team meetings. Use the MoSCoW prioritization for this (see graphic). Important: A priority has the meaning that one topic should be implemented before the other topics. If all of your topics are listed under “Must” in the MoSCoW prioritization or all topics have priority 1, no one can follow this. In the end, the topics that are left behind are those for which there was not enough time – and not those that were deliberately put on the back burner.
By translating the overall strategy for your area into objectives, you help the managers and indirectly the employees to classify their contribution to the overall success. At the same time, you may also hand over decisions on the design of certain options to the next levels.
The objectives you provide should describe target states. By also explaining what value it adds to which customers for the objective, you empower the team to find the best solution on their own.
If you’re not sure how many targets you want or need to hit, discuss with your managers: Again, a tool like Delegation Poker helps to jointly determine what kind of guidance you actually want to be involved in. This way, you also make sure that there are no misunderstandings and that someone is not waiting for you to decide, even though she or he should actually decide for themselves.