Are Lean-Agile Leaders and Scrum Masters Adequately Developed to Lead?

Lean-Agile Leaders, Agile Coaches, Product Managers, Project Managers, PMO

Execution Leadership

Many project managers have learned about Agile. Agile started because of the high failure rate (80%) of projects and the fact that the final deliverables from these projects were not completely aligned to the initial customer requirements. The Agile manifesto was originally created for IT software teams, but its core tenets are equally relevant to non-IT teams. Agile is not a methodology, framework or process. Agile is a mindset based on a set of values aimed at harnessing the collective intelligence of teams:

  • Adaptive plans replace rigid 12 month plans;
  • Customer collaboration is valued greater than internal egos;
  • Employee autonomy is promoted over command-control leadership style;
  • Individual interaction stands above process and technological tools.

Within Agile, Scrum is the leading development methodology, used by many Fortune 500 companies around the world. The Scrum team framework uses three main components: a product owner, the project facilitator or Scrum Master and the Development Team.

The product owner brings together the customer(s), the company and the development team. The product owner creates a prioritized wish list. The owner is empowered to make binding end-product decisions during development and works with a project leadership team daily to ensure priorities are clear.

The project facilitator’s primary duty is to support the development team by clearing organizational bottlenecks and ensure the product owner’s needs are being met through Agile process implementation. The facilitator ensures the project’s goals and timeline are visible to everyone on the team so everyone is working within the same context. While the facilitator tracks problems and issues, their main value is to ensure clear communication through artfully facilitated scheduled meetings as well as in the continual cross-team and face-to-face interactions. Facilitators are like a team’s coach.

There are six Agile principles:
1. Customer satisfaction is the highest priority for everyone one within the organization and we must ensure that our interactions with the customer deliver value to the customer.
2. We must welcome and embrace changes in customer requirements.
3. Different teams within the organization must work together collaboratively.
4. We must create a supportive environment for employees and empower them with everything they need to complete their tasks effectively.
5. Face-to-face communication is the most effective way of communication between individuals and departments.
6. At regular intervals, individuals and teams must evaluate their performance in order to make improvements when necessary.

For organizations critically needing greater employee engagement, Agile provides teams with a way of engaging because it encourages collaboration, open communication and collective decision making across teams.

When you look at the 12 principles of agile, you see the words ‘accept fluctuation’, ‘collaborate’, ‘motivate workers’, ‘environment’, ‘trust’, ‘support’, ‘face-to-face communication’, ‘marathon not a sprint’, ‘special attention’, ‘increase efficiency’, ‘keep things simple’, ‘teams are empowered to make decisions’ and ‘team self-reflection’. For an agile coach or project manager, all of these words or phrases point to critical skills around execution leadership.

Yet, in an audit of the training programs and books on the topic of Agile and Scrum we found no evidence of development, tools and general guidance around execution leadership. It’s as if someone came up with a fantastic house design but didn’t see the need for a foundation or fasteners (nails, hinges, etc.). Execution leadership is a combination of clarity of role, skill and tools. Execution Leadership for Project Managers is a development program that turns a project manager into a master in execution leadership.

What is your biggest challenge related to execution leadership?

Fun Facts and Truths for Project Managers #26

According to ACS Distance Education, nearly 70% of organizations implementing PMO practices report that project success rates have improved significantly as a result. 90% of global senior executives and project management experts say good project management is key to delivering successful results and gaining a competitive edge. More than 16 million people regard project management as their profession.self-role-organizational-influence-diagram

The development program, Execution Leadership for Project Managers (ELPM) focuses in on three areas: self-awareness, role awareness and organizational influence. ELPM is for anyone in a complex environment whose primarily role is project management. This program is best for project managers with at least 5 years work experience and is ideal as a development program for high-potential project managers in larger organizations. The Nielson Group offers this program as an in-house option at your location anywhere in the world. In-house program offerings can be customized to meet your needs.

Fun Facts and Truths For Project Managers #22

According to the Project Management Institute, the country with the top salary for project management practitioners was Australia at US$134,658. The United States came in at #3 at US$108,000, while Canada hit the mark at US$95,140. Different countries with different value of Project Managers based on salary. What increases market value for Project Managers?


The Science of Self: How to Break Down Mental Walls During the Holiday Season

Scroll down to watch Ron Bonnstetter’s The Science of Self in 60 Seconds for this topic.

Convert Debate Into Dialogue

The uncertainty and high tensions of our world and political landscape have made us emotionally raw. Everywhere you turn it feels like your fundamental beliefs are under attack and for some even your very existence as a human being. And now we are going into the holidays with many gatherings where you have to interact with those who have opposing views and beliefs to yours. How do you have more effective conversations with friends, family and coworkers when argumentative and verbally aggressive statements are bound to happen?

more-effective-conversations_sos_ep9-1080x675First, let’s talk about why we feel so threatened by these kinds of aggressive statements. In the latest episode of Science of Self® in 60 Seconds, Convert Debate Into Dialogue, Dr. Ron Bonnstetter explains how the brain sees a verbal attack in a very similar manner to a physical attack. Your brain immediately goes into a heightened alert that shuts down thoughtful executive function.

You vs. Me Debate

Once your executive function shuts down, logical thinking is no longer available to your brain. You become strictly driven by emotions. Can you begin to see how these emotional, knee-jerk responses hamper the possibility of more effective conversations with those around you?

When you feel like your conversation has become a you vs. me debate, mental walls go up. Shutting out the other person is your brain’s defense mechanism. Our brain reacts at such high speed and intensity to words and actions that it perceives as a You-Me debate (or as a verbal attack) that a conversation may never move past the initial reactions.

How do you convert debate into dialogue?

We Mentality Leads to More Effective Conversations

Now that you know why You-Me conversations create walls, we need to know how to break down those mental walls. Creating a We mentality in your communication is what starts to build trust. Dr. Bonnstetter shares three ways in the latest Science of Self video to help you foster a We mentality that breaks mental walls down and allows for more effective conversations.

You can also become more aware of how others perceive your words and actions. Every person has certain words and actions, based on their behavioral style and driving forces, that evokes a precognitive negative reaction in the brain. When you know more about what triggers your own mental walls, you will recognize it in others and can begin to diffuse the situation to build trust and a We mentality.

Know that you can’t change someone else’s views and beliefs. But, you can reframe how you view these interactions. When we learn more about how we impact each other by our words and actions, we take a big step toward success in business and in life.

Science of Self in 60 Seconds

Watch Ron Bonnstetter’s Science of Self in 60 Seconds.