“Management” in this article refers to all kinds of management – portfolio, product, manager, etc.

A common problem for Agile teams is the lack of cooperation from management. When the challenges involving management are analyzed, it is common to see many of these challenges are due to a lack of a common understanding of how things work.

This lack of understanding often has management appear to be antagonistic and unsupportive of the teams.  But that is a symptom of another problem. In The Choice, Eli Goldratt remarks “A comfort zone has less to do with control and more to do with knowledge.”

Unfortunately, most teams are following frameworks without a deep understanding of the first principles on which they are based. Scrum doesn’t even mention them. SAFe alludes more to guidance based on them.

When the teams are not using first principles directly, there is no common language that can be used to create an approach that both management and teams can get behind. Management is more interested in value add, risk, and delays to schedules. These can best be seen through value stream management – something missing in popular Agile frameworks as well.

Although many Scrum proponents blame management for not being supportive, this lack of first principles and value stream management should have people expect this misalignment. With a common understanding of first principles, and value streams managers and teams can work better together and use them to resolve conflicts.

These chapters provide you with a solid understanding of first principles

If you just came to this book to learn how to work with executives and managers better, we recommend reading the following chapters. However, if you have limited time, read the last two articles in this list.

  1. Systems Thinking and Complexity
  2. Attend to Value Streams
  3. First Principles and Mindsets/Values

These articles can help you convey ideas to people

  1. What’s the difference between experts and those with less competence?  
  2. The Pickup Sticks Model of Creating Curriculum 
  3. What to say when someone doesn’t get it 
  4. How to get management to listen to you 
  5. Getting Executives to Understand Agile by Talking About Value Streams

This is a great article for executives to read

Why Leaders Should Focus on Value Streams. Cutter Consortium, by Al Shalloway

 

Go to Amplio Development: The Path to Effective Lean-Agile Teams 

Go to Being a Professional Coach

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