It is important for agile managers to study all aspects of team management- formation/structure, working, growth, reward systems, communication and so on. An agile manager isn’t a micromanager, but someone who leads the team intimately from the outside.
Here are 10 useful ways in which a project manager can manage his/her agile team:
1. Be a cheerleader
As an agile team manager, you are not required to ‘direct’ the work for your team. Your job is to prepare them for success by offering support and guidance from the periphery only. In other words, attempt to be a cheerleader, not an instructor.
2. Don’t hesitate to ask tough questions at the start
It is important to ask certain tough questions before the project begins. Examples of such questions include, “What kind of experience does your team have?”, “Can you predict any possible issues with third party developers?” and so on. Answers to such questions are important for team alignment and knowing that you have the right professionals for the project on board.
3. Prepare your team for change
Agile projects are all about constantly responding to changes, both internal and external, and you need to prepare your teams for such changes. They should be able to constantly review priorities and transfer/modify available resources.
4. Management of metrics
It is the job of an agile manager to use the metrics from the product owner and the team to improve processes and deliver value. This involves using a new range of updated status reports and the ability to address changes.
5. Allow the truth to be self-evident
Create a visual work place and allow the team to see the real state of the project. This way, you won’t have to be the one to deliver any bad news. Keep a constant track on things and let the true facts be known to all.
6. Set high standards right from the beginning
Whatever it is that you want- quality, refactoring or production readiness, make it known to your team right at the beginning so that they know the level of value that needs to be delivered for the project.
7. Take a back seat
The best results come when teams take their own initiatives, whether it’s coming up with new ideas or solving problems. So, don’t allow your team to depend on you for solutions. This does not take away from your value as a leader. In fact, it shows that you’ve prepared your team in such a way that they can execute things without your constant attention.
8. Put the focus on the bigger picture
An agile manager needs to create a work environment where the entire team focuses on the final product. In other words, the bigger picture should take precedence over individual contributions.
9. Encourage accountability
Allow your team to give demos and explain why certain things will or will not work. Good teams like being accountable for different aspects of a project.
10. Make trust an important factor for your team
Each team member in an agile project should be able to trust that the other will deliver their bit of the work in the right time and right way. It is the job of an agile project manager to enforce such trust among members.