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What Is Agile Leadership?

by | Jan 13, 2020 | Season 3

BONUS - Almost Final Thoughts | Season 2 Episode 7

Traditional project management is slowly becoming outdated. A new product development method and approach to leadership called Agile has proved that there are advantages to being quick and efficient in your iterations.

In today’s episode, Glori Winders shares how effective the Agile method is in product development. She also describes what servant-leadership is and how you can emulate it through the role of a Scrum Master.

Tune in to this podcast to learn more about leadership and the Agile method!

About Glori

Glori Winders is a Certified Product Owner and Certified ScrumMaster. She is well versed in the Agile method and has been both using it and teaching it to other people. 

To reach out to Glori or know more about her, visit her website or LinkedIn.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Learn what the Agile method is and how to apply it.
  2. Discover leadership through Scrum and the Scrum Master role.
  3. Know more about what servant-leadership entails.

Episode Highlights

[02:50] Glori’s Work Situation

  • Glori has always worked on the operation side of their business.
  • She previously worked as an executive assistant for her first company. She worked with another executive, and they dealt with product development. 
  • Corporate structure, in general, can be slow and methodical. Her entrepreneurial background helped her in the endeavor, knowing that making fast decisions and quickly pivoting was important.
  • Glori realized that Tim and her both applied Agile principles in their company without even knowing about it.
  • Being agile was all about coming up with plans and executing them over and over with the intent of learning from the iterations.

[07:40] The Definition of Agile

  • Agile is a set of values and principles that guide organizations and their behaviors to maximize effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Its core objective is iterating quickly and responding to change.
  • Agile is culturally safe because it prioritizes people instead of processes and tools.
  • It also helps in customer service because of the greater emphasis on analyzing feedback and applying them.
  • It aims to deliver value rapidly and constantly.

[08:30] Scrum and Project Management

  • The word scrum comes from rugby.
  • Scrum is when the team is all huddled together, pushing and working in unison.
  • Traditional project management involves laying out the plan step by step without the option to skip stages.
  • A hybrid project management method, such as Agile, means faster iterations for quicker growth.
  • Overall, the Agile method aims to release a better product in less time in contrast with traditional planning.

[11:23] Benefits of Agile 

  • Agile was first used in software development.
  • The software industry is a fast-paced environment, where products could easily be obsolete by the time they are released.
  • The main idea is putting it out in the market for testing and analysis as early as possible.
  • This product development method also saves money, as it prevents wasted time and investments.

[13:05] Scrum’s Goal

  • The goal should be to create empowered teams.
  • Scrum is a framework that helps you be agile.
  • Within the Scrum framework, there is the development team, product owner, and Scrum Master.

[15:27] The Scrum Master

  • The Scrum Master’s job is to create an environment where everyone can move forward.
  • This role should not be confused with that of a manager or boss as the Scrum Master has no authority.
  • Glori herself is the Scrum Master for her team.
  • She feels that she has this role even outside work, as she tends to be an encourager and supporter of people.

[19:49] The Agile Manifesto

  • One of the values is interactions and individuals over processes and tools.
  • It’s important to put people first, especially customers.
  • The five Scrum values are commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect.
  • These are important to maintain a healthy work environment, and it also relates to leadership because of the necessity to build trust.

[22:42] Advantages and Challenges of Agile Leadership

  • Companies undergoing organizational change could benefit from more straightforward leadership than merely team-centric methods.
  • However, this could also mean no external leadership is necessary if the group has been Agile for a long time.

[26:19] The Scrum Framework

  • Planning the sprint is the first part of Scrum, and it’s all about short-term goals and accomplishments.
  • The sprint can last anywhere between two to four weeks.
  • The daily stand-up is a 15-minute meeting where everything is assessed according to what you did yesterday, are doing today, and anything that’s blocking them.
  • If there are setbacks and issues, you need to understand why it didn’t work and what you could do better on the next sprint.
  • The difference between a Scrum Master and a facilitator is ownership of the team’s success or failure.

[36:53] “Jerks” in a Scrum Setting

  • EQ and people-skills are very important in Agile and Scrum.
  • If someone is uncooperative, the Scrum Master has to step in as a coach to fix the problem.

[39:30] Servant Leadership In Agile

  • A Scrum Master makes sure that the team succeeds through their service and not for personal glory.
  • It entails “leading from behind” and having the interest of others in mind.

5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode

“Agile is a set of values and principles that guide an organization and its people in their culture and their behaviors, and it focuses on efficiency and effectiveness by iterating quickly, and responding to change.”

“The five Scrum values are commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect, and I think those probably are five things you have been talking about this season in leadership.”

“We’re putting people and interactions with people first, and we’re all working together, and we’re building trust, and we’re learning how to work together to create products, projects, events.”

“[Servant leadership] is leadership where the leader interacts with others with the aim of achieving moral authority for leading rather than relying on position or role authority. The servant leader promotes the well being of those they lead and puts the interests of them ahead of their own.”

“The best servant leaders in history were Gandhi, Jesus, and MLK, and all three of them died, but all of their principles kept moving forward because people still wanted to follow the principles that they left.”

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