Over time a track evolves during repeating trips on unpaved ways that digs ever more deeply into the ground. This leads to the effect that the vehicle sometime touches down and gets stuck. On the one hand this can be avoided by always staying out of the same track or, on the other hand, by avoiding the used track and staying always on new ground. The same happens, if you organize the work too strictly standardizes and punish the breaking out of the defaults. Executives now expect new procedures under the flag of agility that adapt flexibly to requirements, solve actively or pro-actively tasks and fits into the current condition in such a way that the results are reached quickly and reliably. You evade the worn-out track of excessively bureaucratic project management with the agile project organization.
The introduction of these temporarily dynamic working groups is reduced to a few roles that are outlined in the following.
- Agile Team Leader (ATL)
No matter, whether you call them Agile Team Leader, Agile Coach or ScrumMaster, they are neither for the project nor for its results accountable, but for the right application of agile methods, in order to have the team cooperating at best. For this purpose, he pays attention to keeping the time boxes and rules, mediates between the product owner and the working group, guarantees that disturbances and obstacles get out of the way, facilitates meetings, and takes care of the results. The more project experience, the more effective is the Agile Team Leader.
- Product Owner (PO)
The Product Owner is „the customer “and is responsible for the business results of the project. He is authorized to further develop the mission, to describe the future target condition, to set the business framework, to request necessary business specialists and to become informed about the progress at any time. Business decisions, the business prioritization of open tasks in the backlog and a fast return on investment are his mission. For this purpose he is available for questions of the working group at any time and delivers reliable business answers. The stronger the relationship of the Product Owner with the team is, the more favorable it is for the progress of the project.
- Agile Team (Team)
The members of the team are the agents for creating results. The team consists of 7plusminus2 members. If the task requires more people, they form accordingly independently more teams, which exchange the necessary information among themselves. Each employee works full time in the team and is its own boss, who decides on the processing of the selected tasks and the quality of the own results. The employees come to an agreement in daily standup meetings. At the end of a work cycle (mostly called sprint), everybody delivers the increments. The individuals know, what has to be done, since they know the Big Picture of the project and are in the position to pull the necessary information directly from the Product Owner. The fuel of the team is the intrinsic motivation that stimulates each employees and among one another. The more entrepreneurial the individual members are, the more will be achieved.
The roles become archetypes, if you assume that the individual actors always perform exactly the same way. But you only get close to this archetype, if you provide the team the appropriate openness to. For this purpose you need that
- the Agile Team Leaders exploit all methodical possibilities,
- the Product Owner are available with no delay and
- the Agile Team consists of interested, independent volunteers.
As long as superiors intervene by leading in parallel, delegate employees into the teams or individuals are overloaded with several projects at the same time, the agile ideal will remain in unattainable distance.
Bottom line: The Agile Project Organization breaks with all rules of leadership and shifts the tasks onto a few roles that act based on their subjective interests. The Agile Team Leader is thereby the problem solver concerning the methodology. The Product Owner is the ideal customer, who articulates immediately reliable requirements and accepts the increments. The Agile Team is the self-organized swarm of business oriented individuals, who ideally cooperate opportunistically and propel each other. The Agile Project Organization is the current way from the worn-out tracks, which has yet still to be proven.
P.S.: Agile tools, like e.g. the Scrum Board, Daily Stand-Up Meetings, the administration of the Backlogs the Agile Governance etc. round-up the desired agility. To be continued.