Agile = No need for managers?

The Agile framework, especially implemented with SCRUM talks about ‘self-organizing teams’ as one of its benefits. According to definition, as the term says self-organizing-teams are the ones which regulate themselves, demonstrate very high amount of collaboration & teamwork by keeping customer as the first priority. This also means a self-correcting system where teams themselves figure out what has gone wrong and what can be made better.

Does this mean Agile SCRUM implementation results in getting rid of project or people managers? If agile is deployed can we give pink slips to people managers and ask them to leave? The answer is clear NO.

Agile don’t have any standard guideline or reference about people managers or project managers however based on my practical experience I would like to share few points:

  1. Agile requires very high amount of maturity among team members, till then it requires stronger involvement of managers. Here the role of traditional manager take a slight deviation where he needs to play the role of a coach by taking inspirational leadership approach rather than authoritarian.
  2. All people are not same, they need to be differentiated. In order to implement performance management system managers are required to work closely with team.
  3. Only prioritized task level activities are done by SCRUM framework, whereas program / product level activities still needs to be managed well
  4. Will bring down task-level or micro-level action done by managers by still requires supervision and management to run the business show.

One Reply to “Agile = No need for managers?”

  1. Point 1 could be expanded as a book! The people manager needs to be passionate about scrum/agile and coach/motivate/support the team. Also, the role (not calling that a manager anymore) could help the scrum master in clearing roadblocks.
    Point 2 is clearly indicating the resistance from organizations to change the way people are appraised and rewarded.
    Point 3 is more of the product owner work. Good role change option for people manager – however he/she needs to undergo the transformation.
    Point 4 is true esp when the prod owner is forced to follow scrum and still needs somebody beyond the scrum master to go to for off the scrum project updates.

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