Being Comfortable In An Enabling Role

“By letting it go it all gets done.

The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try.

The world is beyond the winniing.

– Lao Tzu

As project and program managers transition to Lean-Agile product development, it is common for them to grasp for the perceived ‘control’ they once had in traditional project and program management. This is understandable but there is an important mindset shift that needs to happen.

As uncomfortable as it might be, we (Agile Project Managers) are an enabling role in the system.  We don’t have power to set strategy, policy or allocated resources.  We don’t create the product, we don’t sell the product, we don’t support the product.  We are the immune system that works at keeping the work system healthy.  We play a vital role without control.  We are most effective when we are virtually invisible.

I find that adopting a coaching mindset is the most productive means for transitioning roles.

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About Mike DePaoli

Mike DePaoli has been contributing to the IT community for over two decades and practicing agile and lean approaches to software development since 1996 in roles from programmer to CTO. His evolved approach to crafting successful lean-agile software development organizations was forged by the meaningful challenges he undertook at prior employers and as an Agile Coach at companies such as eBay, Adobe Systems, AOL, NetApp, Disney, Boeing, EMC, and Trizetto. Mike’s area of expertise is helping organizations craft strategic change initiatives that educate on and establish agile and lean values, principles and practices at every tier of the organization. Mike applies systematic thinking with a multi-discipline approach to his work. Mike is a Certified SAFe Agilist, Certified Scrum Professional, Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO). He is a highly-regarded speaker in the Agile community having spoken at Agile conferences in North America, South America and Europe. He is currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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