Are you an effective Agile Executive?

You are an executive in your organization’s Product or Engineering function. Your Agile PMO or Agile Coaches have established a tailored agile planning approach modeled after proven practices and common sense around human behavior and change management.

The key ceremonies of the planning approach from high level to individual sprint team level are well established on the calendar ahead of time because of a common cadence.

Regardless of this you don’t show up to most of the higher level planning ceremonies, yet you desire there to be firm accountability of others to them and their outcome. Why?

In my experience as an executive in an Agile organization, if you continually can’t attend your team’s broader Agile planning ceremonies, investment theme planning, release planning (Agile Release Train) either you don’t feel it valuable enough to make a priority or you do and you’re just not delegating effectively to be able to show up.

If it’s the former than you should tell your organization’s Agile Coaches or Agile PMO why it isn’t valuable and provide input on how it should work so that you would find value in the process.

Do your people in your Agile Product Development system allocate adequate time to engage effectively in planning? Do they procrastinate on planning waiting until the last minute and then just do the absolute minimum to rubber stamp their participation,usually removing the collaborative aspect of Agile planning in the process. Why is that?

Is it the incompetence or irresponsibility of the people working in the system? Or is the behavior a result of what the ‘system’ values?

Who controls the constraints / policies of the system? Do they know that their choices and behaviors set the policies whether they are explicit or not? It’s worse if there are explicit policies but those that set them don’t practice or stay within the spirit of them.

Long ago I received a funny gift that, to this day, I remember the wisdom it conveyed. It was a wooden box with an inscription. “Inside lies the best answer for who’s accountable for the dysfunction in your organization”. Inside the box was a mirror at an angle were you saw yourself 🙂 be-accountable

Food for thought when you consider how you can truly be a leader to your Agile Organization and enable effective and efficient Agile planning at all levels.


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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