Covering the buzzwords - Agile Leadership, Squads and Daily-Sprints

Frankfurt, 1. November 2017 – Ever since there is #facebook, #google and #spotify, DAX companies are afraid of the #disruption that comes with #digitalization. This is why executives visit #siliconvalley, to get a first-hand impression of its #spirit and #failureculture. Back to Germany, they throw away their ties, wear sneakers and use a more informal language when communicating with their employees. Suddenly those employees have to be one thing above all else: #agile.

But, can you call it agile leadership, when your boss suddenly wants you to spend 15 minutes of each morning telling him what you are up to that day? Or if you have to call your team “squad” and write everything down on post-its that now cover the walls? What’s in it for you, if you know nothing about programming, cannot understand, why there are so many hashtags in the text and still prefer meeting real friends over talking to Siri or Alexa?

The participants of the leadership café in Böblingen tried to answer those questions. In her keynote, Jennifer Ahlheim (manager at CPC) specifically spoke about the cultural change that enables agile transformation. However, this transformation is a major challenge for many companies that try to implement agile patterns, like daily sprints, only to realize later that their employees still use the sprint meetings to report to their superiors, instead of making own decisions.

Thus, starting with the executives themselves is a far more successful approach. The recommendation for them is simple: Create short-term plans. Check the implementation. Adjust the plan. Do so consistently. Do not try to fulfill all of the management’s wishes. At this point, future agile leaders realize that it is not as easy as it seems.

When using Scrum as a guideline, the following values are crucial: commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect. For many German companies, the road to organizational structures that contain those values can be long and challenging, but it is also necessary. The discussion participants all agreed on that fact.

In this context, it is vital to support the transformation process with change management measures that take into account the current status of the organization, thus helping to establish agility in the long term.