Hiring Agile Managers


Assume for a moment you were asked to hire an Agile manager for your business.  What kind of manager would you hire? What qualities are important? What behaviors would you like to see demonstrated by your new manager each and every day? Here are some questions to get you thinking about it.

  • Is the manager conservative, with respect for traditions and status quo? Or is the manager less focused on what has worked in the past and does not rely on precedent?
  • Is the manager innovative, willing to try new untested approaches and ideas?
  • Is the manager technical, maintaining in-depth knowledge of the technical domains in which (s)he works?
  • Does the manager believe that decisions are made by him/her alone? Or does the manager have a collaborative mindset and uses engagement, interaction, and conversation to drive debate and uses that knowledge to arrive at a team decision?
  • Does the manager think strategically? Not just short-term, but long-term and does this manager use intuition alone or data alone to look at strategy or a combination of the two?
  • Is the manager persuasive? Does the manager influence effectively? Is the manager capable of adapting to cultures and mindsets and thinking styles whenever necessary to deliver the right message?
  • Is the manager an introvert or extrovert?
  • Does the manager have energy, intensity, emotional expression, and have the ability to motivate others?

These and other questions are covered in-depth in the following report. I invite your feedback and comments on what YOU think makes a good Agile manager. Have you hired one recently? How did you decide? I welcome the collective wisdom.

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One thought on “Hiring Agile Managers

  1. Good questions and an important topic, Raj!
    My two cents:
    – “Good” agile managers are experienced in using agile methods, passionate about it, and yet realistic enough to realise that the people are the most important factor for successful new product development.
    – When talking about what a person is most proud of having accomplished previously in their careers, I expect to hear a “good” agile manager talking substantially about others – not just themselves. They would ideally be proud of their ability to teach and lead via example, to coach, rather than to direct.
    – I think we agree and at least I have found that “good” agile managers disturb the status quo, look for how to improve continuously, are full of energy, have some humility about what they don’t know, love communication and technology, and are proud of team success.
    – I’ve seen different hiring styles in the several agile companies I have worked in, but all require a substantial investment in time by other experienced agilists, including ideally managers and non-managers – the line between the two in the agile world is much less distinct and the opinion of those to be “managed” counts more than ever.

    Thanks for this blog posting!

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