Agile Leadership Lessons : Agile 2011 Sprint 3

See Previous: Agile 2011 Sprint 2: Early vs Late Learning
Agile Leadership was discussed in various sessions, including the CIO panel moderated by Beverley Head (Freelance Journalist) with
Steve Coles (Chief Information Officer, Allianz) ,
Jeff Smith (Chief Executive Officer, Suncorp Business Services, Suncorp) ,
John Sullivan (Head of Technology New Business Development, Jetstar) and
Daniel Oertli (Chief Information Officer, REA Group) .

[ff @BeverleyHead @jpsmitty ]

Key new skills for Agile Leadership


  • Be open to listening more to fresher perspectives
  • Well-developed listening skills.
  • More facilitated discussions.

Remove barriers

  • Removing internal barriers to change.
  • Beware of constraint of thought.
  • Flatten reporting lines.
  • More governance is not the solution.
  • Add value from behind the team.

Clear purpose

  • The Leader is a coach, not the controller. Clarity of purpose.
  • Hire the smartest people you can.
  • Be clear on the mission.

Agile is a cultural change enabler

Daniel Oertli, from, is an enjoyable and energetic speaker. The key message I took away was to be prepared for the fact that Agile is a cultural change enabler. This requires a continuous change and deployment mindset across the organisation.

Better is the point

[ff @MichaelBromley]

Michael Bromley from NBNCo discussed that Agile isn’t the point, Better is the point. Some interesting leadership issues he highlighted included:

  • Iterate becoming agile too.
  • It’s a cultural change.
  • Find people who have the thirst and hunger.
  • Nothing works better than just doing it.
  • Don’t gloat or preach when Agile delivers better results than traditional methods. This creates animosity.
  • Just be better. Creates less internal organisational change friction.
  • Sprint your business.
  • Find curious smart people who want to make the difference.
  • The NBNCo Revised the Agile Manifesto to Value
  • Teamwork and Responsibility
  • Business Value
  • Partnership Collaboration
  • Embracing Change

Agile for start-ups

[ff @adrianlsmith @ennova_au]

Adrian Smith from Ennova discussed some startup principles and approaches and their Agile experience. It was good to see Lean Startups from Eric Ries rear it’s head again.

Agile Leadership across borders

Sascha Ragtschaa, IT Manager for Global Applications in Computershare Technology Services, presented on Rolling out Agile principles in a global organisation. Leadership issues he noted:

  • Stamina is needed
  • Scrum helped the PM process
  • XP helped address quality issues
  • Mandating was required to prevent reverting back to old processes in crisis.
  • Implemented a matrix structure to address Agile project management issues.
  • Implemented Agile for the infrastructure teams
  • Helped to focus on outstanding effort instead of daily grind
  • Used product backlog into one stream of work.

[ff @scrumology]

In a Panel discussion,Kane Mar,President of Scrumology discussed that the Engineering metaphor is damaging and Agile should be considered as an ecosystem.

[ff @nickmuldoon @atlassian]

Nicholas Muldoon, Atlassian Product manager discussed continuous improvement and how to incentivize staff to bring great ideas to the table.

That’s my take on the Agile Leadership lessons for Agile Australia 2011. Please let me know your views in the comments below.

To learn more about Agile Leadership and contribute, have a look at

Agile Leadership Network

Credit : Agile Leadership Network

Next Post : Agile 2011 Sprint 4: Stimulate your thinking process