Agile leadership is the practice of removing roadblocks to success and streamlining productivity. As agile teams are already proficient in collaboration, the focus of an agile leader is on reducing waste and empowering teams to reach their full potential.
In product management, agile leaders are known for their ability to facilitate better collaboration, ideation, and performance. They have strong management skills, great people skills, but they also know when to hand over control to the team when the product requires it.
How can you recognize an agile leader? What is agile leadership in action?
In a lean-agile framework, agile leaders have three dimensions (or principles) to guide their efforts:
Leading by example
Mindset and principles
These dimensions allow agile leaders to continue working on projects while also setting an example to others. This helps teams stay aligned with the core agile principles.
Let’s quickly break down what each dimension means.
Agile leaders need to put their money where their mouth is. It’s one thing to preach agile practices, it’s another to actually do them.
Agile leaders set the bar for where other team members should be in terms of expected behaviors. By doing this, they can lead meaningful transformations throughout their team and offer a real-world example to the wider organization.
It’s always useful to remember that some people within your organization will be resistant to agile transformation. As with agile coaching, agile leaders need to align everyone with the core agile principles before the benefits can be felt. They will need to create a new mindset that the entire organization should align with that incorporates those agile principles.
For any kind of organizational change to be effective, it requires leaders to blaze a new trail rather than taking a supporting role. This involves building a suitable environment, preparing others, providing the required resources, fostering a new culture, and anything else needed to facilitate a new agile workplace.
An Agile Leadership Certification represents proven experience and competence within an agile setting. Becoming a certified agile leader can quickly accelerate your learning curve while offering a glimpse into the role you could play in a sustainable agile transformation.
There are many, many agile leadership courses available both online and in-person. These courses can be taken by aspiring agile coaches, product owners, scrum masters, team leaders, and other agile or leadership roles.
The time it takes to become a certified agile leader varies depending on which provider and which course you choose. For example, an entry-level course with Scrum Alliance will require 8 hours of live instruction per module, whereas the advanced CAL II certification takes roughly a year.