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Comments/Corrections: Dennis Barnes

Welcome to SeaSpin

Free and open to all the Software Development community, our group is comprised of local practitioners, students, academics, and leaders in IT and Software Development. We meet monthly and invite you to join us!

For more information on SeaSPIN, contact Patrick McMonagle or chime in on our LinkedIn group!

February 5th: If We’re Agile, Why Do We Need Managers?

Presented by Ron Lichty

A common misconception about agile is that managers are unnecessary. After all, agile is based on self-organizing teams. If the teams organize themselves, what do managers do?

Unfortunately, most scrum training plays into that. Think about it: how many trainers or coaches have you seen sketch the structure of a scrum team with a drawing that includes a manager? While there's always a scrum master and a product owner, the core team and maybe some stakeholders, have you ever seen a manager in that drawing?

This misconception can be a problem all around: A frequently cited barrier to agile adoption is managers who don't know what to do when their teams become self-managing. When they're not included in training, how would they (or anyone else, for that matter) know how to characterize their role. At the same time, organizations often lay down expectations of managers, some compatible with agile, some not.

Agile has shifted the old roles and responsibilities. Managers bent on command-and-control are clearly a barrier to agile adoption. But managers who take a hands-off approach or are treading water in a sea of ambiguity will almost certainly stymie adoption, as well.

Like a lot of the early agile thought leaders, Ron believes that managers have critical roles to play in enabling success, both of transitions to agile and of agile itself. This session is about those roles.

Ron Lichty

Ron Lichty has been alternating between consulting with and managing software development and product organizations for over 25 years, almost all of those spent untangling the knots in software development and transforming chaos to clarity, the last 19 of those in the era of Agile. Originally a programmer, he earned several patents and wrote two popular programming books before being hired into his first management role by Apple Computer, which nurtured his managerial growth in both development and product management roles.

Principal and owner of Ron Lichty Consulting, Inc. (www.RonLichty.com), he has trained teams in Scrum, transitioned teams from waterfall and iterative methodologies to agile, coached teams already using agile to make their software development "hum", and trained managers in managing software people and teams. In his continued search for effective best practices, Ron co-authors the periodic Study of Product Team Performance (http://www.ronlichty.com/study.html).

Ron's most recent book is Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams (http://www.ManagingTheUnmanageable.net) co-authored with Pixar and Gracenote CTO Mickey W. Mantle. Published by Addison Wesley, it has been compared by reviewers to software development classics, The Mythical Man-Month and Peopleware.

Ron has been an adviser to a half-dozen start-ups. He co-chairs the Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Community in Palo Alto, and was a board member of SVForum, Silicon Valley’s largest and oldest developer organization.

Meeting Location and Schedule

5:30-6:15 pm: Networking and food supplied by our generous sponsor, Smartsheet
6:15-6:30 pm: Business meeting
6:30-8:00 pm: Featured presentation 

The meeting will be hosted by:

   Smartsheet
Bellevue Place
   10500 NE 8th St.
   Bellevue, WA 98004

The meeting is held in the Board Room, located on the second floor of the Bellevue Hyatt atrium near Nova Eye Care. Enter the Bellevue Place parking lot from westbound NE 8th and take a ticket - parking is free after 8:00 pm. Directions to Bellevue Place are on the map to the left.

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SeaSpin is hosted by Smartsheet and coordinated by Patrick McMonagle. The SeaSpin charter can be found here.