July 5, 2014

The Manager

Every financial organisation has managers. There are some Agile purists who suggest that managers are no longer required in an Agile led methodology, there is no mention of the manager role in Scrum, but managers exist everywhere. This page is all about the manager role in financial organisations and how you might become one.


Manager in Agile

The first thing to note about the manager role is that it is not described in the Scrum methodology. I believe this is because the day to day creation of working software from stories does not need a manager. However, managers do play a vital and very visible role in most financial organisations.

If the whole organisation is not Agile based, as is the case in most financial organisations, a good manager can provide a buffer against the demands of waterfall pressures, the ‘direct and control’ culture and solve disputes in the team.


Manager in finance

An organisation is usually more than a single team or single product. In finance the business is usually something other than IT and there may be many conflicting directions and pressure that a team will get from different parts of the business.

The manager’s role is to facilitate with other teams, provide integration with senior management and their teams, direction to follow corporate goals, and protection from the rest of the organisation’s stress and problems.

A good manager will let the team do what it does best and expect the team’s transparency to inform him or allow him to inform himself about progress during development. Progress should be self-evident by what the team is producing both by passing tests and shippable products.

Manager’s also manage people as well as project / product development. People management includes things like discussing career development and mentoring team members on how to be better.

Managers can also serve as a conduit to information about the organisation, sharing bigger picture goals and direction.


Managers typically sign your timesheets.

If a manager has been in the company a long time they can also provide guidance on how to prosper and survive in the organisation. Each organisation does things differently and this can take a while to adjust to. Manager can help with this transition.


The role of the manager in the day to day development team

I recommend that you read the short article by Pete Deemer that is hosted as part of the Scrum Alliance’s set of recommended reading: Manager 2.0: The role of the manager in Scrum.


Becoming a manager

To become a manager, you will almost certainly need some kind of management experience already.

You will almost certainly need some kind of technical management skills and experience as well and for this reason I recommend taking the Scrum Master Certification Course.

Please note: A Scrum Master is not a manager in the traditional sense of the word, I recommend that course here, because the manager should have a good understanding of how the Scrum process works and the best way to get this is to read the Scrum page and further reading and to take this course. The concept of the servant-leader is very important, and I will most likely write a post about this shortly.


Senior management

If you are looking to either progress to a senior management role or move from an existing senior management role into finance, I recommend looking into and getting qualified in the SAFE Agile certification.

The Scaled Agile Framework is how to run an organisation in an Agile way. More and more organisations are looking for managers with experience in running large scale projects with Agile in mind. Check out the Scaled Agile page for details.

Further reading

Simon Powers is the CEO and founder of Adventures with Agile. He has over 20 years’ experience helping very large organisations to thrive in the market and to be better places to work. His approach led him to create our transformative ICAgile Certified Enterprise Agile Coaching training courses, which run worldwide and online. Simon is one of the first ICE-EC experts in the world.