More than 15 years ago, the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was created—the “Magna Carta” for agile development. And while this was a powerful document for development work, managers felt left out. To this day, some claim there is no place for managers in Agile. But the act of managing is not obsolete by any stretch in software development—it merely needs some refinement and an update in focus.
A core objective of the agile movement was to shift the focus of software development to creating more valuable software, frequently. It can be expected that the act of managing in an agile environment is different than traditional project or employee management: at its center, it must maximize the value that the software brings. Enter a new management culture, Empirical Management, thriving on evidence-based decision-making. Managers in product-development organizations are making the shift from predictive management, where plans and predictions prevail, to empirical management, where evidence and experience is used for better decision-making.
There is value in applying the Scrum stance in the managerial domain. Informed management decisions can be made if it is made transparent whether the software created is indeed valuable; valuable to the organization, its users and the wider ecosystem. Indicators of value become the primary source for inspection, in order to adapt how the software is being produced.
In the opening keynote of the first edition of the Scrum Day London event, Gunther Verheyen explored the idea of Empirical Management and the updated act of managing in today’s agile software development.