Friday, September 15, 2017

SPaMCast 456 Interview: Why haven’t we seen a model for Agile Leaders?

Jeff, with the plethora of leadership books, business books for CIOs – whether that’s paper or online – why haven’t we seen a model for leadership? Why haven’t we seen at least something that says, “Here are the things to think about,” whether it’s a model or a guide post, as you’ve called it? ~ Tom Cagley, SPaMCast

[NOTE: Over the coming weeks, this CMMI Appraiser will be sharing excerpts from a recent conversation with Tom Cagley on the Software Process and Measurement Cast (SPaMCast) about leadership, and whether leadership is more or less important in today’s Agile world. Listen to the full interview at SPaMCast 456.]


That’s a really good question. I don’t know that I have a definitive answer for why no model exists for leaders, let alone Agile Leaders. You and I have both been leaders, and it seems to me that leaders have been reluctant to embrace anything like that. I don’t think they’ve even asked the industry for something like that. It could be that nobody has come out with a model that illuminates people in the way that they want to be illuminated. So I think there’s an opportunity, especially in the Agile space, for a leadership model or guide post.

Our friends at the Nationwide Insurance are doing some really neat things with this concept, however. They’ve created their 21 agile tea leaves, which they are applying not only to their teams but to their leaders. They’ve really done a nice job of organizing their leaders around this servant leadership idea, and adopting Agile values.

I would say when it comes to scaling Agile to the executive level, Nationwide is a pretty decent model for that. They are really doing some nice work. But again, I don’t think anybody has come out with an industry framework that really excites anybody. There’s room in the market for that.

And by the way, Kevin Fisher, AVP of the Application Development Center of Nationwide, will be one of our keynote speakers at the Agile Leadership Summit on September 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. [See below.]

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I hope my readers have enjoyed this segment of my interview with Tom Cagley on SPaMCast #456. We'll be talking more about leadership, and whether leadership is more or less important in today’s Agile world, in the next segment. Please check back soon.

For those interested in a deeper dive into learning about Agile Leadership, you are invited to join me and other Agile leaders at The 2017 Agile Leadership Summit, hosted by on September 22nd in Washington, DC. I look forward to meeting many of you in person for the first time!

Click here to register for The 2017 Agile Leadership Summit.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI training classes and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students

Visit for more information about engineering strategy, performance innovation, software process improvement and running a successful CMMI program.

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