Influence of Large-Scale Organization Structures on Leadership Behaviors

room: San Francisco — time: Tuesday 14:00-14:45
Level: Introductory

In a large agile organization (more than three teams or 30 team members) with self-organized empowered teams, R&D leadership roles still exist to support these teams through topics including resource management and strategic vision. This talk will highlight these R&D leadership roles, describe several example R&D organization structures, and then describe the behaviors (good and bad) stimulated by these structures, the challenges, and their impact on the teams. The talk concludes by describing the key attributes of leaders who will thrive in a large agile organization.


This will be a PowerPoint-driven presentation following by Questions/Discussion.

  1. Introduction – 5 minutes

    • “You manage things; you lead people” – Grace Murray Hopper
    • Agile organizations have self-organized empowered teams who are accountable for the project results
  2. R&D Leadership Roles Supporting Agile Teams – 5 minutes

    • Resource Management — Coaching, career development, performance management (motivating teams), team building/maintenance (recruiting, retention), skill mapping
    • Beyond Resource Management — Strategic vision, technical vision for component/application, Competitive/industry awareness, process maintenance and measurement of effectiveness, Procurement and contracting, Facilities and environment
  3. Organizational Models – 10 minutes

    • “Flat” — 30+:1 developer to manager ratio
    • Matrix structure for Resource Management with Architect Leaders
    • “Classic” structure — 15:1 developer to manager ratio
    • Discussion will include how teams are formed and leadership roles in these models
  4. Behaviors/Challenges – 10 minutes

    • Discussion of the good & bad leadership behaviors that each model can stimulate, challenges, and their impact on the teams.
    • Examples: Limited focus on employee growth & career development, leaders directing instead of guiding, perception of multiple managers, etc.
  5. Conclusion – 5 minutes

    • Key attributes of leaders who will thrive in a large agile organization
  6. Questions/Discussion – 10 minutes

Learning outcomes
  • Leading vs. managing an Agile R&D organization
  • R&D leadership roles that support agile teams
  • Example large-scale Agile R&D organizational structures
  • Behaviors (good and bad) stimulated in these organizational structures and their impact on the teams
  • Key attributes of leaders who will thrive in a large agile organization
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