Do I Still Have a Job? Roles and Org Structure in an Agile Transition

room: Regency C — time: Tuesday 14:00-14:45, Tuesday 14:45-15:30, Tuesday 16:00-16:45, Tuesday 16:45-17:30
Level: Practicing

As an organization becomes more agile, people often worry about the future of their jobs. If detailed requirements documents aren’t needed anymore, what happens to a business analyst? If people aren’t constantly shuffling from one project to another, what does a program manager do? If testers are part of scrum teams, how can a QA lead increase quality? In this workshop, participants will explore how different roles change during an agile transition, envision new roles for everyone, and discuss strategies for change that help address the fears that often prevent successful agile adoption.


This workshop is targeted both at beginner individuals who are wondering what their role is in an agile organization, and at coaches and practitioners who need to help people find new roles during the change process. Through an interactive discovery process, we’ll help the two groups work together to define new roles and transition plans.


  1. Welcome + Introduction

Part I: Role Transitions (80 mins)

  1. Activity: What’s my job like today?
    • Participants will form into affinity groups of 5-7 people based on related roles (Engineers, Testers, Functional Managers, Project Managers + Scrum Masters, Program Managers, etc).
    • Each group will brainstorm a list of current responsibilities and activities on sticky notes
    • Each group will sort activities into two piles: “Customer Value Creation” and “Organizational Overhead”
  2. Presentation: Traditional Org Structures vs. Agile Org Structures. We’ll discuss the different models that are typical, and talk about what waste is eliminated in a shift to Agile.
  3. Activity: What’s Waste?
    • In the same groups, participants will review their responsibilities that fall in the “Organizational Overhead” pile
    • For each item, the group will discuss whether it’s still a necessary activity in an agile organization.
    • Some kind of debriefing - one key insight from each group.
  4. Activity: What are the new Agile roles?
    • Each group generates 1-3 new roles, each on a flipchart page.
    • The stickies generated earlier with responsibilities are attached to each role.
    • Each group presents their new roles to the larger group, with a summary of responsibilities

Break (10 mins)

Part 2: How can we change? (80 mins)

  1. Presentation: Models of Change
    • Flow-Pull-Innovate
    • Kotter’s 8 Steps to Leading Change
    • Competing Values Framework ** Identifying Organizational changes ** Identifying personal changes
  2. Exercise: Brainstorming Change Models
  3. What’s my role in the change process?
    • The Change Evangalist
    • The Change Coach
    • The Change Transition Team Member
  4. Leading a Change Transition Team
  5. Discussion and Close

Both Mark and Alex have a lot of experiencing facilitating interactive sessions both at conferences and for customers, so this will be a fun, engaging experience. (Check out our feedback from previous years!) We’re flexible on length, and could split this into two 90-minute sessions (one on role transitions and one on organizational transitions) if those are easier to schedule.

Learning outcomes
  • Understand possible new roles in an agile organization for each traditional role
  • Be familiar with key models for organizational change
  • Envision a new role for each participant in an Agile environment
Featured participants
Primary target persona