Top Management’s Relationship with Agile Methodologies

For any successful agile transformation it is essential to train all three involved parties (management, delivery and business side) within an organization – says Árpád Zsolt Bodó, the founder of Sprint Consulting. Today an agile training program, built into the employers’ compensation packages, is very attractive for jobseekers and engaging for employees.

Q: When people who don’t have a deep understanding of the topic are talking about the agile methodology at professional conferences, they often mean the working methods of developers. Is this really the case?

A: Agile is not only about developers, moreover a professional training program shouldn’t even start with them. To our clients’ big surprise an agile transformation starts with a 2-3 days long training with the decision-makers and their top managers. And naturally the training of the delivery (development, testing) and the business side closely follow the course with the management. Then this training process starts to differentiate according to the diverse scope of positions, as it is shown on the illustration below.

Q: So is the solution an open training for the top management before decision-making?

A: No, because decision-makers can’t talk about real and sensitive corporate problems in an open training. We always recommend an in-house training for managers instead. Where the results must be: common agile vocabulary, common interpretation and common agile perspective for the current problems. In short, the compasses of the whole corporate top management have to point in the same direction by the end of the training. The one and only solution for this is an in-house training. This is how we start to establish the collaboration within the entire organization, which is one of the fundamentals of agile.

Q: We can hear a lot about agile management and developments. Is this popular method suitable for every company?

A: Definitely not. There are companies, working environments, projects and situations, where the agile approach is inappropriate. This is not a universal medicine, which can always be applied to any corporate problems. We have seen companies, where the pursuit of an agile approach literally meant the end of the business unit or the product.

Q: How do you think Sprint Consulting has become the leading agile consulting and training firm in Central and Eastern Europe?

A: There are two main reasons for the success of our agile transformations. First, our trainers and consultants have many years of experience in corporate agile transformation projects. And second, based on this experience, if we do not see the agile providing enough value for them, or the organization’s willingness to make such a change, we will discourage decision-makers from rushing into a transformation project. Instead we help them to fulfill the necessary prerequisites.

I believe this long-term thinking helped Sprint Consulting to achieve its current position.


This article is an English version of an interview with Mr. Zsolt Arpad Bodo, PhD made by IT Business.