For organizations not ready yet for 100% self managing teams, there is often a Team Lead or some similar job title related to supervision.

For learning experience development, it is important for this role to have an in-depth understanding of learning experience development. This may include experience in web-based training, blended instructor-led training or training simulation.

Traditional Team Lead Role (Non-Agile)

Traditional Team Leads guide the media specialists and software developers to ensure their components are built to address the learning objectives as intended.

Traditional Team Leads report progress to management.

Agile Modifications to Team Lead Role

In Agile, Team Lead roles typically perform the following:

  • Modifies the schedule to depict Agile iteration/courseware increments every two weeks.

  • Invites management to view the Kanban board at any time to get information they need on progress.

Caution

Much of the Agile literature seems to indicate that the ideal is that leaders simply view the Kanban board that radiates the information leadership needs to assess progress.

However, in many organizations where the particular courseware project is one of many in the manager’s portfolio, the manager cannot or will not take the time to use the Kanban as their only assessment input. Overseeing large portfolios of projects or programs often means the manager may not have the time to personally prepare all the reporting.

Often, managers are not located near the development team. Using a self-serve Kanban board requires the manager to go to the Kanban board, either walking to a physical board or signing on to a virtual Kanban board app. Some managers still have to forward progress updates to their next higher level of management in a format that leader expects.

Using a Kanban board also delegates up the reporting effort back to the manager, instead of the typical non-Agile situation where the reporting effort is delegated down to the Team Lead.

Managers in these situations will typically continue to ask for periodic reports in the normal format that they use to monitor the health of their entire portfolio of projects.

In this case, the Kanban still helps because it provides the Team Lead with the information needed to provide that report to management without interrupting the team members every time this management update report is due.

You may need to change the management culture if you desire to use Tiered Kanbans as the primary reporting mechanism. Simply transferring the reporting effort (Lean transaction waste?) from the Team Lead to the manager is a hard sell in many organizations.

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