The importance of having “air support”

I came across this interesting Xtranormal video created by the folks at UPMentors via David Joyce’s recent blog post “Agile, Lean, and Kanban, Do They Change Management Thinking?”

You can see what UPMentors have to say about it on their blog post that accompanies the video.

I can definitely see echoes of the different scenes that I have encountered since I’ve been working as an agile manager. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on projects where there has been a clear mandate issued from management to allow us to get on with the job. This CEO and CTO level backing has its blessings and also its drawbacks. On one hand, having some top-level management providing “close air support” for us allowed us enough freedom to not be tied into institutional red tape and to be innovative. It allowed us to deliver what I consider would have been impossible to do were we forced to conform to the “standard operating procedure” playbook.

A flipside to this is that we discovered that this was considered by other parts of the company to be receiving “special treatment”. Circumstances evolved such that our “air support” was removed and then all of the behaviour seen in UPMentors’ video started to rain down upon us.

It’s definitely possible for institutional issues, as raised in the video, to be mitigated against although sometimes it can sometimes feel like it’s just you vs the system. It’s pretty hard to fight all of these battles while still trying to work on effectively deliver value for your project at the same time.

So, I’d definitely agree with a lot of what David says in his post. It really helps  to have someone flying air cover for you.

I’d be interested to see what you have to say about this. Have you encountered any of the behaviour that is displayed in the video? If so, what have you done in response?

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