Certified Agile Leadership Training with Michigan Technology Services
Michigan Technology Services offers instructor-led Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) training, as well as other Agile and Scrum courses, through partnerships with a number of Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Trainers and Agile Leadership Educators.
In a pre-Covid world our training would take place at our location in the Farmington Hills/Novi area, 20 miles outside of Detroit, or at your location anywhere around the world. Our Agile Leadership workshops and Agile coaching sessions are now offered online/virtually, reducing your need to travel.
Pete Behrens and Rachel Weston Rowell are our Agile Leadership instructors and guides. Pete guides leaders to transform themselves and their organizations toward Agile ways of working and improved outcomes. Pete is a Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) Educator. He has been educating Agile leaders since 2011, developed the CAL Program for the Scrum Alliance in 2016 and founded the Agile Leadership Journey Program in 2018. Further, he is a Thought Leader and Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) through the Scrum Alliance. Pete developed the CEC Program for the Scrum Alliance in 2007. Rachel is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and an Agile Leadership Educator. She has been guiding leadership teams for over twenty years, and is passionate about helping executive teams grow their startup organizations.
While many CST’s fly into metro Detroit to deliver Agile and Scrum classes at a hotel, and then leave, we live here and support the local Agile community. We continue to sponsor regional Agile conferences, and have successfully run Agile and Certified Scrum courses for multiple teams in the Great Lakes area, and all over the globe.
What is Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) training?
The vision of Scrum Alliance is to make the values and principles of Agile accessible to every leader, regardless of prior education and experience, by making known the why, what, and how of Agile in a pragmatic and experiential approach.
The Scrum Alliance Certified Agile Leadership classes are education and practice-based courses with the goal of developing Agile leadership competency and maturity.
This workshops are designed for organizational leaders who are responsible for people designing, developing and delivering products and services for their customers. Regardless of your focus – product strategy, business development, research, marketing, design, development, quality, project management, technical operations or deployment – these workshops build effectiveness in guiding teams towards delighting customers in a fast-pace, complex and uncertain environment.
Our next public Certified Agile Leadership class is scheduled for May, 2021. It will be a virtual workshop. The regular course fee is $2,250/student, but early enrollment will be $1,950/student.
This workshop follows the learning objectives and meets the credentials for Agile Leadership Journey Aware Leader Credentials and the Scrum Alliance Certified Agile Leadership Essentials (CAL E) and Organizations (CAL O) Credentials.
We are paying close attention to public health concerns related to COVID-19 and will soon determine when in-person workshops will be available.
Learn about and register for our new online Agile Leadership workshops.
Want a class before May, or later in 2021? Private Certified Agile Leadership workshops for groups or companies are available upon request. We have conducted numerous onsite CAL classes for clients all over the globe. Our private virtual workshops have been receiving high marks from our students. At times, our corporate clients allow individuals to join their private classes. Call us and ask about that option…
Our Agile Leadership educators are also available for coaching and consulting. Contact us for additional details.
For complete information on Scrum Training classes or to request a class date contact Michigan Technology Services. 248-489-0408
Who Should Attend
Agile (and Scrum) is not just for programmers. The Agile Leadership workshop is intended for:
- Leaders who support, lead, or interact with Agile teams
- Leaders who believe their organizations need agility to meet their business objectives and who have committed to making the transformation successful.
- Executives, middle management, and other leaders with organizational influence
- Organizational Leaders include senior executives, vice presidents, directors, middle management, and process and program-level leaders
- Any leader sponsoring, requesting, or involved with an Agile adoption within their organization
- Leaders who need skills and tools that will help their organizations—from startups who want to disrupt an industry to enterprises who want to continue to lead the pack—navigate the constantly evolving business landscape.
This program takes the following into consideration:
- Agile leadership is a broad topic, currently without a shared definition or understanding.
- Organizational agility cannot exceed the level of personal leadership agility of those with the most influence in an organization.
- Because Agile leadership involves ongoing personal development, it is not something that can be mastered in a single training course.
- Develop Agile leadership competency and maturity, which increases effectiveness of a leader in a complex and rapidly changing environment
- Balance education, practice, and peer collaboration
- Flexible for participants and education providers
- Multiple touch points to apply and deepen learning
An Agile leader . . .
- Operates effectively amid uncertainty, complexity, and rapid change
- Is knowledgeable about Agile values, approaches, and practices
- Surfaces more creative solutions through increased self-awareness, a growth mindset, and engaging others
- Aligns and empowers teams toward delivering more customer value
- Personally integrates feedback and experiments, and adapts their ways
- Takes a collaborative continuous-improvement approach to organizational effectiveness
- Catalyzes change in others and facilitates organizational change
We do not require you to be a Certified ScrumMaster or Product Owner to attend. We do, however, expect participants to have a core knowledge of Scrum and Agile Learning Objectives.
If you are coming in with little to no agile experience or education, we will send out some pre-reading and video watching to catch you up to speed on the basics.
In general it would be helpful if you are able to:
- Evaluate the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto for how they relate to an organization’s ability to thrive in complex and rapidly changing conditions.
- Describe at least three characteristics of a high-performing team, and how these characteristics relate to agile thinking.
- Compare and contrast the practices and benefits of at least two common Agile frameworks (e.g. Scrum, Kanban, XP, etc.)
- Describe the benefits of an Agile approach from the perspective of at least three stakeholder groups with differing needs.
Scrum Alliance Learning Objectives
1. Describe at least three economic or market factors that have led to the rise of Agile approaches. For example:
- Technological advances
- Internet, mobile, and social media connectivity
- Globalization of the workforce and economy
2. Illustrate how the complexity and uncertainty of work relates to the fitness of an Agile approach.
3. Identify at least two management trends and their historical fit with the business environments of their time. For example:
- Taylor’s Scientific Management
- Total Quality Management (TQM)
- Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Production System
4. Explain the long-term effects of an organizational focus on delighting the customer, and how that relates to improved outcomes.
5. Explain at least three factors that increase the level of employee engagement, and how that relates to better outcomes. For example:
- Clear purpose
- Opportunity to develop mastery
- Strong social connection
- Daily small wins
6. Describe at least two benefits of becoming a more effective Agile leader. For example:
- Increased ability to make good decisions in a complex environment
- Ability to deliver on personal and organizational purpose with less
- expended energy
Note: Learners can opt out of this section if they hold a Scrum Alliance CSM or CSPO certification that covers the learning objectives in this category.
2.1. Evaluate the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto for how they relate to an organization’s ability to thrive in complex and rapidly changing conditions.
2.2. Describe at least three characteristics of a high-performing team and how these characteristics relate to Agile thinking. For example:
- Psychological safety
- Clear team membership
- High-communication bandwidth
- Aligned around a clear purpose/mission
2.3. Compare and contrast the practices and benefits of at least two common Agile frameworks. For example:
- eXtreme Programming
- Lean Startup
2.4. Describe the benefits of an Agile approach from the perspective of at least three stakeholder groups with differing needs. For example:
- Board of Directors
3.1. Describe at least three key mindset shifts required to effectively lead in an Agile context. For example:
- From fixed mindset to growth mindset
- From directing to coaching
- From telling to collaborating
- From preventing and hiding failure to learning through it
- From viewing the organization as a machine to viewing it as a living system
- From predict and control to inspect and adapt
- From chess master to gardener
- From expert to catalyst
- From reactive to creative
3.2. Explain at least one leadership development framework that is aligned with Agile thinking. For example:
- Leadership Agility (Joiner)
- The Leadership Circle (Anderson)
- NeuroLeadership (Rock)
- The Leadership Gift (Avery)
3.3. Apply at least one technique for incorporating feedback that improves your ability to inspect and adapt your own leadership behavior to increase effectiveness.
3.4. Practice at least one technique that enables a leader to be present, aware, and engaged, while avoiding over-influence and micromanagement. For example:
- Hawthorne effect — paying attention
- Engaging in the Agile delivery and feedback cycle
- Advice Process
3.5. Demonstrate a coaching approach that integrates alternative perspectives, engages others, and improves outcomes.
4.1. Identify at least three challenges an organization might face when undertaking an Agile approach beyond a single team. For example:
- Building trust between teams
- Optimizing the whole
- N-factorial problem as communication scales
- Large-group collaboration
- Psychological safety
4.2. Apply at least three patterns for increasing trust and collaboration between multiple teams. For example:
- Information radiators
- Radical transparency
- Job rotations
- Team liaisons
4.3. Describe at least two factors that influence the culture of an organization and how that relates to organizational agility. For example:
- Power distance index
- Organizational structures
- Leadership beliefs and behaviors
- Risk and change attitudes
- Industry factors
4.4. Evaluate at least two ways to structure an organization in order to enhance agility. For example:
- Value-based matrix (e.g., Spotify)
- Communities of Practice
4.5. Describe at least three governance policies that enhance organizational agility. For example:
- Compensation and incentives
- Career advancement practices
- Performance appraisals
- Procurement and budgeting
- Legal and regulatory
4.6. Deconstruct at least one case study of an organization that uses an Agile approach. For example:
- Morning Star
5.1. Describe an Agile organization as a human system where change is always present and dynamic leadership is required to catalyze that change for positive growth.
5.2. Evaluate at least three organizational metrics for their alignment with Agile thinking and how they impact behaviors and results. For example:
- Outcome-based metrics, such as customer satisfaction, employee engagement, time to market, cost, etc.
- Output-based metrics such as productivity, velocity, features delivered, milestones met, etc.
5.3. Deconstruct at least one change management approach and evaluate its alignment with organizational agility. For example:
- McKinsey 7S
5.4. Describe at least one Agile approach to identify and reduce bottlenecks, impediments, and overall friction in an organization. For example:
- Systems thinking
- Human systems dynamics
- Lean A3
- Organizational agility team using Scrum
- Large-group retrospectives
- Kaizen events
5.5. Reflect on at least one case study of an Agile transformation and critique how it approached change in an Agile way.
Day 1: Personal Agile Leadership
Share in a historical perspective of organizational development and leadership providing a current global context that is driving the need for agility.
Learn a Leadership Agility Maturity Model that fosters self-awareness of their own leadership maturity and discovers more agile thinking and behaviors.
Explore agile leadership mindset and behaviors of leaders at varying maturity levels to reflect on leadership traits in our own leadership and in others.
Practice a 5-step catalyst conversation technique to positively impact every aspect of our work (and personal) life – engaging others without micromanaging them.
Day 2: Leading an Agile Organization
Explore organizational culture and structures and how they impact organizational agility, speed, innovation and collaboration.
Evaluate multiple case studies of real organizations with different cultures applying different structures to drive effective and sustaining change with positive results.
Reflect and share participant organizational cultures and structures in comparison to these case studies and other participant models.
Practice a 5-step organizational change approach (V2MOM) to guide effective and sustained change
A Note From Your CAL Instructor
Leading Agile: Laying the Foundation for Success
By Pete Behrens, Agile Leadership Coach, Trainer & Speaker
While Agile offers myriad benefits to an organization, the fact is: adoption and subsequent success of software development projects across the board could be better long-term. Why, when we have a system that has proven to work for countless organizations in various verticals, do initiatives still fail, or else the whole Agile endeavor peters out after a few months or years?
While there are many reasons why Agile approaches can fail, inadequate Agile leadership can be a large contributing factor. Note that it’s not necessarily inadequate leadership, because you can have the most stellar executive leader, but if she doesn’t know how to lead and support an Agile team, she can put it at great disadvantage.
Why Coaches and Consultants Can’t Save Your Organization
Organizations spend millions on Agile coaches and consultants, then point the finger when, a few months down the road, the “whole Agile thing” has gone off the rails. Is it really the fault of these Agile professionals?
Not at all.
Coaching and consulting can only take a team so far, but beyond that, it’s up to leadership to foster an Agile mindset and behaviors which support and sustain an agile environment.
The Makings of an Agile Leader
So what’s the difference between a leader and an Agile leader?
An Agile leader understands that rapid change, complexity, and uncertainty are central to the role, and can operate effectively in such challenging conditions. She knows and can apply Agile values, approaches, and practices to her own thinking and behaviors to foster creative solutions through increased engagement, feedback and self-awareness.
An Agile leader knows how to engage her employees, and can align, empower and free them to deliver increasingly more customer value.
Feedback and collaboration are important to the Agile leader. She understands that continuous improvement is crucial to foster long-term organizational change.
Reading the Compass of Agility
I’ve developed a tool to provide orientation and direction for Agile leaders: the Agile Leadership Compass. Like a traditional compass, there are four directions: north and south represent the opposing views of the leader and organization. And representing true north is the leader herself - the leader who does not first develop herself as a leader will likely be ineffective at developing others or the organization as a whole.
East and west directions represent the opposing internal and external aspects of the leader and organization. How leaders think impacts how leaders act, and what organizations value impacts how organizations deliver, sustain, and grow.
I’ve noticed that the focus of most Agile initiatives is toward the southwest, focused on organizational delivery. However, without first orienting the leaders and enabling the organization, these early results often don't last. That’s why I encourage balance for Agile leaders:
- Leader: Agile Leaders role model agility through their own adaptive thinking and behaviors.
- Organization: Agile Leaders guide organizational agility inside out by creating a culture of safety to experiment, learn, and grow.
- Enable: Agile Leaders enable agility through personally and organizationally living the Agile values.
- Action: Agile Leaders exhibit catalyze behaviors and guide organizational delivery and change.
Where Certified Agile Leadership Comes Into Play
Having a solid Agile leader can create a solid foundation for long-term Agile success in an organization, but how do we get from Point A, where executives are aware of Agile and maybe even support it, to Point B, where they are actively taking a role in its success?
And how do we make leaders aware that there is even a journey to take? Once they’re aware, how do we convince them to actually take that journey?
These very questions have long been up for debate among Agile professionals like myself, as well as organizations like Scrum Alliance. I am happy to say that a solution has been developed: the Certified Agile Leadership Program.
Anyone who is involved in implementing Agile, from the person who signs the checks to those leading Agile teams, can now get a better roadmap to help them strengthen Agile practices within their company.
The course is designed to increase the effectiveness of those involved in Agile, as well as foster continual learning and interaction with Agile. When leaders become Agile leaders, they increase the success rate of Agile implementation and long-term — or even permanent — adoption.
While the broader certification program is in its infancy, the work and experience behind it are anything but. I have been focusing and guiding leaders across these dimensions for the past half decade, but I fully expect that, once executives and leaders see the value of increasing their fluency in Agile, it will become a requirement for all aspiring Agile leaders.
Reprinted with permission.