Using an Agile approach for software development does not necessarily guarantee success. As Henrik Kniberg wrote at the beginning of his blog post ” Even if the entire organization is neatly organized into scrum teams, you can still end up with an unaligned mess!”. Having an Agile leader can help preventing the unaligned mess.
At the beginning of the blog post, Henrik Kniberg explains that you should maybe first try to avoid complexity and search simplicity in your organization. If you cannot simplify, then might need an Agile leader. He defines this role as someone that will focus entirely on coordinating the different teams. He will keep the moving parts in sync and keep an eye on the big picture. If Agile has leadership roles at the team level, there is no formal role when you have multiple teams.
Henrik Kniberg provides an example of what an Agile leader will do:
1. What does winning look like? Vision/Mission.
2. What’s the plan? Strategy and tactics.
3. What’s the score? Progress, status, feedback loops
4. What is preventing us from winning? Continous improvement, people, teams, strategy, tactics.
The blog post explains then in more details what the Agile leaders do at the budgets and estimates or cross-functional collaboration for instance. The post also discusses what kind of person is suitable for the role.
Henrik Kniberg conclusion is that “I hope this doc helps you improve the success rate of your large multi-team efforts. But don’t forget – scaling is a last resort. Scaling hurts no matter how you do it, so keep things as small as possible (but no smaller…).”
Read the complete blog post on http://blog.crisp.se/2015/11/10/henrikkniberg/what-is-an-agile-leader