Joe McCollum

In a traditional hierarchical organization, it is not unusual to see seven, eight, or even nine layers of management. In agile, that effectively goes down to three. It is a radical shift, as middle managers don’t exist in the agile model, but the middle-management function remains, albeit in a different form. The role of middle management absolutely continues to be done, just not any longer by middle managers. Getting that right and managing the transition of the middle managers were two things we deeply thought about.

If you reduce layers from seven-plus down to three, that has a direct impact on career progression. In a hierarchical, multilayered organizational structure, career progression actually isn’t that complex; it is about moving people up every couple of years. However, in a flat, wide, end-to-end agile model, career progression requires a lot of thinking. It has a different level of sophistication, equally uplifting and aspirational. In agile, everyone is a doer, has a hands-on role. So you need to create a career-progression model that knows and respects the doers’ skills and has a degree of complication attached to it.

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