Monthly Archives: March 2013

What the heck is an Agile Leadership Director?

For those that may not know, my title here at Valpak is “Agile Leadership Director”.  I have to admit … I kind of concocted it on my own after re-titling my team from “IT Project Managers” to “Agile Project Leaders” in May of last year.

  • “Agile” for my commitment to living the values and principles established by The Agile Manifesto,
  • “Leadership” because I strive to truly lead and not just manage,
  • And, “Director” because that is the level I have attained within my organization.

I’ve been told more than once that my title is “interesting” or “unique”.  In fact, the last time I Googled it, I couldn’t find the same title anywhere else in the universe.  Ultimately, the combination of me as Agile Leadership Director serving a team of Agile Project Leaders makes us the … drum roll please … Agile Leadership Office.  That’s right … my own translation of the Agile PMO.  I think it has a nice ring to it. Maybe it will catch on.

So, what the heck is an Agile Leadership Director anyhow?  I figured it was time to share my job description with the world.  I hope you will find it useful as you evolve your own Agile implementation or help others along the way.



Championing, governing, scaling, and measuring the Agile framework within IT and across the enterprise.  Oversees Agile Project Leaders in the roles of ScrumMaster, Kanban Lead, and/or Project Manager.  With consideration for the Agile values and principles, the focus of this leadership position is on delivering value over meeting constraints, leading teams over managing tasks, and adapting to change over conforming to plans.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Develop and grow team of “Agile Project Leaders” through training, mentoring, and coaching while also supplementing staff in that role as needed.
  2. Serve in the role of “Agile Coach” through championing, training, and mentoring across the organization.
  3. Embrace and evangelize Agile values and principles across the organization and in the community.
  4. Monitor project/team performance through quantitative and qualitative measures of value, outcome, velocity, morale, and satisfaction.
  5. Develop, implement, and promote Agile best practice standards including the use of boards and tools where appropriate.
  6. Coordinate between and among Agile teams for progress and impediments via Scrum of Scrums and project management oversight.
  7. Collaborates with executive leadership team on portfolio governance for Scrum, Kanban, and other projects and facilitates the start or stop of teams based on investment decisions.
  8. Facilitates organizational learning, change management, and process adoption of Agile via metrics, benefits realization, outcomes, and retrospective findings.
  9. Performs related work and additional duties as needed or required.


  • Strong leader with integrity and business acumen
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Detail-oriented and highly organized
  • Strong presentation and communication skills
  • Self-motivated driver and visionary able to make progress despite obstacles
  • Strong servant leader able to lead and work with multiple diverse roles and personalities
  • One or more related certifications such as Project Management Professional (PMP), PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), or Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) required.

Valpak Wins “IT Dream Team” Award At 2013 BizTech

Congratulations to Valpak on winning the “IT Dream Team” award at the 2013 BizTech Innovation Summit.  I like to think that goin’ Agile had a lot to do with it.  I am so proud to work with such a great group of people.

Chris Cate, CIO, accepting the award.

Chris Cate, CIO, accepting the award.

The trophy for "IT Dream Team".

The trophy for “IT Dream Team”.

Valpak Mentioned In Dean Leffingwell’s Scaled Agile Framework Blog

Valpak just caught the attention of Dean Leffingwell, Agile guru and father of SAFe (the Scaled Agile Framework that we have adopted).  Over the weekend, he posted a blog reviewing the “Managed Agile Development: Making Agile Work for Your Business” book that contains our Agile transformation case study.  He refers to our case study as “interesting”.  This is kind of a big deal … to me, at least.

The SAFe website sees over 80,000 page views by 10,000 unique visitors per month. It will also be posted to Dean’s personal blog and appear on a new permanent Case Study page at the SAFe web site.