Wave 2

Be a Collaborative Leader now!

Presenter Name: Margaret Motamed

Duration — 90 min

Audience Level — Experienced

Session Style — Workshop

Do you want to be a Collaborative Leader inside of your organization? Do you dream that the level of Collaboration in your organization would grow? And, some days do you wake up thinking - wow, I have no words to describe my frustration? Then this Collaborative Leadership workshop is for you!

I live there- I am a director in a mid sized corporation. And I am a Collaborative Leader.

I love my colleagues and my workplace. It’s a high tech place with smart people, too much email, rows of cubicles, annual budgets, traffic light dashboards, politics & agendas, 15+ scrum teams, and more. This workshop begins with a story of an unexpected transformation… and is jam packed with games, exercises, tips, and ideas for you to re-energize your own journey. Today. Today starts with you (one person) practicing being different and growing with learning and coaching from our amazing agile community.

The way that we choose to be today strongly affects the world we will work in tomorrow. Agile leadership only becomes possible with lots of courage and willingness to iterate and “fail fast.”

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi.

The answer is bigger that we can imagine and your new way of being can start today. .


Presentation Format: This will be an interactive, hands-on workshop. There will be large pieces of paper and stickies on every table. And very few slides/ no death by powerpoint. There will be printed handouts, too (I am in printing!).

Part 1: Welcome to our adventure

Intro (10 min): My name is Margaret and I am a recovering traditional corporate executive. I face catalyst challenges every week – I move thru phases from “everything’s stuck” to “anything is possible”…Last year I was asked to manage a new department – not software and not agile. Of course I jumped into reading the best practices books and articles for onboarding. I consulted with HR. I had my checklist. Then turned one idea sideways to create space for collaboration and for things to go right.. And I will tell you the rest of this story later in the session.

Let’s go (20 min): Now, We are going to go on an adventure. You are all Directors and VPs at a large corporation that makes tablet computers and related software for consumers. You have probably visited a few sprint demo’s in your time, but you’ve never been on an agile team. And you just want results and you want them on time and on budget. You know that we have a problem, the problem of trying to do too many projects at one time, but you believe in your products and don’t want any of them to lose funding.

Exercise: Take a moment to talk with 1-2 people nearby about how you would approach this situation. What would you do? What have you seen done in similar situations where there is too much work and not enough “resources” (using that word deliberately)

Now talk about some of your challenges in your day to day work. Where do you get stuck and how do you try to fix it?

Debrief with group, and a runner with a microphone, going after certain points – about 3-4 people sharing

Part 2: Ways of being

Enterprise value 20 min: Ok, back to our adventure, you are Directors and VPs again. Sitting in a room, at a Director’s forum.

Show 3 slides framing the challenge and introducing the exercise: (Enterprise value - how you can use agile values to upshift portfolio conversations: Value & Success, an Innovation Games ™ inspired exercise created/ used internally is causing a huge shift a la #LeanStartup). Half of the tables will focus on value, half on success.

We have several pieces of flip chart sized paper, stickies, and pens on each table

Debrief the game, with runner, and 3-4 sharers.

50 ways to be a Collaborative Leader 10 min: Introduce handout that will be distributed to all attendees. I will highlight just 3 of the 50. Here are the first few on the handout:

1) When it’s annual budget planning time, invite team members to suggest what will be needed next year, when and why. Include “nice to haves” too along with rationale. This can take the form of a shared spreadsheet on Sharepoint or GoogleDocs.

2) When it’s time to assign work or tasks, try asking for volunteers instead.

3) Create space for things to go right. Find a way to have vision that the team can succeed. If you have doubts, the team or team member will sense your doubt. Share the concern and then ask how they feel and ask what is needed to mitigate.

4) When you do need to assign something to a specific person, still ask… “Would you please “… leave space for the person to decline if they feel strongly.

Part 3: Expecting more, encouraging more

5 min: at the beginning of this session I talked about my onboarding challenge. Let me tell you what happened. (tell the story of how the amazing Idea Wall came to be and how took off and became something new and inspiring and re-energizing to everyone who passes by our hallways and to everyone we work with. Catalyst level collaboration is taking our organization to new levels.)

10 min: Your commitment card Exercise – write your commitment, share with a pair, exchange email if you want to followup with one another

Speaker Notes: Margaret Motamed is a collaborative leader, helping her division (500+ people) to transform by adopting Agile principles and frameworks. Margaret was a “wanna be” Agile Champion for many months and then was invited to be the “Agile Coach” (scrum master) for her Division’s Agile transformation team, mentored by Tobias Mayer, using scrum to adopt scum. Today she is newly the Director of the new User Assistance department, collaborating to re-invent the way that her company assists users.

Learning outcomes

• Participants will walk out of the room ready and equipped to step into being a collaborative leader now

• Practical strategies and actions participants can take as leaders to be collaborative and agile in hiring, onboarding, feedback, meetings, improvement initiatives, everyday work, and even in Agile transformations


Submitted by

Session Leader Name(s): Margaret Motamed

Stage: Accepted

Feedback Score

15 votes

Idea Details

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Similar Ideas [ 3 ]


  1. Status Changed from Active to Accepted
  2. The idea was posted


  1. Comment
    ( Moderator )

    I really like that the you're someone actually doing this in a regular job. I like the idea of a workshop format, but the proposal makes it sound like you will be doing a lot of talking as opposed to people doing workshop activities. I would recommend one or two examples from your own experience just to get people started, then let them generate ideas. I think some good new ideas could come out of this, and I for me, that's what SF Agile is all about.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      margaretmotamed ( Idea Submitter )

      Thank you Lisa! I do want to tighten this up. I am going to change it up and I have an offer of help from a very amazing coach - so stay tuned. and The printed handout will do some of the talking for me too!

    2. Comment
      margaretmotamed ( Idea Submitter )

      Hi Lisa - I've updated...it's quite a bit more focused now. Thank you for the encouragement

  2. Comment

    Nice one Margaret (my old Coaching Circle buddy) - I just love this as I read through it and I want it (currently in a similar situation). This has everything I need, want, and aspire to get to in an Agile adoption. Count me in.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      margaretmotamed ( Idea Submitter )

      Thank you Stephen! Will be great to see you! you have you own great journey and learnings to share too

  3. Comment
    Carlton Nettleton
    ( Moderator )

    I give this an 8 out of 10 (10 being perfect)

    I like that this session is based on your real experience. I like that your session is very detailed, has clear learning objectives and has timings associated with it. I can really see why you need 90 minutes. I really like how this uses a lot of peer-to-peer interactions.

    What would make it perfect is to edit your story more - 30 minutes of intro before getting into action seems like a long time to me. It may be possible to still tell 30 minutes of story, but use the story as departure points for the really good activities you have planned - I'm not sure.

  4. Comment
    margaretmotamed ( Idea Submitter )

    Hi Carlton - great feedback. Intro is now just 10 minutes!

    Thank you for the gift of a comment!


  5. Comment
    ( Moderator )

    This is an unusual session for an agile conference. We don't have enough things aimed at the mgr / exec level. Then we wonder why we can't communicate with our execs.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      margaretmotamed ( Idea Submitter )

      Thank you for the encouragement Lisa! I am hoping that this will make the cut here at SF Agile - would be great to have a chance to spread the word about the ways that collaboration can make a difference, improve engagement, and just flat out make the job of being a manager be more rewarding

  6. Comment
    Sameer Bendre
    ( Moderator )

    It's great to be able to work with Margaret and learn from her as a PMI volunteer. This session will give me a chance to learn more in depth from her 1-on-1.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      margaretmotamed ( Idea Submitter )

      Thank you Sameer - I enjoy partnering with you too. And Brian and Ainsley. I am blessed! Love the way that Brian kept bring us back to transparency yesterday.

  7. Comment

    This is a refreshing unique approach and I echo Lisa's and Carlton's comments about this reflecting real world experience. I would love to learn more from you about leadership and the challenges that people in your position face.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      margaretmotamed ( Idea Submitter )

      Thank you Declan! I would like to learn more from you! Your website whitepaper on Agile Adoption & Adaption Framework is interesting. I like the way that it is short and focused. And the word Adaption is intriguing.

  8. Comment

    Margaret is a mover and shaker in the local Bay Area Agile community, and a woman dedicated to continuous improvement. I reckon this session will be a valuable contribution to the event.

  9. Comment
    Community Member

    I’m a fan of sessions that focus on hands-on, practical tools. I call these sessions “Monday Morning Ready” - meaning - you can take them at the conference and apply them on Monday at work after the conference. Margaret’s sessions have this quality, and I am hopeful that this session will be accepted.

  10. Comment
    Dhiraj Dogra

    This is indeed a great idea which I also have practiced and got significant success at tech giants like SAP, Avaya and exponentially growing start-ups like Virsa Systems. The power of collaboration at the leadership level can do wonders for the organization resulting in individual growth. I am an example myself. Very well said Margret! I would love to listen to you more...

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