VMware Tanzu Labs
LIGHT-TOUCH LEADER OF A STRONG TEAM
While every team needs an anchor, the anchor role may be more or less prominent depending on the strength of the team.
Anchors often bring different types of leadership to the table: in many cases leadership is direct, and it’s clear who the anchor is. However, anchors can be very effective with indirect leadership. A very successful anchor or an anchor working with a very empowered team, may find that it is possible to step back and let the engineers on the team handle anchor responsibilities like stakeholder updates and cross-team planning on a rotating basis.
- Emphasize that all engineers have these responsibilities, anchor or not
- Promote more active feedback
- Rotate responsibilities as skilled pairs
- Give everyone on the team a chance to grow
- Give everyone on the team opportunities to win trust
- A team of peers may find that project stakeholders end up being more involved in the day-to-day decision-making process, and may make decisions for which they lack full context; this can be a sign that the anchor needs to take a more direct leadership role
- There is an implicit seniority around who talks strategy with project stakeholders. A team of peers operates best when expectations around decision-making are consistent
- Project stakeholders and junior team members are likely to want the anchor identified, even if it is preferable for team dynamics to take a peer-oriented approach
- In cases where context is unevenly distributed, it may be difficult to know who has received complete context and who hasn’t