In addition, he said, “The tasks we do in IT are really more creative and almost artistic, so what we really want to do is provide an impetus, motivation or direction to work towards. Being managed and directed leads to compliance but stifles innovation. Leaders are great at composing strategies, not implementing technologies. That’s what the developers are for.”

This idea of leadership guiding and facilitating development teams is also quite new, Forrester’s Grant pointed out. Agile only really became mainstream last year, he said, so some of the ideas about approaching the methodology are just recently coming to fruition.

The leadership role in this sense “was always true, but now there is enough agile around that people recognize how important it is,” Grant said. “But this is part of the process of something going mainstream; all kinds of considerations get smoked out that weren’t really part of the formula originally. People bumped into a lot of issues that the original founders didn’t necessarily put a lot of emphasis on or take into account at all.”