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University System of Maryland

Agile Leadership Principles and Practices

University System of Maryland and University of Maryland, College Park via edX


Agile can often challenge project managers in the realm of leadership. Old styles of command-control are now a thing of the past, except for the most conservative organizations. While good leaders employ a variety of leadership skills and leadership styles to motivate team members, even this is not enough. Simply setting a common goal and maintaining positive attitudes while raising your emotional intelligence will make you a better leader; but will it truly unlock your team's potential?

Instead of leadership traits, Agile leadership emphasizes facilitation and communication skills. This is teachable and much more powerful. This unique and effective leadership style challenges traditional beliefs in what leadership means.

Great leaders understand that the leader can no longer stand in the way of their team. Modern society, mindsets, and global competition demand new leadership roles, and leadership qualities all together that empower and motivate the team to new levels of productivity. Business leaders that miss this critical shift in leadership styles concede a powerful competitive advantage to the Agile leader.

In this course, you will learn how this new style of leadership redefines and redistributes team roles by:

  • Motivating through empowerment to gain better decisions

  • Facilitating the creativity and inclusivity of a high-functioning team

  • Identifying and managing decision making biases

  • Negotiating conflicts across individuals, teams, and organizations

  • Ensuring success through delegation and powerful constraint-based metrics.

  • You’ll learn to turn one internally motivated and critically thinking mind into many; and driving speed and innovation through leveraging all talents on the team.

While this course will not make you an agile certified practitioner (PMI-ACP), or certified scrum master (CSM), it offers a more fundamental agile certification based on agile principles and how agile leadership is applied in industry today. You'll finish this course more than ready to continue your agile journey, which we hope takes you to the next course in the series on Agile Process, Project, and Program Controls.

Upon successful completion of this course, learners can earn 10 Professional Development Unit (PDU) credits, which are recognized by the Project Management Institute (PMI). PDU credits are essential to those looking to maintain certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP).


  • Week 1: The first week of this course jumps right into our traditional notions of leadership, defining the concept, the characteristics of a leader, the science of leadership, and the styles that exist today across master and servant models (Primal Leadership, Team Leadership, Situational Leadership, and Transformational Leadership).

  • Week 2: The second week exposes the reasoning behind servant leadership as the optimal approach and how old philosophies and “modern psychology” reinforce the need for leaders to empower teams. Gamification and the power of play are emphasized to ensure optimal contribution and performance across roles on the scaled Agile teams. Here you'll learn the scrum master's secrets and agile techniques for running highly productive teams.

  • Week 3: The third week explores human decision making, its power and its faults in the form of biases, and how we can train ourselves through emotional-social intelligence and mindfulness to go faster by slowing down. Negotiation styles and techniques are also covered requiring self-reflection on how one handles conflict and manages competing, accommodating, avoiding, compromising, and collaborating challenges. These techniques are critical for product owners, scrum masters, and those leading in any capacity.

  • Week 4: The final week focuses on putting these lessons into practice with real-world approaches and tools for managing and facilitating decisions, interactions, and environments for optimal team performance.

Taught by

John Johnson


4.5 rating, based on 463 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Agile Leadership Principles and Practices

  • Ronny De Winter completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    A good well-structured overview of agile leadership and how it relates to traditional leadership and powerplay. The course provides insight into the theoretical leadership frameworks. The course is rather theoretical. The lectures have a standard format,...
  • This was a very interesting course. I appreciated the external reading suggestions and real world examples. The course provided scope for self evaluation and insight on how to leverage skills in negotiations and leadership. I can see this being useful at work.
  • Anonymous
    I was quite fascinated with the manner of providing information, style of presentations and lecturer. Straight and forward. Clear and easy to understand. You can work on your own path to follow the course and revise what you whant. The additional sources of information were very useful and the intermidiary check-ups were of great help to understand wheather you are on a good way of learning. I DO recommend this course!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Low level material - basically a summary of some popular books made by a guy who put some slides together. By the way he seems to not know basic grammar and spelling (too many times had I to see that he could not still figure out the difference between...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Agile leadership can be considered a critical skill in leading teams; specifically, when it comes to leading complex businesses such as manufacturing in the aluminum industry. Too often, most technological progress has been done to improve processes....
  • Anonymous
    I was very impressed by this class. It was simple to follow, with the information organized very clearly and very consistently. By week 2, I knew the "rhythm" of video, written notes, links and resources, and the simple knowledge check, and this was all very helpful. I thought the presenter was just a hired actor until he gave personal experiences in about week 3. This "real life" example of the content was helpful and made me like the course even more. For giving such a formal presentation of material, I thought the presenter was warm and personable.
  • Snježana Sirovec
    Truly an outstanding course and very useful for all managers.

    Content is not simple and requires attention and focus which is essential in all processes.

    Now I can look with understanding at the behaviors of certain people in certain situations.

    I believe that it will help me in making decisions in the team and that the team will function more efficiently.

    However, this is by no means the end of this topic, we need to go through the content of the course again and determine some points, but also continue, ie expand our knowledge that is based on the extraordinary topic of Agile leadership.
  • Seema Navarathanmal
    The course was very interesting and helped me understand how agile works and what I need to do to lead a team and develop myself to be an effective agile leader. I liked how a contrast was provided to traditional leadership and it was made clear how agile is different to lean management but also what they have in common. I thought the courses was well paced, although there were a few tricky terminology interpretation tasks I had to sort out to succeed. They were trickier than I thought but they helped me better understand Agile.

    Thank you and this was really helpful.
  • Anonymous
    Very inspirational course. I learned lots of techniques how to become a better agile leader and also theories behind those techniques. Course is very nicely structured that kept me both focused and entertained. The teacher is charismatic and it was really enjoyable to listen and watch videos. Highly recommended.
  • Anonymous
    The course is a excellent one with back home utility. The online lectures are paced in neat fashion and the study materials given at the end of every chapter is very good. Further for deeper understanding of subject additional reference materials are provided. In all a good course for aspiring managers.
  • Nagabhushana K
    Agile leadership, principles and practices is a valuable course to undergo for all those who wants to excel in efficient leadership and management. The course teaches you on different leadership principles and practices, traditional to agile leadership. Agile is a modern leadership which believes in servant role with continues improvement & timely changes required. It highlights scrum, empowering mind & team.
  • Anonymous
    Approach - excellent:

    - what is going to be said
    - lesson
    - what was said
    - check

    Very interesting books recommended.

    Very clear, transparent dish servings.

    (However I do not believe one can point out self for the task :-))

  • Anonymous
    This course is very much useful for people at the leadership role at any organisation. I learned Agile Leadership concepts, Managing Biases, Negotiation skills .... I recommend all who want to gain knowledge in the aforesaid topics.
  • Anonymous
    Another amazing PM Agile course. I was particularly impressed with how to manage complex people systems and with the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Modes. Something to apply in and out of work. Look forward to the next course!.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed walking through this course! I think it provides a good amount of information on the topic. Similar with the other courses in this program I found the content being well structured and pleasent.
  • Anonymous
    I love the straight forward approach along with the detailed graphics that are provided with the video. I also like having the option to review right after the presentation.
  • Anonymous
    Very Insightful, Gives you to key Points and Knowledge to implement at work .
    The Recommended books and links are very helpful in Exploring more about the Topic covered.
  • Anonymous
    The course provides Theory, realistic researches, Lesson Learned, used cases, principles and guidance, key takeaways for continuing Leadership development
  • Anonymous
    This is an amazing course that encompassed traditional and modern leadership, it highlights qualities of effective Leadership and team management
  • Anonymous
    too centered on dominant culture approach to leadership, management; shallow application of meditation and watering down of mindfulness

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