The Agile Lifecycle Management Anatomy borrows an important concept from the thinking behind effective management in Japan: The primary point of view should be the view from the gemba. "Gemba" is a Japanese word that means something along the lines of "the place where the action is". A TV reporter from a crime scene would say: "I am standing here right at the gemba...", and when Toyota's Taiichi Ohno went down to the factory floor to see for himself what was actually happening, he would say: "Let's go to the gemba!"
The "gemba" is the place where the value is created. Everything important in the organization depends on what happens on the gemba. This world view has some implications:
Transparency - Everyone needs to see reality as it is. This trumps people's wish for controlling information in their part of the organization (unless secrecy is motivated by the work where it must be clearly stated and regulated by transparent principles). Transparency is the nervous system of the organization, and must be supported by the tools and the ways of working. This enables all decisions being made based on empiricism: data and validated hypotheses.
Empowerment - If the value is created on the gemba it is important that the people working closest to the value creation are empowered to also control it. Like in all collaborations, the control is always bounded: the direction you as an organization is heading must be agreed upon, and you must know the limits for what you can do without asking anybody else.
You need mandate in order to be empowered. But you also need the resources: time, tools, and abilities (which can be provided to you by friends). Without the resources it is not possible to do anything useful of your mandate. Everybody in the organization needs to be embedded in a governance structure that can provide guidance on direction and limits, as well as the time and the tools and the other resources. This governance structure can be flat or hierarchical, based on individuals or on teams, and delegate much or little decision power.
Experience has shown that hierarchies based on individuals that perform top-down management is superior to having no management, but that flat team-based organizations where people have a lot of decision power is superior to top-down hierarchical management when there is competence to act in that environment.
An agile environment often falls somewhere in between while aiming to continuously become more team based, flat and empowered.