Alternatives to bureaucratic hierarchy

I don’t doubt that its possible to have an organization with out traditional managers. I’ve read about Semco and Morningstar Farms. I’ve talked to people who work at Gore. My husband works for a less well know firm that doesn’t have traditional managers. But those companies didn’t get there by happenstance. They got there by…

Continue Reading →

Hiring is a Team Activity

In an earlier article, I said, “Hiring new people for a team should always be a joint decision that involves team members.” After all, who has more at stake than the people who will work with the new person day in and day out? Consider what happened when a well-intentioned manager decided to hire without…

Continue Reading →

/Estimating/ is often helpful. /Estimates/ are often not.

Recently, I tweeted, “/Estimating/ is often helpful. /Estimates/ are often not.” Several people asked, “How can this be?” Let me say more, in more than 140 characters. /Estimating/ is often helpful. Estimating helps when the process of estimating builds shared understanding among the people who want the work done and the people doing the work..…

Continue Reading →

A Manager’s Guide to Building a Relationship with the Team

“A talented employee may join a company because of its charismatic leaders, its generous benefits, and its world class training programs, but how long that employee stays and how productive he is while there is determined by his relationship with his immediate supervisor.”  Buckingham & Coffman Good managers know how to build strong relationships in…

Continue Reading →

Yes. No. Negotiate.

Many people are conditioned to say Yes to every request that comes their way. I met a CIO like that. He told me his policy was to never say No to the business. So he always said Yes, and the business was always angry because things he agreed to didn’t get done, or got done…

Continue Reading →

Yours, Mine, Ours: Clarifying Decision Boundaries

I recently talked to a group that’s forming a new “change leadership” team.  Part of the work of the team is improving the organization, and part is capacity building. Four of the people on the team are folks with technical backgrounds who are viewed as having potential to be future leaders in the organization. The…

Continue Reading →

Fill in the blanks

I’ve been noticing what’s missing lately. In some ways, its harder to see what’s not there than what is. But there’s lost of useful information in what isn’t said, as well as what is. For example: A manager, talking about one of the people who reported to him said: “He’s difficult to manage.” What’s missing?…

Continue Reading →

Building Trust, One Iteration at a Time

A while back I talked to a CEO of a contract development shop.  He wondered how Agile could help him with fixed price, fixed scope contracts to deliver software. Of course, the requirements that come with these contracts are never complete or completely accurate. The first thing that comes to mind is to stop making…

Continue Reading →

Norms, Values, Working Agreements, Simple Rules

Bob Sutton recently posted a piece on Team Guidelines.  The guidelines–all Mom and Apple Pie–where handed down by a new boss for the team to follow. The list starts with “Show Respect.” I find it ironic that the new boss is advocating treating people with respect. Arriving with a set of rules for other adults you’ve…

Continue Reading →

Team Trap #3: Failing to Navigate Conflict

“The absence of conflict is not harmony, it’s apathy .” Eisenhardt,  Kahwajy and Bourgeois “(….or acquiescing, or avoiding).” Esther Derby Conflict is inevitable at work. Sooner or later, people will disagree about what to test, how to implement a feature, what “done” means, or whether “always” means 100 per cent of the time or some…

Continue Reading →

Page 1 of 3