Agile and The Chasm

Someone posed the question:  Has Agile Crossed the Chasm?– a reference to Moore’s work on marketing. Agile is no longer the prevue of pioneers and visionaries.  Agile shows up in the popular business press. PMI is all over it. The big...

The Elements of Improvement

Improvement requires three factors: Information. People need information about the context and how their work fits into the big picture. They need information from the work so they can self-correct. Without this information, systematic improvement is impossible. A...

Self-Awareness Matters: Finding Your Filters

We all have filters. That’s a good thing–our cognitive systems can’t process all the data that’s available. But most people filter out useful information as well as extraneous information (for example, the size of loops in the carpet or shoe...

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...

Hiring is a Team Activity

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...

What does middle level management do?

Last week, someone tweeted that the C-suite “gets agile” but middle level management “resists” it. I also saw a tweet that the C-suite doesn’t get agile but middle managers do. I don’t doubt the observations of either of these...

The Costs of a Struggling Team

Last week, I posted a mind map that shows the benefits of the team effect.  But what about the costs of a team that is not doing well?  A team that isn’t working well doesn’t have a neutral effect. A struggling team costs the people and the organization in...

The Team Effect

A while back, I posted a little mind map about business costs of a struggling team.  But what about the benefits of the team effect?  What does a business gain when teams thrive?

Estimating is often helpful. Estimates are often not.

“Estimating is often helpful. Estimates are often not,” I said in a Tweet. Several people asked, “How can this be?” Let me say more about agile estimation, in more than 140 characters. Estimating is often helpful. Estimating helps when the...

ScrumMaster? Coach? Agile Coach?

Do you need a ScrumMaster, Coach, Agile Coach? No matter the name, the  intention behind the role is to help teams learn new skills, continuously improve, and make the transition to a new way of working. Some people say it’s a technical role, others claim that...

Command & Control: Let’s talk about power

Command and control isn’t just a mindset and a style of management (though it is both those things). What we don’t often talk about is the power that rests with people in management roles. Traditional managers have power, and that power comes from...

Agile Teams at Scale: Beyond Scrum of Scrums

Agile methods depend on effective cross-functional teams. We’ve heard many Agile success stories…at the team level. But what happens when a product can’t be delivered by one team?  What do you do when the “team” that’s needed to...

Hiring for an Agile Team: 4 Reasons to Up Your Hiring Game

Most companies have policies that govern the selection and hiring process for new employees. Not a bad thing.  But I’ve noticed that in many of the companies I visit–especially the big ones–the guidelines put far less rigor around hiring people for...

Building Effective Teams: Miss the Start, Miss the End

(This article originally appeared on Gantthead.com) A manager’s relationship with a team as they work is essential for cultivating a self-organizing team and maintaining a link with the organization. But a managers role regarding effective teams starts long...

New Roles for Managers: Interview with Lean Magazine

I recently did an interview with the nice folks at Softhouse.se for their Lean Magazine. The interview was a lot of fun, and made me think (which is fun). The full interview will be in their special anniversary edition, schedule to be out by Christmas.  (Information...

Hiring a ScrumMaster or Agile Coach

If you are hiring a ScrumMaster or Agile Coach, Resume keyword searches for won’t find the right person for your teams, and your organization. Start thinking about the work, the role, the team, and the job. Here’s a job analysis of the role for a client I...

Readings for Managers: Motivation

I’ve been having conversations lately with people about compensation and reward systems, and the role that money plays in motivation. All the research I’ve seen concludes that–for most people–money becomes the primary motivator at work when...

Supporting Team-Based Work

Many of the companies I work with want the benefit of the team effect in software development. The managers in these companies recognize the enormous benefits teams provide to the company–creativity, engagement, learning. However, in many of these companies, the...

Peck, peck, peck

A participant in one of my workshops of my workshops declared that in every team there is pecking order….and every one knows what the order is from one to n.  Since this is the case, he reasoned, it follows that ranking people in organizations is a reasonable...

Pin It on Pinterest