Using Data in Problem-Solving

Several years ago, I was called to help an organization that was experiencing system outages in their call center. After months of outages and no effective action, they appointed an Operations Analyst to collect data and get to the bottom of the problem. Once they had...

What Does Your Product Do?

When it gets dark, I turn on a light. I can work, cook, read—long after sundown. I can see where I’m going, avoid the dog toys on the floor, and not run into furniture. If I need something that’s in the house, I can find it. The simple flip of a switch makes many...

Assessing Team Improvement

I understand that managers who have invested effort and money in training teams in Agile methods may want to see how much those teams are improving.  There are a handful of reasonable measures to look at to see whether the organization is improving over all (which...

Seven Agile Best Practices

Someone I don’t know offered to teach me Agile Best Practices recently. I tend to think there are “generally good practices,” some of which are broadly applicable.  In my experience, the search for Best Practices is often a search for Silver Bullets,...

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 accounting/consulting...

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

I remember sitting in a project meeting back when I worked for a Big Company. The project manager, Ted, announced the top three priorities.  When I offered a different view point, Ted declared, “You’re wrong. We decided on these priorities...

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...