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...

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...

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.

Recently, I tweeted, “Estimating is often helpful. Estimates are often not.” 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...

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...