management

When HiPPOs Use Their Power to Decide for Other People

Many agile teams and product leaders assume they can make many product decisions on their own. They do have some constraints, such as “this kind of customer” and “these kinds of problems.” However, as the teams work together and explore the product, they assume they can decide on the designs and architecture. Product leaders assume …

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What Does Your Culture Value: People “Efficiency” or Work Throughput?

A senior manager said, “We give our resources everything they could need: technology, tools, even some training. Why are they so slow?” I asked, “How many projects are they working on?” “Each resource has at least two projects so they stay productive and efficient.” These managers have created a resource efficiency culture, not a flow …

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Throughput: Why Salary Costs Matter Less Than You Think They Do

Dan, a VP, knows he needs more people to get the work done. Suzanne, one of the directors, starts to hire and realizes she has several problems. First, their salary bands are too low—candidates want more money. In addition, the people want to collaborate more than the existing people seem to. She meets with Dan …

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Leadership Tip #19: How “Team Building” Activities Help and Hurt People and Teams

Dan, a Vice President, worries that his teams work more as individuals than as teams. He’s a physically active guy and decided that teams can choose from these activities: a zip line course, a hike up and down a local mountain, or an escape room. But when he suggested these ideas to one of his …

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A Common Tool Trap: the Tool Will Help Your Delivery and Planning Problems

Over the past couple of weeks, several potential clients have discussed problems they want to fix: What are the teams doing, at a detailed level? (The managers want to know when the teams will finish certain features in the short term.) How can they plan for six months at a time? (They want to understand …

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Define Your Onboarding plan for New Hires to Create Personal and Team Success

Tim, a first-level manager, asked me, “Is it reasonable for someone to quit after just a week? With no notice?” “No. What happened?” “Sam, a new developer, started on Monday. He told me today, Friday, he’s not coming back.” “Did he say why?” “He had a whole raft of reasons. He had too many questions: …

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Encourage Management Collaboration to Integrate Leading and Serving Others

I said in the Modern Management books that managers lead and serve the team (at all levels). However, I’ve seen organizations try to separate the leading work from the serving work. That’s when the organization creates “people” managers. The people managers serve the team by creating a trusting relationship with each person on the team. …

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How to Assess the Value of Old Data and Its Effect on Aging

Up until a few months ago, my office was a disaster. I had a ton of old data: Paper in reverse chronological order on surfaces (most recent on top). Printed articles to read. Notes from previous workshops I wanted to integrate when I updated those workshops. Over the past year, as I realized the pandemic …

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Leadership Tip 17: Consciously Choose How You Optimize the Salary Money

Tim, the Engineering VP, was worried he would lose people after their reviews and salary changes. He didn’t have enough money to pay the salaries he thought everyone deserved. He’d fought with his fellow VPs for more money, but that didn’t work. He had a too-small pot of money to distribute. He had these problems: …

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