Use “Typical,” Not “Average” Durations to Manage Risk

Many managers and teams talk about “average” durations for work. On average, how long does it take a team to finish a certain kind of work? However, average doesn’t quite explain why our work takes different durations. Instead of average, consider the word, “typical.” I’ve written about cycle time before. (It’s the time from when …

Behaviors Create an Agile Culture with Gregory Miller

Gregory Miller and I discussed the ideas of behaviors vs mindset on his podcast. See Behaviors Create an Agile Culture with Johanna Rothman. We spoke about the Modern Management Made Easy books. In our wide-ranging discussion, we discussed the various traps that managers create or encounter: Rewarding heroics instead of collaboration. How to offer credit …

Consultants: Get Better Clients with Better Fees

I delivered a Modern Management Made Easy talk and ranted about 100% utilization. One of the questions in the chat was: “Don’t consultants want 100% utilization? If you’re not working, you’re not billing.” Here’s how consultants create utilization-based billing: By the hour. Even worse, in 15-minute increments. Time and materials. I don’t do that. Why …

Want to Work with Me to Build Your Consulting Practice?

Back in January 2020, I led a Hudson Bay Start to create/build a consulting practice. I’m happy to say it was a success. Not because everyone became a consultant. However, the people who chose to consult found their ways to succeed. And, even more importantly, some people decided not to consult yet. Those folks continue …

Why Very Few (If Any) People Are “10x” Developers—Or Managers

Steve, a software development manager, thought John was a “10x” developer. He explained that John could: Coded faster than anyone else. Write and release full applications over a weekend. “Mind-meld” with the users. No one else in Steve’s group could do this. Was I willing to support and coach the other people in Steve’s group …

Backchannel Discussions Might Create Serendipity

When Mark Kilby and I wrote From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams, we suggested teams add a text backchannel. Even when the backchannel is asynchronous, the information in it increases the value of all the team’s communication. The backchannel helps everyone see all the information. That helps all the team’s communication. Some of my …

Management Rewards: Doing Work vs Creating an Environment

My agile transformation clients struggle with this big question: How do we effectively reward managers? The more the organization wants or needs an agile transformation, the less the current reward structure works. How do you incent the managers? What makes sense for management compensation? Cindy, a director in a 500-person IT organization struggles with this—for …