Agile Approaches Offer Strategic Advantage; Agile Tools are Tactics, Part 4

I started this series with observations that my clients appear to confuse strategy and tactics. They think agile approaches are tactics and agile tools are part of their strategy. That’s why they want to Buy an agile approach. And that’s why they want to Customize and then standardize on tools. This post is about this …

Agile Approaches Offer Strategic Advantage; Agile Tools are Tactics, Part 3

In Part 1 and 2 of this series, I wrote about how an agile approach might offer strategic benefits. And because an agile approach changes your culture, I said the agile approach was part of your strategy. So let’s ask this question: Can any tool—agile or otherwise—offer you a strategic advantage? (I don’t see how, …

Agile Approaches Offer Strategic Advantage; Agile Tools are Tactics, Part 2

So when does it make sense to customize your agile approach to gain a strategic advantage? Whenever you have a unique problem to solve that’s strategic to your business. Let’s start with a couple of examples. Example 1: Startup/Small Organization with Few Products SmallCo has revenue of about $30Million a year. They offer their product …

Agile Approaches Offer Strategic Advantage; Agile Tools are Tactics, Part 1

A number of my clients confuse their strategic ideas with tactical work. They think that the agile tools they use, such as boards, offer a strategic advantage. So they build or customize their tools. However, they adopt or “install” an agile framework or process without customization. Those actions lead to organizational brittleness. Instead, agile organizations …

Leadership Tip #13: For Innovation, Remove at Least One Policy or Procedure a Week

Some managers wanted to prevent Bad Things from happening in the organization, so they added policies or procedures. Now, these same managers want business agility. However, the policies and procedures increase friction and make it harder to get the Right Things done. It’s time to start removing some of those policies and procedures. The more …

Purpose vs. Product: Differentiate Your Strategy from Tactics (Portfolio & Roadmaps)

I’m struggling to write several posts and I realized I need to define my terms. I keep seeing managers confuse the strategic and tactical. That leads to large and unchangeable roadmaps and a lot of emphasis on predictability. I don’t know how to offer the level of predictability they want for large and unchanging work. …

Leadership Tip #11: Substitute the Word Trust for Empower

We talk a lot about empowered or self-organizing teams in the agile community. However, I don’t see too many self-organizing or empowered teams at my clients. Not because my clients are stupid—far from it. Everyone does the best job they know how to do. However, every manager’s micromanagement pervades all levels. Instead of talking about …

With Agile Approaches, No Need to “Meet” or “Enforce” Deadlines

Several of my clients struggle with their deadlines. One of them, Brad, quoted Douglas Adams to me and frowned: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” He thought agile approaches would work to “meet” and “enforce” deadlines. I asked him these questions: Do you think people don’t want …

Leadership tip #9: See & Stop Micromanagement—Learn to Trust Instead

I see too much micromanagement, even in supposedly agile organizations. Micromanagement tells people, “I don’t trust you.” When we have insufficient trust, morale and the products deteriorate. Instead, we can extend trust and keep innovating for morale and the products. This image shows a 6-person team where the leader/manager micromanages. All decisions go through that …