Why Shared Services “Teams” Don’t Work with Agility

One of my clients wants to use shared services “teams” as they start their agile transformation. Their developers work on a product for months and years at a time. However, the testers and UI people are part of pools of people. The organization calls these testers and UI people, “shared services.” Shared service-thinking denies the …

Unfreeze the “Frozen Middle” of Management

I had great fun with Cherie Silas and Alex Kudinov on their podcast, “Keeping Agile Non-Denominational.” Listen to Unfreezing the Frozen Middle. You’ve seen or heard about this problem: Senior leadership says, “Yes we need agility!” The teams say, “Yes, we got the agile goodness here!” And the middle managers? They’re stuck. The current culture …

Want Business Agility? Rethink Your Easy Career Ladders, Part 4

You want business agility. The teams have worked hard to change how they work. And you realize your current career ladder isn’t working for you—or the people you serve. The people and teams continue to experiment with agile behaviors. You would like more lateral, not just vertical options to support any person’s growth. What can …

Encourage Lateral and Vertical Movement in an Agile a Career Ladder, Part 3

As people gain experience, they often want new and different responsibilities. In a typical career ladder (Part 1), they had one direction: up. That often creates a problem: great technical people become insufficient managers. Let’s not blame these people—many of them didn’t want to become managers However, if people want more responsibility, the career ladder …

Define Agile Behaviors We Want to Reinforce in an Agile Career Ladder, Part 2

Part 1 discussed a typical career ladder. I said that when we focus on individual achievements and deliverables, we ignore the agile system of work. Worse, when we reward individual achievements we prevent an agile culture. That’s because agile teams learn together as they create the product. We need career ladders that reward working together. …

Why the Popular & Easy Career Ladder Prevents an Agile Culture, Part 1

As I’ve been speaking about the Modern Management Made Easy books, people ask these questions: We’re pretty good with our agile approach. It’s time for performance reviews. How do we reward someone based on individual work when we want teams to work together? What do we do? Can we extend whatever that is to our …

Creating Time for Collaboration with Distributed Teams and Agile Approaches

Summary: Many of us have horrible experiences with distributed teams where we can find no possibility of collaboration, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Even if a team is distributed, those team members need collaborative opportunities and space. What’s important is the team’s time for collaboration, not time zones. Here are some ways …

Distributed Agile Approaches Optimize for the Team over Individuals

Summary: Consider how your team currently organizes: for resource efficiency, optimizing for the individual; or for flow efficiency, optimizing for the team? Successful agile teams—distributed or not—should collaborate to optimize the flow of work through the team. This approach lets you understand your capacity, learn together, and deliver more effectively. Too many “teams” feel like …

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 …