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 …

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 …

Fun Discussion with the Agile Uprising

I had the pleasure of being on the Agile Uprising Podcast: Modern Management Made Easy with Johanna Rothman. We had a wide-ranging discussion, including: What the manager’s job is (and is not). How servant leaders support people taking responsibility. Why, if people manage through the seven principles, we don’t need to use transparency and communication …

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 …