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 …

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 …

Delegate Problems and Outcomes, Not Tasks

I encourage managers to delegate work. When managers insert themselves into the middle of the work, these problems occur: Managers slow the team down. Managers prevent people from learning. Managers don’t do their management work. That environment creates problems for everyone. Then I read Elisabeth Hendrickson’s Delegation is Overrated. I realized two things: Some managers …

Want Business Agility? Use These Seven Innovation Principles

I’m rewriting/reorganizing the Lead an Innovative Organization book. I realized I have 7 innovation principles: Clarify the organization’s purpose.  Manage for effectiveness. Seek outcomes, not outputs. Flow efficiency at all levels. Encourage small-world networks of relationships. Organizational integrity. Encourage change and experiments. Anytime I’ve seen a successful innovation culture, I’ve seen these principles. (I’m trying …