Objectives & Accountability vs Responsibility & Autonomy, Part 2

I explained about objectives and the differences between MBOs and OKRs in Part 1. I’m tackling the issues of “accountability” in this part. Examine Accountability What does accountability mean to you? I’m serious about that question. For many people—managers included—people are accountable when we can blame them for not doing something. If you don’t achieve …

When OKRs Become MBOs and Accountability, Part 1

I have personal and professional goals. Sometimes, I state them as objectives: complete this book, learn that thing. Those are personal objectives. My personal objectives look like MBOs, Management By Objectives. These personal objectives contribute to my company, but they are not a corporate objective. Some of my goals are corporate objectives: release that book, build …

Build Respect in Organizations, Not Families, Part 3

I started this series positing that respect is the cornerstone for how we might treat each other, to manage our interactions with success, especially in light of the #MeToo conversation. The series so far is: Organizations Are Not Families, Part 1. Why the metaphor of family-as-org demeans the people working there. Build Respect in Organizations, …

Agile Approaches Require Management Cultural Change

Ron Jeffries, Matt Barcomb, and several other people wrote an interesting thread about prescriptive and non-prescriptive approaches to team-based agile. The issues are nuanced and for me, don’t lend themselves to a Twitter discussion. (Learning how to write short and coherently is a different post.) If you don’t want to read the entire thread, here …

Defining “Scaling” Agile, Part 6: Creating the Agile Organization

We might start to think about agile approaches as a project change. However, if you want to “scale” agile, the entire culture changes. Here is a list of the series and how everything changes the organization’s culture: Defining “Scaling” Agile, Part 1: Creating Cross-Functional Feature Teams. Without feature teams, I don’t see how you can …

Defining “Scaling” Agile, Part 5: Agile Management

One of the challenges I see in organizations is how managers can use agile approaches. One of the biggest problems is that the entire organization is organized for resource efficiency (think silos of functional experts). Agile approaches use flow efficiency. Thinking in flow efficiency changes everything. Many people in organizations believe that dividing up the …

Team Size Matters, Reprise

Several years ago, I wrote a post for a different blog called “Why Team Size Matters.” That post is long gone. I explained that the number of communication paths in the team does not increase linearly as the team size increases;  team communication paths square when the team increases linearly. Here is the calculation where N is …