Clarify the Difference Between Outputs, Outcomes, and Benefits

When I sent my newsletter last month, Modern Management: Want Valuable Outcomes? Create Overarching Goals, several readers asked me questions. Why did I differentiate between outputs, outcomes, and benefits? I decided that was worth a blog post. Here’s how I define and use the terms. Outputs By themselves, a customer can’t use an output. We …

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 …

Large Features and Long Deadlines Mean You Have a Gantt Chart, Not a Roadmap

Several of my clients have internal struggles about how to internally see the future of the product. The teams want to use an agile approach so they can incorporate learning. The managers want rigid roadmaps. Why? Because the managers want to “know” the teams will deliver it all. However, the managers create a roadmap similar …

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 …

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. …