Lately, Agilists have been giving the role of middle managers (or possible lack thereof) in Agile transformation a fair amount of attention. While this is a knotty problem, I worry that our polite efforts to re-define the management function might be enabling organizational neuroses and psychoses, instead of helping people address them. Ultimately, we have to use plain language: there are many bad managers out there. Agile exposes their incapacity, and makes delaying the inevitable that much harder. While compiling a complete list of middle management functions might provide some catharsis, this is supposed to be a short blog post. Therefore, I’ll highlight a few that Agile commonly exposes, with the clarity of those photos Read more
Posts Tagged 'agile-management'
[All posts in this series: 1, 2, 3, 4] Continuing on the agile framework discussion that Tom and Maurizio have started… Agile frameworks are indeed something that many organizations are now considering. Some of these organizations believe they have been doing agile well at the team level and are now starting to apply agile across their organization. Others are just starting their agile transformations and simply want to do it right the first time. To satisfy the needs of these organizations, numerous agile frameworks are now on the market. Most, if not all, have worked someplace and are the result of someone codifying that experience. But just because it worked in other places, how do Read more
For Agilists, 2016 will be a celebratory year. Not only has Agile enjoyed mainstream status for several years now, its success has allowed Agile to become a laboratory for other innovations, from new techniques for customer insights to delivery of software as fast as you can produce it. When you join a party where everyone is having the best time imaginable, the last thing on your mind is how annoyed the people next door are, and how happy the people paying for it are. Those are two major considerations for Agile in 2016, which will appear as the not-too-subtle subtext for several ongoing developments. THE AGILE PARTY HAS A BIG PLAYLIST Soon after you walk Read more
Recently there have been rumblings within the industry along the lines of “what’s next after agile?” and “what does the post-agile landscape look like?” These rumblings reflect the challenges organizations face when adopting agile within an enterprise environment. Although popular, Scrum only provides a small kernel upon which to build an agile strategy, leaving you with the heavy lifting of tailoring an end-to-end agile strategy that reflects the realities of your environment. Worse yet, the simplistic strategies promoted by agile purists sow seeds of confusion and doubt amongst people still struggling to adopt an agile mindset. Beliefs that agile requires small co-located teams, downplays architecture, delivers no documentation, doesn’t work in regulatory situations, and doesn’t Read more
Dear Agilist, Everywhere I go I hear the same thing: “Culture and management are the major impediments to enterprise agile adoption.” Indeed, hundreds of us recently sought out the annual industry conference presentations and panels on how to change management — and culture — to facilitate the agile organization. I propose you and I stop hoping for management to change. Instead, why don’t we become the change we want management to be? That’s right, become a manager! Why the heck not? Here’s my reasoning. If you are skilled in the disciplines of: Prioritizing based on value, quality, and risk reduction Self-organizing cross-functional teamwork Transparent communication Making work visible Limiting work in process Feedback loops for sensing Read more
It often starts as a seemingly plain training request. Having decided to go the agile route, a client would like Cutter to train a certain number of employees in one agile method or another. We collect data on the demographics of the target population: architects, UI designers, product managers, project managers, developers, testers, and so on. We then move on to discuss the way these folks are geographically dispersed and what the team structure for the launched agile teams will be. Once these parameters have been nailed down, it largely becomes a matter of figuring out the logistics for training and coaching. A fairly straightforward process for rolling out the agile process, one might say. Read more
“Gaming the system” is the kind of phenomenon that makes pedantic software development managers end their careers in mental asylums. A metric is introduced in order to achieve a certain outcome. To enhance the prospects of achieving the desired outcome, individuals and/or teams are compensated on the measured value of the metric. Over time they learn how to “game it”; that is, skillfully improving the measured value irrespective of whether or not such improvements still are in good accord with the desired outcome. The means (i.e., the measured value of the metric) becomes the end. “Gaming it” manifests itself as failure over time of the measured performance to fully represent actual performance. For example, a Read more