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Posts from the ‘Management and leadership style’ Category

Agile managers do not act like cowboys

Image by anyjazz65

Managers are expected to get their teams to deliver on the objectives that are established. Managers are also expected to keep their people happy and motivated. How can one accomplish these two seemingly incompatible expectations?

Let’s first distinguish management from leadership.

Management books often make a distinction between managers and leaders, depicting leadership as if it is more about heroics than management. […] Managers are then advised to transform themselves to leaders, turning employees into willing followers, instead of herding them like sheep. […] Separating leadership from management is like comparing women to humans. It doesn’t make sense. […] Comparing women to men seems more logical to me. – Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders

I agree with Jurgen that leadership is one of the ways to accomplish a manager’s role.

Along the same lines, I hear from time to time conversations within Agile circles and read Agile related blog posts promoting soft leadership, leading without authority and laissez-faire [The latter is sometime mistakenly perceived to be self-organization. Self-organization is something else and requires clear boundaries, but that’s for another post] as the answer to the management conundrum. Is that really the silver-bullet?

In almost all organizations, the manager’s role is fairly similar.

Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. Management comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization (a group of one or more people or entities) or effort for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. […] Since organizations can be viewed as systems, management can also be defined as human action, including design, to facilitate the production of useful outcomes from a system. This view opens the opportunity to ‘manage’ oneself, a pre-requisite to attempting to manage others. – wikipedia

For a large number of individuals in management responsibility, authority is perceived to be the most effective tool to ensure compliance and to get people to do with is expected. Please bear with me, the analogy isn’t perfect but the image is powerful. For me, authority is similar to carrying a gun [or whatever your preferred weapon happens to be].

It is easy to obtain compliance and get people to do what we tell them to do when we – the managers – are the only people carrying a weapon. It is especially true if the weapon is constantly out of the holster and pointing directly at the team [figuratively speaking, of course]. So authority gets us compliance (for most part) and may allow us to meet our objectives (some of the time) but authority doesn’t bring the best out of people. Authority certainly doesn’t make people happy and motivated.

On the other hand, if we aim to keep people happy and motivated first, we are more likely to adopt a laissez-faire approach.

Lewin often characterized organizational management styles and cultures in terms of leadership climates defined by (1) authoritarian, (2) democratic and (3) laissez-faire work environments. Authoritarian environments are characterized where the leader determines policy with techniques and steps for work tasks dictated by the leader in the division of labor. The leader is not necessarily hostile but is aloof from participation in work and commonly offers personal praise and criticism for the work done. Democratic climates are characterized where policy is determined through collective processes with decisions assisted by the leader. Before accomplishing tasks, perspectives are gained from group discussion and technical advice from a leader. Members are given choices and collectively decide the division of labor. Praise and criticism in such an environment are objective, fact minded and given by a group member without necessarily having participated extensively in the actual work. Laissez-faire Environments give freedom to the group for policy determination without any participation from the leader. The leader remains uninvolved in work decisions unless asked, does not participate in the division of labor, and very infrequently gives praise. – wikipedia

When nobody carries a weapon, such as in the case of laissez-faire leadership style, people are freer to select goals that appeal to them and are more likely to be successful at reaching their objectives. Unfortunately, managing people (as in the wikipedia definition “getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives”) becomes extremely difficult and maybe impossible in a business context (trust me, we have tried that unsuccessfully).

To be an agile manager doesn’t mean to avoid using authority and to strictly rely on our influencing capabilities. It doesn’t mean to let people determine the business orientation that the organization will be taking either. As in many fruitless debates, taking an “either or” perspective doesn’t lead to the best answer. Agile managers need to be able to use authority, but not as their primary tool.

Let me explain.

Agile managers need to take the time to explain the objectives they aim to achieve and get people to follow them (leadership) into attempting to reach the objectives. Just like good diplomats, agile managers should begin with good listening skills, influence, and negotiation when they are faced with people resistance and challenges. Only in extreme cases should we turn to authority to get people to do what we need them to do. Like many things in life, using authority comes at a cost (diminished commitment from the team, reduced motivation) and as such, should be used wisely.

This leads me to my last point. In addition to management skills, people’s tolerance to stress needs to determine if they should be entitled to manage a team. As most psychometric tests can tell, we – humans – tend to operate differently when we are within our comfort zone (low stress) or outside our comfort zone (high stress). While in our comfort zone, we usually take advantage of many of our built-in or acquired skills which doesn’t increase one’s anxiety level. By contrast, stepping too much outside our comfort zone leads to decreased performance and substantially increased anxiety levels. People for who management is within their comfort zone or people who have better abilities to deal with stress are less likely to use authority as their primary tool. As such, agile managers are more likely to wait until the situation is critical before they even think of going “Clint Eastwood” on people.

So next time you are thinking of promoting someone in a management position, do not simply look for their skills. Assess their ability to manage their stress level.

12 tips to be a better coach

image by BernzillaI often hear people saying they are coaching others in an agile context. Coaching is often incorrectly used to mean: consulting, teaching, mentoring and a few other unexpected meanings.

Coaching is very useful to help people get from “point A to point B” and it can be used in various contexts, including coaching for Agile adoption or to help people managers modify their leadership style. Either way, to be powerful, coaching requires a few basic skills and a question from my friend Yves prompted me to describe 12 fundamental elements that I believe are required to be an effective coach. You are more than welcome to share your thoughts.

  1. Inner silence: To be truly effective at listening to what others are saying and how they are feeling, it is critical to block the voice inside your head – yes that’s right, that voice that rambles all the time saying things such as: I wonder what we’ll eat for dinner tonight?… Damn, I forgot to make reservation for dinner… I hope the kids did well on their math test today… I’m bored… I think I want a coffee right now. I heard the term monkey brain to describe this constant action of jumping around from one thought to the next. To be an effective coach, you will need your monkey brain to calm down so you can find inner peace.
  2. Stop all judgment: When you coach people, it is easy and unproductive to become judgmental. Comments such as: Wow, that’s a weird comment… I wonder why he’s saying this… There must be some secret meaning to that sentence… I don’t think I’l be able to help her on this topic… I feel insecure… This won’t help be effective at all. Simply listen to what is being said for what it is being said. Judgments will sidetrack your listening abilities and will make you a very poor coach.
  3. Stay focused: Now that you stopped all judgements and are able to keep the inner voice quiet, you need to remain focused for more than 6 seconds. Yes, just like meditation, this sounds like an impossible task at first but with practice, you will develop your focusing-muscle and the task will get easier with time allowing you to be more present to what the other person is expressing.
  4. Be present: Be in the moment – right there and then. Listen to what is being said, notice how the person is acting and give her your full attention and make the space secure for the conversation.
  5. Don’t aim for personal performance: Aiming for an academy award when you are coaching simply doesn’t work. You are not there to impress anyone. Ironically, the more you will try to impress the other person, the less effective you will be. She will will quickly notice that the focus is on you and not her which will make it pretty much impossible to actually support her development.
  6. Ask open ended questions and wait for the answers: Remember, you are not telling a story, you are there to listen. If you need clarification or want to encourage discussion, simply ask a short question. Trust yourself that the other person will understand your questions and if they don’t, they will quickly let you know. Once you have asked your question, wait for the answer.
  7. Trust your intuition: If you feel that you need to ask a certain question, then go ahead and ask it. If you believe it is better to wait, then wait. I believe what we call intuition is simply our brain and senses’ abilities to decipher subtle messages from the other person and give us clues as how to interact with them.
  8. Keep silent: After asking a question, never speak first. Maintain the silence until the other person breaks it. I am a very strong believer in keeping silent. Silence opens up a secure space for conversations and gives all the space to the other person.
  9. Pay attention to the non-verbal: Words are a great way to communicate but non-verbal clues are usually very useful to understand where the person stands – Are they at a rational level? Intuition level? Emotional level? This information will be very useful to adapt your coaching style.
  10. Dig deep: It is much easier to stay at the rational level in a discussion. It often leads to contextual information and detailed explanations. To make a real difference, you need to get to the underlying emotions – What are the person’s fears? Intentions? Motivations? Ask feeling-related questions, not logical or rational questions such as: “How do you feel about this event?” instead of “What do you think about this?”.
  11. Rephrasing: When rephrasing, use the same key words as the other person. The words are usually very meaningful to the other person and will open up relevant information for you.
  12. No context: Do not focus too much on the context. It is usually good to understand what triggered the actions or where the event took place, but the information usually has very little impact on the person you are coaching.

Are there other tips you would like to share?

Cracking the Code for Standout Performance (part II)

image by shadaringtonAs Agile team coaches or organizational coaches, we aim to increase the teams’ performance in an attempt to deliver better results. We improve quality, help the team work more efficiently, and have fun while delivering increased business value. Interestingly, many of the observations presented in Great Business Teams: Cracking the Code for Standout Performance (this is the second part of the book review) are in line with the Agile values and principles. Here are some of the keys points to remember:

THE LEADERS

The leaders have an important role in developing high performance teams. Their actions and behaviors will be closely observed and people will modify their own behaviors based on those of their leaders. Guttman highlights some of the leader imperatives to achieve high performance.

Develop and drive the horizontal vision

An horizontal organization means moving to an organizaton in which everyone operates according to a clearly defined set of decision-making protocols, where people understand what they are accountable for and then own the results.

For an organization to raise its level of performance every team, on every level, must be a great team. That is to say, it must be aligned in five key areas:

  1. business strategy
  2. business deliverables coming from the strategy
  3. roles and responsibilities at individual and business unit or functional levels
  4. protocols, or ground rules, for decision making and conflict resolution (see a recent post on this topic)
  5. business/interpersonal relationships and interdependencies

Create the right mindset

  • Being candid from “wary, closed with hidden agendas” to “candid, open, relaxed, easy to speak your mind” – from “no tolerance for confrontation, conflicts suppressed” to “tensions surfaced, confronted, and resolved”
  • Accentuating accountability: putting equal emphasis on cross functional, peer-to-peer accountability, as well as peer-to-leader acountability.

Provide the right skills

Such as influencing, active listening, assertion, giving and receiving feedback, conflict management, decision making and leadership.

Keep the game and guard the rules

Everyone is clear about and committed to the business strategy and the operational goals that flow from it; undertsands his or her roles and responsibilities, and adheres to agreed-upon protocols, or ground rules for decisions making and for interpersonal behavior, especially those relating to conflict management.

Here’s how great teams make decisions:

  • Identify the decisions that need to be made
  • Identify decision subteams
  • Assign accountability
  • Set objectives and timelines
  • Select the decision making mode
  • Identify information sources
  • Determine the shelf life of the decision

Raise the bar

Keep challenging the status quo, revisit the targets and get the team involved in the process.

Be player centered

Leadership is in large part about power – about how it is exercised, shared, delegated, and used. High performance leaders seek to leverage power, not monopolize – to put it to use to drive up their team’s or organization’s performance. Putting the power in the hands of the teams members provides the right conditions to deliver maximum payoffs.

THE PLAYERS

The road to a great team begins with two nuclear elements of team reality: the leader and the team members. Consequently, team members must show four very obvious characteristics.

Think like a director

Keep their eye on overarching goals and the need to stay on top of their competition.

Put team first, function second

They are team members first and functional representatives second.

Embrace accountability

Slowly move from an individual accountability for their own results toward accountability toward the success of the entire organization.

Become comfortable with discomfort

People need to be or become comfortable with the changes required of them and their leader.

Building an outstanding team requires time and energy and is achievable once people agree to work together and pull in the same direction.

Martin Proulx (Analytical-Mind) to celebrate International Coaching Week with free leadership coaching

In celebration of International Coaching Week, February 6–12, 2011, I am pleased to offer as I did last year, 10 hours of leadership coaching.

See what Louis had to say about his coaching experience:

I contacted Martin to help me transitioning to a senior role in the banking industry. He always used appropriate questions to bring my reflection to the right point, allowing me to accelerate thoughts I could possibly have but on a much longer period of time. Martin is smart, clear and articulate and efficiently interfere with a minimum number of words to help in the evolution of the reflection. Our coaching sessions helped me to improve my management skills, and I would definitively recommend him!

Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaches work with clients in many areas, including business, career, finance, health and relationships.

Image by seier+seierIf you ever wondered if a coach can help you achieve better results faster, I invite you to send me an email (martin[at]analytical-mind[dot]com) with the following information:

  • Description of the professional objective you are hoping to achieve.
  • Why you think a leadership coach could help you achieve your objective?
  • Why YOU should be selected?

I am donating 10 x 1-hour sessions to one leader who wishes to achieve a specific goal. The sessions will take place over the phone (skype) at the rate of 1 session per week. You have until Wednesday, February 16th to submit your profile and I will select the coachee on February 19th. I am confident you will enjoy the experience.

International Coaching Week (ICW) is a weeklong global celebration of the coaching profession held each February since 1999. ICW is a designated time for coaches and clients to educate the general public about the value of working with a professional coach and to acknowledge the results and progress made through the coaching process. During this extended commemoration, coaches around the world offer a variety of activities and pro bono services in their local communities to share what coaching has the ability to do. For more information about ICW, visit www.coachingweek.org.

The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with more than 16,000 members in more than 90 countries, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. The ICF is the only organization that awards a global credential which is currently held by over 5,700 coaches worldwide. For more information about the ICF, please visit our Web site at www.coachfederation.org.

Cracking the Code for Standout Performance – Applying the approach to Agile Teams

I just finished reading Great Business Teams: Cracking the Code for Standout Performance.

In Great Business Teams, renowned business consultant Howard M. Guttman takes you inside some of the world’s most successful corporations—Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Mars Incorporated, and L’Oréal, to name a few—to discover how a powerful new high-performance horizontal model has changed the way leaders lead, team members function, challenges are met, and decisions are made. He also reveals how and why the organizations that have implemented this innovative team structure have become great companies, able to ride the crosscurrents during lean times and truly soar when opportunities arise.

As Agile team coaches or organizational coaches, we aim to increase the teams’ performance in an attempt to deliver better results. We improve quality, help the team work more efficiently, and have fun while delivering increased business value. Interestingly, many of the observations presented in Great Business Teams: Cracking the Code for Standout Performance are in line with the Agile values and principles. Here are some of the keys points to remember:

1. Great Business Teams are Led by High-Performance Leaders who:

  • Create a “burning platform” for fundamental change;
  • Are visionaries and architects;
  • Know they cannot do it alone;
  • Build authentic relationships;
  • Model the behaviors they expect from their team;
  • Redefine the fundamentals of leadership.

Isn’t this what we would expect of the Product Owner in Scrum?

Interestingly, the author positions the process by wish the leader achieves these objectives by asking tough questions such as:

  • What is the business strategy and how committed are we to achieving it?
  • What key operational goals flow from the strategy and how do we make sure these goals drive day-to-day decision making?
  • Are we clear on roles and accountabilities?
  • What protocols or ground rules will we play by as a team?
  • Will our business relationships and interdependencies be built on candor and transparency?

Hence, the support of an external coach is useful and can help the leader ask powerful questions.

2. Members of Great Business Teams are Us-Directed Leaders

Members of great business teams think of themselves as accountable not only for their own performance but for that of their colleagues. Similar to the concept of self-organized teams, great business teams typically take accountability to achieve their objectives.

On high-performing teams, accountability goes well beyond the individuals recognition that he or she is part of the problem. It even goes beyond holding peers on a team accountable for performance. “Us” accountability includes holding the team leader accountable as well.

3. Great Business Teams Play by Protocols

Once a leader with the right skills is in place and supported by a self-organized team, the group needs to agree on the rules they will play by. Obviously, the more structured its way of working together, the less likelihood of misunderstanding, conflict or costly delays and bottlenecks the team will encounter.

One important set of protocols related to decision making.

Straight-up rules such as “no triangulations or enlistment of third party”, “resolve it or let it go”, “don’t accuse in absentia”, and “no hand from the grave or second guessing decisions” can eliminate much of the unresolved conflict that paralyzes teams and keeps them from moving to a higher level of performance.

4. Great Business Continually Raise The Performance Bar

No matter how much it achieves, great business teams are never satisfied, they implement self-monitoring, self-evaluation, continuous improvement, and raise the bar. The continuous improvement process helps a highly performing team to keep improving its performance and deliver impressive results.

5. Great Business Teams Have A Supportive Performance Management System

Having the right individuals in the right roles and establishing clear rules of engagement are not sufficient. The performance monitoring systems have to be inline with the expected behaviors.

  • Team and individual goals have to be crystal clear;
  • The necessary technical and interpersonal skills have to be provided;
  • Performance has to be monitored;
  • And feedback has to be timely an well thought out.

The book wasn’t written for an Agile audience but after reading it, it seems to me that applying the Agile principles would come close to cracking the code for standout performance.

Real-life laboratory for human experiments – The case of an Agile organization

Our organization is well known in Canada, France, and other French speaking countries around the world as a leader with the Agile approaches. We are one of the few organizations in North America with over 20 full-time agile coaches (employees).  For most part, our governance model relies on self-organization, the absence of hierarchy, and transparency in our decisions. This is what is well known from customers who have worked with Pyxis and potential employees who wish to join the organization, but what is much-less known is how Pyxis is a real-life laboratory for management, organizational behaviours, and team dynamics.

Most of the people who come in contact with people at Pyxis or who have worked with us will agree that the organization is different and throughout this year, I will share some of the inner working of our organization.

Pyxis helps software development companies to become places where results, quality of life, and fun coexist sustainably by being first and foremost an example of what it proposes to its clients and by coaching them.

We help our customers transition to Agile because we know it works – not because it is written in books but because we have been living the Agile way for 10 years now.

As the first post on the inner working of our Agile organization, I will explain the root cause of this difference. More posts will follow on self-organization, agile management, governance models, and growing a profitable organization by leveraging people’s inner motivation (remember autonomy, mastery and purpose?).

The fundamental reasons why Pyxis is different

After observing the organization from the inside for over two years, I have had the opportunity to appreciate that we are fortunate (and one of very few organizations) to have a real-life laboratory for human experiments – no, not the kind usually reserved to white rats. Our structure allows us to experiments with governance models (the way people are managed) and observe first hand the organizational behaviors that arise and the impact on team dynamics. We pride ourselves as being an incubator for highly performing teams and as such, we often experiment new concepts within our organization before trying them out on our clients – which is not often the case in consulting, but I digress…

The first reason behind our uniqueness is the philosophy of the founder. François sees the world differently from most people and although he has an opinion on many topics, his real contribution is that Pyxis is not a profit-maximizing organization. Like every organization, Pyxis wishes to generate a yearly profit but that is not the reason why Pyxis was originally created. Pyxis was born with a purpose to improve how software development is made and more importantly to improve the quality of life of people within those organizations.

This is critical to understand the organization because it leaves rooms for experiments (making mistakes is a critical part of learning), for employee satisfaction (people truly enjoy working at Pyxis), and deliver great results (highly motivated employees deliver better results).

There are other reasons why the organization is different but in my opinion, this one is fundamental.

Agile for managers – Challenges, operation, and impact on leaders

After giving this introduction training to over a hundred people managers, I have decided to make the presentation material available to the general public in an attempt to help organizations successfully transition to Agile.

This presentation is introductory level as it introduces some of the most common reasons why organizations choose to adopt Agile approaches. It presents some high level statistics on software development project success (and failure) to demonstrate why the traditional project management approach may not always be the best approach to successfully deliver projects.

The presentation introduces what Agile is (and isn’t) and the reasons justifying its adoption. Once the Agile concepts have been presented, the material introduces the Scrum approach by giving a walk through of a typical process.

The presentation ends with the main impacts on people managers within organizations who are adopting Agile.

I hope you will find the presentation useful to help you move your transition in the right direction. Feel free to circulate the material.

Which stance should I take? The 4 quadrants of Agile Managers

I completed my 360 degree year end performance evaluation last week but this post is not about performance reviews. This post is the mental model I developed following a comment I received during the 360 degree discussions.

Martin, we recognize you are a good coach but as the president of the organization, we still expect you to act as a manager and take a position or make decisions instead of simply asking us questions.

As any other coach out there ever received similar feedback from the team they work with? In my opinion, this is recurring question asked to coaches.

Since defining what my role should be as the leader of a self-organized team, I’ve adapted my leadership style from traditional to coaching, with apparently good impact. Unfortunately, I may have pushed the coaching stance a little too much and need to adjust in order to meet the expectation of a leader.

The above statement and questions that followed in my head, led me to develop a mental model to determine which stance I could take in a conversation. The model also aims to help others who wish to be agile managers, and determine the right stance to take in different circumstances.

Two perspectives and two dimensions

Below is my mental model which takes into considerations both participants’ perspective on a specific situation – the other person’s (to the left) and yours (at the bottom).

Each of the two people either has a complete and immediate answer or solution to the situation at hand or an incomplete and/or untimely answer (which means the person is likely to find the complete answer after thinking about it for a while but the time frame is shorter than the allowed time. These two dimensions offer four possibilities or four quadrants.

Debating

In this situation, the other person already has the answer (or solution) to a specific situation while your knowledge of the topic is incomplete (or absent). Consequently, the only way you can actually contribute to the discussion is by improving the solution and by challenging the other person’s answer in an attempt to improve the answer or the outcome.

Coaching

In a situation when neither of the two participants know the answer to a specific situation, you can take a coaching stance. As such, asking clear questions in an attempt to help the other person come up by themselves with the answer to the situation. This stance allows the development of the individual as opposed to the improvement of the solution.

Educating

In the situation where you already know the answer but the other person doesn’t, you share the answer to the situation and explain how you got to the solution. The objective is to develop the skills of the other person so they may come up with their answer next time they are faced with a similar challenge. As with the coaching stance, acting as the educator focuses on the development of the individual which will eventually take you to the exploring stance.

Exploring

In this situation both parties already clearly know the answer to the situation and as such, a discussion takes place to explore all perspectives in an attempt to make sure the best options have been properly covered. As with the debating stance, the exploration aims at improving the quality of the idea since the individual already came up with the solution.

Using these four quadrants makes it easier to determine up front which position I will be taking in the conversation and allows me to be fully coherent from one discussion to the next.

Adaptation, Anticipation, Exploration – guest post by Jurgen Appelo

(Thanks to Jurgen Appelo for this guest post – © 2010 Jurgen Appelo)

The business unit I was leading some months ago was a fine example of a complex adaptive system trying to survive. As a young start-up business, our prime objective was to find paying customers. We anticipated in which places we could find them, and we adapted when it turned out they weren’t there. (Regrettably, the second often follows the first. For many startup businesses survival is a long process of learning what doesn’t work.) And sometimes we simply experimented, not knowing whether the results would be good or bad, only to learn what worked and what didn’t.

In most agile methods, this learning takes place in the form of increments and reflections, both of which are done iteratively. An increment is a new release of a product into its intended environment, and its main purpose is to invite feedback that enables learning, adaptation (looking backward) and exploration (trying things out), while reducing the need for anticipation (looking forward) to a manageable level. The released product influences the environment, and the environment then responds to it in some (possibly unexpected) ways. The knowledge gained is used to adapt, to anticipate what will be needed in the next release, or to continue exploring when we still don’t know.

Reflections (often called retrospectives) are used to understand whether or not the project itself is operating in the right way, and how to improve parts of it in order to be more successful. The last team I worked on delivered many increments of our tools, some of which were successful, and some of which failed miserably. And we had plenty of reflections on how we ran our business, some of which were rather painful, and some of which hurt like hell.

Increments and reflections are an example of double-loop learning, a concept proposed by business theorists Chris Argyris and Donald Schön. An often cited example of double-loop learning is the simple thermostat combined with a human operator (which I will repeat here, for lack of inspiration). The thermostat adjusts itself frequently based on the information about room temperatures that it gets from the environment (the first loop, using a model of the environment). But the thermostat is operated by a human being who modifies its settings based on her earlier experiences with comfortable temperatures and anticipated changes like holidays or weather forecasts (the second loop, refining the model of the environment) [Augustine 2005:170].

I think that continuous improvement in a business environment takes place in two loops, and involves adaptation, exploration, and anticipation (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 – Double-loop learning versus improvement

Though adaptation is often mentioned as a key component in agile software development, we shouldn’t forget the role of exploration and anticipation in our businesses. We not only need to solve problems. We also must try new things just to see what happens, and innovate by developing solutions to issues that we think will be important (in the next release, or shortly thereafter).

We expect uncertainty and manage for it through iterations, anticipation, and adaptation. (Declaration of Interdependence)

Doesn’t Anticipation Violate Agile?

Anticipation is like alcohol. It is healthy when used in a small dose. But it is addictive, and most people use far too much of it.

Agile software development does not reject anticipation. But it tries to reduce it to the smallest possible amount, where it is still beneficial instead of harmful.

In my former little startup business, we did plenty of adaptation, exploration, and anticipation. Frankly, I did so much double-loop learning with my team that my brain thought it was a roller coaster.

Are you adapting, exploring, and anticipating too?

This article is an adaptation from a text out of the book “Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders,” by Jurgen Appelo. The book will be published by Addison-Wesley, in Mike Cohn’s Signature Series, and will be available in book stores near the end of 2010.

http://management30.com

http://mikecohnsignatureseries.com

References

Augustine, Sanjiv. Managing Agile Projects. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference, 2005.

The Role of the Manager in Agile / Scrum – Some of the Best Blog Posts of 2010

Image by Rob EnslinFor those who have been reading this blog for a while, it will come as no surprise that I’m very interested in helping organizations transition to Agile. My contribution is to focus mainly on the managers and leaders, and how they need to modify their leadership style to take advantage of the benefits agility brings to their organization.

Since writing I don’t feel so good – I’m a people manager in an Agile organization, I’ve been on the look-out for good posts on the role of the manager in an agile organization. Below are my 10 favorite articles for 2010.

Drop me a line if you feel I’ve missed something.

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