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Showing posts from August, 2011

Collaboration Work-Thru: Tapping the Knowledge of Your People

"We don't want to do Scrum." In the room were about 16 middle-managers. I had presented them Scrum on three different occasions, answered their questions, done Food, showed them (I thought) what Scrum would do for them, and applied (I thought) all the tools of the trade to motivate these people to do Scrum. The debate was endless. For every argument, there was always a "Yes, but..." to answer it. And all those 'buts' added up to 'No'.

What to do now? 'OK, if not Scrum, what do you want to do?' I reminded the assembled managers that the CEO would be back in the room in three hours, and he expected to find how how they want to proceed. I asked them to split into two groups. Each group should create a flip chart showing how they would like to organize product development. After two hours the groups came back together to review and understand each others proposals.

Three hours later the CEO came back, got a presentation on the two alternativ…

Recognition, Committment and the CSM

Scott Ambler recently launched (yet another) attack on the CSM program, pointing out the problems with the CSM program and the lack of identification and commitment of the CSM holders, and challenges the Scrum Alliance to do better.

As Ken Schwaber explained to me once over cheese fondue, the CSM program arose as a tactical response to a concrete problem. "My HR department will only pay for the training if it leads to a certification." "OK, after the completing the course you're a certified Scrum master." The guy got his participation funded, and so the CSM was born.

Since then, the CSM Program has been very successful, but also a victim of its own success.

Those who say the glass is half full will argue this made it much easier to get people into Scrum trainings and disseminate the practice. Those who say the glass is half empty will argue that this was good for selling courses.  The half-full types will now point out the positive effects of having a working b…

Swisscom - On the Road to Good Profits?

Good profits are the result of value that you generate for your customer. Bad profits are value that you extract from your customer.

Long contract durations, automatic rollovers, and cancellation windows (pay an exorbitant fee if you cancel too early, prolong for a year if you cancel too late) are classic examples of bad profits.  Bad products are seductive, because they seem like easy money. But nothing encourages your customers to leave like being shaken down for bad profits. Nothing inhibits your ability to move into a new market like bad profits in your home market. In short, nothing is long-term more dangerous to your profitability than a culture of raking in bad profits.

According to numerous reports, [Six: SCMN] announced that they are eliminating an important source of bad profits - the year-to-year automatic rollover for cell phone contracts. From now on, they have a 60 day notice period once the initial contract length has expired. (And yes, I think it is fair that if they s…

Thinking every day - Thoughts for July 2011

I thought putting out a radical management thought for the day (#RMtftD) would be a cool thing to do. It would attract attention, stimulate conversations, and improve my own learning. If there was one part that I underestimated, it was the last point. It is a challenge to come up with something interesting to say every day. So I have been reading more and reflecting more on what happens around me.

BTW - the RMTftD has also been a winner on the first two points. I now have over 210 followers, up from 140 when I started two months ago. I have gotten really encouraging feedback from my early retweeters, and stimulated some interesting conversations, like this July's discussion on why management innovation is so difficult.

On good profits, bad profits and the power of market position 

These tweets were largely inspired by Fred Reichheld, The Ultimate Question:
Dominant players have economic advantage. If this is not used to make customers :-), position and advantage will not lastWhen a …

Layoffs, Banks and the Blond: A radical approach to reacting to bad results

The scene: A college bar. A group of young men are sitting around a table when a group of young women, led by an especially attractive (blond) young lady enters the room. The men, all budding economists, start planning their strategies to win the attention of the blond - 'remember Adam Smith! Every man for himself and every actor acting in his own best interests (and the losers drink with their friends)!'

One of the young men, John Forbes Nash, realized that every-man-for-himself is suboptimal. The best strategy, the strategy in which each of the young men has the best outcome, is achieved when the group members work both in their own and in their collective best interests. His strategy: "Ignore the Blond!"

Governing Dynamics - "Ignore the Blonde"
Long bicycle races, like the Tour de France, may look like an individual sport, but actually cycling is a team sport. Even though there is a single winner, an individual without a team has no chance. A corporate …

Managing by the Numbers in the 21st Century

According to Radical Management, the primary purpose of a company is to delight its customers.

Managing based on customer delight really is a radical change. Today, corporations are "managed by the numbers", i.e. financial results.  Why is customer delight now more important than financial numbers. And how do you know if your customers are delighted?

Delighting the customer is essential because customers can go elsewhere. Never before has it been so easy to compare the features of different products, compare prices or share information about a company’s products, services and support. Nor has it ever been easier for new competitors to enter a market. The cable company is now a telephone company and vice-verse. In short, customers have more power than ever before. So your relationship with your customers is more important than ever before.

Some might say customer satisfaction is enough. What does satisfied mean? It means that the customer has nothing to complain about, but n…

How to chill your company

Does anything do more damage to motivation and morale than a severe reprimand? Is anything more critical to a company's ability to innovate than motivation and morale? Can you be innovative in a climate of fear?

During my last trip to the States I heard various stories of people being called on the carpet by their management. Here's a typical story: John (name changed), a senior engineer with a passion for his organization's mission, had been building informal contacts across the organizational silos to improve cooperation, collaboration and innovation in his organization. The organization was losing the interest of its customers, and everybody felt an urgency to get the organization going again. Over time, many people become interested in John's idea and so they decided to have a little gathering.

The organization's top manager had been avoiding the topic and had cancelled every meeting John had tried to schedule with him to discuss this issue. When John sent out …