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Showing posts from December, 2011

Toasting Management in #stoos? Anstossen or anstoosen?

In ten days or so, barring bad weather or last minute emergencies, some 22 thought leaders, idea farmers, managers, agilists, community leaders or otherwise interesting people will get together in Stoos to catalyze a change management. It turns out, Stoos is a pun in German, which I'd like to explain.

Stoos is the name of a community overlooking Schwyz and located at about 1'300m above sea level, with ski slopes up to about 1950m. In German, it is often referred to as 'der Stoos' (the Stoos) as if it were the name of mountain, but I don't think that is case.

I don't know why Franz Röösli chose this hotel. We wanted a ski location (in honor of the gathering which produced the Agile Manifesto being held at the Snowbird Lodge in Utah). It needed to have a conference room, be willing to block rooms for 20 people, and be reasonably easy to get to for international travelers. It was the only alternative he proposed, but it looked good, so here we are.

Stoos is very s…

Towards an 'Agile Manifesto' for Leadership at Stoos?

The Agile Manifesto has been the basis of a shared identity for software developers for over 10 years. A diverse group of people - the thought leaders of the 'lightweight project management' movement - got together it the Snowbird Lodge in Utah, identified some common beliefs, gave themselves a name, and (inadvertently?) started a movement. At Stoos, we want to catalyze a change for the better in management. What would an 'agile manifesto' for business look like?

As Steve Denning and I prepared the Radical Management Gathering in Zurich, we felt that future radical managers would want training and recognition -- they are doing something important! -- but didn't feel certifications was the right way to do.

The concept was simple: Recognized and Committed. A participant who attended the gathering and committed to the principles became a 'Recognized and Committed Radical Manager'. Recognition came from attending the gathering - there could be other ways to be…

More ideas on How To Start Global Managment Warming in #Stoos

The interest is great, and feedback equally so. Today feedback from:
Sigi Kaltenegger on whether a big gesture will be helpful Scott C. Schuck on learning through visual experinceGerhard Andrey on 'Kill you job title!'Kurt Nielsen on managers as deep experts in planned economic behavior, on managers who see themselves as being 'above work', and on middle managers who are not interested in the customersSigi Kaltenegger (@sigikaltenecker) wrote:
I am still wondering if a big “revolutionary” or “radical” gesture is helpful in winning over managers. On the one hand, this gesture is perhaps too much of the same in terms of “heroic management”, where you are supposed to be the solution hero for every problem. On the other hand, remembering Maestro Senge´s “People don´t resist change. They resist being changed”, I doubt that a revolutionary approach shows appropriate respect to managers today.

As to the expected outcome of the Stoos Gathering, I would be happy to learn more a…

In Praise of Slack

One of the oldest questions in Scrum is, 'to how much work should a team commit each sprint?' The standard answer is, 'as much as the team thinks it can finish, no more, no less'.

A team I am coaching stumbled on to a different approach. They committed to somewhat less work than they were certain they could complete. In fact, they were done two days before the Sprint Review. Those two days were used for working on internal quality ("technical investments" to prevent future technical debt), a last minute feature requested by a manager, and building down some accumulated overtime (from the days before Scrum).

Although the last minute feature proved to be not such a good idea (the story wasn't "ready"), everyone was quite happy about the positive side effects of slack.

One of those pleasant side effects was that the question of how to deal with unfinished stories didn't come up!

Ideas on How to Start Global Management Warming in #stoos

Our call for help in preparation for the #Stoos Gathering has spurred much discussion throughout the web (see also here and here). Today feedback from
Andreas Schliep on role modelsDon Reinertsen on not whining and why he gave up on his slide ruleRoman Pichler on Scrum Start-UpsTom Mellor on the role of Business Schools
Andreas Schliep (@andreasschliep) wrote simply:
"Managers need positive role models, role models who have taken a different, new way, and were successful with that approach."
Don Reinertsen (@DReinertsen) wrote (modestly):
"I am not sure that I can really contribute a lot to the event other than to encourage you push forward on the hard issues. Having been on both the sending and receiving side of "why can't management change," I'd offer two thoughts: It is convenient for us all to externalize the obstacles that are holding back change. I have found it easiest to both obtain and to give support when the party requesting support has alread…

#Stoos Looking for a Simple Framework for Applying Radical Management

"Scrum has been so successful because it is a simple framework that is easy to teach and easy to follow. A framework for general management needs this same simplicity." This morning, fellow Scrum coach and evangelist Mischa Ramseyer and I were brainstorming on how to accelerate the transformation of management for the #Stoos Gathering. Mischa's words echoed my own long held beliefs. We have seen Scrum succeed over and over, mostly in software development contexts. What are the deeper patterns that can be applied to all management situations and how can we distill them into an easy-to-teach, easy-to-apply framework?

What would be the characteristics of this framework?
It would be simple. The rituals can be followed easily.It would be based on the same values and principles as Agile, Scrum and Kanban. In particular trust, transparency and respect. It would focus on achieving customer delight.It would ensure a clear line of sight from those doing the work to those customers…

Announcing Radical Management Training

Radical Management Training
Delighting The Customer Through Continuous Innovation
with Steve Denning and Peter Stevens

As a business leader, have you ever wondered what Steve Jobs did to turn an almost bankrupt computer company into a firm that transformed the world of retail, music, mobile phones and tablets?  Have you ever thought about what you can do to not to fall victim to the disruptive innovation that has killed so many companies?

What would your company be like if your customers loved your products and services? How would work be different if your staff were totally motivated and happy to come to work?  If turf battles, silo organizations and layers of management did not stifle the creativity you need to survive and thrive in the 21st century?

It's not a dream. Your company can be innovative, responsive and profitable (and a seriously fun place to work!). There are companies like that today. Maybe even parts of your organization are like that today. Your organization…

Achieving Phase Change: Why is it so difficult to change management

In preparation for the #Stoos Gathering, we have been asking 'Why is it so difficult to change management? While we are not the first to ask the question, it has once again stimulated much discussion (@jurgen's blog, @steve's blog, or on the ScrumAlliance Linkedin group).

Back when the #Occupy movements were getting started, Steve Denning wrote, "What do the occupiers want? Phase Change."
People increasingly sense that things aren’t going to get better unless something big is done, some fundamental change is made in our financial structures. It won’t be small-time rejiggering—a tiny cut in this tax, a minor reduction in that program—that will get us out of this. Like Oliver Twist, they intuit—however incoherently and inarticulately—that we need a phase change, a change in which everything is different.

Phase changes follow patterns regardless of physical or social makeup. They entail a change from one level of order to another. Phase changes are everywher…

Talk to me

The first suggestion for improvement in my poll on Swiss Banks was poll on Customer Delight was quite simple: "I wish they would talk to me." This from a fairly well to do customer who was hit pretty hard while following the bank's investment advice.

A colleague of mine is an agile coach at one of the two largest banks. We were talking about the challenges faced by their CIO. In particular, he is rather constrained by the expectations of managers next to and below him in the hierarchy. I suggested the CIO should organize a collaborative work thru to break the ice and get things moving in the company. My colleague's response: "No can do! I can't reach him. I can't even send him an email."

It seems the CIO of this bank has a spam filter which prevents staff below a certain level from contacting him directly.   

Without communication, there is no movement, no change. Companies are frozen.

Are you managers available to talk to you? Or do they have spam…

#stoos: Global Management Warming Starts in Switzerland

W. Edwards Deming wrote decades ago that bonuses are bad for business. But most managers around the world are still using them.

Peter F. Drucker said ages ago that knowledge workers cannot be subordinates of managers. But managers still treat their staff as subordinates.

Dan Pink spoke on TED about motivation: what science knows and business ignores. Research tells us again and again that performance appraisals don’t work. But many companies keep relying on them as their primary evaluation technique.

Why? Why is management frozen and inflexible? Why is management changing so slowly?

10 years ago, the Agile Manifesto ignited a world-wide revolution in software development. Granted, the agile movement is still a work-in-progress. But we have made a lot of progress!

However, it seems the Arctic Ocean will have melted before we see traditional management replaced with a more functional paradigm. The rate at which it happens now is certainly not the same rate as the adoption of Scrum and …

Poll: How do you feel about your Swiss Bank?

A central tenet of Radical Management is that the purpose of an organization is to delight its customers. If customer delight is the key to success in the 21st century, how are Swiss companies doing at delighting their customers?

We could apply this to any industry, so let's start with an industry which is a key importance to the Swiss economy: her banks. How are they doing? And what could they do to improve?

I have compiled a list of the most important banks for the people who actually live and work in Switzerland (including Postfinance, which is not actually a bank, but excluding most private banks who cater to an international clientele).

I wrote previously about using Fred Reichheld's Net Promoter Scores to evaluate customer delight. Let's apply that simple approach to the Swiss banks and see how they fare.

To the poll: How do you feel about your Swiss bank? Tell us what you think...

and be sure to tell your friends about this study.

I plan to publish results in Februa…