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Random Thoughts on Leadership and Life

Stories from helping organizations embrace New Ways of Working
From Staffing by Role to Staffing by Skills

Organizations often start their Agile journeys by forming one or more teams. One of the “rules” of Agile is that a team needs to be cross-functional (able to perform all the work, from analysis to production, on their own). Many pre-Agile organizations consist mainly of specialists with very narrow but deep skill sets. It is...

Five whys is an effective questioning technique to identify the root of a problem. The idea is that by digging at least five levels deep into the initial issue, you uncover the real reason behind the problem. The technique is very simple, yet powerful. Unfortunately, many organizations have gotten proficient at asking “five whos” instead...

Yesterday, my colleague, Kristian Haugaard (@haugaards), asked on our Ugilic Google hangout; Which book should a mid-level manager new to Agile read during the christmas holidays? My instinctive answer was Scrum for Managers: Management Secrets to Building Agile & Results-Driven Organizations by Rini van Solingen (@solingen) and Rob van Lanen (@robvanlanen). The book is a ‘how to...

In my previous post, After 100 Years of Taylorism, We Need a New Leadership Paradigm, I discussed why Frederick Winslow Taylor’s scientific management paradigm is no longer a winning strategy in today’s world. In this post, I want to put Taylor’s thinking into an evolutionary perspective by discussing the recent book Reinventing Organizations by Belgian...

One of the discussions I often have with clients is on full-time versus part-time Scrum Masters. Often the arguments against a full-time Scrum Master is related to cost. Typically organizations have one project manager per project and they see it as double the cost having both a dedicated Product Owner and a dedicated Scrum Master on...

Recently we were helping a client introduce Agile into large parts of the organization. The client has offices across the country and the larger projects typically included people from multiple locations. The teams faced many of the usual challenges related to low-bandwidth communication compared to face-to-face. To improve communication effectiveness two of the teams decided...