You think prioritization is hard? Not at all! Just say “everything is top priority!” and watch magic unfold. At least that’s the most popular approach. Unfortunately it doesn’t work.
Let me walk you through a better way. Please note the links to separate blog posts detailing the various concepts throughout this text. If you read them all you should be done within the hour! Add a couple of years to deeply understand it all and then convince the rest of the organization that you’re not crazy, and you’re good to go!
New Ways of Working. That’s what we call it. But as Neil Killick recently pointed out, there’s nothing new about it.
Many companies have worked in “new” ways for decades. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is new for most large corporations. Corporations that inadvertently find themselves in an Agile or Digital transformation. And most of them have yet to realize how new and different it is. In this post I’ll try to explain.
When we talk about new ways of working, we talk about trust and autonomy, and moving responsibility to the teams. This sounds scary. Most organizations are designed from the ground up to assign responsibility to individuals. A popular phrase is “When everyone is responsible, no one is responsible”. Popular or not, this phrase is wrong. Contrary to popular belief, assigning responsibility to individuals have zero benefits. And one very negative consequence.
It enables us to assign blame.
Many see the ability to assign blame not only as a good thing, but a necessity. In reality, it is a VERY bad…
..that’s what all managers out there need to figure out now. But how do you control from a distance? Your workforce has turned into a bunch of slobs who sit in their pajamas and watch reality shows while pretending to work. Every manager’s nightmare!
Dealing with this is difficult, but not impossible. Here are a few pointers:
Agile started out focusing on software teams and technical excellence. The goal was sustainable ways of working for the people doing the work, and improved interactions with stakeholders and customers. Agile was developers reacting to large corporations and their waterfall projects. Revolting against death marches where focus on cost and timelines trumped quality every time.
Fast forward twenty years, and the same organisations that the movement reacted to, now want to “Go Agile” as well. Or so they say. As people around the world point out, something is off. Organisations claim to have undergone an Agile transformation. Yet, closer inspection…
There’s a magic trick hidden in plain sight in all organizations. It will allow you to deliver sooner without working harder or faster.
A simple but counterintuitive adjustment is needed.
Here it comes:
Most good magic tricks are difficult to understand at first. It sounds like the opposite should happen, right? How can we possibly deliver sooner if we start later? What if I told you it will not only speed up your current delivery, it will also reduce the time spent on the next? This is one of those tricks where even if I told you why…
I’m part of a team of Agile coaches. It’s both the best and worst experience of my life. We all have strong opinions on our approach and on what parts of our work are most important to maximize impact. We all have different ambitions and objectives both for ourselves and those we guide.
The result is a struggle. We argue over everything from existential questions to petty details on a regular basis. It’s exhausting. At other times it’s exhilarating. I state the (to me) obvious, then out of nowhere someone goes «Why?» and I’m like «What do you mean Why?»…
On my Apple TV I have the Netflix app, and I have the HBO Nordic app. Today we’re going to compare two similar features present in these apps. I think it’s safe to assume the intention of both features are the same. Interestingly, the implementation is completely different in each app. The Netflix feature is called “Keep watching”, and it works pretty well. HBO calls their feature “Just watched”, and it’s (spoiler alert) completely useless.
Let’s take a look at both, and speculate about the how they were developed.
First to HBO and their “Just watched”. If the feature gave…
Digital transformations. There are some success stories out there. And there are many spectacular stories of failure. Today I have neither of those. Instead I have a glimpse of the Stuff In Between.
Once a company works, it’s almost impossible to make it do something else -Jurgen Appelo
When fighting the impossible, there are still days worth celebrating. And there are some really shitty days. But most days are just.. hard. And we don’t talk so much about that. Because it’s not crazy hard, and it’s not awesome either. It’s simply what happens most of the time. Sometimes two steps…
Agilists are often critical to up front planning and detailed solution specifications. But we do something else instead. Contrary to popular belief, agile teams often spend more time exploring the problem space than traditional approaches. This nuance is often lost on people. Less time spent planning and designing a solution, more time spent figuring out the problem or need. We even build things to validate whether we have the right problem before deciding on a solution. Let’s dig into why this is important.
The argument against detailed, up front planning is usually that this is the point in time we…
Lean-Agile coach — Head of Agile DNB. Process junkie, passion for product- and change management.