Characteristics of an Agile Organization

Based on our decades of experience in creating organizational agility in real life, we’ve found that there are six characteristics that agile organizations possess. First, and foremost, agile organizations start with, “Why?” Agile organizations understand the purpose of their work—the noble purpose of their work. Achieving an ROI or EBITDA or EPS does not mobilize …

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Questions from a Certified ScrumMaster® Class – Part Two

I recently taught a Certified ScrumMaster®(CSM) Class at Watermark Learning. Because our time in class is limited and our class backlog is full of activities, exercises and simulations, I rarely have enough time to address all of the questions raised. Blogging, while limited in space, does allows me the opportunity to address these questions while …

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Questions from a Certified ScrumMaster® Class – Part One

I recently taught a Certified ScrumMaster®(CSM) Class at Watermark Learning. Our two-day class is packed full of real-world examples of how to apply Scrum to solve complex problems. Of course, there is never enough class time to work through the backlog of questions that students raise, and as a passionate Scrum practitioner, this nags at …

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The Leadership Challenge of Gradual Change

Are you familiar with the boiled frog analogy? If you place a live frog in a pan of boiling water, the frog will immediately jump out. Smart. Right? However, if you place a frog in a pan of room temperature water, and all other conditions are comfortable, it will settle in. And if all other …

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Idiots in the Agile Movement

I worry that the Agile Movement is suffering from what I have come to call the “specialist syndrome,” and I worry about it growing into a plague. When I teach my class, “Design for Organizational Agility,” I talk about an organizational disease called the “specialist syndrome.” When what someone is doing and how they are …

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A Special Message to Internal Service Providers

A Special Message to Leaders of Organizations Providing Internal Services within a Larger Organization If you are leading an organization that provides internal services within a larger organization (e.g., a company’s internal organizations such as IT, Accounting, Tax, HR, Legal, Facilities, etc.), whether you realize it or not, you are in a competitive situation. And …

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Denominator Managers

Productivity…What is it? Productivity is defined as outputs divided by inputs. Measuring the productivity of an organization is done the same way. For example, the productivity of a business is defined as sales divided by expense, or revenue divided by costs. It is this equation that led Gary Hamel to coin the term, “denominator manager.” …

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Blueprint for Trouble

There are multiple parties with a stake in the success of any organization. Businesses, for example, all have at least these five: customers, employees, owners, vendors, and the various communities to which they belong. Now, allow me to put forth a principle: When an organization (a government, a business, a union, a charity, a religion, …

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The Broad Brush of Agile Customer Service

Before we talk about “customer service,” we must first define who a customer is. Who is a Customer? Agile individuals, agile organizations define their customer as anyone who depends on your work to do theirs. This may be an external customer, an internal customer, or your teammate in the next office. Anyone who depends on …

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Hello, I Am Agile – Words Matter

As the Agile movement has become mainstream, common vocabulary associated with the philosophy also has become mainstream. However, as more and more people use these words, their meaning appears to occasionally drift. This is a common occurrence in movements like Agile as people co-opt terms to appear in alignment with a philosophy without actually changing …

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