Management Improvement Carnival

I’m honoured to have been asked by John Hunter to host an edition of his Management Improvement Carnival. That means that I get to pick a number of links to posts and articles on relevant topics. Here they are…

Agile Fluency

One set of posts that caught my eye was on Agile Fluency. The original post by James Shore and Diana Larsen proposes “a model of Agile fluency that will help you achieve Agile’s benefits. Fluency evolves through four distinct stages, each with its own benefits, costs of adoption, and key metrics”. Dave Nicolette responded that ” the gist of the article appears to be that we can effect organizational improvement in a large company by driving change from the level of individual software development teams. The major problem with that idea, in my opinion, is the bottom-up approach.” James then further clarified, by saying “Dave argues that the individual software teams in IT cannot drive bottom-up organizational change. I agree. Organizational change must occur if you want to achieve three- or four-star fluency, but our article doesn’t describe how to do so. It just says it’s necessary.”

Cynefin Agile Lean Mashups

One of the areas I have been involved in recently is in exploring how we can use ideas from social and complexity science to inform the theory and practice of Agile and Lean. This months CALM Beta event was specifically aimed at using Dave Snowden’s work with Cyenfin to do this. Dave has recently been blogging about his latest thinking on Complexity.

Employee Ranking

This link from Forbes has been doing the rounds in my twittersphere, describing how “a management system known as “stack ranking”—a program that forces every unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, good performers, average, and poor—effectively crippled Microsoft’s ability to innovate”. In response, Jabe Bloom described how “it’s been three years since we last ranked employees or gave performance reviews at TLC, and we think it’s working reasonably well.”

Agile Book

One of my colleagues, Bob Gower, has been putting together a book about Agile Business, including contributions from a number of Rally Coaches. “An important part of Agile is shipping things in a continuous and real-time manner. This is our effort of practicing what we preach. We are releasing the first increment of the book at the Agile 2012 conference to test how you think we’ve done—it’s not a complete copy of the book but enough we hope to whet your appetite.”

Introduction to Waterfall

Finally, here’s something fun I put together recently to help explain waterfall.