Agile and lean methods are transforming the management culture worldwide.
People will be not working, they will be enjoying life as they work.
When I decided to change the home page of my website and include this picture upfront, I thought for myself – why are you doing this?
I do not subscribe to the intellectual discipline of starting with the ‘why question’, before doing anything. That would be preventing me from enjoying life as it happens, moment by moment. But I am adamant about asking the ‘why are we doing this?’ whenever it concerns my professional practice. Otherwise, the value I generate to my employers or customers would be mechanical and easily replaceable by the value of employing a clever robot.
I am not sure that organizations in the XXI need that much robots, no matter how clever they can become. Instead, organizations are in desperate need of better day-to-day decision-making, to avoid costly mistakes that constantly happen out of miscommunication, work attitude, or simply lack of preparedness.
If you think your organization would perform better if you had a bunch of robots rather than human workers, then this article is not for you. Please stop reading.
If you agree that the challenges of managing human beings are worthwhile the pains, no matter how stubbornly insisting they can be, then you would be surprised by knowing more about the power of teams and how they can ease such daily management pains to the levels of comfort and pleasure.
If you are working in an organization that deals with IT, chances are that your company may already be experiencing the benefits of agile methods and teamwork. The agile revolution is already making a deep impact on the productivity of many organizations as this brilliant article from Simon Conington points out:
“Three hundred years ago, there were no offices and no factories. People lived and worked at or near home, and work was judged on what you produced, not how many hours you spent working. The first office was opened in 1729 by the East India Company, and the first factory was opened in 1769. During the Industrial Revolution, this system quickly became the way most people worked. However, technology means that, for many jobs, it is no longer necessary for everyone to work in the same location, which is causing people to question whether it is the most productive way to manage our working lives. We’re calling this era the Agile Revolution. Of course, it creates many challenges.”
In 2016, Forbes publishes an article by Steve Denning, who convincingly argues:
“Agile’s emergence as a huge global movement extending beyond software is driven by the discovery that the only way for organizations to cope with today’s turbulent customer-driven marketplace is to become Agile. Agile enables organizations to master continuous change. It permits firms to flourish in a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.”
Yet, you cannot open the pandora box of going agile and savouring the benefits of teamwork within daily operations and expect that would not have an impact on the management culture of the organization overall. Agile methods, like Scrum, are like a contagious and powerful antibody against old style, conventional management. The spillover effect will eventually be reaching the C-Suite.
In a recent article by Scrum Inc, Kim Antelo poses an interesting question: Why would teams raise issues that leaders don’t think are really a problem? How can we improve this communication?
There is generally a gap of perception between management and agile teams in what concerns impediments to change because a manager will always tell you, naively – “I am not making any impediments to change” – when, in fact, problems persist, customer complaints linger, general stress level increases. Finally, you may actually curse – “I wish I have a team of robots instead of people” – right? Hmmm, if you have thought about this last one, then this article was not for you. I need readers that believe in the amazing potential of human beings, especially when these are engaged by the power of team collaboration.
So why this picture was chosen? Because when you design your decision-making process as part of team collaboration, your organization will be no different from a coffee shop. People will be not working, they will be enjoying life as they work. Impromptu collaboration would be easily converted into genuine collaboration because the decision-making flows would be well understood. The values of group facilitation would be the driving force behind management and facilitative leadership will be effectively clearing any impediments to change.
Photo credits: Toa Heftiba