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leadership language

Leaders, are you ready for agile?

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Leaders, are you ready for agile?

I was chatting with some colleagues the other day and the topic of agile maturity came up. Particularly for Technology Leaders who are inquiring about agile approaches.

These could be leaders who are new to agile and want to start the transformation OR leaders who are currently engaged in a transformation and looking for assistance.

The questions were around, how to tell IF:

  • Do they truly “get” or understand agility?
  • Are they really “ready” for it?
  • Are they serious about it?
  • Are they a good candidate for a coaching engagement?
  • And, are they properly aligned with the principles of the coaching/consulting firm?

Some of the questions focused towards money. In fact, quite a few of them. Questions here were around budgets, the contractual/approval process, and payment terms.

I was almost embarrassed to admit that these are not forefront in my mind when I’m engaging clients. My feeling is that they sort of take care of themselves. What I care more about is how I perceive the Inspection Report - February 2017 client’s answers to the first set of questions AND how do they align with my own principles.

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Avoiding Death by a Thousand Questions

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Avoiding Death by a Thousand Questions

I came upon a wonderful post entitled The Illusion of Managing People at Nucleus Insights. You can find it here: http://nucleusinsights.com/blog/?p=224

The focus of the article was away from “managing” and more towards “leading, inspiring, and focusing”.

There were three key points made:

  1. Nurture the culture, can the controls;
  2. Paint the big picture, skip the little instructions;
  3. Always ask, never tell.

They wrapped up the article with the following quote:

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Agile Leaders - Watch your language!

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Agile Leaders - Watch your language!

A rather long time ago I was in a meeting with a fairly senior development director and we were talking about annual roadmap planning. He was complaining about things. One of the things he brought up several times was race horses. He kept saying –

Bob, we simply don’t have enough race horses.

I became confused and a bit frustrated and I sort of lashed out saying –

What do race horses have to do with us meeting our software product goals for next year?

He said – no Bob, I’m talking about resources, not race horses.

After all these years, I still find this story both amusing and troubling at the same time. I think we often overuse the term resources as leaders, managers and project managers in software discussions.

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