Video: AgileMK – The Agile Organisation and People

This is a talk and interactive session that I ran with Dan Rough at Agile:MK on 1st September 2014.

We speak about The Agile Organisation and its effects – the effects on people, how work is managed and on organisational culture.

We follow up with a practical exercise in small groups – asking participants to list the people and organisational challenges that they have with Agile in their organisations and then to work together to design a time-boxed experiment that they can run to start solving the problem.

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Video: Cultivating Culture Change with Tom Sedge

In this video, we take an example-led practical tour of Cultivating Culture Change within organisations using the metaphor of gardening. This draws on my experience to include a range of techniques and tools that you can use in your organisation. We explore what a workplace can look like when it has undergone a cultural transformation and where to get started.

Traditionally people approach culture change as an engineering problem or by telling their people what to be. But it just doesn’t work like that. Culture is different: it’s an emergent property and that requires a different approach.

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A key person in my team is resisting change, what do I do?

This is a really common problem – all of us at some stage have struggled with someone in our teams who resists change and yet is crucial to the current operation. We need them to change but we also need them to stay and be part of the change.

Fortunately there are a few simple strategies you can take to overcome this kind of problem and which will quickly lead to clear result – either they’ll change or it will become clear they never will, in which case you can move on.

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How to set up an ePMO?

I suggest you start by taking on the mindset that you are there with the ePMO to support, coordinate and enable rather than control and dictate. This is essential for success.

Even if you secretly want to control everything, behaving like that will be counterproductive and won’t get you want you want – it will just build resistance in other people. You need to make the ePMO something that directly benefits them.

Of course, there’s an even better reason than that, which is that control isn’t what it is popularly thought to be. True control is nothing to do with reports, standards and processes – they are all weak proxies for true control.

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Organise people in cross-functional teams to dramatically increase productivity

The key to high productivity is “getting the right people in the room”. For a service that means an end-to-end slice of the key people involved in delivering and improving the service that sit next to each other every day. Traditional functional silos destroy productivity because they introduce big delays and buffers between groups, inhibit communication and make functions more important than the whole, putting personal agendas ahead of the business.

The most common problem I see in client organisations is functional specialisation of teams. The bureaucratic, siloed and slow-moving fragmented mess that often results feels a little bit like a war zone.

Who teaches this stuff? It is as if this is the “one true path” or only way to organise mandated by God. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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