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: TDD for Business Strategies – Developing Business Strategies Test-First

This is the video of my talk from Agile on the Beach 2014 where I spoke on how to apply agile test-first principles to the development of business strategy.

Many businesses struggle with the strategy chasm between their business goals and product pipelines – what should we do? how should we approach it? what strategies will work?

Through case studies and examples, I show how the power of a meaningful mission, clear vision and measurable goals can be combined with a test-first approach to business strategy to create better strategies that deliver more quickly with lower risks – and with far less political and opinion-driven pressure.

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You Can’t Engineer Culture Change!

Sometimes people approach everything as an engineering problem.

While this can work very well, not everything can be engineered, some things are emergent – they are a property of the system. This means you can’t engineer them directly, you need to instead create the conditions that encourage the properties you want.

That’s how organisational culture works and I wish more people knew it.

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Bringing the Citizen back into Digital Service Design

Today’s narrow focus on digital risks elevating it to become the purpose of services instead of the real purpose: serving citizens

Digital services are in vogue and the UK government has been changing both how they are implemented (using agile techniques) and how they are procured (smaller suppliers, G-Cloud and other frameworks).

With the creation of the Government Digital Service (GDS), “digital” is now at the heart of the Cabinet Office. With the creation of “Digital by Default” it is now impossible to ignore technology when delivering services.

Much of this is a welcome break from poor past practices and there is much to be admired. But there remains something missing and a potentially dangerous risk.

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Explored: Management in Networks by Harold Jarche

I recently came across an excellent thought-provoking article by Harold Jarche titled Management in Networks. The ideas within are well worth expanding on and spreading more widely, hence this post.

Jarche’s central point is that within a network structure (peer-to-peer), cooperation is more important than traditional ideas of common objectives and managed collaboration. As organisations become flatter, people connect directly to others to pursue new objectives. In this world, success is founded on a high degree of knowledge sharing and exploration of areas outside core objectives that traditionally would not be permitted.

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How to avoid screwing up Vision & Mission (Part IV)

In the final part of this four-part mini-series, we continue on from Strategies & Goals, Tactics, Vision & Mission and now look at a simple recipe to put everything together. Finally, we round off with how to avoid common pitfalls when defining a Vision and Mission.

First an appeal: Please do your best not to get it wrong. The world doesn’t need any more bad visions or missions. Better not to have any at all than do it in a half-hearted way.

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Why Vision and Mission matter and what makes for good ones (Part III)

Continuing on from Strategies and Tactics, in Part III we look at the importance of Vision and Mission. In Part IV we’ll look at the common ways people get Vision and Mission wrong and bring all concepts together with Goals in a simple, clear structure.

This was also prompted by a Twitter conversation where a poster told me in response to Part I that Goals and Mission were all the same and what mattered was how you used whatever you called it.

I’d love to agree but I can’t. That’s because I’ve found time and time again that these concepts do matter, are separate and handled properly can make a real difference. So this is to explain why and how.

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Don’t Confuse Strategies with Goals and Tactics (Part II)

In Part I, we examined what triggered this blog post, how people often confuse Goals with Strategies and why this matters so much.

Next let’s look at tactics.

A tactic is a reusable method that can support execution of a strategy. They are reusable because the same tactic may support multiple strategies.

Tactics require knowledge of real work on the ground; a closeness to customers, employees and the market

Tactics are not complete strategies themselves – where strategy is big picture, tactic is down in the detail. Tactics require knowledge of real work on the ground; a closeness to customers, employees and the market.

To achieve any big goals it is essential to have a clear strategy and rapidly get to specific tactics. This is what will guide the whole business in achieving the goals and making them real.

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