Skip to main content

Agile Australia 2011 Series - Restructure for Agile, Really?

What resturcturing for agile means to me is taking out needless hierarchy and placing delivery responsibility back at the team level. This topic in my Agile Australia talk is probably the one I am most conservative about. Restructuring a department that involves changing people’s roles is very disruptive. That’s good if you want to disrupt, if you want to signal that some radical change is necessary. However I would advise if you are going to do it, do it in a well managed way.

Restructures that are a veiled excuses to get rid of people perceived not to ‘think like you’ have an impact, not just on the victim, but also on the people left behind; in the end someone has lost their job which creates a sick feeling in the people left around you.

Perhaps more importantly, what does it say about me as a manager if I need a set of agreeable people to my views in order to create a successful software delivery capability? Why would I deny myself the challenge of creating a new changed vision we can all get behind? Why would I write off half the department for not sharing my views? Would I then leave myself susceptible to ‘group think’ if I wasn’t open to alternate opinions?

Restructuring to be a flatter org structure, on the other hand, I like. For example we’ve stopped the practice of distinguishing between seniors, juniors, leads etc. We keep job titles out of roles discussions.

Restructures may seem like a dry topic, somewhat akin to building or correction a foundation, but actually structures within organisations come down to the fabric of people woven around work. Take care not to rip so hard that you leave a frayed edge, that wouldn’t feel to me like People over Process.


Popular posts from this blog

Business Requirement Documents are just no good and should be abolished from the world of creating software

I had hoped the world could have wholeheartedly rejected Business Requirement documents by now. For too long I’ve seen the repeated scenario of only commencing the creation of a new initiative with a requirements document.Unfortunately most organisations that have teams developing software still use these flawed anathemas to creativity as the status quo. Despite agile approaches maturing and customer-centric modes of design emerging, requirements documents still persist. 
If you work in an organisation that doesn’t use business requirement documents any more, read no further. You are lucky; sense has prevailed at your place however in my experience, you are still the minority.
Let's face it; addressing this issue is not always the point you want to start your improvement work when there's much that could be dysfunctional with how a team is delivering software. But now, I find myself as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take business requirement documents anymore. I want to …

Gamify your children

Inspired by James Ross’s LAST conference talk on The Shamification of Lamification and the Reclaimification of Gamification I was motivated to try and “Gamify” the school holidays for my three children, Leo aged 8, Chloe 9 and Max 10.
Buy-in is everything, so the first thing we did was a quick workshop to extract the kids ideas. I asked them to write their ideas for good rewards on sticky notes, with a few examples for context, such as ‘trip to the movies or ‘play date with a friend’ . They had 5 minutes to come up with their ideas – one idea per sticky note (as always).
They then read out their ideas for all of us to hear, there were a few duplicates and also a few comedy suggestions. Even though we had ruled out crazy stuff, such as rewards of a million dollars, Leo had written down ‘A unicorn for the back yard’ reading it out with gleeful giggles.
Then they spent 5 minutes writing down tasks that they could do to earn rewards. By now they had the hang of it and quickly came up with t…

My take on SAFe - Scaled Agile Framework for the Enterprise

Something I’ve observed recently amongst this agile/lean/start up/digitally disrupted community that I’m in, is there are a lot of‘SAFe haters’ dissing on SAFe out there.
Well I’ve just come from a giant organisation that is actually making a good fist of ‘doing SAFe’, so I feel like I’ve got an experienced based perspective on SAFe which might be of interest to some.
I’ve been chatting to people on this topic, it astonishes me the amount of opinion that is being shared on SAFe. The criticism and the eye rolling and statements about what it is and isn’t. There’s a growing anticipation over how it will be received and perceived at up coming Lean and Agile conferences, the sense of controversy is palpable. I’ve been soul searching over my own recent experiences. Digested into one sentence my opinion is: “SAFe – it ain’t so bad, but it’s not the answer either.”
So, in what ways do I thinkSAFe is good and can help?
Lining up iterations amongst several teams.
I’ve observed and executed a few…