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…

Agile Australia 2011 Series - Agile Governance

If you are in an industry that is heavily into governance you need some structure and process around your projects or you could find your Agile projects getting usurped by the culture of command and control. So it’s important not to shy away from the topic but to work with the entities that enforce and monitor governance. In this way you can create something that is fast and easy and not laborious to work with.I work for an Apra regulated organisation and we made keenly aware of our obligation under Apra to evidence documented change when audited. However in all organisations I’ve ever worked in, there are boundaries that bend quite a bit, ways to change things and ways to get by that satisfy governance process without crippling your agile process.There’s almost two alternating schools of thought here which are ‘work within process’ and ‘decide to change the process’. It’s actually pretty easy for my team to work within process. Project approvals, mandates and PIDs that are important …