An Achilles Heel?

"I've been thinking," Herman said as Maya answered the phone.

"Dangerous business, thinking," Maya laughed.

"Yeah, but first some good news. I'm actually about to finish up this Web project, and it's really gone well. Mostly I've struggled with my management, but they've come aroundat least a little."

"Great! These little changes can lead to bigger ones."

"However, about management issues. I've been trying to reconcile this adaptive organization stuff with what I know about how organizations work, and it just doesn't hang together. For the average company, I just don't think depending on self-discipline will work. It's the Achilles' heel of APM," said Herman.

"First of all, who said anything about average? We're striving to be a great companyand I'm striving to be a great employee."

"That's easy for you," Herman said. "You're smart, talented, and skilled. You know the old saying: 'Half of all people are below average.' "

"I've known some individuals who were not the smartest or the most skilled, but they were persistent, courageous, and disciplined. Everyone has a talent for something. Sure, a certain number of people just don't care, but you can't build an organization or a process to control the misfits. You get rid of them and build for the others. Companies are average because that's what they settle forthey don't push themselves or their employees ," Maya said.

"But," countered Herman, "won't this adaptive stuff go the way of empowermentlots of talk, no action?"

"Empowerment failed because it was pushed down rather than pulled up. Organizations sent employees to a workshop and said, 'Now you are empowered.' It didn't work because you can't do either empowerment or self-discipline that wayit takes time, vision, coaching, failing, and trying again. It's hard work, with give and take, success and failure. But it's exciting; at least to me. I want to work in a place where I love coming to work every day. A place where I can contribute to the best of my ability, that values my contributions, where people want to deliver high-quality products, where I feel comfortable being myself and speaking out."

"Doesn't everyone want that?" asked Herman.

"Maybe. But are they willing to contribute or just kibitz?" Maya asked.

"I don't know," laughed Herman. "My head hurts from thinking too much. I also wanted to let you know that having finished up this project, I'm going to catch up on some long- accumulated vacationnearly two months. So I'll be out of touch. It's been great talking, and I really think these ideas we've discussed have helped."

"Same for me, Herman. I think I'm much better off on my project because of thinking through and talking about agility. Let me know when you get back."

The Agile Revolution

Guiding Principles: Customers and Products

Guiding Principles: Leadership-Collaboration Management

An Agile Project Management Model

The Envision Phase

The Speculate Phase

The Explore Phase

The Adapt and Close Phases

Building Large Adaptive Teams

Reliable Innovation



Agile Project Management. Creating Innovative Products
Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0321658396
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 96
Authors: Jim Highsmith

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