Giving answers and suggestions is very tempting especially when you join a team temporarily as there is obvious time constraint and normally you are there for a reason. Answers can be easily misunderstood because of established behavior, knowledge and etc.
I prefer questions first and typically focus on a couple of areas:
- How do you make decisions?
- What are your dependencies?
- How do you deliver?
- What ?
Why these questions?
Question #1 leads to a conversation who decides what to do (business, technical), how critical situations are solved if any, what information or KPIs decisions are based on.
Question #2 leads to understanding roadblocks: technical, organizational, business, knowledge
Question #3 gives an understanding of current team’s process, how the plan, how/if collect feedback, how they deploy, ensure quality and etc.
Question #4 leads to a conversation about end users and what services/products/components are delivered to them.
Found this picture earlier in the internet and stumbled upon it recently. Statements that are very difficult to argue with. This could be a good starting point for everybody who wants to be Scrum master, Project manager, Department manager, …
What manager does? Their main focus is not on people performance and their efficiency, not about rules or KPIs. These are tools that are selected or built with your team. Instead their focus is on value creation, environment and principles.
Want to share ideas how i manage for some reasons:
- it might be helpful to others
- it is extremely curious to me if my point of view is going to be different when i read it later
- learn from others so comments and feedback are welcome
Environment. Results are very important, but we won’t be successful as a team unless each individual is fulfilled.
Style. “Ask. Understand. Change.” Process is only a tool, understanding your business is essential. Go out and talk to people. Adjust to business demand and make changes fast.
- Humor (sometimes even rude) is a big part of the game.
- Direct person. This is my natural behavior. I expect this from my team.
Problem solving. When a challenge is presented, bring along several solutions, one of which does not include spending (more) money. Always try to understand root cause – why, why, why,…
Meetings. Book a meeting only if it can’t be avoided. Prepare, engage invited people, come out with actions.
Professionalism. High internal standards push me to do things in a best way possible. Same is required from team members.
Learning. “Experts” can ruin everything as they are not accepting new information. If you are not changing and learning new things than something is wrong with you.
Change. Processes, tools, structure must always be adjusted to business needs
Winning. My definition of “winning” is that everyone wins: employees, customers, users.
While working on a network organisation concept and principles:
- Value and speed vs cost and efficiency
and giving it a try to visualise it in this document. (feel free to provide your comments)
I stumbled across the challenge which is not obvious how to solve in the best way. And whole principle of network structure can be broken if certain culture is strong in a company. The challenge i am talking about is excellence of functional skills e.g. quality, product management, development practices, analysts
We are trying to solve it introducing following activities:
- Internal unconferences with following “TODOthon” (copyright by Dainius)
- Internal communities: meetups and knowledge sharing sessions
- Education center with leads per topic
- POD Leads and Keepers decide if and how people should participate or lead certain communities
Some open questions:
- Who sets the bar? Understanding what is best can differ from POD to POD
- How to split time? When you don’t participate in daily work you loose competency and can’t contribute well to community
How do you keep excellence across the company? Not interested in solutions with functional managers
p.s. was surprised that **otify has functional managers, so they have cool way of organising projects, but organisational structure i guess is old-fashioned. before that was thinking that they have network structure.
Here is the article that shows how managers create more work for others, but necessarily contribute to value creation – http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/the-true-cost-of-hiring-yet-another-manager/
A large software company we worked with recently eliminated more than 40% of its supervisors, ensuring that the people who actually develop the product aren’t overburdened with managers and other functionaries.
Seems to be that idea (mentioned in my previous post “Org. design and Scrum“) of making it difficult to hire a manager is not such a bad thing after all… Especially if you want to create network organisation oriented towards value creation, but not hierarchy and functional departments.
p.s. you can read more about network organizations here – http://www.organizeforcomplexity.com/