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Author Archives: Allan Kelly

Allan Kelly
Allan Kelly has held just about every job in IT, these days he provides training and consulting in development management, processes & products, especially around Agile. He specializes in working with software product companies, aligning company strategy with products and processes. More about Allan at http://www.softwarestrategy.co.uk/allankelly

Thoughts on the nature of management work

Returning to my Management, my mini-series of blog… (Non-Commissioned Managers, Analysts aren’t managers and Managers who are not managers) Lots of Agile advocates have a real downer on Management. I think (like myself) they dislike the authority conferred on “managers”. This may be dressed up as a rational dislike of top-down reasoning – and they have a point – but ...

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Analysts aren’t managers

Continuing from my last blog, Managers who aren’t managers, I need to say a bit more about people who aren’t managers but get talked about managers. This is a group of people who aren’t managers and wouldn’t consider themselves managers but programmers and testers consider to be managers. I’m thinking specifically about Business Analysts but there are others. To a ...

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Managers who are not managers

I’m continuing my theme of management from my January blog (“It takes an engineer to manage engineering”) we need to clear up some terminology. I often hear form people at Agile conferences that we should get rid of managers but they offer up no definition of manager. Let me suggest that the title “manager” is thrown around quite lightly these ...

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It takes an engineer to manage engineering

I’ve been meaning to write about the managers and Agile software development for a long time. And, apart from a few asides, I haven’t. Why not? Well partly because the topic is difficult, or rather large, but mostly I’ve not written it because I’m fearful of the flames that will come down on me. You see I think managers have ...

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The staffing pyramid

When I see development teams I expect to see more programmers than requirements people (BAs, Product Managers, etc.), and I expect to see even fewer management types. Think of it like a staffing pyramid structure:                 Programmers (and often testers) should form the largest group, without programmers there is no software, and while ...

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Agile adoption by numbers – and some problems

I’ve done a few agile introductions in my time, in fact I’ve started to feel I could almost write a book entitled “agile by numbers”. So yesterday when this question appeared on some LinkedIn group I thought I’d give it a quick go: “I am working with an organization which wants to explore agile adoption. What are the some of ...

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Large companies and fast cars

A few weeks ago I tweeted: “Large companies trying to be Agile remind me of middle aged men buying sports cars” I wasn’t saying large companies couldn’t be Agile – heaven knows most are trying and a few have successful software teams but on the whole the successes are few and far between. My thinking has nothing to with whether ...

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Stop empowering people – End disempowerment!

In the last two posts I’ve discussed some problems with of self-organizing teams and highlighted the need to be clearer about what is actually meant when talking of, that is naming, self-organizing teams. At a minimum the labels need clear definition (I suggested some definitions and I hope someone knows some better ones.) I went further and I called for ...

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Self-organizing, self-directing, self-managing and authority

Quick as a flash Eben Halford on Twitter pointed out the mistake with my last blog (Question for self-organizing teams). I was mixing up self-organizing teams with self-directing teams. Well maybe I was… much of my post still stands either way, and as Eben himself pointed out, we might be trying to split a hair here. Frankly, I suspect many ...

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Question for self-organizing teams

Try this thought experiment. You are a software development manager. You learn about agile and you think it is good. You adopt agile and you make all your teams into self-organizing teams. (Leave aside the question of whether you then quit in a fit of “no managers needed” – we can talk about that later.) Most of your teams work ...

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