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Objectives & Accountability vs Responsibility & Autonomy, Part 2

I explained about objectives and the differences between MBOs and OKRs in Part 1. I’m tackling the issues of “accountability” in this part. Examine Accountability What does accountability mean to you? I’m serious about that question. For many people—managers included—people are accountable when we can blame them for not doing something. If you don’t achieve one of your MBOs, your ...

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When OKRs Become MBOs and Accountability, Part 1

I have personal and professional goals. Sometimes, I state them as objectives: complete this book, learn that thing. Those are personal objectives. My personal objectives look like MBOs, Management By Objectives. These personal objectives contribute to my company, but they are not a corporate objective. Some of my goals are corporate objectives: release that book, build that workshop in service of ...

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Organizational structure in the Digital and Agile age

Someone ask the other day: how should a organization be designed? There are two potential answers, which actually aren’t as contradictory as they look at first site. The first is very simple: Don’t. That is, don’t design your organization, don’t set out an organizational chart, don’t set out a plan and aim to restructure your organization to that plan. Rather ...

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Visualize Work to Reduce Agile Meetings

Many new-to-agile teams use some form of iteration-based agile approach. Often, in the form of Scrum. Back in Time You Spend in Agile Meetings (near the bottom of the post), I enumerated all the possible meetings. I suggested the team review its WIP limits and think about limiting the WIP for the entire team. When the team reduces its WIP, the ...

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Why Managers Believe Multitasking Works: Long Decision Wait Times

When I teach any sort of product/project/portfolio management, I ask, “Who believes multitasking works?” Always, at least several managers raise their hands. They believe multitasking works because they multitask all the time. Why? Because the managers have short work-time and long decision-wait time. If you are a manager, your time for any given decision looks like this: The work-time is ...

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Time You Spend in Agile Meetings

Whenever I teach agile approaches, I discuss the possible meetings a team might choose. Some people turn to me in dismay. They start adding up all the meeting time and say, “That’s a lot of meetings.” Could be. Especially if you use iterations. You might have these meetings: A retrospective once every two weeks. A demo once every two weeks. ...

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Best practices considered harmfull

I’ve long worried about “ Best Practices ”. Sure I usually play along at the time but lurking in the back of my mind, waiting for a suitable opportunity are two questions: Who decided this was best practice? Who says this practice can’t be bettered? I was once told by someone from the oil industry that it was common for ...

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Visualize Your Constraints

As I work with people to use agile approaches, I see many organizational constraints. I’ve been trying to find a visualization for what I see. I don’t know if I’ve got it yet, but here is my sum-of-the-parts image. The organization’s culture drives decisions (or not!)  about the strategy. Strategy, with any luck, creates clarity about which products when (the ...

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Frequent Releasing Can Lead to Short and Frequent Planning

Agile approaches can help a team release more often. When a team releases more often, the product people can replan the product roadmaps. The project portfolio people can replan the project portfolio. Not every team releases often enough to take advantage of replanning small and often. Everyone falls prey to “too much” thinking. The product people don’t create MVEs or ...

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