Monthly Archives: October 2018


Confessions of a Waterfall project manager turned (sort of) Agilist

I've been a project manager for about 25 years and an independent consultant (and instructor) in same for about 15 years. For the great preponderance of that time I've been a waterfall guy, largely because that was pretty much the only option I had. (For the uninitiated, it's called waterfall because it's a sequential, linear process with phases that cascade forward like a waterfall.) In 2001, the Agile manifesto was created providing the world with a different approach to managing projects. So now instead of planning, planning, planning and then (hopefully) delivering what stakeholders expected, it defined an approach that worked in shorter bursts with much more day-to-day stakeholder involvement and (revolutionary!) self-organizing teams. I was slow to jump on this particular train. Oh, I read about it and got familiar with it. But while that train started rolling out of the station, I was still pretty much involved in waterfall, largely because my clients were familiar with it and, frankly, so was I. In early 2013, I decided I'd better see what all the fuss was about and got certified as a Scrum Master. I liked it, liked what I saw about the approach and wanted to use it as soon as feasible. Given that I had a heavy teaching and consulting schedule, it wasn't possible to adopt any of those techniques right away. Gradually I got involved in Scrum and I found that in the organizations I was consulting to, there were varying levels of adoption from zero to, well, not [...]

By | 2018-10-31T13:11:54+00:00 October 31st, 2018|

Unleashing the Power of People at Work

I've been fortunate to focus my attention on helping organizations shape intentional thriving culture at this point in my life and career. It boils down to the emotional experience People have at work that promotes (human) #Engagement, engenders #Trust, fosters frictionless #Collaboration, makes “space” for #Innovation (many organizations are 2BZ2 Think), and speeds time to #Value. This is true for any organizational endeavor be it operations or change programs, the latter of which has suffered greatly with failure rates still pegged in the 70-75% range, a sad state-of-affairs that organizations simply cannot afford anymore. More and more, organizations are realizing that People matter most in the digital age as the true source of organizational agility and prosperity. It's a paradox isn't it? In the digital age People (Humans) matter most. Machines cannot replicate human creativity and collaboration bringing new ideas and capabilities to life and speeding them to market. Shaping a culture where People thrive unleashing their productive capacity individually and collectively (as a Community) is the key. Do you want to increase your organization's speed, agility, productivity, innovation, and resilience? Look to your People and unlock their potential by getting and staying culturally fit. The great tension - Investors | Customers | Employees. Where does Leadership place the accent? In the past, Investor interest ruled and People were mere resources, treated as necessary cogs in the Machine. This was true since all that was needed were hands, not minds. Engineer the Machine that produces the financial return. People executed finely defined tasks [...]

By | 2018-10-31T12:39:09+00:00 October 31st, 2018|

Value of 360 degree analysis

Imagine your boss coming into your office and saying that you will soon be involved in an analysis that will survey your peers, your staff, and your boss to find out what people really think of you. Then, all this information will be compiled in a report and presented to you as a type of career development. Would you look forward to it? Would you run for the door? Would you run to the restroom to throw up? Hopefully you will look forward to it. It's called a 360 review and it can be a great learning and growing experience. Before discussing the numerous potential benefits of being involved in a 360 review, I'd like to share my experience with this type of review. I have done two 360 reviews in my past. Both were part of a company-wide initiative that gave 360s to all manager-level employees. The first time, the person being analyzed was the only one who received the results. The second time, which was at a different company, the person's manager also got the results. This simple difference, namely who receives (or doesn't receive) the results made a huge difference. In the first one, the people who filled out the surveys (for their boss, peer or subordinate) tended to give honest and helpful feedback. I learned a lot, both good and bad, from that analysis. The second analysis was very political, deals were made between peers, and very little was learned by the participants. The moral of the story is [...]

By | 2018-10-26T02:25:57+00:00 October 26th, 2018|

Digital Transformation: Completing the Picture with IT Leadership Soft Skills

Digital Transformation (DX), by its very name, refers to how digital technologies can be used to generate new revenue streams, create new markets, increase internal organizational productivity and more. While the use of established and leading-edge technologies is, of course, paramount to Digital Transformation related endeavors, soft skills, such as interpersonal communication, change management, influence and others, are the unsung heroes of successful Digital Transformation implementations. The reason being, unless you’re using bleeding-edge technologies, the technology is often the easy part. From a CIO perspective, the biggest non-technical DX challenges are: • How IT is positioning within your overall corporate entity to drive DX • Your ability, as CIO, to drive business vision, not only technical vision • You team’s ability to be viewed as equal business partners with their non-IT counterparts IT’s DX positioning within your overall corporate entity IT’s ability to be the driving force behind the organization’s DX endeavors is based on two key factors: • IT’s Organizational Clout • IT’s innovative business and technical nature IT’s organizational clout (vertical axis in Figure 1) refers to how IT is viewed within the organization regarding its competency, importance in driving profitability, the C-Suites philosophy of technology and other related factors. The more IT is respected and trusted by their business counterparts, the easier it will be for the CIO and his/her senior team to lead the organization’s DX endeavors. IT’s innovative nature (horizontal axis in Figure 1) refers to its willingness and ability to innovate on behalf of the company, not [...]

By | 2018-10-26T02:21:27+00:00 October 7th, 2018|