SD: Is Agile management really new?
RC: We have known for over 50 years that participative management is far superior to traditional legacy management. We’ve got a whole discipline of humanistic management that has come out of the work of Maslow and McGregor. But it’s had very little impact on organizations. It changed the style but it didn’t change the substance of management.
It’s ironic that as we watch the substance of the current management shift, especially over the last decade, it’s coming from the engineers. Who would have thought that the change in management would come, not from psychologists and OD specialists but from the engineers? The Agile Manifesto was written by software engineers. The new paradigm is being created by engineers like Sergey Brin and Larry Page at Google. Bill Gore at W.L.Gore was, in 1958, way ahead of his time in developing his lattice organization where there were no supervisors: his background was also engineering. It’s ironic while the psychologists and sociologists identified what was needed, the engineers are actually getting it done.