My biggest learning in 2011 – Agile. Totally agree.
The best-kept secret in management today: Agile
Something similar seems to be happening in management which for decades has struggled to solve a fundamental conundrum: how do you get disciplined execution along with continuous innovation? Promising efforts to improve one dimension always seem to cause losses on the other one. Disciplined execution crushes innovation, and innovation by its nature is undisciplined. The problem has seemed insoluble.
Yet, just over a decade ago, a set of major management breakthroughs occurred. These breakthroughs enabled software development teams to systematically achieve both disciplined execution and continuous innovation, something that was impossible to accomplish with traditional management methods. Over the last decade, these management practices, under various labels such as Agile, Scrum, Kanban and Lean, have been field-tested and proven in thousands of organizations around the world. My own recent work distills, builds on and extends these principles, practices and values so that any organization can now achieve to apply the elusive combination of disciplined execution and continuous innovation.
Unfortunately, these management discoveries were not made by “the right people”: academics in business schools or high-paid managers in big corporations. The discoveries were made by the people that, in prospect, you would think are the least likely people to have solved a management problem: geeks. Software developers were known to be antipathetic to both managers and management. Badly dressed, unkempt, even sometimes unwashed, speaking about issues that managers could hardly grasp, these employees were the most problematic of a big organization’s employees. How could they possibly have solved a problem that had stumped the finest management minds on the planet for decades?