The Gravy Train Rolls On
It seems some Agile Consultants are too wedded to their profit margins, too in thrall to their (large, undiscerning) Analytic-minded customer base, or just too fearful of the world-changing scale of the implications, to face up to the truth about Agile and managers.
The traditional role of the manager is inimical to the Agile mindset.
I’ll say that again, in other words:
For as long as organisations expect some folks (managers) to tell other folks (workers) what to do, there will be:
- no effective engagement of people in their work
- little sense of ownership of, and therefore pride in, work
- high cost of quality
- low customer satisfaction
- poor morale
- a paucity of motivation
- a continuing us-vs-them, managers-vs-workers schism
- individuals blamed for poor performance (rather than attributing 95% of poor performance to the way the work works)
- misguided attempts to “manage people” through “fixing” them (rather than e.g. building on their strengths)
- no change in the ineffectiveness and waste rampant in most organisations today
- failure to innovate
- poor decisions, or decisions abdicated, avoided, delayed and arrogated
- egregious waste of human potential
- siloism, politicking, tribalism and turf wars
- stifling bureaucracy
Wow. Can we really attribute all these ills to the simple idea of having managers “in charge”? From my own experience, I’d say yes. But it’s not just me. Other folks like Deming, Drucker and Ackoff say much the same thing. As they’re all dead now, I’d be happy to argue on their behalf.
Can you grasp the magnitude of the change facing the world’s organisations before Agile (and synergistic, chaordic) ideas can really deliver on their promises? Is the scale of the transition so huge as to boggle the mind? Have so many people so little hope in the future that all this seems irrelevant, or mere wishful thinking?
What do you think?
Out of the Crisis – Dr W E Deming
Re-creating the Corporation – Professor Russell L Ackoff
MIX : The Management Information Exchange online – Dr Gary P Hamel
Valence Theory – Dr Mark Federman
The Leaders Guide to Radical Management – Steve Denning
Lay Off the Managers – Blog post
Why Feedback Doesn’t Work (and other things) – Charles Jacobs