The agile Manager book

Our book The agile Manager (small "a") is

Available Now! In print and ebook.

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The agile Managers' Book Club
A 5-week online study programme
starting October 27th

Also available on Kindle Unlimited, ONLY until the end of October 2019!! Be quick!
No it isn't available on iBooks, sorry.

If you read the book, please leave an Amazon review - they all help.

Visit the agile Managers' Club for resources and community around the book.

The Vietnamese version will be available later in 2019.


The world is in a permanent state of change. We must work in new ways. To change the work we must change how we manage, how we think about management. What got you here won’t get you there. ImageThese are new ways of managing which are changing business, government, and not-for-profit organisations, big and small. Small "a" agile because it is about new ways of managing across the enterprise, nothing to do (specifically) with software. This book is about the impact of these new ways on management in the modern enterprise - how to change your ways of managing.

Too often, management views the advancement (we don't like "transformation") to New Ways as something done to improve the practitioner workforce, not management. This can't be. For an organisation to change, the management must change. This is one of the biggest issues facing organisations moving to new ways of working. Managers must understand and focus on empowerment, collaboration, agility, and flow. Why do we focus on management? Because we see it often neglected, and because it is the key.
This isn’t about leaders, it’s about managers, and the principles, methods, and models to work by. It’s about agility, which comes from the agile manager.
The book will take you there.

We discussed agile management on the podcast The ITSM Crowd, July 2018

Here is a lengthy extract from the book (PDF).

Feedback on the book

Another great resource from my favourite service management critic and author.
This has become an Alladin's Cave I dip into a little each day; an Art of War for management principles, methods and attitude across the organisation.
This book gives positive and creative wisdom to manage with wit and clarity. Sections are short, punchy and easily absorbed and understood.
Enlightening, great value and recommended.
- Amazon reviewer

Every organization needs to work out how to do whatever it does in a more agile way, but while many resources exist for implementing agile in technology organizations, less do so for traditional industries. This book is a useful resource for anyone wondering what agile means for them.
- Ben Kepes, professional board member, investor, commentator

When all the buzzwords become overwhelming, this is a book you can come to for a bit of clarity. Remember that dogma is the enemy of learning, and agile has a small “a”...
- Dawie Olivier, Chief Information Officer, Westpac NZ

Buy this book and do yourself a favour! Rob and Cherry have done a marvellous job in a way that will challenge your thinking. This book is about better questions more so than answers, helping debunk silver bullets and fads. I particularly like the in-your-face reality of complex systems, and especially the fact that we are all humans striving for advancement, a collective goal that requires care for ourselves and each other.
- Mark Whiting, business consultant

Get this book, read it, digest it, internalize the concepts. Useful, thought provoking, informative, useful, applicable.
- Tim White, independent consultant

New ways of managing is no longer an option. Doing 'stuff' in a more agile manner is no longer an option. All you need to know to become a competent and capable agile manager is in this book.
- Karen Ferris, author of Game On! Change is Constant

The agile Manager is a good compendium covering many of the aspects of agile. It also comes pre-loaded with numerous recommended activities to help the reader establish the guidance provided. Readers should take note of the final call to action from the authors. 'Life is not a dress rehearsal. Do it'. Fine words to live by both in and out of work.
- Mark O'Loughlin, Managing Director, Red Circle Strategies

More about the book...

The book has four sections: 1. A set of principles which you as an agile manager must get your head around in order to function in the new world. 2. A set of management practices which follow from those principles. 3. A set of agile work practices that you need to understand and support. 4. Guidance on the journey to new ways of working.

It is our personal offering. We hope you like it and derive value from it. Join our community and tell us how you felt about it.

There is a suite of new ideas transforming work: Agile, Safety Culture, servant manager, transformational leader, open space, invitational, promise theory, complex systems, sustainability, and more... They all aim for “better value sooner, safer, happier”. We simply call them the New Ways of Working, or Human Systems Agility. Along the way, Agile is resurfacing (and standing on the shoulders of) the ideas of Lean, which ironically go back pre-second-world-war; and Agile is drawing on the principles of complex systems and the modern understanding of human behaviour and social constructs.

Human: Conventional management too often treats people like clerical workers, like plug-compatible wetware, like Human Resources, who can't be trusted, who are evaluated numerically, who are an overhead to be minimised, who need to be told what to do and how to do it - which is not conducive to satisfaction and mental health. The new thinking empowers people to be knowledge workers, to design the work and make the decisions. It treats them like they are over 18 and on the same side.

Systems: Value flows from work in complex networks of co-creation. The systems are complex: unknown, unpredictable, organic in behaviour, requiring experimentation and innovation. Complex systems cannot be changed directly: we can only create the conditions for them to adjust. We need courage - zero risk is impossible. Failure is the path to success, a rich source of value if we welcome failure instead of punishing it.

Agility: The Agile way is iterative, incremental, experimenting, exploring complex systems. These are displacing the ideas of conventional enterprises: big-bang projects; zero risk; certainty and accuracy; plan once execute perfectly; failure is not an option.

The new ways are challenging: they overturn principles on which we have based our careers. This book will confront you with those challenges, explain them, and show you how to move forward to new ways of managing.

At first sight, these ideas can seem insane, impossible, plain wrong. Stick with us while we make sense of them for you, and show how you can apply them. If you understand these ideas and embody them in your unthinking behaviour as a habit, then you are a new manager, the agile Manager.

Buy now.


Visit the agile Managers' Club for resources and community around the book.