Improving The agile Manager: updates and amendments to the book

Here are some of the bigger changes to our book The agile Manager (small a), as we move towards a second edition sometime next year (maybe):

So What, p11
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The concepts that this book deals with, in advancing enterprise work and management (especially management), rise from an even deeper philosophical shift which we are not qualified to discuss in depth. But we see the new thinking everywhere, in many models we know of, which all point to this renaissance, this flip, step-change, new age... As well as Graves’ two tiers, there are Game A / Game B (modelling changing social behaviour based on complexity theory), Theory X / Theory Y (two modes of management), Alpha and Beta management, and even The Age of Aquarius - slightly tongue in cheek, but even the hippies of the 60s saw The Times They Are a Changin'.
We describe it as returning to values over value. Friedmanism – the doctrine that the sole purpose of an enterprise is to make money - caused great harm to corporate ethics. It needs to be, and is being, rejected.
Social thinking is crossing a boundary (and just in time, looking at world politics). We are breaking through to new levels of enlightenment. Feminism, diversity, egality, socialism, empowerment, digital, virtual, complexity, networks, ... so many powerful forces are at play.
You don't need to embrace a religion, or worse still the antiscience of the counter-culture, in order to grow into these higher-level concepts. They're the future of humanity. The future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed. We see it everywhere, it has been arriving for decades.
As well as many models which point to the concept of a flip, moving into a new phase, there is another concept that emerges everywhere: the reunification (in the West) of the transcendentals, Science, Art, and Ethics - of truth, beauty, and goodness - which parted ways in the Enlightenment, when Truth rose above all.
This comes out in
• Post-modernism
• New Age counter culture: alt med, organic food, anticapitalism, antiscience
• Organic systems, holistic, Thriveability
• Sociocracy
• Spiral Dynamics from Graves, Cowan, Beck...
• Mindfulness
• Bring your whole self to work, diversity
• Ethical business
• The Open movement
We are not here to say any or all of these models are accurate. All models are wrong, some are useful. And there is a lot of bullshit peddled in their names, especially antiscience. In fact, it is hard to find material about some of these models, e.g. Integral, that isn't steeped in nonsense. The point is that it is evident that something big is going on across society, and overall it looks positive. It is an optimistic view of human evolution, which is entirely justified based on historical data: humanity gets better. Across the world, organisations and societies are primarily competitive capitalist green with a few pioneering into teal, and a larger long tail spreading all the way back through orange and red to primal magenta (or grey, or whatever, models aren't consistent). It is a rising bubble of social progress.

New Ways of Managing, p21
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Another major trend is the separation of personnel-management from work-management. Organisations use matrix structures, or helix , or the guilds we talk about later, to provide personnel management (recruitment, development, pastoral care, performance management, HR administration…) distinct from the product and project work. Work managers and personnel managers collaborate to manage teams, but the two function are clearly distinct. Nobody should have to do both: their goals sometimes conflict, people are better at one than the other, and they make the job too complex.

How to move your boss, p195
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There are times when courage is required with a boss, to call out dysfunctions and leadership mis-steps, or to provide white space / buffering/ air-cover to teams. Choose your battles: a cause worth fighting for and a right time to engage. Be careful how you engage: manage your emotion and words. Stay engaged: consolidate your wins and manage any fallout.

Advancing management, p197
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Create a sense of need for change
Kotter calls it a sense of urgency, but we don’t always need a “burning platform”, only make it clear that the current state isn’t working.
Seddon describes the best tactic: spend time initially exploring the system with management. Go to the gemba, stand in the circle*. Map the value streams. Help them understand how things work, help them see with their own eyes.

    When we take managers into their organisation to study the "what and why" of current performance as a system, they can't avoid seeing exactly what targets and, for that matter, all other arbitrary measures sent down a hierarchy, do to performance. They are left in no doubt that they only serve to make it worse. It is impossible for them to ignore the dissonance created when they have seen it with their own eyes. When they discover that their supposed means of control are actually the reverse, they are forced to conclude that the control they afford is an illusion. **

All the training and proof points will fall on deaf ears until we can create a perceived need for change. We need to take management from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence. Show them the management system impedes work (It’s a safe bet it does. If not, your organisation has already advanced beyond conventional ways).

*“Stand in the circle” refers to an exercise by Taiishi Ohno of Toyota, who would draw a chalk circle on the ground next to the production line, and tell an exec to stay in it for hours, and note what they see. Read Ohno's Method - Creating a survival work culture. Nakane and Hall, Association for Manufacturing Excellence, Target Volume 18, 2002
** Beyond Command and Control, John Seddon,, 2019

Hacking the organisation, p265
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In terms of our earlier growth model (p234), you have only now grown out of Explore mode. Your mandate has been increased to look at incubating new ways of working for the organisation. You can bring those interested triads together into a tribe to begin truly incubating an agreed new way of working for all of your organisation.
Once we think we have something workable, we seek a mandate to roll it out across the organisation (remember: iteratively, incrementally, with feedback – not big-bang!). If executive management have been on their own journey of learning, they will be supportive of the wider mandate and we can roll. If not, try to hold the line: keep the new ways alive within a tribe, or fall back to triads Keep the candle burning: no state lasts long in a VUCA world. A new opportunity will come along soon enough.

Kaizen, p272
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The Design-Measure-Analyse-Improve-Control cycle is a more complex statistically-driven mechanism from Lean Six Sigma, a variant of Lean which focuses on mathematical analysis of variation in quality. it has passionate adherents, but we view it as Taylorist, and only useful in steady-sate flow, i.e. large scale manufacturing.

Agile, p283
Changed diagram to say “Release” instead of “Deploy”. We deploy code any time, we release it to users.