Radical Management at the Agile Business Conference in London

Simon Roberts’ session proposal for the Agile Business Conference in London (6-7 October 2015) has been accepted by the organisers. The title of the session is “Radical Management in Practice: A Holistic Approach to Management in Agile Enterprises” and will combine presentation, discussion and short exercises. Steve Denning, inventor of Radical Management and who is due to provide the opening keynote for the conference has graciously agreed to co-lead the workshop and add his insights 🙂

Webinar on Implementing Radical Management

On 15 April 2015, Peter Stevens and Simon Roberts were honoured to take part in a webinar on Radical Management as part of Scrum Alliance’s program of webinars supporting the Learning Consortium.

The webinar covered:

  • Radical Management and its five main shifts
  • Transforming organization strategy from shareholder value to something more sustainable (including customer delight)
  • Experiences in applying Radical Management in large organizations
  • Key steps for introducing Radical Management, including engaging with top management, getting early buy-in, training, and coaching

Download the slides from the webinar here.

The webinar is also available as a recording.

After the webinar, the presenters answered many of the questions that we didn’t have time to answer during the presentation itself. The questions and answers are available here.

Thank you for the overwhelmingly positive feedback after the event (including tweets).

Radical Management in Practice

Many organizations are based on a hierarchical bureaucracy with managers who practice command and control. This approach is incompatible with much twenty-first century work, which is knowledge based and best carried out in self-organized teams.

Building on Steve Denning’s “Radical Management”, this presentation provides guidance on what managers should do to best support the work of agile teams.

This draws on experiences from multiple large-scale Agile transitions in Germany and the United Kingdom in the telecommunications and finance sectors.

Newthinking’s Magazine Sprint

Several members of the Stoos Satellite Berlin took part in Newthinking’s magazine Sprint from 4th-6th April. We wrote several articles on Stoos and related subjects. Some at least will hopefully be accepted into the final magazine (it will be a real coffee-table style magazine).

The Retrospective Prime Directive

Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.

and in German:

Egal was wir heute herausfinden, wir wissen und glauben ernsthaft, dass jeder sein bestes gegeben hat entsprechend seines Wissens, seiner Fähigkeiten, der zur Verfügung stehenden Mittel, und der aktuellen Situation.

I’ve been a fan and user of Norman Kerth’s retrospective prime directive for many years. Every now and then I will start retrospectives with a reading and short discussion about the prime directive. It serves as a reminder of the state of mind that we need to achieve to get the best value out of retrospectives. The very act of reading and discussing it helps us to get to this state.

I often follow this by a short discussion on working agreements. Again Norman Kerth has some excellent advice as a starting point:

  • We will try not to interrupt.
  • We will accept everyone’s opinion without judgment.
  • We will talk from our own perspective, and not speak for anyone else.
  • If someone is holding the “talking coffee mug,” then only that person may speak.
  • There will be no jokes about other people in the room.
  • These ground rules can be amended after any break.


Newthinkings Magazin-Sprint

Einige Mitglieder des Stoos Satellite Berlin haben sich bei Newthinkings Magazin-Sprint vom 4. bis 6. April beteiligt. Wir haben Artikel über Stoos und verwandte Themen verfasst, von denen hoffentlich einige tatsächlich in diesem repräsentativen und bebilderten Magazin veröffentlicht werden.

Next Steps for the Stoos Movement

In little more than a year the Stoos movement has grown from the initial four founders, to the twenty-one present at the Stoos meeting and now to a network of thousands worldwide. But little has changed in how most organisations are run.

Even where approaches such as Scrum or Kanban have been introduced at department or business unit level, the involved firms themselves are still focussed on keeping shareholders happy rather than delighting customers and employees remain disillusioned.

In his passionate call to action during a talk as part of the Stoos Connect meeting in January 2013, Stephen Denning described   five challenges for the movement:

  1. There is a need to recognize the extent of the challenge. Throughout the twentieth century these ideas have been presented many time but have not stuck.

  2. The movement needs to think bigger by becoming part of a movement of movements. Organisations such as the management information exchange, Scrum Alliance and Agile Alliance are all concerned with the same or similar ideas. All of the organisations together represent perhaps 500000 people.

  3. We need to be bolder. We have truth on our side, but that is not enough. We have to insist on change, to get beyond tweaking.

  4. We need to work on the constraints preventing change by taking practical action that can lead to lasting, sustainable change. For example, by engaging with the 80% of business schools that do not yet subscribe officially to these ideas and by challenging business journals (e.g. HBR) by pointing out when their articles are not supporting new management ideas.

  5. By evangelizing the change. Rational argument is not enough, the movement needs to express itself with passion.

Stephen Denning quoted Margaret Mead (anthropologist) at the end of his talk:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, nothing ever else has.”

A video of Stephen’s talk is here.