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Re: [ljc] University vs Real Life Industry Work

From: Russel W.
Sent on: Friday, June 29, 2012 6:11 PM
On Fri,[masked] at 01:25 -0400, John Summers wrote:

> Sadly the second-last experience I had of Agile was quite unpleasant.
> It was warped into a mechanism to micro-manage and interfere with
> developers. The daily stand-up turned into an hour-long meeting (yes,
> per day) where the project manager would grill everyone and ask for
> precise breakdowns of what they had done and what they would "commit"
> to getting done that day.

Clearly this project manager, or indeed the whole organizational
structure,  was a #fail.

At strategy levels there clearly has to be a "handing down" of aims and
goals, at least in large organizations. For small organizations, and for
tactical and product creation activity, I would suggest that if there
are any managers at all it is an indicator of failure. The existence of
managers allows workers to abdicate responsibility  for the work they
do. Conversely managers who manage, especially ones who micro-manage,
are abrogating workers responsibilities to be in charge of their work.
Some elements of hierarchy always end up having to be put in place, even
for startups and small companies there are always at least two layers:
directors and everyone else. But this need not be the start of the

I have found that "self directing teams", cf. Kimball Fisher "Leading
Self Directing Teams", and the Tom Peters "Thriving on Chaos" are worth
a read.

The take-away is that it's all about a mentoring rather than a managing
approach. A more senior person is there to guide the more junior person
or people into making the right decisions. This goes wrong when the
senior person gets manipulative, so it is definitely not a "silver
bullet", but it works a damn site better that the rigid processes that
"agile" is beginning to turn into.

Dr Russel Winder      t: [masked]   voip: sip:[address removed]
41 Buckmaster Road    m: [masked]   xmpp: [address removed]
London SW11 1EN, UK   w:  skype: russel_winder

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