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Connect Agile Teams to Organizational Hierarchy: A Sociocratic Solution


This article was co-authored by Pieter van der Meché and Jutta Eckstein. Many agile teams suffer from the mismatch of agile and organizational leadership with the latter being reflected by the organizational hierarchy. Based on self-organization and iterative processes, the teams run into trouble with the top-down steering of their environment. Consequently, very often agile proponents believe that a supportive agile organization should be structured without hierarchies. This is the reason why several companies in ...

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5 ITSM Lessons from a Marathon


Sports are full of good metaphors for life, even the trivial non-sports like running in straight lines for ridiculous lengths of time. ITSM practitioner Claire Agutter recently ran her first marathon, and she realized there are parallels between that and service management. In a post for All Things ITSM, she shares five lessons learned from preparing for the marathon: Goals drive changes in behavior. Goals need to be translated into day-to-day activities. People might not ...

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Does Your Project Sponsor Work Like This?


Project sponsors should be the light shining down from the heavens to enrich and empower projects to succeed. As such, there are traits that good sponsors should possess. In a post for the PM Perspectives Blog, Raed Haddad describes these ideal project sponsors. Radiant Efforts Reliable sponsors do lots of things as a matter of good sense. They articulate precisely how a given project connects back to organizational strategy, for instance, including the specific benefits ...

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Getting the Most out of Your Project Planning Sessions


Project planning is the period where you can allow your management genius to spill out and enrich the whole oncoming project. Such zeal to get started and launch on these big plans and innovations can inadvertently stunt the actual planning though. In an article for Project Smart, Sebastian Bos describes how to get the most value out of project planning sessions. Plotting Genius A solid project planning session considers every facet of a project and ...

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8 Things All Bad Project Managers Have in Common


Not every project manager is an ace. If that were the case, projects would almost never fail, and we would be living in a business utopia. Instead, we deal with the reality that there are a lot of project managers out there who do not really know what they are doing. In a post at the Project Risk Coach, Harry Hall pinpoints eight things that always seem to happen with unskilled or unenlightened project managers: ...

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Shin Godzilla: An Unexpectedly Agile Monster Movie


Last weekend, I had the good fortune to catch a limited screening of Shin Godzilla (sometimes known as Godzilla Resurgence), a brand new Japanese reboot of the classic franchise. Not to be confused with the 2014 American film, this movie puts Godzilla back in Tokyo, where he promptly destroys everything. Yet there is a baffling second nemesis at the forefront of the movie: government bureaucracy. Equally surprising, a shift toward agile practices seems to be ...

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How to Minimize Bureaucracy as Your Business Grows


Slowly but surely, you can dismantle the bureaucracy in your business one tactic at a time. In an article for Intuit, John Boitnott discusses the tactics at your disposal. The first of them is to avoid segmentation of the workforce; get people involved in various aspects of the business so that they are not utterly dependent on other people for certain work to proceed. Always be looking to reduce how many levels of approval must ...

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6 Ways to Strip Out Bureaucracy


Like puberty, bureaucracy seems to strike at younger and younger ages. Unlike puberty, it does not get better over time. John Brandon shares six tips in an article for Inc. for creating conditions that inhibit bureaucratic sprawl. The first tip is to conduct projects over as short a timeline as is feasible, because people work more urgently and with increased focus on a deadline. Importantly, people also feel less inclined to spend time discussing anything ...

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How to Reduce Bureaucracy’s Costs


Anyone who unwittingly (or consciously) enforces rules that are no longer useful is a bureaucrat. That is the takeaway from an article by Russell Bishop for the New York Times. That could mean that you are part of the problem right now! But knowing is half the battle. Too often, individual departments of organizations will find a process that works and then ride that process into eternity. Whether aspects of it are outdated are not ...

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Decluttering Bureaucracy from Business


An article for the Economist discusses the various types of clutter that seem to accumulate in businesses, in spite of all our efforts to prevent it. Organizational complexity is chief among them. It used to be that a major business imperative was “make money.” That imperative is now accompanied by myriad other considerations, like being kind to the environment and respecting diversity. Granted, these are necessary considerations, but deftly juggling all of them is difficult. ...

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Top-Down Solutions like Holacracy Won’t Fix Bureaucracy


At its heart, bureaucracy is just a real-life version of technical debt: a bunch of inefficient processes that ostensibly work but should be replaced with something better. Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini discuss for Harvard Business Review why it is so hard to remove, even when using the latest tactics. For one thing, bureaucracy is so well ingrained in many organizations that people may not even realize that it is a problem. Second, “Since 1983, ...

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How to Manage Project Risk While Running Your Project


Managing risk is one-and-done in the same way that getting a haircut is one-and-done: There is no such thing. In a post at Project Bliss, Leigh Espy shares her process for managing risks over the life of the project, while still making time for everything else associated with the project. Risk in Paces You want to begin by creating a project risk matrix, which should include “trigger activities” that describe when action is needed. Watch ...

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4 Tips to Create Meetings That Work


I know for a fact that people continue to be frustrated with the length and quality of their meetings, because people keep on clicking articles about how to improve them. In an article for ZDNet, Mark Samuels shares his four tips gathered from experts on how to make meetings a better experience: Spend the first five minutes on aims and objectives. Stop people from straying into other areas of business. Use collaborative technology and be ...

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Does Anyone Want to Be a CIO Anymore?


Tom Davenport, the President’s Distinguished Professor of IT and Management at Babson College, makes a provocative observation about CIOs: He does not think anyone wants to become one anymore. How could this be? In an article for Fortune, he elaborates on why he believes the CIO role is falling out of favor. CIOs Disassembled Davenport in fact believes interest in the CIO position has been on the decline as far back as the dot-com bust. ...

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10 Aspects of Running IT as a Business


People spend so much time pretending IT is a separate entity from the business. CIOs might as well take an optimistic spin on that notion by running IT with a business mentality. In an article for CIO.com, David Chou details 10 items that factor into managing IT like a business, inspiring greater success along the way: Starting with the right philosophy IT budgeting Investment planning Chargeback/show-back Benchmarking Cost optimization Performance metrics Clearly defining IT processes ...

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