Originally presented at SIM Connect Live 2019 (“Make Winning Normal: Maximizing Agility with High-Performing Teams”), the following concepts offer a new way for IT organizations to implement disruptive technologies and innovations at scale:
The Pace of Change and the Adoption Curve
The pace and complexity of new technologies and innovations have only been increasing over the past years and show no sign of letting up. We consistently hear the following questions from IT leaders:
- How do I maintain a competitive advantage while keeping up with the pace of change?
- How do I ensure my organization can effectively adopt new technologies?
One way to address these questions is by examining the Adoption Curve as described by Geoffrey Moore. The Adoption Curve details the distributions and tendencies of a population as it adopts an innovation. (more…) Read More
As a company embarks on a journey of digital transformation and immense change, the expectations of IT leaders change as well. Two general archetypes have emerged, but in reality, individuals fall somewhere on the spectrum between the two extremes. Both archetypes can be extraordinarily valuable in the right situation. Each can also be incredibly ineffective when placed in the wrong context. (more…) Read More
How is it that some people can inspire us to strive for greatness while others turn us off?
For me, one of those amazing leaders was my high school biology teacher, Mr. Kaziersky. He knew how to engage, inspire, and motivate his students to achieve outstanding results. Our classes consistently outperformed our peers on AP exams and SATs. What was so remarkable was that he didn’t always have the best or brightest students. There was something about his approach and the learning environment he created that enabled us to thrive. (more…) Read More
During a sprint, many Scrum teams focus on action items, story points, ceremonies, and sprint length. They often overlook the importance of the sprint itself to the team’s potential productivity.
Sprints are relevant to performance because a team’s effectiveness evolves over time, and a sprint is a block of time—each usually 1 to 4 weeks in duration. With each sprint, team members participate in Scrum ceremonies and deliver work together. The ceremonies alone don’t turn a group of strangers into a team, but they can serve as shared experiences that help members feel more and more comfortable with each other. (more…) Read More
Let me know if this sounds familiar: You talk about empowerment with your staff, at skip levels, and at town hall meetings. It’s a concept you reinforce over and over again within your organization. And yet you still observe teams asking for permission in situations where you want them to make decisions and drive actions. You still find yourself as the bottleneck, giving tactical approvals on topics you don’t feel require your input.
There’s a good chance you’re the reason a culture of empowerment hasn’t taken hold. (more…) Read More
As any good manager knows, a team infused with a strong sense of responsibility will produce a higher quality outcome. Instilling ownership across a team is more an art than a science. It is a transformation that requires a deliberate communication style, some leadership savvy, delicate execution, and patience. (more…) Read More
For too many people, the concepts of “acting as a responsible CIO” and “taking risks” are mutually exclusive. A Traditional CIO is accustomed to a world where if nothing breaks, their job is safe. If they don’t touch anything, they can’t break anything. In this paradigm, taking risks is unwise.
In my opinion, rampant risk avoidance is the reason CIOs now lose their jobs at the second highest rate among the C-suite. Inaction—or maintaining the status quo—carries a much greater threat to the CIO (and the organization) than does taking an active stance and assuming the associated risks. In the digital age, where IT is the business, being CIO is like playing quarterback: if you stay in the pocket long enough, you will get sacked. You have to make a move.
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In work, as in life, we can’t succeed on our own. In fact, the cornerstone of execution, change, and success in any organization is not a single person, but rather teams of people who work together to make things happen.
But why is it that some teams knock it out of the park while others struggle? The secret lies with organizational leadership and management—are you giving your teams what they need to succeed?
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Trust is the grease that keeps a team running smoothly. One of the most effective and low-cost ways to improve the delivery, performance, and morale is to gain the team’s trust. As a Scrum Master, it’s your responsibility to build trust with your team. A team that trusts their Scrum Master has an advantage over others. Broadly speaking, teams perform better when they feel they’re in good hands.
Scrum Masters can seem like outsiders, as you tend to interact with the team, not with their work. The dynamic is exacerbated during Agile transformations: Scrum Masters who are brought in to work with a team that is used to a waterfall approach can struggle to gain the team’s trust.
Here are 5 ways to connect with your team, and demonstrate that you are here to help and support them:
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When hiring new team members, most interviewers discreetly study applicants to see if they would pass The Airport Test: “Could I get stuck in an airport for 8 hours with this person and not lose my mind?!” We recently took this idea to an entirely new level.
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