In following through How to ruin a great team, you will find a great piece about what not to do when you take over a team (soccer, in this case). The two main points I got from the original article is that a manager must be able to communicate and must be able to adapt to the culture of the team (instead of imposing his own from the start).
I believe this to be true whether you are talking about a sports team or a software/system development team!
Thanks to éminence grise for pointing out the following:
Searching for the signal of open standards amid the growing noise of agile.
Although the article is aimed at government, some of the conclusions are interesting. However, I do not agree that the “open standards” signal is being eclipse in general. There are many open initiatives still going strong (e.g., OSLC) in the IT world, but yes, agile is everywhere these days.
I also agree that in certain areas of IT, the best approach would be a merge of open standards and open source, being careful that the end users of those technologies are well represented within the respective development efforts, i.e., not just the companies offering tools and services for open standards and open source projects!
I also liked the following quote from the article:
Unfortunately, for all its undeniable strengths, agile is in danger of becoming a fetish, something imbued with additional symbolic charge over and above its actual meaning.
That is actually something I have started to see in some forums. Some agile gurus (“religious fanatics”) are often polarised and polarising in their approach, often conveniently forgetting some of the agile principles and part of the manifesto in order to further their cause. In all honesty, various process gurus over the years have done the same thing (e.g., some RUP gurus…) and the same kind of backlash may be happening to that agile community (and to the Lean community to a lesser extent).
Note that I am not against agile – I firmly believe it has its place – but I also believe that culture has an important part to play.
A few posts ago, I discussed how Culture eats process for breakfast, but what is “culture”?
At the time, I had the simple approach of “what was there before”. However, and from experience, that is difficult to figure and codify! Where does one start? Who do you ask? What are the parameters for this “organisational culture”? And then, how do you evolve it?
Well I found a partial answer at “Three Bell Curves“, where you can download a document titled “Business Culture Decoded”. In that document, the author describes three bell curves (of course) that helps you understand where lies the culture of your organisation as well as how you can look at its improvement. The author also admits that this is not an easy thing to do, but since culture trumps process, if you change the culture, you will affect the process and, hopefully, get better results!