Is Agile The Antidote To Your Horrible Boss?


The Castle, Author: Franz Kafka.
Accelerate, Author: John Kotter.
Age of Heretics, Author: Art Kleiner.

By Steve Denning – If you’ve toiled in a big organization for any time, you’re familiar with the whips and scorns of an insolent supervisor and the sneer of cold command. In the midst of multiple put-downs and slights of your best efforts, it’s little consolation that your horrible boss is just as unhappy as you are.

We now know that the cost of bureaucracy is high. Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini suggest that in the USA it’s $3 trillion annually.

Is this the best that the human race can manage? Is there no antidote to soul-destroying bureaucracy?

One possibility that has recently emerged is Agile–a way of running organizations that has become a vast global movement. In principle at least, it sounds attractively anti-bureaucratic, as explained here.

In Agile, people and interactions are emphasized ahead of process and tools. Customers and staff constantly interact with each other. Finished work is delivered frequently so that the people can see the impact of their work in days or weeks rather than years.

Communications take the form of conversations, not top-down commands. There is close daily cooperation between business people, developers and designers.

Continuous attention is paid to technical excellence and good design and regular adaptation to changing circumstances. Teams routinely achieve high-performance and operate in the state of “flow” identified by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, where those doing the work enjoy energized focus, full involvement, and deep satisfaction in the process of the activity. more>

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