Disappearing Managers, YAPC::EU 2014, Bulgaria, Keynote

1,812 views

Published on

A curious mixture of the Internet and Agile development has led to more and more companies eliminating middle management. Some have eliminated management altogether. This talk explores this trend, discusses how modern corporations resemble feudal societies and why they're less likely to innovate.

We then survey many "managerless" companies that have arisen today, but also cover many highly successful, large, managerless companies who have been with us for decades, including some whose products you probably have in your home.

Published in: Business
1 Comment
6 Likes
Statistics
Notes
No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,812
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
48
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
13
Comments
1
Likes
6
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • If you’ve ever wondered what happens in a corporate training session, this is it.
  • This bubble keeps them out, and us in.
  • Anyone who thinks that Amazon is so successful because they slapped a Web interface on a bookstore is missing the point.
  • (Oversimplified history)
  • Tend to be more egalitarian
    Tend to be more communal
    Picture: Kali’na hunter-gatherers in South America
  • If you were in this structure, you didn’t think to question it because it’s what you knew.
  • If you were in this structure, you don’t think to question it because it’s what you know.
    Ricardo Semler’s description of a textile corporation
  • You can leave the company. Room for advancement. Incentives and motivations are different.
  • You can leave the company. Room for advancement. Incentives and motivations are different.
  • You can leave the company. Room for advancement. Incentives and motivations are different.
  • You can leave the company. Room for advancement. Incentives and motivations are different.
  • I tiny team dedicated to innovation, while the rest of the company remains static
  • They didn’t see themselves as inefficient because it was all they knew.
  • Dark side of analyst coverage: study demonstrating the more financial analysts cover your company, the less innovative you are
  • Dark side of analyst coverage: study demonstrating the more financial analysts cover your company, the less innovative you are
  • Obviously, private companies have more freedom (ValvE)
  • Innovation is a long term strategy but minimizing risk is a short term strategy
    When Amazon first turned a profit, Jeff Bezos said it was an accident — they hadn’t meant to turn a profit yet
  • Large companies often do large projects which means that blame avoidance is a critical strategy to keep your job (tied to ignoring sunk costs)
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/863409bc-5fca-11e0-a718-00144feab49a.html
    Hide-and-seek is easier when the management graph is complex
  • Part of this is because “internet speed” is relatively new.
  • Nobody gets fired for buying IBM
    1924 IBM logo, the company formerly named The Computing Tabulating Recording Company
  • Some corps fund start-up "incubators" to tap into startup innovations
    If you can’t stop your competitors, crush them.
  • Much
  • Much of this is unsubstantiated research
  • Recently celebrated 10 years of not taking a single decision as owner.
  • Democracy can work better for a company than a country because the problem space is smaller.
  • Disappearing Managers, YAPC::EU 2014, Bulgaria, Keynote

    1. 1. You’re Killing Managers Keep it up. YAPC::EU Keynote, Bulgaria, 2014 Curtis "Ovid" Poe http://allaroundtheworld.fr/ August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    2. 2. Why Aren’t I Talking About Perl? August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    3. 3. My Goal is to Inspire You August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    4. 4. Agile is Spreading “The Best Kept Management Secret On The Planet: Agile” Forbes, April 2012 http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2012/04/09/the-best-kept-management-secret-on-the-planet-agile/ August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    5. 5. It’s called a “bubble” Photo by Hartwig HKD — https://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/2595755975/in/photostream/ August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    6. 6. The “New” Tech Industry … • Needs to move fast • Needs to adjust to its environment • Iconoclastic by necessity • Old-school versus new-school August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    7. 7. The Elephant in the Agile Room • Why do self-directed teams need managers? • The “unsolved problem” in Agile • Traditional management doesn’t work • So … history http://www.flickr.com/photos/hbarrison/7522705738/ August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    8. 8. Hunter-Gatherers • Follow the leader • … or die • Not much hierarchy A Kali'na hunter with a woman gatherer. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kalina_hunter_gatherer.jpg August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    9. 9. The Feudal Era August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    10. 10. The Corporate Era August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World Bill Gates, Berlin, 2013 http://www.dts-nachrichtenagentur. de/kostenlose_bilder.php
    11. 11. Startup August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    12. 12. Growth August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    13. 13. Mature August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    14. 14. Feudalism 2.0 August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    15. 15. Progressive August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    16. 16. Feudal Inefficiencies • Local allegiances • Poor internal communication • No price signals • No internal markets • Command-and-control from king to serf August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    17. 17. Corporate Inefficiencies • Local allegiances • Poor internal communication • No price signals • No internal markets • Command-and-control from CEO to serf August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    18. 18. Why Do Corporations Struggle? • Why don't big companies innovate more? (Forbes) • Why big companies can't innovate. (Harvard Business Review) • Why is innovation so hard for large companies? (Game Changer) • Why small companies have the innovation advantage. (entrepreneur.com) August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    19. 19. The Dark Side of Analyst Coverage: The Case of Innovation. (Journal of Financial Economics) Used under “Fair Use” copyright exception http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Darth_Vader?file=Lord_Darth_Vader.jpg August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    20. 20. Public Companies • Share prices tied to compensation • Share prices tied to job security • Share prices vis-à-vis company takeover • Share prices as a measure of success August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    21. 21. Share Prices Keeping share prices high requires minimizing risk Jashuah - Own work by uploader, data from Stooq - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DAX#mediaviewer/File:DAX.png August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    22. 22. Share Prices Minimizing risk = Minimizing innovation August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    23. 23. If we are willing to die for Democracy and Capitalism … why don’t we allow it in our corporations? By Dan Smith (Own work) CC-BY-SA-2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0 via Wikimedia Commons August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    24. 24. Why Bother? • Little personal incentive • Risk averse/hide-and-seek • Blame avoidance • Groupthink Dilbert image, created by Scott Adams, used under “Fair use” copyright exception http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilbert#mediaviewer/File:Dilbert-20050910.png August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    25. 25. Why Do Feudal Corporations Exist? August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    26. 26. Why Do Feudal Corporations Exist? • Brand recognition • Mature products • Financial reserves August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World 1924 IBM Logo
    27. 27. How Do Large Corporations Cope? • BBC Blue Room • Funding startups • Litigation (“Hello, RIAA”) August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    28. 28. “Managerless” Companies August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    29. 29. Basecamp (formerly 37signals) • Basecamp, Highrise, Campfire, Rails • 35 to 40 employees • Self-organizing teams • Reluctantly trying “middle manager” role August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    30. 30. Github • Github! • 200+ employees • Self-organizing teams • Reluctantly trying “middle manager” role August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    31. 31. VALVE • 250+ people • Better profits/employee than Google or Apple • The platonic ideal of Agile? • What are corporations for? http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/economics/why-valve-or-what-do-we-need-corporations-for-and-how-does-valves-management-structure-fit- into-todays-corporate-world/ August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    32. 32. VALVE • Half-Life series • Counter-Strike series • Team Fortress series • Portal series • Left 4 Dead series • Steam August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    33. 33. VALVE • Entirely self-funded • Own their intellectual property • “Hiring well is the most important thing in the universe. Nothing else comes close.” August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    34. 34. VALVE • No managers • None • Really Not really August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    35. 35. VALVE • No job titles* • Everybody is an expert • 100% Time • All desks have wheels • Evaluation by your peers August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    36. 36. New Employee Handbook VALVE http://www.valvesoftware.com/company/Valve_Handbook_LowRes.pdf August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    37. 37. High-tech is the Catalyst ← Not that one August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    38. 38. Ricardo Semler • Over 3,000 employees! • 24%-27% annual growth for 25 years • All employees share profits • Many employees choose their salaries • Employees vote for managers • "Leading by Omission" speech (Google it) August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    39. 39. Semco’s Three Values • Democracy • Profit-sharing • Transparency August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    40. 40. Other Managerless* Comapanies • Morning Star Foods • W. L. Gore & Associates • Zappos.com • Medium.com • … and many more August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    41. 41. Agile — Products Over Process • Managers process • Workers produce • → Workers over managers August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    42. 42. Managerless companies • Usually Agile/Lean • Usually tech companies • Usually privately funded August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    43. 43. Known Unknowns • Can managerless succeed long-term? • What social changes might this entail? • Where are managers required? • Best practices? • Holacracy? August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    44. 44. We • We’re the ones doing this • We’re changing how business is being done • And we’re making things more fair August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    45. 45. Summary • Corporations == Feudalism 2.0 • Agile reduces need for middle management • We don’t know what the future holds August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World
    46. 46. Thank You August 26, 2014 Copyright 2014, All Around The World

    ×