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AWESOME PEOPLE 
MANAGEMENT WITH AGILE 
Agile on the Beach 
Falmouth, Sept 2014 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kodomut/3667608102/ 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
I SPENT MY FIRST 10 YEARS OF MY 
CAREER IN A BIG CORP… 
… FAMOUS FOR INVESTING HEAVILY 
IN ITS PEOPLE 
AND FOR DEVELOPING ...
MATURE PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT 
Everyone had: 
– A workplan 
– A personal development plan 
– A career plan, complete with skil...
THE GOOD 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
THE BAD 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
THE UGLY 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
YOU CAN ADJUST THIS KIND OF 
APPROACH WHEN YOU WORK 
IN AN AGILE WAY … 
BUT IT STILL DOESN’T FEEL 
QUITE RIGHT 
Meri Willi...
SOME WOULD ARGUE THAT WE 
DON’T NEED MANAGERS AT ALL 
IN AGILE. 
I ARGUE WE NEED GOOD 
MANAGERS, AND TO BANISH 
BAD BOSSES...
WE ALL HATE BAD 
BOSSES 
WE DESCRIBE THEM AS 
• Clueless 
• Empty suits 
• Pointless 
• Seagulls 
Meri Williams, ChromeRos...
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
https://twitter.com/Caterina/status/6715084157 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
GOOD MANAGERS ARE 
BULLSHIT UMBRELLAS. 
BUT THEY ARE ALSO A LOT 
MORE THAN THAT. 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
Traditional management beliefs 
are a pile of crap 
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elephant_Dung.JPG 
Meri William...
Sooo…. 
WHAT DOES WORK? 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
Across industries, across 
countries, the best 
performing teams 
answer certain 
questions positively 
Meri Williams, Chr...
Predictors of High Performance 
1. Do I know what is expected of me at work? 
2. Do I have the materials & equipment I nee...
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
UNDERSTAND 
MOTIVATION 
• Purpose 
• Autonomy 
• Mastery 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
MOTIVATION = 
+ PURPOSE (Do I believe in WHY?) 
+ AUTONOMY (Do I get a say in WHAT?) 
+ MASTERY (Am I proud of HOW?) 
- AN...
Predictors of High Performance (remix) 
PURPOSE 
• Does the 
mission/purpose of my 
company make me feel 
like my work is ...
And What Else? 
OTHER FACTORS: 
• In the last 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for good work? 
• Does my supe...
Your job as a manager… 
CREATE SPACE FOR YOUR PEOPLE 
TO BE THE BEST THEY CAN BE 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
Maybe you’re not a manager. As an individual, you 
need to… 
FIND & SHAPE SPACE WHERE YOU 
CAN BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE 
Mer...
https://www.flickr.com/photos/psd/8451589322/in/set-72157633230231221 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
SPACE TO BE AWESOME = 
+ PURPOSE (Do I believe in WHY?) 
+ AUTONOMY (Do I get a say in WHAT?) 
+ MASTERY (Am I proud of HO...
REMINISCENT OF AGILE MANIFESTO? 
Individuals and interactions over processes and 
tools 
Working software over comprehensi...
VALUE INDIVIDUALS & INTERACTIONS 
Do great 1:1s 
Make them more like personal retrospectives 
They are about the individua...
CULTIVATE INCLUSION 
Help people to succeed as themselves. 
Best predictor of recruitment AND retention? 
Someone’s abilit...
“OK, BUT HOW ARE YOU GOING 
TO BEND ‘WORKING SOFTWARE’ 
TO BE ABOUT PEOPLE, MERI?” 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manage...
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
WHY DO WE VALUE 
WORKING SOFTWARE OVER 
COMPREHENSIVE 
DOCUMENTATION? 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
To horribly misquote Joni Mitchell… 
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE 
WANT ‘TIL IT’S DONE. 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
WE NEED THE FEEDBACK LOOP. 
WE HAVE TO ITERATE AND 
LEARN. 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
DELIBERATE PRACTICE 
• You must be motivated to attend to the task and exert effort 
to improve your performance. 
• The d...
Ask yourself… 
IS YOUR WORK DESIGNED IN A WAY 
THAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE 
DELIBERATE PRACTICE? 
CHALLENGING? FEEDBACK? 
LEAR...
AGILE MANIFESTO 
Individuals and interactions over processes and 
tools 
Working software over comprehensive 
documentatio...
PUT DOWN YOUR SWORD. 
YOU ARE NOT A ROMAN GENERAL. 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
VALUE THE WHAT OVER THE HOW 
Know when people need telling what to do 
(Hint: it’s not often) 
Help them get what they nee...
CLUE / SKILLS MATRIX 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8250578@N06/8625641442/ 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
http://www.flickr.com/photos/provoost/2246718091/ 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
SKILL DEVELOPMENT 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
https://www.flickr.com/photos/psd/9613972159/ 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
https://www.flickr.com/photos/psd/8642795506/ 
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
SPACE TO BE AWESOME = 
+ PURPOSE (Do I believe in WHY?) 
+ AUTONOMY (Do I get a say in WHAT?) 
+ MASTERY (Am I proud of HO...
AGILE PEOPLE MANAGEMENT 
• Do awesome 1:1s = personal retrospectives 
• Cultivate inclusion 
• Help make work  deliberate...
GO! 
FIND/SHAPE/MAKE SPACE 
BE AWESOME 
BE INCLUSIVE 
And thank you for listening  Any questions? 
Meri Williams, ChromeR...
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Awesome People Management with Agile

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Agile improves how we work, can it also improve how we manage and develop people? A look at stealing some elements of agile, and working out how best to develop & manage people who are working with agile.

Given as a conference talk at Agile on the Beach, September 2014, in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Awesome People Management with Agile

  1. 1. AWESOME PEOPLE MANAGEMENT WITH AGILE Agile on the Beach Falmouth, Sept 2014 Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  2. 2. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kodomut/3667608102/ Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  3. 3. I SPENT MY FIRST 10 YEARS OF MY CAREER IN A BIG CORP… … FAMOUS FOR INVESTING HEAVILY IN ITS PEOPLE AND FOR DEVELOPING LEADERS Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  4. 4. MATURE PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT Everyone had: – A workplan – A personal development plan – A career plan, complete with skills matrices – A manager (most of whom did give a crap) – A coach and often a mentor too – Monthly 1:1s, quarterly reviews, annual reviews – 10 days a year to spend on training, etc etc Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  5. 5. THE GOOD Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  6. 6. THE BAD Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  7. 7. THE UGLY Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  8. 8. YOU CAN ADJUST THIS KIND OF APPROACH WHEN YOU WORK IN AN AGILE WAY … BUT IT STILL DOESN’T FEEL QUITE RIGHT Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  9. 9. SOME WOULD ARGUE THAT WE DON’T NEED MANAGERS AT ALL IN AGILE. I ARGUE WE NEED GOOD MANAGERS, AND TO BANISH BAD BOSSES Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  10. 10. WE ALL HATE BAD BOSSES WE DESCRIBE THEM AS • Clueless • Empty suits • Pointless • Seagulls Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  11. 11. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  12. 12. https://twitter.com/Caterina/status/6715084157 Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  13. 13. GOOD MANAGERS ARE BULLSHIT UMBRELLAS. BUT THEY ARE ALSO A LOT MORE THAN THAT. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  14. 14. Traditional management beliefs are a pile of crap http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elephant_Dung.JPG Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  15. 15. Sooo…. WHAT DOES WORK? Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  16. 16. Across industries, across countries, the best performing teams answer certain questions positively Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  17. 17. Predictors of High Performance 1. Do I know what is expected of me at work? 2. Do I have the materials & equipment I need to do my work right? 3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day? 4. In the last 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for good work? 5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person? 6. Is there someone at work who cares about my development? 7. At work, do my opinions seem to count? 8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important? 9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work? 10. Do I have a best friend at work? 11. In the last 6 months, have I talked with someone about my development? 12. At work, have I had opportunities to learn and grow? Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  18. 18. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  19. 19. UNDERSTAND MOTIVATION • Purpose • Autonomy • Mastery Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  20. 20. MOTIVATION = + PURPOSE (Do I believe in WHY?) + AUTONOMY (Do I get a say in WHAT?) + MASTERY (Am I proud of HOW?) - ANY NEGATIVE FACTORS THAT DETRACT Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  21. 21. Predictors of High Performance (remix) PURPOSE • Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important? AUTONOMY • Do I know what is expected of me at work? • At work, do my opinions seem to count? MASTERY • Do I have the materials & equipment I need to do my work right? • At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day? • Is there someone at work who cares about my development? • Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work? • In the last 6 months, have I talked with someone about my development? • At work, have I had opportunities to learn and grow? Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  22. 22. And What Else? OTHER FACTORS: • In the last 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for good work? • Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person? • Do I have a best friend at work? ESSENTIALLY, AM I RESPECTED & REWARDED HERE? CAN I BE MYSELF AND SUCCEED HERE? I CALL THIS INCLUSION. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  23. 23. Your job as a manager… CREATE SPACE FOR YOUR PEOPLE TO BE THE BEST THEY CAN BE Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  24. 24. Maybe you’re not a manager. As an individual, you need to… FIND & SHAPE SPACE WHERE YOU CAN BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  25. 25. https://www.flickr.com/photos/psd/8451589322/in/set-72157633230231221 Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  26. 26. SPACE TO BE AWESOME = + PURPOSE (Do I believe in WHY?) + AUTONOMY (Do I get a say in WHAT?) + MASTERY (Am I proud of HOW?) + INCLUSION (Do I BELONG HERE?) - ANY NEGATIVE FACTORS THAT DETRACT Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  27. 27. REMINISCENT OF AGILE MANIFESTO? Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan http://agilemanifesto.org/ Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  28. 28. VALUE INDIVIDUALS & INTERACTIONS Do great 1:1s Make them more like personal retrospectives They are about the individual & their skills, growth & development. Not a status update. Care about the whole person. Everyone needs to be themselves at work. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  29. 29. CULTIVATE INCLUSION Help people to succeed as themselves. Best predictor of recruitment AND retention? Someone’s ability to agree with: “Someone like me can be successful here” Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  30. 30. “OK, BUT HOW ARE YOU GOING TO BEND ‘WORKING SOFTWARE’ TO BE ABOUT PEOPLE, MERI?” Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  31. 31. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  32. 32. WHY DO WE VALUE WORKING SOFTWARE OVER COMPREHENSIVE DOCUMENTATION? Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  33. 33. To horribly misquote Joni Mitchell… WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE WANT ‘TIL IT’S DONE. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  34. 34. WE NEED THE FEEDBACK LOOP. WE HAVE TO ITERATE AND LEARN. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  35. 35. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  36. 36. DELIBERATE PRACTICE • You must be motivated to attend to the task and exert effort to improve your performance. • The design of the task should take into account your pre-existing knowledge so that the task can be correctly understood after a brief period of instruction. • You should receive immediate informative feedback and knowledge of results of your performance. • You should repeatedly perform the same or similar tasks. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  37. 37. Ask yourself… IS YOUR WORK DESIGNED IN A WAY THAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE DELIBERATE PRACTICE? CHALLENGING? FEEDBACK? LEARNING? Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  38. 38. AGILE MANIFESTO Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan http://agilemanifesto.org/ Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  39. 39. PUT DOWN YOUR SWORD. YOU ARE NOT A ROMAN GENERAL. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  40. 40. VALUE THE WHAT OVER THE HOW Know when people need telling what to do (Hint: it’s not often) Help them get what they need the rest of the time (Hint: not just someone else telling them what to do) Learn coaching skills (Hint: start with GROW: http://blog.geekmanager.co.uk/2014/01/20/stealing-from-sports-really-useful- coaching-dareconf-mini/) Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  41. 41. CLUE / SKILLS MATRIX Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  42. 42. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  43. 43. http://www.flickr.com/photos/8250578@N06/8625641442/ Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  44. 44. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  45. 45. http://www.flickr.com/photos/provoost/2246718091/ Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  46. 46. SKILL DEVELOPMENT Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  47. 47. https://www.flickr.com/photos/psd/9613972159/ Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  48. 48. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  49. 49. https://www.flickr.com/photos/psd/8642795506/ Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  50. 50. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  51. 51. SPACE TO BE AWESOME = + PURPOSE (Do I believe in WHY?) + AUTONOMY (Do I get a say in WHAT?) + MASTERY (Am I proud of HOW?) + INCLUSION (Do I BELONG HERE?) - ANY NEGATIVE FACTORS THAT DETRACT Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  52. 52. AGILE PEOPLE MANAGEMENT • Do awesome 1:1s = personal retrospectives • Cultivate inclusion • Help make work  deliberate practice • Figure out where people are on the clue/skills matrix, and help accordingly • Learn to coach • Remember the bigger picture, help people have a fulfilling career Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  53. 53. GO! FIND/SHAPE/MAKE SPACE BE AWESOME BE INCLUSIVE And thank you for listening  Any questions? Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager

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