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Innovation Room

I was recently asked a question about using Kanban to visibly manage innovation across an organisation. This builds on a case study I wrote for NZPG on their Sorting Room [/content/new-zealand-post-group-%E2%80%93-agile-executive].

Agile for (and in) Marketing - An Agile Business Management Community Whitepaper

There is a growing trend towards business agility; the adoption of agile and lean practices across the enterprise. This is nowhere more evident than in marketing.

Train your customers first; an agile idea

Most agile practitioners would agree with me when I say that an agile project cannot succeed without the direct support of your customers. So here's a controversial idea; instead of starting a new agile project or agile business transformation by training your team, start by training your customers. We talk about investing in our staff so why not also invest in our customers? After all, they are the reason you are in business in the first place. 

Pair Trading: Agile Collaboration in Finance

Pair trading* is a technique to improve the productivity and quality of stock trading (or any type of financial trading, e.g. commodities). In pair trading, two traders share a single workstation. The trader at the keyboard (usually called the driver) actively trades, while the second trader (called the observer or navigator) is reviewing, advising, thinking through problems and generally sanity checking the first. These two roles switch on a regular basis (e.g. every ½ hour). The pairs also swap partners every day.

*Not to be confused with a Pair Trade

6 things to look for when recruiting for agile teams

Recruiting for agile teams requires a different focus than when recruiting for traditional teams. I'd like to give you some of the qualities I look for in candidates when I am recruiting. 
  1. Passion and aptitude: I recruit strategically. It is much easier to teach a skill and instill passion.
  2. Communication: An agile team thrives on strong communication (and I don't mean accents or poor English). If someone can get a point across in 5 words or a simple picture, their in. 

The Structure of an Agile Organisation

Whether you are building an agile software department or an agile organisation, the ideal structure must minimise the layers of bureaucracy between the CEO, or equivalent, and the do'ers, whilst still remaining efficient and functional. At its core, self-organising and cross-functional teams, supported by empowering individuals with personal authority and accountability, are an effective means of achieving this agile organisational structure. Under this model, a single, mid-level manager should be capable of leading and supporting between 10-20 teams of 5-9 individuals.

Agile for audit

The recent ABMC article about the audit group at Suncorp adopting agile practices was heartening. Historically, agile and audit have gone together like oil and water, and as a former auditor the story struck a chord. In my experience, auditors tended to view agile suspiciously and as a ‘thing to deal with,’ rather than an opportunity for the broader organization, or, even, an opportunity for themselves.

9 Points for Agile Business Growth

This article was originally published on LinkedIn - please join the conversation here.

I've spoken a lot about customer growth in the context of Agile Business Management. You've probably seen my definition of this a few times, but here it is once again for good measure. 

"Business growth comes from applying profitability to customer growth. Profitability comes from delivering services to your customers, accurately and efficiently."

Maker Time vs Manager Time

We often forget that not everyone works in the same way, or in the same context, as we do. Managers typically schedule their work in hour or half hour blocks; whereas staff tasked with large scale work will typically schedule their work in half day blocks.

How to Structure an Agile Organisation

With all the talk of Zappo's adopting a holacratic business model, it seems that lean and agile business models are gaining interest across different business sectors. This is adding to the growing group of companies starting to adopt Agile Business Management; that is the agile principles and techniques outside of IT.

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