Archive for category leadership
For the final blog review of the 2011 Management Improvement Blog Carnival I have chosen to review NOOP.NL, a blog about Agile software development and management by Dutch author (among other things) Jurgen Appelo. Being a software developer myself, this blog caught my eye. For those unfamiliar with Agile development, it is a method of software development that focuses on small, short iterations (called Sprints).
The first post that I want to share is actually not about Agile specifically – The Feedback Door is a clever method of getting feedback after a presentation or course. You put sticky notes on or near the door and ask people to stick their feedback directly on the door. Since the attendees need to pass through the door to leave, it’s difficult to ignore! Jorgen combines the feedback door idea with a “Happiness Index” (expanded on in this post) as a simple way to get quantitative feedback as well. It’s called, naturally, the Happiness Door.
Many of the posts in the blog are of a more philosophical bent (such as The Purpose of a Business is NOT Customer Value, and It takes Complexity to Handle Complexity). However, 21 Concrete Practices for Agile Managers stands out as a great collection of practical suggestions for Agile practitioners.
Finally, I liked this short and to the point post about the necessity of measures. It’s true that you can’t improve something without measuring some aspect of it. However as a commenter pointed out, you have to be careful what you measure. If you emphasize the wrong metric as a manager you may be encouraging the wrong behavior. A classic example in software is using lines of code (LOC) as a metric. This rewards sloppy and verbose coding and penalizes concise and elegant solutions to problems.
For the 2011 Annual Management Improvement Blog Carnival,* I reviewed the Unfolding Leadership blog (the second of three looked over by me and my son Hank). In his meme** inspired SMALL WORLD entry Dan Oestreich explains how he began blogging in 2004 as an outlet for creative expression, not only in words, but also photography. The pictures are what caught my eye and made Unfolding Leadership stand out from the pack. This blog of October 7 provides an example of Oestreich’s eloquence in words and visuals.
I found the mid-year blog ON HYPOCRISY AND SELF-PROTECTION very thought-provoking because of its forgiving dissection of why so many leaders say one thing but do the other. Oestreich provides an inside look at just such a fellow who happens to be in charge of a technical group. From my experience, competence in science and engineering correlates inversely with people skills. However, if one is willing to put himself under a microscope and be open to change, improvement is possible. I urge anyone in a leadership position, especially those with technical backgrounds, to read this blog.
Going back to the first Unfolding Leadership blog of 2011 titled SCAR one finds a very poignant story of a woman who had the courage to speak up at work, but, unfortunately, it created a very bad outcome. I really like the accompanying photograph and found it very apropos. Read the comments for further insights on this issue of trust.
* For all the 2011 blogs see this list http://curiouscat.com/management/carnival_2011.cfm. Background on the carnival itself can be found here http://management.curiouscatblog.net/about/.
**(An idea that is spread from blog to blog – see this page http://thedailymeme.com/what-is-a-meme/ for the provenance)