General management

This category contains 66 posts

Teams and crews

One of the most entertaining sessions at last months’s Agile in the City: Birmingham was from Martin Burns, discussing teams in relation to performing music. And of all the points he made, the simplest and most compelling to me was the distinction between teams and crews. The dynamics of a team, he said, changed significantly … Continue reading

Why measure happiness?

Measurement might sound like it’s some kind of objective process, but that’s not always the case. Last week I asked the audience at Agile in the City: Birmingham to “Quantify Your Goals”. As part of that I showed how on one of the programmes at ONS we assessed progress against a goal simply by asking … Continue reading

Is this team the best it can be?

Recently I was part of a discussion on team improvement, and someone asked “How do you know if a team is the best it can be?” My first instinct was to ask why it matters, although I couldn’t think of way of doing so quickly and be sure I wasn’t sounding rude. However, that’s definitely … Continue reading

The reusable component is the team

I was talking to some colleagues once about how to help a team move on from their current product and focus in a new direction. The team’s latest development was well received, but they were having trouble leaving it behind—they wanted to continue working on it according to their earlier plan when other priorities said … Continue reading

Quality assurance and testing

Quality assurance and testing are often confused in the digital world. People often talk about QAs being the people who test, and debate the merits of whether QAs should exist as a role separate to that of developers. But prior to that I find it’s important to distinguish between quality assurance and testing, so here … Continue reading

Lessons from the US election: Listen and understand

Last week Donald Trump won the US election. We are told this was a surprise (see the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and NBC, for example), although I find this odd. Nigh-on 50% of the US voters voted for Donald Trump, and gave him a 1 in 3 chance of winning, which is pretty significant. … Continue reading

Internal comms includes listening

In most organisations I’ve worked in people say “We need to be better at communicating”—that is, communicating internally to their own staff. And in almost all these situations it’s by people who want to know what’s going on elsewhere in the organisation (maybe at the top level) or those who want to explain that. What’s … Continue reading

Give trust… and guidance

Many organisations I work with talk about the importance of trust. In particular there’s a general desire to trust teams to get on with the job. The benefits are clear: the team feels empowered and therefore more responsible and committed to its outcomes, and the manager giving the trust is freed up from continuously overseeing … Continue reading

How does a risk expert behave?

by Matthew Leitch ( and Nik Silver, August 2016 Some people deal with risk and uncertainty in their lives better than others. Survey evidence suggests only a weak correlation between good judgment in one kind of risky situation and similarly-good judgement in another kind, but still there is a correlation.  In this article we will … Continue reading

Assets are liabilities

Last week I caught up with Tom Gilb at his annual get-together. One of the many things I heard there, from the many very smart people present, was from David Stoughton of Axiomode: Assets are liabilities. He was talking about how to understand and maximise the value from a long term organisational activity, such as … Continue reading