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March 21, 2008


I'd like to pre-order copies for everyone on my team. Where do I sign up? ;-)

Seriously (well, actually, I was serious), 2% or not, you have an important thesis: Successful software delivery requires effective leadership, good judgment, and a keen sense of balance.

As I mentioned in Leadership - The Secret Sauce (http://blog.softwarearchitecture.com/2007/09/leadership-secret-sauce.html), these ideas allow you to "harness the intellect" of the people and achieve outrageous levels of performance.

And tying it back to the Toyota Way, I like the way author Gary Hamel makes this point in his "Management Innovation" article in the February 2006 edition of the Harvard Business Review:

“Only after American car makers had exhausted every other explanation for Toyota’s success – an undervalued yen, a docile workforce, Japanese culture, superior automation – were they finally able to admit that Toyota’s real advantage was its ability to harness the intellect of ‘ordinary’ employees.”

You make the great point that many of us fall into the trap of "the next simple fix" (just like the American car makers in that story). Let's do our part to encourage focus on what's important: leadership, judgment, and balance.

Keep it up.


Hi - all this takes me back to reading this book:


It deals with how to practically balance your approach based on what the project makeup is, although doesn't cover the area that you do...that the way to adopt an agile approach is to upgrade what already works (if possible) to create your own 'home brew' version, if you like

We are doing exactly the same on a project with over 50 staff and several scrum teams - not easy but important to find a sustainable, effective solution. Some say we are using Scrum as a 'front end' to develop 'work packages' decided by more traditional planning at the back end - I think that's a little too simplistic myself, but it's clear that giving developers 'just enough' flexibility and control is a Very Good Thing....I guess 'just enough' is where the balancing act comes in:)

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the support and feedback. It is reassuring to hear there is interest in this area.


Hi Russell

Thanks for your comment. I like the “Balancing Agility with Discipline” book, despite its poor title (since agile is disciplined, TDD takes lots of discipline). Anyway, just as Boehm and Turner provided tools and dialogue for helping choosing the balance between planned vs adaptive approaches, I would like to add the additional spectrum of management vs leadership to the mix. So we would have the spectrum of planned vs adaptive on one plane and self directed teams vs Managed Development as a spectrum running at 90 degrees to this.


Nice post Mike.


Great post Mike.

I think there is definitely room in the agile space for a book like this. It's clear you have a real passion for bridging these two worlds, and it's clear you understand both very well.

A book like this could would serve both communities well.

Good luck!

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for your feedback and encouragement.

Best regards

Yes, I think you need to write a book too and collate all your ideas in one place. I've read all your PDF archive articles and there is a lot of good information in there as well as on other pages in this site. Maybe you could even include a CDROM or a download page with some of your project management tools on there?

Go for it.


I'm afraid I don't think this would be a good book - but maybe you could convince me. I've posted a response to this post here - http://www.agile-lab.co.uk/2008/04/without-theory.html



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