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The Agile Culture: Leading Through Trust and Ownershipby Pollyanna Pixton
Synopses & Reviews
Build Agile Cultures That Unleash Passion, Innovation, and Performance
What do you want? Delighted customers. How do you get them? By rapidly delivering innovative, exciting products and services your customers will love to use. How do you do this? By uniting talented people around shared ideas and purpose, trusting them, helping them take ownership, and getting out of their way. It sounds easy—but you know it isn’t. To make it happen, you must create an agile culture: one that’s open to change and can respond quickly to whatever your customers need and desire. The Agile Culture gives you proven models, pragmatic tools, and handy worksheets for doing just that. Building on their experience helping hundreds of companies, three world-class experts help you align and unleash the talents of everyone in your organization. Step by step, you’ll learn how to move toward a culture of trust, in which everyone knows, owns, and improves the results. You’ll learn practical ways to refocus on differentiators and value, resurrect energy and innovation, deal more honestly with ambiguity and risk, and overcome resistance, no matter where it comes from. This text will help you go beyond buzzwords to transform the way you deliver software—so you can delight customers, colleagues, and executives.
• Creating cultures of trust and ownership, in which individuals, teams, and organizations can do amazing things
• Assessing where you stand, so you can move toward higher levels of performance, innovation, and motivation
• Leading as an enabler, not a controller
• Rebuilding trust where it’s been lost—or building it where it never existed
• Clarifying quickly the design goals of any project, product, or process
• Using iteration to reduce risk and make commitments you can keep
• Managing uncooperative people (and processes)
• Selecting metrics that focus on business value, foster trust, and don’t compromise ownership
Agile software development methods can decrease time to market and dramatically increase value to customers. However, many managers, software practitioners, and customers worry that iterative processes will increase uncertainty and risk. Even where they agree to agile, they create cultures that make success difficult or impossible.
The Agile Culture will help you change all that.
Many books talk about the importance of culture to agile success. The Agile Culture shows you how to make the specific culture changes you need. The authors provide proven tools and models for moving from "date-driven, internally-focused" cultures to "value-driven, customer-focused" cultures where agile can thrive and flourish. They offer clear rationales for using each tool, demonstrate it at work, present relevant case studies and examples, define expected outcomes, and show how to measure your success.
Using these techniques, you can achieve the results promised by agile: you can transition to a culture of continuous innovation, transparency, and trust; one that knows how to live with uncertainty, can manage risk proactively, and makes better decisions throughout the entire software project lifecycle.
The Agile Culture will be an invaluable resource to everyone who wants to lead or participate in successful agile transitions, from executives to developers, project and product managers to agile coaches.
About the Author
An international collaborative leadership expert, Pollyanna Pixton developed the models for collaboration and collaborative leadership through her thirty-eight years of working inside and consulting with corporations and organizations. She helps companies create workplaces where talent and innovation are unleashed—making them more productive, efficient, and profitable. Pollyanna is a founding partner of Accelinnova, president of Evolutionary Systems, and director of the Institute for Collaborative Leadership. She speaks and writes on topics such as creating cultures of trust, ownership, leading collaboration, and business agility.
Paul Gibson, who trained as an Electronics Engineer, has recently retired from IBM after thirty-eight years of working on IBM products and processes in many differing roles up to senior levels both in the UK and in the USA. For his final ten years, in addition to his line responsibilities, Paul was on the steering group of a cross-IBM organization set up by the Board to improve development effectiveness and quality delivered by all 35,000 IBM software engineers. For the last four of those years Paul was a member of a small team leading the adoption of Agile, Lean and Collaborative approaches across the company, and he has run training sessions in virtually every major IBM Lab worldwide as well as worked with Corporate and Group process owners to help them adopt complementary approaches to improve effectiveness. Since his retirement Paul has been providing independent consultancy to a number of client companies in the USA, Europe and India on development effectiveness, agility, quality and collaborative leadership.
Niel Nickolaisen is the Chief Information Office at Western Governors University—an accredited, on-line university that was named by Fast Company as #28 on their list of the 50 Most Innovative Companies. Niel holds an MS in Engineering from MIT and a BS in Physics and an MBA from Utah State University. Niel has spent his career finding rapid, pragmatic ways to improve processes, teams, and results.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction to Key Principles
2. Customer Viewpoint
3. I Want It All By This Date!
4. Reduce the Churn: Unleash Talent for Innovation
5. Leave Command and Control Behind
6. Face the Pain of Change
7. Get the Metrics Right!
8. Quick Reference Guide
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