What the Agile Manifesto Doesn’t Say

The Agile Manifesto doesn’t say we shouldn’t plan, negotiate contract terms, document systems or follow processes. To me the Agile Manifesto serves as a reminder that processes, plans, contracts and documents don’t build complex systems, people do. Specifically teams of people who need to constantly communicate and be in touch with the business they serve. It’s also a reminder that the people who develop systems can sometimes get lost in the design and documentation. When we get carried away attempting to develop the perfect system on paper we end up with nothing but beautiful documentation to show for it. It’s a reminder that the documentation, planning, contracts and processes are means to the end, not the end itself.

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Pick a Great Project Team

Sometimes availability is the only criterion used to determine who will be part of a project team. If Chris and Sue and John are all available and your project needs three more people, guess who the likely candidates are? The truth is there are many other factors to consider when assembling a project team. In fact, some people can be such bad fits you would be better off without them. So, if you’re fortunate enough to get to choose your project team, what should you consider? Here are a few ideas.

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Build a Visual Work System

Humans are inherently visual creatures.  It cannot be denied that seeing something helps many of us better understand it.  While simple, this idea should not be underestimated.  When Henry Ford wanted to inspire higher productivity in his day shift he painted a large number on the factory floor.  The next morning when the day shift […]

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Five Ways to Manage Up

No matter what your job is, the odds are pretty good you work for somebody. Whether you call them your manager, boss, or supervisor there are actions you can take to maximize your working relationship, or manage up. While some people think managing up is another term for manipulating a boss, it can more constructively be viewed as a set of tools for improving your value within your organization. This post describes five actions you can take to manage up.

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Use Pull-Systems to Manage Knowledge Workers

Managing knowledge workers is an endlessly fascinating challenge. How do you know when a knowledge worker is actually working? How do you know if they are working at, or near, capacity? One way to better manage knowledge workers is to use a pull-system.

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Five Topics for Your Project Kickoff

A project kickoff meeting is your first opportunity to set the tone for a newly initiated project. That’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all it will be hard to change the impression the kickoff leaves on its participants. To make the most of your kickoff meeting there are five topics you must cover.

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Four Steps To Recovering Run Away Projects

You don’t have to manage projects for long before you encounter situations where expectations no longer match reality.  Whether you’re dealing with scope creep, budget overruns or missed deadlines, sooner or later you’ll have to deal with a project that’s gotten out of bounds.  IT projects are notorious offenders, partly because they involve so much […]

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Get The Most From Top Performers

Managing top performers can be a challenge. Great leaders don’t treat everybody equally but they also make sure top performers are not delivering results at the expense of the team. In preparation for writing this article I asked members of the Impact Makers’ leadership team to share their ideas about managing top performers. Carl Miller, Andy Savage, Adam Beck, Kate Foster, and Ken Berry contributed input to this article. I could have written much more with all they provided. Instead I chose to take their recurring themes and keep this post close to the usual length.

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Plan To Drop The Unproductive

How you choose to define productivity may largely depend on what you value but we all have room to improve our results. Whether you’re responsible for managing a team’s productivity or simply want to improve your own, spend some time thinking about what should be on your not-to-do list. By eliminating non-value-add activities you will free up time to focus more on customer-value-add and business-value-add activities.

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Stay Motivated During the Holidays

During the holidays it can be a real challenge to stay motivated and keep the people on your team from falling into an unproductive lull. While it may not be realistic to expect the same level of productivity your team normally cranks out, there are some things you can do to keep people motivated without being a complete spoilsport.

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