This Blog is based on a lot of theories – those “proven” and those currently “en vogue”.
Each one of these “mashed up” theories is in itself quite powerful and is worthy of much more elaboration. But while this blog is trying to stand on the shoulder of these theories and look from there, you as the reader might be interested in taking a deeper look at these online Resources.
Advanced Management Models
I did a Post comparing some major management models: What kind of Organization do modern Companies aspire to be?. The graphic below gives some orientation.
Sociocracy for All: A well-maintained site of Sociocracy resources.
Reinventing Organizations wiki: Provides details into the inner working of Management in the Digital Age, based on Frederic Laloux Holacracy model.
Lean Startup Movement: The basic principle of companies going digital no matter which sector they are in can be found in. Eric Rees, who is credited with being the first one write about this subject in a holistic, insightful manner has curated a book series on this topic. I especially suggest reading the “Lean Startup” and “Lean Enterprise”.
Google Re:work: A site promoting Googles management practices. The major focus is on HR, but there is some advice on team management, too.
Reimagining the Office: An excellent New York time article series of 2016 explaining why and how we need to change the way we run companies.
Purposeful Organizations: Tom Nixon came up with this useful Canvas to sketch out the high-level pillar of his vision of self-managed organizations. See also his post “3 steps for developing purposeful organizations“. Tom is currently working on “Maptio” – an App for purposeful organizations.
Maptio – an App for purposeful organizations (under construction)
Glassfrog – an App supporting Holacracy with its nested, overlapping teams and lots of floating roles. The incumbent app that is challenged by Holaspirit.
Holaspirit – an App supporting Self-Managed Organizations, not just those running under Holacracy.
Agile Work-outs are management practices which can be applied in an incremental manner, one at a time. Each Work-out has different requirements and dependencies. The table below describes in the columns how far a company should ideally be mature in providing an environment of freedom and trust in 4 Maturity levels. In the rows is what I call the Severity of a work-out. Severity is a rather arbitrary judgment of mine on the risk of adopting this practice:
- A “very low” severity Work-out has very low risks of backfiring. It might not work, but its failure will not be catastrophic
- If a “Very high” severity Work-out fails it will likely have catastrophic consequences
Please note that the potential benefits are somewhat correlated to severity, but not fully. Sometimes even a simple exercise like running a round robin at the end of Meeting and asking everyone for his Benefits and Concerns might have a very high Benefit/Cost ratio virtually risk-free.
Management 3.0 Resources: Easy to use, well-prepared exercises
Agile Practices Subway Map: A clickable subway map of Agile Practices provided by the Agile Alliance Organisation.
List of Agile Resources: A useful open table of Agile Resources for those willing to invest time in exploration.
Atlassian Team Playbook: Great agile work-outs from a great, liberated company that walks the talk and practices those agile things, that its products (e.g., Jira, Confluence, and Trello) support. Look at the “Plays” section for a list of some work-outs.
Atlassian Agile Coach: A guide to Agile development. Has some overlap with the “Playbook.”
Business Model Canvas: A useful graphical format and method to capture the essence of a business model on one page. It is a commercial website, but basic templates are for download for free.
The Toyota Kata Web-site: A resource-rich Website on the KATA way of organizational learning and continual improvement. Maintained by Mike Rother, a real expert on the matter.
Play14: Games that allow people to change perspectives, bond and arrive at more creative solutions.
Gamestorming: Agile Games for all kind of team building purposes. Based on teh Book “Gamestorming”.
Kanban by Giulio Rogerro: An excellent Slideshare on how to work with KANBAN.
Perdoo: An App for running the management practice of Objective Key Results (OKR).
Trello: The leading KANBAN app.
Effective Experiments: I think that it is quite astonishing that with all this talk about experimenting there are so few well-known apps that are specialized in supporting experimenting. Well, here is one. An add-in- to Trello
Jira: The leading collaborative Agile Tracking app. A Swiss army knife not just for software companies.
Slack: “Email with a memory” or a “Cross-over of email, instant messaging and whiteboards.” Slack is probably the most important App for Agile teams there is to this date
Zoom: The non-plus ultra in Web COnferencing. Forget Skype or Webex.
Toogl: An App to track time. Sounds boring? What about if that one actually increases your personal productivity by helping you to limit interruptions to deep work. Timekeeping that actually works – or works better than any other approach I have seen so far.
Classical Management Frameworks
Manager Tools: A best practice framework for the classical management practitioner. Hundreds of useful and podcasts for the mid-level manager. As a manager, you really should know your “Trinity of Management” by heart: One on Ones, Delegation, Feedback.
BlogchainHub.Net: A source of info about all things “blockchain” – the technology that might re-democratize the Internet and/or flatten hierarchies even more – in the future.
Object-Oriented Design: A architectural approach to Designing Software. Very technical stuff, but in the digital business, a lot of Techie Ideas fertile business thinking about organizations. Plus: There is an ever larger dependency between the structure of an organization and the architecture of a software. So as so often: Combining two formerly separate branches of research advances both areas immensely.
Classic Business Strategy Frameworks
Porter’s five forces of competition: A classic (the 1980’s) Model to model the position a company vs. it’s competitors. Very useful to challenge established thinking inside a company.
McKinsey’s 7S Model: A classic (the 1980’s) Model to dissect a company in seven different parts. Often, simplified versions are being used for pragmatic reasons, as these are usually good enough for organizational analysis. A favorite version in consulting work is using just 4 dimensions: People, Organization, Processes, and Systems.
Business Process Reengineering: A 1990’s model of re-inventing companies from the ground up. Processes took a central position. If business objectives could be tied business processes and these processes be optimized, dramatic improvements in business performance will follow. With business process re-engineering “process” thinking really took off, and process mapping, etc. and similar techniques are still today a dominant train of thought in any organization.
Transaction Cost Theory: An economic theory that explains economic activity or inactivity based on the costs of exchanges of goods and services. Invented in 1937 by Noble Prize Winner Ronald Coase and further developed by yet another Noble Prize Winner Oliver E. Williamson in the 1980’s. It is an early framework which has a unique place in economic theories, as it was assuming bounded rationality of decision makers, not the usual (neoclassical) key assumption of hyper-rationality. A key element is that it explains how decisions about economic transactions under uncertainty are made – one key insight for the ever-changing nature of the digital revolution.
Behavioral Economics: A blend of economical and psychological set of theories which is pretty much en vogue these days, as it replaces the assumed rational behavior with empirically observed behavior. Experiments are made and empirically analyzed on how human actors actually perform in a given situation. This relatively modern theory is very important, as one of the five drivers of Digitalization is customer centricity. By use of behavioral economics the actions of a customer can be much better understood today than ever. A spring of knowledge that can be utilized to mutual benefits of customer and companies.
Cognitive Biases: All those things that systematically distort human decision making. Pioneered by Nobel Prize Winners Daniel Hahnemann and Amos Tversky, understanding biases is a must to devise processes that enable organizations to make sense of data, to experiment and improve.
Principal-Agent problem: A central problem of our time – and a roadblock to the profound cultural shift towards digitalization. Managers are agents, taking care of the capital of shareholders, of the well being of employees, etc. They should act as the interests of their principals, the shareholders or even the employees. But they have their own interests. In a world of asymmetric information with too much capital around, managers use the insider information available exclusively to them to exploit shareholders and employees alike. This is an important reason for today’s increasing gap between managerial and workers income. No, it is not left-wing propaganda, it is established economic theory.
Classic Change Management Basics
Business Capability: A business capability is everything a company needs to a certain outcome. It encompasses resources, time, expenditure. A business capability describes what a company is able to achieve in a certain area (say next day replenishment to stores). In contrast to a process, which specifies how a company comes up with a certain result. For setting the targets of a transformation, it is much more helpful to define capabilities (i.e., expected outcomes) than processes (how outcomes are produced).
Programs: A group of interrelated projects is usually bundled into a program, that coordinates targets, resources, budget and validates progress against plan. So it is really nothing more than a higher node in the classical change portfolio of a company. The smallest organization form for change involving a group of persons is a project, many projects can be grouped into a program, and all programs together are equal to the total change agenda of a company.
Projects: “A set of coordinated activities to change something from status A to status B given a time, a budget and a resource constraint.” A Project is a classical way to approach change in an organization. There is line organization which takes care of day to day recurring tasks and a parallel project organization. A project team usually encompasses team members from the line organization plus external contractors. This may appear trivial to most informed business readers, but is still important to understand as A) projects are hard to master and B) traditional project management practices are generally not good enough for many aspects of digitalization.
Business Strategy – Wikipedia theme series. Not all-encompassing, but a nice collection of interlinked wiki sites on the theme.
Value-Based Management – a privately maintained for profit source of short descriptions of management models. An entertaining browse and good for new ideas of a quick look-up.