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Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders

This book was on my list long before it was published. While I may not agree with everything Jurgen says on complexity thinking, he will always make you think about the subject in a different way.

The book is an excellent selection of models and ideas that any manager, or indeed anybody, can put to use straight away. Dividing the book into theoretical and practical chapters allows it’s use as a reference book while still being readable.

Book Snippets

What managers in the 21st century need most is insight so that they can develop their own prescriptions for their own particular needs

An imperfect message told well is more useful than a perfect message nobody cares to read.

metaphors greatly improve people’s ability to understand abstract concepts,

Requirements, features, artifacts, deliverables, tools, technologies, and processes are not agents because they cannot actively organize and reorganize themselves or initiate interaction

innovation and adaptation are maximized when systems are at “the edge of chaos”

The more complex a system is, the less we can control it.

people don’t want to be told what to do. They want to be asked.

The better your team, the bigger your power. And to make your team better, you empower them.

if I have to choose between two evils, I’d rather be loyal to the most competent people.

You must treat delegation of authority as an investment

always try and resist the temptation to do the work yourself.

Trust must be earned.

only change your mind when new insights have convinced you,

Trust and respect are the crucial virtues to make empowerment and delegation work.

In ordered organizations no creativity and innovation are taking place.

In chaotic organizations there may be plenty of creativity, but not in a structured and predictable way.

managers are not at all responsible for self-organization because this negates the concept of self-organization.

a complex system can self-organize only when there’s a boundary around it.

It is about empowering other people so that they can lead.

teleology, the philosophical study of design and purpose.

Shareholders are not the owners of everything in an organization.

the logical conclusion is that shareholder value is not the goal of an organization.

A goal works only when the people in the system use it to evaluate their actions.

Authority needs to be set to the lowest possible level that is just enough to get good results from people.

organizations work well when people work with and around the rules, not just following the rules.

skipping discipline makes you go slower, not faster.

Rules are the responsibility of individual workers, unless they cannot perform their tasks effectively,

People can make rules on their own. They don’t need managers for that.

It is fair to be given a decent explanation, so that they know how their work fits into the bigger picture.

Memetics is the study of evolutionary models of information transfer, often in a cultural context.

If a problem is too big to handle, target another related but smaller problem.

effort matters more than talent

teams need time to learn how to filter the information available to them and how to work together.

An autocatalytic set is a system in which the agents reinforce and accelerate each other’s productivity.

From a complexity perspective scaling out is definitely better than scaling up.

“What is this layer going to solve that the lower or higher layers cannot do themselves?”

Panarchy is governance as a complex adaptive system of anarchical networks that relies on diversity and resists hierarchy in order to function and adapt.

how do you make people follow practices? Easy. Make them visible!

The introduction of a system into an environment changes the environment.

uncertainty may be natural, but for many people it’s not welcome.

software development methods should mainly consist of loosely coupled practices so that continuous improvement is possible without the fear of sliding down the Matterhorn

plenty of iterations, even though they are in the right direction, will only make matters worse.

the first thing to do is to make sure you know your current position.

value is subjective.

you learn very little if you try not to make any mistakes

Contentment with the success of your business may be your worst enemy.

the only accurate description of a complex system is the system itself.

Agile has never been some specific set of practices.