Agility, Daily Standups And Delighting Customers


My two favorite learnings from Stephen Denning’s new book, The Age of Agile: How Smart Companies Are Transforming theWay Work Gets Done, are the following: 

First, where Denning explains the 10 elements of an organization/company that is passionate about, and driven by, the goal of delighting customers. Those elements are: 
  1. There is a shared goal of delighting the customer.
  2. Top management takes responsibility for ensuring enthusiasm for delighting the customer throughout the organization.
  3. The firm aspires to be the best at what it does.
  4. Everyone in the organization has a clear line to the customer.
  5. The firm ensures it has accurate and thorough knowledge of the customer.
  6. Staff members are empowered to make decisions.
  7. The firm’s structure changes with the marketplace.
  8. Relationships are interactive, vertically, horizontally, internally, and externally.
  9. Back-office functions are aligned to serve the customer.
  10. Value for customers must be monetizable for the organization.
The second learning is what Denning calls Daily Standups. He explains the power of this daily practice at successfully agile companies:

“In a daily standup, teams hold brief daily meetings to share progress and identify impediments for removal. The topics vary somewhat but typically concern what work has been done, what will be done next, and what impediments are being experienced.”

“Standups help the members of the team “swarm” to solve a problem rather than have individual struggle on their own. The communications are intended for the team members themselves, not for managers to inspect and control the progress of the team,” adds Denning.

Other teachings in the book cover:
  • Why small teams work better for tackling big, thorny problems.
  • How to move your organization from operational focus to strategic agility, getting the right balance of alignment and autonomy, and ensuring top-level support.
  • How to avoid management traps (using vision alone and emphasizing short-term profits) when shifting your organization’s culture and practices to agile.
Thank you to the book’s publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.

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