The Work Experience

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The Work Experience

Agile teams thread.

Agile or not, lots to reflect on and love in this thread on agile teams (threadreaderapp) by Susanne Husebo. It start likes this:

  • They start their daily standups on time.
  • They tend to laugh a lot and have fun.
  • Everybody in the team gets to express themselves.
  • They correct and edit each other when they go off track.
  • They try out new things with appetite. But they are quite willing to admit those things didn’t succeed.
  • They often don’t care very much if it looks like they’re working hard.

and gets better and better. See the original tweet here.

The Work Experience

The Heretics Guide to Management book review

Skip the hype cycle, recognise your biases and default position as well as other’s biases and default positions to look at problems in context of their changing conditions. This is the overriding message of The Heretics Guide to Management by Paul Culmsee and Kailash Awati. This book was recommended to me by a sage and savvy colleague and friend. It opened my eyes to just how attached I was to certain tools, processes, and practices — namely Design Thinking. This book challenged me to think about just how unproductive we can be when we don’t acknowledge our professional culture wars. If you hold on to traditional strategy methodologies, if you think the latest innovation model is the best way, if you think design thinking is the only way, read this book.

Here’s my review on Amazon:

A refreshing, humorous, and well researched take on the hype cycle of management and innovation frameworks and why no model is a substitute for understanding context and conditions when working through ambiguity. This book’s critique on management trends is underpinned by thoughtful discussion on how we think and how we react to ambiguity; the limits this brings to problem framing, management, and effective work. I came away from this with better critical skills to assess not only my work environment but also myself.

The Work Experience

The case for privacy at work

If you find yourself unable to think in your open plan office you may be interested in reading this New York Times article The Rise of the New Group Think that argues the case for private space to be productive and creative.

Our offices should encourage casual, cafe-style interactions, but allow people to disappear into personalized, private spaces when they want to be alone.

Research backs it up:

Studies show that open-plan offices make workers hostile, insecure and distracted. They’re also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, stress, the flu and exhaustion. And people whose work is interrupted make 50 percent more mistakes and take twice as long to finish it.



The Work Experience

Why brainstorming doesn’t work

So did that last brainstorming session you were in that was meant to generate a hundred ideas deliver? If not, here’s why:

The reasons brainstorming fails are instructive for other forms of group work, too. People in groups tend to sit back and let others do the work; they instinctively mimic others’ opinions and lose sight of their own; and, often succumb to peer pressure. The Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that when we take a stance different from the group’s, we activate the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with the fear of rejection. Professor Berns calls this “the pain of independence.”

This article talks more widely about open plan offices and the private environment that many need to be productive and creative It’s well researched and worth a read.

Oh, and don’t think I am 100% against brainstorms either. Their success or failure is entirely dependent on how the workshop is designed. Follow the tags on brainstorming below to find more on this. 

The Work Experience

Top 10 traits of the perfect boss

Sylvia Pennington reports on the characteristics of the perfect boss. How does your boss stack up? Or if you’re the boss how do you stack up? The cheat sheet list is:

  1. Provides purpose
  2. Demonstrates vision
  3. Collaborates
  4. Sets clear expectations
  5. Provides a positive work environment
  6. Is even tempered and resilient
  7. Treats everyone fairly
  8. Provides recognition
  9. Are always learning
  10. Helps and mentors others

Read the full detail of the top 10 traits of the perfect boss here: