Book: Management 3.0

Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders

by Jurgen Appelo

Summary: A wealth of explanations, techniques, and tips for building and leading agile teams so that you can effectively solve complex and complicated problems in your organization and for your customers

Intended Audience: Agile managers and leaders and those who want these responsibilities


Why You Should Read It: This book explains emerging management and leadership challenges as businesses become increasingly networked, social complexities and linkages increase, and information flows more rapidly. The sheer number of reviews and the quality of the reviewers in the book’s opening pages is in itself astonishing.

Agile Software Corporation

Image via noop.nl

Jurgen provides succinct background information about agile software development before diving into Martie, his 6-point Management 3.0 model.  Each of the following points is presented in a two-chapter format, one to explain the reasoning behind the principle and one to provide advice and experiments to pragmatically apply it:

  • energize people: software development in a knowledge-based activity and people must be motivated and energized to produce their best creative work
  • empower teams: immense knowledge and capability lies within the members of the team and self-organization is a highly effective way for this information to collectively emerge
  • align constraints: leadership must ensure that the team has a shared goal and boundaries so that they have a solid framework in which to make decisions
  • develop competence: to better deliver correct solutions, the entire organization must development competence by improving skill and discipline
  • grow structure: improving the structure of the organization’s systems improves communication. teams should be constructed with an appropriate size with a common value goal.
  • improve everything: foster continuous improvement through adaptation of the existing system, exploration of alternate solutions, and anticipation of emerging problems

My Takeaways

  • there are many stable states in systems, some of which are difficult to escape using small changes. to move to a different stable state, additional stimuli are sometimes needed such as the introduction of new team members, relocation or reorganization of workspaces, or experiments using ideas acquired from other teams or companies.
  • retrospective techniques such as “Five Whys” are great at identifying root causes but are not so good in non-causal relationships that involve feedback loops. it is important to identify and understand both positive (reinforcing) and negative (opposing) feedback loops in your systems.
  • in order to understand and improve a system, you must have a model of that system. while all models are inevitably wrong, some models are useful and it is important to continually reflect on the model you are using to see where it is failing and where it is helping.

Recommended?: One of the two most important leadership books I have read this year


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