10 management blogs are participating in the 2009 Management Blog Carnival. Be sure to check out all the great posts. Here we are looking at some exceptional posts on the , Training Within Industry and Making IT Clear. The quotes below are taken from blog posts on these blogs (and include links to the posts they are taken from)
Visual Management Blog by Xavier Quesada Allue
“Visual Management is the practice of using information visualization techniques to manage work. A simple example is using sticky notes on a wall to manage a list of tasks, a better (and more complex) example is kanban.”
Agile and lean management both stress to the importance of making work in process visible. With agile software development workload is often managed using short iterations to create software code and deploy it (similar to continuous flow). “The goal is that any team can do any story in the backlog. You should stress that the ‘real’ Team is the big one. Sub-teams are just created for communication and coordination purposes. In my opinion, they should not develop too strong a team identity. For example, I would not measure sub-team velocity, and I would make sure people rotate from sub-team to sub-team a lot.”
Short software development iterations “require both soft and hard commitments from team members. The team is required to work as a team (for which soft commitment is required) and to commit to finishing a certain amount of work in one Sprint.”
Training Within Industry by Bryan Lund
Another method of making in process work clear is to make clear what the process is.
Building up Standard Work Using Job Instruction explains why job instruction is critical skill that supports standardized work, in that training is used as a countermeasure against variability. An important idea that is far to often ignored.
“The primary purpose of a Job Breakdown Sheet is to serve as a trainer’s aid. It is not meant to be read by the trainee.” and “My experience is that Work Instructions are used so a number of objectives may be achieved”: reduce training time, have trainees more directly involved with training and compliance and accountability through a a chain of approvals.
Early in the year Bryan included a series of lean comics, including:
Making IT Clear by Harwell Thrasher
Harwell Thrasher focuses on explaining IT issues to a business audience, and giving business people advice on how to improve the effectiveness of their IT organizations. “IT doesn’t succeed because of technology — it succeeds because of its contribution to the business.”
He has several posts with straight forward ideas for managers such as How to Become a Manager – 13 Skills You’ll Need: “Obstacle Removal… Part of your job is to remove the obstacles that are preventing your employees from doing their best.” Managers responsibility to intervene in the system to remove obstacle preventing people from doing their best is a big key to management I believe. One great thing about agile software development is how clearly this is shown to be a project managers responsibility.
As he says in The 7 Biggest Challenges of a Manager “If you ever get to the point where you honestly have no idea how to improve things further, then you should either (a) seek outside advice, or (b) look for another job. There’s always a better way, and you have to keep looking for it.”
“Most technical people who become managers do so because they want more scope and control… perhaps most important, you don’t become a good manager by being good technically – you become a good manager by being able to get things accomplished through other people.”
Take a look at the full list of posts pointing to excellent posts from over 30 management blogs from 2009.