Using Agile in Management

This is a transcription of the Business901 Podcast, Should you Manage your Organization with Agile Techniques?. My guest was Steve Denning’s, author of the new book, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century (Jossey-Bass, 2010).

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe:  Software is a knowledge field. You can iterate knowledge easily. Can you really take it into a broader perspective, into an organization?

Stephen:  Well, I would say most work has become knowledge work. There are a few little areas where it isn’t the case. 100 years ago, most work was semi-skilled work, but basically, you walk into any organization today, most of the work involves knowledge work and even work which doesn’t appear to be knowledge work. In fact, the challenge for management is, “How do we turn that into knowledge work?” How do we take the routine parts of that and have it done by machines or computers? And how do we apply the brains and the talent and the energies and the ingenuity and the creativity in these people so that they can make a real contribution to the work?

So overall, I mean, a huge proportion of the work is already knowledge work, and the challenge is to make all of it knowledge work. So this software, in a sense, is pure knowledge work. And it is no surprise then that this would be the area where this emerged most fully because in this area, if you don’t manage knowledge work effectively, then nothing happens.

Agile Techniques in Management

Steve is also the author of the award-winning books, The Secret Language of Leadership: How Leaders Inspire Action Through Narrative (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership) and The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative. Steve works with organizations in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia on leadership, innovation, business narrative and reinventing management. From 1996 to 2000, Steve was the Program Director, Knowledge Management at the World Bank.

Stephen Denning’s website:

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The Pull in Lean Marketing
Lean Marketers should read Radical Management

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