My wish for 2011 was to see more healthy organizations, with happy people. I advised to focus upon developing your professionals, and to start or continue your Agile journey. Did my wish come true? A reflection on 2011, and my renewed wish for 2012.
Did my 2011 wish come true?
My first advice for 2011 was to use best practices from people focused models, like the People-CMM and Investors in People to develop and support your workforce. I’ve certainly seen focus on developing professionals, but mostly driven by the professionals themselves. Networking between professionals increases steadily, with the aid of social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and also Meetup. Experiences are exchanged via blogs, wiki’s, and in open spaces. Many professionals make use of the possibilities that are available. Which in my opinion is a good thing, because basically you are responsible for your own future.
But what about the role of the company, and managers in developing people? Are they providing opportunities, are they supporting their people, and do they recognize and appreciate how they develop themselves? I know that some managers do, but what I hear from most professionals that I talk to (and also from some of the managers that I work with) is that they don’t see enough support and rewarding from their manager. This is something that needs to improve, to make sure that professionals will continue to invest time (and sometimes also their own money) to become better, and deliver results for the company that they are working with.
Some people say there’s a crisis. And that companies are having a hard time to survive, and so their’s no money for training, coaching or development of professionals? “Crisis, what crisis?” would Supertramp say. But seriously, I’m not denying the economical situation that we are in. But your companies’ results depend heavily on the capabilities of your workforce. Investing in them, is investing in the future of your company (you can fill in yourself what not investing could mean for your company …). To conclude, my wish for 2011 on developing and supporting the workforce only partly became true, there still al lot to do in 2012!
Now to the second part of my wish for 2011, my advice to start (or continue) your agile journey in 2011, and make your professionals happy! Agile has really taken off in 2011. I’ve seen lot’s of companies that started with Agile, or continued the roll out after some first (mostly positive) experiences with Agile. This doesn’t surprise me, as Agile fits with the way that professionals would want to work in teams, and it delivers value to customers. So yes, this part of my wish really came true in 2011!
What will 2012 bring us?
I expect that more companies, which will mostly be larger ones, will implement Agile working practices. Implementing Agile in larger organizations is more complex, and often requires changes of the organizational culture, management style, and supporting functions. There is a significant experience already with the implementation of Agile, which can be re-used to get results and decrease the risk that the migration to Agile fails. My wish for 2012 is to share experiences with the implementation of Agile, and to learn from each other, to assure that Agile practices will deliver business value!
Also more companies will apply lean principles to streamline their delivery processes. Most companies use Lean to focus on the decision chain, reveals the time and money that is wasted. I see great potential for Lean to involve employees in changes that are needed. Companies should use the knowledge and skills available, increase collaboration and communication, and stimulate learning to deliver business value quicker, at lower costs. I see great possibilities for Lean, combined with the People-CMM, to further develop professionals, empower them, and enable them to deliver value to the customers of the companies that they are working with.
I expect that more companies will use Lean Startup principles in 2012, to (re-)connect with their customers. My experience is that the Lean Startup approach brings you in contact with your (potential) customers, by piecewise providing solutions for their needs. We’re using the Lean Startup approach to develop IT change management training modules, for veranderproject.nl (in Dutch). Some of our course ingredients fail, they should since we’re trying out new stuff (new to our customers that is). We get tremendous feedback, and are improving modules continuously. Together with our customers we develop an understanding what works in change management, and what doesn’t. Which helps them to improve the way they run their IT development. I consider the Lean Startup approach to be an very promising way to get in contact with your customers, and quickly understand and fulfill customers needs, enabling you to delivering value!
I’m wishing you a very healthy and happy 2012! Let’s keep on sharing, and learning!