We Want Our Small Companies Back
Written by Mike Cottmeyer Saturday, 9 January 2010 12:41
We Want Our Small Companies Back!
We want our small companies back, but sometimes small-companies can’t deliver at the level of scale required to meet market demand for their products and services. Not having the ability to grow leaves dollars on the table that your competitors will certainly go after. So the question becomes, how do we get back our sense of shared ownership and sense of shared purpose? How do we create larger organizations where the people doing the work have shared accountability for outcomes, and the capacity to deliver against those outcomes? How do we grow while maintaining the values and principles we held as a much smaller organization?
Fixing these problems has been a focus of the agile product development for the past several years. At this stage of our maturity, we believe that the agile community has largely solved the problem at the team level. We have a track record of recapturing that entrepreneurial spirit when we can isolate three to four small teams and align them toward a shared business objective. Given the size and state of many of today’s software organizations though, the scope of the challenge feels nearly insurmountable. Furthermore, what does a single manager do to lead change at this scale? Does the manager focus only within their span of control or do they try to lead out? If so, what are the compelling messages that our senior leaders need to hear?
Let’s be clear, most managers can’t lead these kinds of initiatives by themselves. They will need help both from both their senior leadership and the teams that work for them. We believe that with the right tools, and with the right focus and ability to influence, managers will be able to convince others to come on board. This ability to lead up, to lead out, and to lead teams will essential to introducing these ideas to the broader organization. This book gives you place to start and will help you develop a language and approach to lead sustainable organizational change.
But before we get started, let’s take a look at the big picture and explore a bit what we’ll need to learn about along our way.