One of the original tenants of MWT was that management itself would have to change if everybody was already managing themselves. I was responding to much of the discussion 10-15 years ago that was about “empowering” the workforce and I wanted to think ahead to the situation where everybody really was empowered and really was managing themselves. This is, of course, actually happening all around us…
I think the same thing goes for “agile”(*). I’m often surrounded by people adopting somewhat “agile” practices. Simple things like “stand up” meetings.
The only problem is – and this bugs me more than it probably should – I don’t know what a “stand up meeting” actually is? I don’t mean I don’t understand the concept, I just mean it doesn’t make sense to call it a “stand up meeting” anymore when everybody is doing it.
In a typical week I might be aware of or participate in 5-10 “stand up” meetings. And every time one of these is on I hear people calling out “hey everyone time for the stand up meeting”. This isn’t helpful at all. Which one? What will be discussed? Should I be there?
The other interesting part is that I often see people walk out of the stand up meeting and discuss their actions with other people who weren’t in the stand up meeting. This isn’t helpful either. The purpose of the stand up meeting is to get everybody prepared for their day. If the people whose day you are preparing aren’t in the meeting than it’s not really helpful.
A stand up meeting that doesn’t involve the people who will be impacted today with significant effort driven from the stand up meeting is simply a management meeting, standing up, which doesn’t have a sufficient planning horizon to add value, make a strategic impact, or give other resources sufficient lead time to plan their own activities.
(*) Note: I’m by no means an “agile” expert. Nor do I think it’s the answer for many problems to which it is applied. I like it though.