Getting Started

This content is syndicated from On Agile Leadership by Manfred Lange. To view the original post in full, click here.

Now you are a new member of this team of smart, experienced, and very talented people. How do you get started?

Sometimes it looks to me that the most difficult part is to make sure that the team starts to shift its mindset. This does not mean at all that everything that the team did in the past or everything they are doing today is wrong. Quite the opposite.

A mindshift helps looking on everything in a new light. For instance it might help to rerun an experiment that failed a few months ago because one of the tools wasn't up to the job. If you have a new version of the tool this time the experiment might have a different outcome.

A mindshift also helps you to move to a different approach while - maybe - continue operating the same. For instance when you are used to larger and more complex projects or tools or designs then it can be quite challenging to move in the other direction. What about smaller and simpler?

A mindshift might also require challenging some of your assumptions. What if you are assuming that you get punished if an experiment fails? Maybe that assumption was correct many years ago and you internalized it so much that you are not even aware of it. What if the assumption is incorrect?

Getting started can be very difficult and sometimes it takes a lot of courage. Yes, it is good to know all those reasons why something cannot be done. In engineer's terminology this is the list of rists. But then: aren't we engineers to to make things work despite other people saying it cannot be done?

So try small experiments, maybe a couple of people for a couple of days. Maybe the experiment fails. No problem. Then you know yet another way that doesn't work and you have learned more about the challenge.

But maybe the experiment is successful. Then you have started to move. Admittedly just a tiny little step but you have moved. And you have learned as well. And maybe after you have moved you can identify the next thing already that is worth trying which was hidden or impossible before your move.

Let's look at a real life example to illustrate my point: Let's assume you have that mixture of unmanaged C++ and .NET code and you want to move all of your code to the .NET world. Then switch on that /clr flag and see what happens. Maybe it is successful and maybe then the code for communicating between the two worlds can go away, and maybe then you start seeing new options for what the next best move can be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 + nine =

There are 101 ways to do anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”


“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”


“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”


“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”


“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”


“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”


“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”


“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”


“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”


“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”


“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”



To explore how we can help you, please get in touch