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All Posts By Marc Danziger

Organizations and their Maps

When we deal with organizations, we typically act toward the people we’re connecting with in the organization based on our default ‘map’ of the organization.

It’s important to understand that – like most things – we can represent things (including organizations) using multiple maps, all equally valid – and all useful in the right context. Here are three maps of Los Angeles (topographic, freeways, rail lines):

Similarly, we usually represent organizations with different maps.

Foundationally, there is the map of the explicit power within the organization – I think of this as “who can fire who.” It’s represented by the typical hierarchical org chart. Everything in the organization intersects this map – because people want to keep their jobs or advance, and the relationships in this map will determine whether they do or not.


The Problem of Management In Reaching Agility

(with apologies to Bertrand Russell..)

For a living, one of the main things I do is to advise and train technologists on how to deliver better – better systems, with better quality, better business value, better timeliness and predictability. I teach and coach lean-agile practices and patterns, and I know that they work.

But I’m wondering if I’m – we’re all – doing it wrong.

I’m at a conference with a bunch of people who do what I do, and what I’m hearing – over and over again – is that we’re having success… to a point.

And I was sitting in the sunshine outside and realized that what we’re doing is bolting a layer of lean-agile practices onto traditional hierarchical management structures.

It looks a little like this:

We’re lowering the friction of traditional organizations,