Organize Forward
Organize Forward
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Organize Forward

Last updated on 2020-05-28

About the Book

The traditional approach to organizational design has got it wrong, completely wrong, it's based on concepts that are over 100 years old, and was built to meet the needs of the industrial age, an age that is long past.

Traditional approaches to organizational design will lead you down a path where you define functional departments, add in layers of management with explicit spans of control, and define individual account-abilities.

This approach stifles the innovation, creativity, and collaboration required for enterprises to be successful in today's era of complexity and uncertainty. We need organizing structures that increases people ability to swarm on wicked problems and rapidly learn from market feedback.

Organizational Designers needs a new approach, one that emphasizes co-creation, iteration, and self organization.

This book provides a set of thinking tools to help leaders, change agents, coaches and interested knowledge workers grow organizing structures that foster self-organization rather that strangle it.

Agile Organizational Design reflects over 15 years of organizational change experience from the Agile By Design team. It integrates and extends material from many different sources into a cohesive set of principles and practices that will help the reader facilitate a new mode of organizing structures, one based on teams that can self-organize to meet market outcomes.

Agile Organizational Design provides tactical tools and techniques to design Organizing structures based on the following principles:

  • Organize For Cross Functionality, not Functional Specialization
  • Use Market Pull to Guide Organizational Design
  • Try To Keep Teams Stable, But Continuously Evolve Structure To Eliminate The Need For Hand Offs
  • Define Organizational Structure around Social and Domain Boundaries

About the Author

Jeff Anderson
Jeff Anderson

My mission in life is to help technology knowledge workers be awesome at what they do. Having been in the market since 1994, I have transitioned my initial passion for agile software engineering to provide advisory services to clients that want to thrive in a world of uncertainty and learning.

Over the last several years I have been running an Agile/Lean transformation service to help clients move from command and control towards feedback and self organization.

Our team has a solid track record coaching teams on foundational agile practices, guiding end to end organizational transformation to embrace a more agile mindset, and focused coaching of product and operations teams on how to embrace design thinking and validated learning.

I admit to an unbridled enthusiasm for any method or practice that bring creativity and joy to the value creation process, and get a kick out of turning leading edge thinking into contextualized, practical tools.

I also love to supercharge complex workshops through a combination of crowd awareness, passion, and above all humour. I’ll often iterate over a vast array of models/workshops in real time to adapt to the crowd's thinking and evolving goal of the session.

My most important skill is growing the talent around me. I continue to provide passionate, motivated people with a suite of leading edge skills that take their leadership to the next level.

I have presented at numerous conferences, nominated for a Brickell Key award, and am a founding fellow of the Lean System Society. I have also wrote a book on agile organizational change, The Lean Change Method.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • Principles for Agile Organizational Design
    • So why am I writing about Agile Organizational Design?
  • From Industry to Uncertainty
    • Traditional thinking is over a century old
    • This legacy thinking was well suited to the Industrial era
    • Traditional thinking is toxic in the age of uncertainty
    • The Age of Uncertainty != The Age of Industry
    • A network of self motivated, cross functional teams
    • From hierarchy to value Network
  • Truths, Myths and Lies about The Agile Team
    • Why we love agile teams
    • Agile teams are able to self organize effectively
    • Now for a little dose of reality
    • Truly Stable Teams Erode Agility
    • There Are No Truly Autonomous Teams
    • Agility does not come from Agile Teams
    • Agile Organizational Design, In a nutshell
  • Design Principles To Guide Organizing Your Enterprise
    • Organize Around Cross Functionality
    • Organize based on Choice
    • Organize for Stability while Evolving Away From Hand offs
    • Organize within social and domain boundaries
    • Evolving your Agile Organizational Structure Over Time
    • Level 1: Trial
    • Level 2: Teaming
    • Level 3: Autonomy
    • Level 4: Ownership
  • Fundamental Agile Organizing Structures
    • The new mental model for formal organizational structure
    • What’s in a name
    • Going through each zone in a little more detail
    • The Identity
    • The Edge
    • The Core
    • Inner Cores, Outer Cores, and Context Boundaries
  • Facilitating an Organization Mapping Exercise
    • Before we get started
    • 1 - Identify active Market Actors
    • 2 - Define Identifying Goals
    • 3 - Map capabilities and define Edge teams and missions
    • 4 - Define Core goals and supporting Core teams and missions
    • A Special note On context boundaries
  • Refining Your Organizing Structure Through Team Collaboration Patterns
    • Why are Patterns Important
    • Collaboration patterns
    • Dedicated Team Member
    • Traveler Pool Member
    • Service Provider
    • Enablers
    • Communities of Practice
    • Dynamic Team Member
    • Agile Ecosystem
  • Agreeing on a More Agile Team Engagement Model By Playing Full Stack Poker
    • Steps to playing full stack poker
  • Defining Jobs and Roles in an Agile Organization
    • Traditional jobs and roles suck
    • You are your Job and nothing but your job
    • Do we even need role and job descriptions defined for an agile organization?
    • The Sports Team: A Good metaphor for thinking about roles and job functions in the age of uncertainty
    • Jobs and roles done well
    • A new mental model for jobs and roles
    • A more comprehensive example using a typical tech product organization
    • Role Personas
    • Flatten Reporting Hierarchies
    • A Note On T-Skilled People
  • Using Kanban to Enable Continuous Evolution of Organizing Structures
  • The Agile Planning Cadence and Refining your Organization
  • Inverse Conway - Designing Your Organizing Structure Around Domains
  • Mapping when to use What Organizing Technique

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