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The Leader's Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century Hardcover – October 12, 2010
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Denning puts forward a fundamentally different approach to management (Publicnet.co.uk, November 2010).
“Denning has written an original and brilliant book which transforms ‘radical management’ into doable and, more important, indispensable management. Also an indispensable read!”
—Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California & author of the just published: Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership
“Denning goes to the root of the management issues confronting companies today. Focusing on seven core principles, he lays out a pragmatic roadmap for shifting the corporation from a focus on scalable efficiency to a focus on delighting the customer and each other, while achieving even higher levels of productivity. In the process, he creates a space where we all can more fully achieve our potential.”
— John Hagel, Co-Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge
“The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management delivers. It delivers insight into why today’s broken institutions don’t work. It delivers the principles and practices that can reinvent them. It delivers powerful examples of organizations that are doing it —and some that aren’t — and it delivers the tools to help you start digging a new foundation.”
—Jim Kouzes, award-winning coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge and The Truth About Leadership; Dean’s Executive Professor of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University
“To reinvent America and the world, we desperately need radical, new leadership and management. Stephen shows the way.”
—Mark Victor Hansen, Co-creator of the series Chicken Soup for the Soul®
“The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management is the paradigm shift we have been looking for to guide us as we evolve. This is the first book that focuses on what is truly important to being successful.”
—Matt Hlavin, President, Thogus Products Company
“The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management reframes the way we think about management in a practical, application-driven way. A must-read for anyone in a management position!”
—Ed Scanlan,CEO, Total Attorneys
“This book contributes with principles on radical management and continuous innovation to support an Agile mindset in your entire organization.”
—Michael Holm, CEO, Systematic Software
“I’ve spent the last 35 years of my professional life bushwhacking my way towards what I now know, thanks to Steve Denning, is the nirvana called Radical Management. It is a place where delighting customers is the religion and creativity, passion and learning are revered. Denning’s Radical Management is the antidote to the greatest disease in the workplace today, mental resignation due to lack of purpose. Radical Management should be required reading for anyone entering the work force or looking to reignite their inner bushwhacker!”
—Sam Bayer, CEO, b2b2dot0
“The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management accomplishes what no leadership book has been able to do in recent times. It delivers clear insights on the impediments keeping most institutions today from success. Beyond that though it provide tools and means of overcoming these barriers in novel and often counter-intuitive ways. A must read for leaders attempting to move to the next level of performance.”
—Rob Cross, Professor, University of Virginia
Top customer reviews
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Particularly enjoyed the final chapter which outlined how he rolled out agile in his company - more as a revolution than your typically (and usually failed) agile adoption plan.
I found it a little too prescriptive and hence dated. Many modern agile practices have replaced ideas proposed in here that are now questioned e.g. velocity, planning poker. We have discovered new models of agility which work better than many of the (now dated) practices described in the book.
It is refreshing to find a book that talks about the management side of agile however. Perhaps would have been better if he stuck to this aspect instead of trying to outline what practices should be adopted also. Would have kept the book more current.
Many of these sources directed me to Stephen Denning’s book, ‘The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management’. In it Denning outlines the development and organizational environment, the pitfalls of using dated and inappropriate methods, and the application of methods and mindsets that work. He is passionate about the approach and he is clear that it is not a prescriptive set of detailed practices but an ideology, a new way of thinking about managing dynamic projects.
Denning does an excellent job at laying the foundation for this new methodology, one that is both easy to understand yet difficult to implement. He outlines the fail points that can derail the approach, environments where it is not appropriate, and he describes how anyone within the organization, regardless of authority, can spread the message and drive change.
This book is a must read not just for project managers, but for anyone engaged in the development and delivery of dynamic projects. If you get just a single take-away from this book it should be this; 1) Delight the customer with incremental value, 2) Develop a sustainable rhythm, 3) Have fun. The old focus on performance metrics of cost, schedule, and quality with take care of themselves.
Read this book and share it and what you learn with others. Become the person on your team that leads your organization to a more effective and satisfying way of working. Then continue to read other works on Agile, Scrum, Lean and similar methodologies to expand your personal toolkit and your ability to apply the right approach to any given project.
My story or how I got to writing this review:
When I entered project management in the early nineties the practice was new to the company so my experience was gained through informal trial and error. Over time I developed a personal project management toolkit that allowed me to be successful but I continued to be conflicted with the prevailing hierarchical management practices. Projects were delivered mostly on schedule, but were plagued with missing or underperforming functionality. In addition, management dictated the team work excessive hours to maintain delivery with no connection with the ‘why’ of what they were doing.
Efficiency, quality, performance and personal satisfaction were low and I focused much of my time following each delivery trying to restore a sense of team and to improve on those low metrics. My project management peers shared the same issues and together we learned and established process standards to improve the development cycles. The process improved but only marginally. As the company grew the challenges became greater. We talked about how we worked as a small start-up, on the floor shoulder-to-shoulder without regard to who was best experienced to lead. The team made decisions collectively and because we had just a handful of clients we were all aware of their role and expectations.
In retrospect we were fairly successful in delivering software using our own modified waterfall technique. Projects began using pure waterfall processes with requirements fully defined and approved before moving into development. But once we were deep into development itself, changes came often and pushing back was pointless. With each new project or new release we continued to start with the same waterfall premise because we thought that if we applied more process and tighter control we would achieve success to the satisfaction of all. We never did; not fully.
I tell this story because if you were learning project management in the early nineties this was likely your story as well. Formal industry practices and standards driven by organizations like the Project Management Institute were not part of our common language.
Today project management is taught in high schools, colleges and most project management positions list PMP or similar certification as a requirement. Much progress has been made but for projects that are dynamic in nature with only some of the requirements known up front, the traditional waterfall process and the hierarchical management practices are not appropriate. PMI and other standards centric organizations held to the classic waterfall methodology and continued to refine and focus on ‘the process’ but the shift to more dynamic development in the workplace has driven them to expand their practices or become less relevant.
Those entering the project management profession have at their disposal a wide array of tools and methods that have been refined through years of experience and documented by people such as Denning to learn from. In the future better products leading to happier clients and developers will be the norm and the ideal of Radical Management will be seen as standard practice.
The book however succeeds in presenting them as Radical Management in an understandable way for management in non-IT companies and/or departments. The principles are well-explained using real-life stories and will also appeal to people within IT. In addition many practices are listed so principles can easily be applied.
I recommended this book to everyone who want to learn what these IT people are up to. After reading the book take the test as stated on page 168-169: do I take the red pill instead of the blue pill?
Given all the rich thinking out there,
This "new" lean and agile way of doing things is demonstrably superior to typical management thinking in the same way that the blitzkrieg theory of mobile warfare radically beat the old theory of attrition warfare in WW2.
The great problem with this book is that Stephen adds little new or original to the work of others while at the same time providing very little attribution to the work of the thinkers he popularises. A naive reader would be left thinking that Stephen invented the whole field of business agility on his own. This leaves the naive reader with no connection to the agile community where they can deepen their understanding. I think this is immoral,
I have corresponded with Stephen about this and Im glad to see that he has joined the agile community and now talks about agile management rather than radical management.