Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility

Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility


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Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility by Pollyanna Pixton, Niel Nickolaisen, Todd Little, Kent J. McDonald

Enhance Fundamental Value and Establish Competitive Advantage with Leadership Agility

Whether you’re leading an organization, a team, or a project, Stand Back and Deliver gives you the agile leadership tools you’ll need to achieve breakthrough levels of performance. This book brings together immediately usable frameworks and step-by-step processes that help you focus all your efforts where they matter most: delivering business value and building competitive advantage.

You’ll first discover how to use the authors’ Purpose Alignment Model to make better up-front decisions about where to invest limited resources–and how to filter out activities that don’t drive market leadership. Next, you’ll learn how to collaborate in new ways that unleash your organization’s full talents for innovation. The authors offer the Context Leadership Model for understanding the unique challenges of any project, and they help you tailor your leadership approach to address them. You’ll find a full chapter on organizing information to promote more effective, value-driven decision-making. Finally, drawing on decades of experience working with great leaders, the authors focus on a critical issue you’ll face over and over again: knowing when to step up and lead, and when to stand back and let your team produce results.

Coverage includes

  • Effectively evaluating, planning, and implementing large system projects
  • Reducing resistance to process improvements
  • Bringing greater agility to the way you manage products, portfolios, and projects
  • Identifying the tasks that don’t create enough value to be worth your time
  • Developing the forms of collaboration that are crucial to sustaining innovation
  • Mitigating project risks more effectively–especially those associated with complexity and uncertainty
  • Refocusing all decision-making on delivering value to the organization and the marketplace
  • Making decisions at the right time to leverage the best information without stifling progress

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780321572882
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Publication date: 07/07/2009
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Pollyanna Pixton is an internationally recognized expert on collaborative leadership who has worked and consulted with companies and organizations for thirty-eight years. She is president of Evolutionary Systems and director of the Institute of Collaborative Leadership.

Niel Nickolaisen is CIO and director of strategic planning at Headwaters, Inc.

Todd Little has held a number of senior leadership positions including director of software and technology at Landmark Graphics, a subsidiary of Halliburton. For more than thirty years he has developed–and led teams developing–commercial software applications, primarily for oil and gas exploration and production.

Kent McDonald has nearly fifteen years of experience as a project and program manager in industries ranging from automotive to financial services.

Pixton, Nickolaisen, Little, and McDonald are all partners at Accelinnova.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

About the Authors xix

Chapter 1: Introduction to Key Principles 1

What Could Go Wrong? 1

What Went Right 3

Why Do We Do This to Ourselves? 5

A Framework of Effective Tools 6

Summary 9

Chapter 2: Purpose 11

The Big Ideas 11

An IT Project Death March 11

Aligning on Purpose 14

Usable Strategy and the Purpose Alignment Model 18

Getting Started 33

Summary 39

Chapter 3: Collaboration 41

The Big Ideas 41

Picking Money Up Off the Floor 41

Collaboration: Step by Step 43

Leading Collaboration 53

Putting These Tools to Work 63

Summary 65

Chapter 4: Delivery 67

The Big Ideas 67

Case Study: The Swiss Stock Exchange 67

All Projects Are Not Created Equal 68

Assessing Project Uncertainty and Complexity 72

Case Study: Integrating Software by Integrating People 76

Case Study: Time Is on Our Side 79

Case Study: The Swiss Stock Exchange Revisited 80

Using the Assessment to Reduce Risk 83

Product Life Cycle 86

Case Study: A Lot of Bull 87

Leadership Development 89

Portfolio Assessment 92

Summary 93

Chapter 5: Decisions 95

The Big Ideas 95

What Do We Do? When Do We Do It? 95

Building a Value Model 98

It’s a Conversation, Not a Number 106

Do We Have to Decide This Today? 108

Deliver in Chunks to Embrace Change in the Marketplace 110

Case Study: Improved Customer Retention 112

Case Study: An Agile Conference 115

Decisions and Portfolio Management 117

Summary 121

Chapter 6: Leadership “Tipping Point” 123

The Big Idea 123

Stepping Back 123

Case Study: Leaving Money on the Floor 124

All This Stuff Is Fine and Good–But Where Do I Start? 133

Stepping Up 138

Summary 141

Chapter 7: Summary 143

Putting These Tools into Action 143

Purpose Alignment Model 143

Leading Collaboration 145

Context Leadership Model 146

Value-Based Decision Making 151

Index 153

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