Quantum Monkeys Blog

Safety is not immunity

Safety is one of the cornerstones of a healthy work culture. Without safety, you cannot expect to see responsibility, accountability or ownership in any measure above the strict minimum.

Still, we see many of our corporate clients dismiss the idea of creating a safe culture, lest their employees would have free reign and would avoid accountability for their actions. Employers would lose control! Chaos and pandemonium would ensue!

The problem is that safety is often confused with immunity or absolution. In an unsafe environment, where failure leads to witch hunts and retributions, it can be easy to make that jump.

In this post, I will go into what safety is and how it differs from immunity and absolution. The idea of safety is not … ahem… “a hippy concept not fit for a real business”. It is, in fact, a powerful tool that can be leveraged to spur innovation, excellence, engagement, and ownership.

To create a good work culture, safety is not an option. That’s why Joshua Kerievsky lists make safety as a prerequisite as one of Modern Agile’s guiding principles. That’s also why Jurgen Appelo makes it a central argument in his books Management 3.0 and Managing for Happiness, and why writers such as Daniel Pink, Dave Grey, Frederic Laloux, Lisa Laskow Lahey and Robert Kegan spend a large portion of their arguments on it. And yet, not one of them argue for a culture of immunity to consequences or absolution.

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By Maurice Lefebvre, ago
Quantum Monkeys Blog

Five emerging concepts in Agile

In this post, I would like to give a brief overview of five emerging tools I find interesting. I often refer to these in conversation, presentations, or blog posts and I would like this post to act as a cheat sheet of sorts.

Please keep in mind that I’m not advocating the use of these tools above the ones you might currently be using. I am not disparaging any other tools either. Context is everything, and the right tool to use will depend on that context.

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By Maurice Lefebvre, ago
Quantum Monkeys Blog

Guiding teams out of fragility

During a coaching session a few weeks ago I was asked by a client about the advantages of keeping teams together in an Agile setting. After all, they used to build teams to order for each project and it was working fine. Building teams for specific small projects and disbanding them afterward seemed like the most efficient way to go, as it meant that all specialists were exactly where they needed to be at exactly the right time.

This question is tricky to answer. Of course, the client is right: in a very narrow view, he uses his resources far more efficiently that way. But he’s also completely wrong, as the short-term gain of efficiency comes at the expense of long-term gains and of the overall strength of his entire system.

The answer is also not necessarily to keep teams completely stable over time but to understand the “why” and “how” to change team members.

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By Maurice Lefebvre, ago