user-icon Dominik Maximini
05. September 2016
timer-icon 5 min

This is What Management 3.0 Looks Like at NovaTec AMP

Management 3.0 is a set of practices for agile leadership. This post does not describe these practices in detail. Instead, it tries to give you - quite literally - a view on what Management 3.0 looks like in our business area "Agile Methods and Processes".

If you want to learn more about Management 3.0, you can find links to different practices and articles in the text below.

There are eight people working in our team right now, and I am lucky to be part of it! Officially, I am “managing” them – but quite frankly, there isn’t much to manage with this team. They want to be led, not managed.  If you want to get some unfiltered impressions from team members, you can read these from Boris’ experience (German) or look into some thoughts from Florian (English).

When you walk up to our Team Room, the first thing you notice is our door (and wall) plastered with Kudo cards:

All these Kudo cards have been awarded to the team or individual members. Some of them came from inside the team, some from the outside, some were even written by our customers.

Once you open the door, you should first turn full circle and get an impression of the whole room:


Everything is plastered with information and artifacts important for the team (“information radiators“). Of course, Marty is present and looks at you with his six eyes (Energize People, Empower Teams, Align Constraints, Develop Competence, Grow Structure, Improve Everything – the six views of Management 3.0). When you walk around, you will notice some more things, well hidden in a corner:


If you manage to endure the information overflow, we can take a closer look at some Management 3.0 artifacts.

Maybe you already noticed the “NovaMan” on the sign next to the Kudo cards. It looks like an identity symbol, doesn’t it? When you look behind the column, you can find even more of them:


All of these are basically a failed experiment. I liked the NovaMan, but the team didn’t. When asked to look for their own identity symbol, the team wasn’t enthusiastic and not much happened. Then, a miracle occurred and over night (after a conference with beer…) a sign popped up at our wall:


For some reason, the whole team suddenly started using this phrase (you don’t want to know what it means, but if you are curious, check this out) at every possible moment. So yes, we do have and use identity symbols. More notably, this symbol was placed next to our wish-values:


The values of professionalism, openness, transparency and “we never walk alone” are already well practiced. At this time, we focus on improving collaboration, professionalism (yes, we cannot get enough of this!), discipline, common goals – and wazuuup.

Professionalism is so important for us, that we dedicate our current Sprint and probably the next one as well (yes, we do work in Scrum) to improving it even further. To do this, we are collecting “Value Stories” with the whole team and some stakeholders in order to know where to continue improving ourselves:


Values are so important for us, because we take our vision and strategy seriously:


The vision roughly translates to “ignite enthusiasm for agility” while the strategy includes business, company and team goals. These goals need professionalism – and more – to be reached or even neared. Just below our vision & strategy chart you can see a bunch of work outcomes. Throughout the room you can see more of our “Work Expo“:


Personally, my most loved work result presented in this expo is the email of a rejected (!) job candidate. He states in this email that he loved the way he was challenged and treated during the interview. Especially the open and helpful feedback was something he liked. When he gathers more experience, he wants to apply again.

When creating these work results, everybody in the team needs to know what he is allowed to decide and where he needs approval from me. Therefore, we created a Delegation Board:


In some instances, we still use level three (which means I decide, but I ask the team for their opinion). However, we are proud that we do not need levels one or two anywhere. We even decided to “agree” on all changes on the delegation board. This effectively means that I cannot change any level on this board without the approval of the team. We perceive this a great investment into trust, which has paid off nicely so far.

To get to this level of trust, we needed quite some time and revealed a lot of ourselves. One of those sessions left a nice visual depiction on our wall – personal maps:


Now with all these new impressions, it’s time to leave our team room again. As you turn around and face the closed door you see another whole bunch of colored sticky notes. As you open the door, take a look at what they say:


This is part of our endeavor to dig deeper into work profiles. We are still experimenting with this, so we are not “Done” yet. However, we learned a lot from and about each other when looking at ourselves through different lenses. The pink stickies tell you what informal job title we use right now – at least for the five of us who were not on holidays when we did this exercise.

Sorry for the length of this article, I didn’t expect it to grow so fast. It gives you a visual impression of how we work and who we are. It does not tell you, how it feels to be part of this team or what practices we use that do not produce a visual trace on our walls. Depending on your feedback, maybe we can show you more in a future article.

Please, let us know what you think!


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