Category Archives: Management

Embracing Agile

Spotify, the music-streaming company, exemplifies an experienced adapter. Founded in 2006, the company was agile from birth, and its entire business model, from product development to marketing and general management, is geared to deliver better customer experiences through agile innovation. But senior leaders no longer dictate specific practices; on the contrary, they encourage experimentation and flexibility as long as changes are consistent with agile principles and can be shown to improve outcomes. As a result, practices vary across the company’s 70 “squads” (Spotify’s name for agile innovation teams) and its “chapters” (the company term for functional competencies such as user interface development and quality testing). Although nearly every squad consists of a small cross-functional team and uses some form of visual progress tracking, ranked priorities, adaptive planning, and brainstorming sessions on how to improve the work process, many teams omit the “burndown” charts (which show work performed and work remaining) that are a common feature of agile teams. Nor do they always measure velocity, keep progress reports, or employ the same techniques for estimating the time required for a given task. These squads have tested their modifications and found that they improve results.

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How to manage outrageous talent…

His (Jose Mourinho) skill at handling genius became apparent during his first spell at Chelsea, where he struck up a series of friendships that anchored an array of world-class talent. He arrived at Stamford Bridge aged only 41: a comparatively small age difference from his players. “In terms of mentality, I’m not much older than them – I think I have the ability to put myself at their level. I think it is important to understand. The more you understand them the more you can lead them – there is leadership and leadership, as you know.

I never liked the leadership where the boys say, ‘He’s my leader, I have to respect him.’ I prefer them to say, ‘I respect him and he’s my leader.’ It is a completely different thing. They can say, ‘I do that because he tells me to do that and I have to.’ I prefer them to say, ‘I believe in him so much, and trust him so much that everything he says I want to do!’ I prefer much more this kind of empathy.”

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Brand Bachchan

What is more, he retains the simplicity and the humility of yore. Speaking to this correspondent recently at the launch of a book on his films’ posters, he said, “I am happy that people want me even at this age, that film-makers still want me…. I may not be happy with all the jobs I do, but I am nervous about every new venture, be it a film or a television show. It is important to be nervous. That way you give your best. You are not smug.”

Indeed, he is far from smug. Forever reinventing himself, forever pushing boundaries, Bachchan has scoffed at all the norms of cinema. Now, it is the turn of television, where he is set to make his acting debut later this year. He still retains the same nervous energy. “Every day I am apprehensive before facing the camera. I rehearse my lines for hours. We all try to reach a situation where we become so natural that the camera doesn’t exist for us. I don’t know if I have been able to achieve it.”

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