What Nimble Organization Leaders Can Study From Bob Jobs

Focus to bring organization valueIt is reported that when he came back to Apple in 1997 Steve Jobs paid down the amount of Apple products and services from 350 right down to only 10. Why did he do this? Definitely, an organization would have more chance of penetrating the marketplace with over three hundred products instead of only 10. Well, no.One of the key beliefs of Scrum is focus. The designers of Scrum recognized that there’s merely a certain amount of substantial attention that someone or a team can apply to a challenge in any given time, usually the level of noise in the team just increases. The same is true for organisations also where in fact the cost of keeping an or service continues to need attention long following the product has been created and delivered.Focus as a cornerstone worth for Agile business practiceOne of the essential things a chief should do in their business is to continue to critically appraise which products they need their teams to work on. I was asked to with a senior manager in an organisation to sit in on their regular review board and give some Agile consulting to her and one other participants. I made an observation about the number of change initiatives they had constant. There were over fifty tasks of different sizes and complexity. Her review back to me was “well that’s what is expected to be done around here.” We’d some more talks on this point but in short the operation continues to fail to meet all of its goals and is continually playing catch up on meeting its commitments with its clients.Why won’t leaders change?There is often a fear that prevails in many senior managers that they must certanly be observed to be doing more, yet they’ll have noticed the term “less is more” but they’ll continue to react to their fears rather than the needs of their clients. Clients may well not usually want more, but they do want quality. This is the reason Apple excelled at what they did. (I use the past tense because I’m sure there are many like me who are waiting to see if the Apple tradition of creativity and quality will continue in the lack of one of the most motivated leaders the planet has known. )The solution…Prioritise. Again experience informs me that’s an often unpleasant conversation I’ve with senior executives who think the managers want it all and the managers need it now. I explain about focus and attention I talk about sustained speed of the group I implore on the foundation of higher quality and enthusiastic teams however the reason that I’m given is that they don’t wish to drop behind the competition or certain stakeholders may assume these functions or changes or some other form of rationalisation that make their demands right.In short, by asking a senior manager to prioritise, I’m asking them to take more time to think about where their priorities lie and as a result what they should focus on. But all too often it is easier to put more pressure on the product supply teams to provide more and faster. The administrators are kept by this from making distressing choices and having uncomfortable interactions that contain saying no to stakeholders. This isn’t leading but passing the buck and the result of these kinds of choices that put more pressure on the supply clubs is poor quality and consequently poor customer satisfaction.ConclusionIt makes me question what would have happen if Steve Jobs would have allowed his executive team to continue working on over 300 different items. Could we’ve ever seen the iPod, iPad, iPhone or iTunes? And if we did would we’ve seen reduced variations of these items that would have annoyed us? In short there is much business sense in concentrating our sources on performing a few things well rather than a lot things average. Remember less in fact is more.

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