Inducing and Aligning Curiosity

littleidea

As I was watching presentation of intricacies of Spotify's development management system yesterday at Stretch Conference in Budapest I couldn't help myself but to observe that agile is the new bureaucracy. But that is not the biggest beef I have with agile at the moment. What makes me look beyond agile is misalignment of agile methods with lean startup approach. Namely, agile is all about maximizing value (usually in the form of working software) delivered to the customers, while lean startup approach is all about maximizing learning by a team what works and what doesn't in order to ultimately discover product, customers, and product-market fit. Agile and Lean startup are therefore optimizing for different things, and since at Zemanta we are still in the process of finding product-market fit, we want to optimize for learning not delivery. Yesterday, also at Stretch Conference, Andrew Clay Shafer made a compelling presentation about leading a learning organization. While Andrew's ideas are still quite unrefined I think he is onto something great. If a leader wants to focus people on learning and not on delivering artifacts, the leadership style and organizational processes should fundamentally change. Unfortunately there aren't any good advice or guidelines how to build a learning organization and maximize learning (yet). I have a hunch that the answer to this problem lies in leveraging natural curiosity of humans and align it with the goals that the company is trying to achieve. But how to do that is not something that would be obvious and it is something that I'm actively researching at the moment. If you have some ideas, experience, or resources on this subject yourself, please share them in the comments.

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