Ever since the “Agile Manifesto” for software development was published about 20 years ago, Agile teams have been growing exponentially in number. At the risk of oversimplifying, Agile is an iterative approach to software development in which developers work collaboratively in small teams and deliver measurable work products in short time frames; in so doing, Agile teams are able to adapt and respond quickly to always-evolving client needs. Documented successes naturally led to the spread of Agile principles from IT to other organizational divisions. Recently, however, an article in Forbes declared “The End of Agile,” due to its scope of application having far outgrown the contexts for which Agile methodology is well-suited. But not so fast! As argued powerfully by veteran software developers Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick in their recent book, Agile Conversations, most failures of Agile are traceable not to the methodology itself, but rather to the inability and/or unwillingness of its participants to regularly engage in the challenging conversations necessitated by the Agile framework. At PMC, we’re not at all surprised by this conclusion. As our teacher Chris Argyris pointed out decades ago, promising workplace initiatives will continue to turn into “passing management fads” as long as people avoid the hard conversations that will help them truly learn from each other. For more on the why and how of difficult conversations in Agile teams, we highly recommend Squirrel and Fredrick’s excellent book.
Earlier this month, the National Security Agency retained WashU at Brookings to provide instruction on conflict resolution to executives at NSA. WashU at Brookings brings together two premier institutions to deliver on Robert S. Brookings’ desire to “teach the art of handling problems rather than simply impart accumulated knowledge” to those in and engaged with government. The goal of this partnership is to support the men and women who serve our country with cutting-edge leadership courses, either at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, onsite at the requesting agency, or virtually. The instructor retained for this purpose was again Paul Paese, of PMC. Paul taught “Strategies for Conflict Resolution”, a two-day course that was converted from in-person to virtual delivery with agencies like NSA specifically in mind. Paul’s work with the distinguished executives at NSA continues to be an honor and a joy.
Good luck, great food
Success and sound sleep
Travel and true friends
Peace, prosperity and productivity
These are our wishes for you
As we enter 2022
As 2021 draws to close, we would like to thank the many clients, colleagues, and partners who played a part in the continued success of Paese Management Consulting over the past year. It’s been another challenging year for everyone, yet the ground beneath us is rife with opportunity. Success moving forward will depend more than ever on strong partnerships that generate innovative solutions and bring them to fruition. We at PMC look forward to deepening our partnerships and collaborating more creatively than ever before. These times demand it, and we’re excited by the challenge. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and all the best in 2022!
PMC is delighted to assist Nemanick Leadership Consulting in delivering Leadership for Achievement, a professional development program for surgeons, researchers, and others in the Department of Orthopedics at Washington University’s School of Medicine. The Department of Orthopedics is a national leader in the delivery of high-quality orthopedic care, as well as innovative clinical, basic, and translational research. Paul Paese, of PMC, will be kicking off the program this month with “Leadership Tools for Better Teamwork,” a module focusing on the unique challenges of team leadership in environments with changing technology, high stakes, and very little room for error.
Paul Paese, of PMC, had the pleasure this month of teaching “Strategies for Conflict Resolution” to leaders at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. DTRA is the only Department of Defense organization focused exclusively on countering and deterring weapons of mass destruction and emerging threats. DTRA works with the DoD, other U.S. Government partners, and international partners to preserve peace and prepare for uncertainty in a rapidly evolving, globalized threat environment. “Strategies for Conflict Resolution” is a course offered by WashU at Brookings, a partnership of the Brookings Institution and Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) Olin School of Business. Paul was honored to work with this esteemed group of leaders, and was greatly impressed by their thoughtfulness and dedication to learning.