Topic Teasers Vol. 92: Managing By Group

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I’m one of two middle managers in a small, 20-person state government office. Each of us has five to six direct reports who do individual, short-term projects. Our director also manages an equal number of staff. The issue is that she wants all of us to be in on every decision, saying it’s an agile approach. It means that with every decision, we always have unhappy people who did not get their way. Is this actually the way to run an agile office?

A. While agile practices can be productively used by non-IT teams and in situations where the entire Scrum core ceremonies are not adopted, asking everyone’s opinion on every office decision whether they have a stake in the project or not is decidedly not agile. Include only those who need to be there, and make non-project-related decisions among the three managers.

B. Millennials want to feel involved and important. It’s a good practice to hold office-wide meetings for every decision and take a vote to see what the majority favors. What is decided is less important than having everyone feel a part of the process.

C. Unless there is an area where the director does not understand the specifics involved in the decision, all choices should be made at the highest level with …

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