In discussing the Stoos movement, I posed the question, “Is great management timeless?” That is, do we really keep reinventing management or do we just uncover different ways to manifest principles of great management?

After further discussion about the goal of the Stoos movement, I believe continued dialogue will lead us to uncover the underlying truth. It’s dialectical.

Certainly, as Peter Stevens, the originator of Stoos, commented,

This [industrial] model worked extremely well in the first half of the 20th century, stumbled through the 70s, but is creaking and shuddering today.

More recently, the advances at Xerox, PARC and elsewhere (Smalltalk, IDEs, rapid feedback, not to mention the whole internet) enabled new management approaches, e.g. Scrum, XP, Kanban. The same advancements also put pressure on companies to do better, not just developing software, but at innovating for their customers. This requires more enabling management than was necessary 100 years ago.

Clearly, older industrial management is creaking and shuddering today.

But, simultaneous with the creaky industrial management that Peter identifies, we’ve had wonders from Walter Shewart, W. Edwards Deming, Taiichi Ohno, and, of course, Peter Drucker. We know that the Lean management model has grown and thrived through Toyota and others during the same period that industrial management has declined. Indeed, very little we propose in #Stoos and agile management cannot be found in the works of Drucker, Deming and others.  In fact, Scrum draws on the work of Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi, through their landmark paper, The New, New Product Development Game.

Because management is dependent on the nature of the work we’re doing, Drucker coined the term “knowledge workers,” and maintained that knowledge workers needed to be managed differently. This view is also supported by Nonaka, one of the grand doyens of Scrum.

So, it seems like our inflection point is the difference between industrial/scientific management and lean/agile management. Perhaps great management is not timeless, and we need to adapt management to suit the challenges and work of our time.

Thanks, Peter and others associated with #Stoos for moving that process along.

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