I’ve been a fan of Jurgen Appelo since first hearing him talk about Management 3.0 a couple of years ago. Much of my own, sometimes painful, experience with traditional management in agile and software development seemed to match his perspective.
One of Jurgen’s main points is that management is too important to be left to managers alone and it’s good for everyone in the organization to understand and appreciate the problems teams, projects and individual knowledge workers face.
The original Management 3.0 book contained good advice both for new managers and for mature managers who were embedded in the traditional mindset of top-down, command and control. While it included a fantastic bibliography of useful books and articles to research further, what it didn’t provide, as we know all good books should, was any “Exercises for the Reader”.
What Jurgen has now produced with the Workout book is a companion which expands on the original book and includes the all important Exercises. Each chapter addresses a single concept, explains the reasoning behind it and several step-by-step instructions that let you implement the change immediately in your own organization.
There are sections on rewarding peers, delegation and empowerment, culture and identity, learning, understanding others, finding purpose, giving feedback, coaching, problem solving, and metrics.
One of the other useful bits of content in each chapter is the inclusion of comments from readers who have already implemented a technique, their initial circumstances, how they implemented or adapted it, and their results. Each chapter also includes a set of references for further research.
Currently the book is available electronically for Kindle and ePub, or as a pdf if you register for his newsletter. Registration entitles you to a “plain” pdf copy and a special “design” edition which is a landscape formatted version, filled with photographs, pull quotes and Jurgen’s illustrations (see above for an example).
A paper version is planned for release in November 2014.