Digitalization: Hardly any other buzzword has been used so much in recent years. And as so often with buzzwords, their utilization is inversely proportional to their understanding. Everything is somehow connected with digitalization, but it is not clear what this digitalization is all about. Of course, it has something to do with computers and computing power. However, it cannot be that alone, as computers have been around for too long. A decisive aspect of digitalization is networking. Smartphones made digital devices suitable for everyday use and networking the standard. And this increasingly dense network of ever more powerful and ubiquitous computers is the bedrock for platforms that will then eventually disrupt tried-and-tested rather analog business models.
There is plenty of advice on leadership. However, few are as concise and authentic as those of Jack Welch, General Electric’s long-standing and extraordinarily successful CEO. For him, leadership means firstly giving meaning and orientation to people’s work and then ensuring that people can work on it as unhindered as possible. Second, good leadership is generous in making others successful without envy. And finally, good leadership serves people and gives them joy and fulfillment: “Be the Chief Fun Officer!”
Making decisions is often considered an essential element of leadership. An elite circle of executives makes decisions; at least the big and strategic ones and sometimes, depending on the level of trust in the organization, also decisions on details, leading to the plague of micromanagement. Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, is leading differently. He prides himself on making as few decisions as possible. And his success shows that he is right, as 20 years after its foundation Netflix is now the tenth largest Internet company in the world (Wikipedia).
Sustainability could be defined as a principle according to which no more should be consumed than can be replenished, regenerated or made available again in the future. Usually we think in macroscopic dimensions of our environment when it comes to sustainability. For me, however, sustainability begins on a much smaller scale, with myself and the sustainable use of my own personal resources, such as time, energy and knowledge. It is time to talk about relics from the industrial age and especially about how effective and sustainable the strict temporal and spatial separation of work and life (as if work were not life!) in terms of eight-hour work days really is.
There is a fundamental misunderstanding around agile. This misunderstanding begins with the title of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. For too long, many considered software development to be the translation of specifications into code by interchangeable programmers completely disconnected from their customers and their products (and often reinforced by contracts). And this is exactly what many still understand by software development nowadays. Only in shorter cycles. Simply agile. But the authors of the manifesto, all passionate software developers, were concerned with something else. They tried to put software development back at the core of value creation and to eliminate all the waste around this core, all the heavy-weight processes and their manifestation in organizational structures. Their aim was to build software as a long-lived team really owning the product. And there must be no middlemen between team and customers with corresponding artifacts and handovers. Instead, business people and developers must work together on a daily basis to explore the market, the product and the solution space together.