Book Review: Scrum Insights for Practitioners by Hiren Doshi

The Scrum framework as described in Scrum Guide (available for free at  by its creators Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland is apparently simple, lightweight and minimally prescriptive in terms of rules, people roles and artifacts.
It is rather easy to understand it conceptually.
But applying this framework in real life product development situations is entirely a different ball game.

Because of its minimally prescriptive nature,  Scrum usually gets misinterpreted and wrongly implemented by product development teams who solely rely on what they have read in Scrum Guide.
Such implementation of Scrum does not usually yield the desired benefits and sometimes even proves disastrous.

While the teams can always put sincere efforts and learn on their own from their mistakes, the learning curve is rather steep.
Not all product development teams can afford this luxury to learn on their own due to time-to-market pressure in a competitive world.
Coaching will address this problem to a great extent.
But good Scrum coaches may not be easily available in the market at one’s beck and call.
And there may be budgetary constraints that prevent an organization them from engaging a good coach.
In such situations the best thing is to learn from books written by experienced Scrum coaches. Scrum Insights for Practitioners by Hiren Doshi is  one such book.

Doshi has written this book to help the practitioners master the Scrum framework by sharing in-depth practical insights drawn from his long and extensive experience as a Scrum coach.

The book provides very pragmatic  interpretation of all the topics dealt in Scrum Guide – Scrum Theory, Definition of Scrum, Scrum Values, Scrum Team, Scrum Events, Scrum Artifacts, Artifact Transparency, Definition “Done”.
The author has ensured that his interpretation remains true to the Scrum values and principles.
The book also goes beyond the Scrum Guide to discuss Self-Organization and to clarify myths, misconceptions and mysteries of Scrum. A case study on Scrum-based product development is also presented in the end.

Written in a simple conversational style this short handy book is perhaps the first book on Scrum that newbies should read after going through the official Scrum Guide.

Preview this book at or

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Book Review: Scaling Up by Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles

There are 3 main challenges in scaling up a business once you get past the start up stage:
1) Growing the capabilities of the leadership team
2) Installing a scalable infrastructure to manage the complexities that keep increasing with growth
3) Staying on top of the market dynamics that affect the business.

To overcome these challenges your business need to make right decisions
related to
1) People
2) Strategy
3) Execution
4) Cash

If you make the right decisions, then – your people (employees,customers, shareholders) will be happy and engaged in the business; your strategy will lead to a sustainable growth in terms of revenue and gross margins; all the processes in your company will be running smoothly and profitably without issues like missed deadlines, poor quality,overworked employees etc.; your cash flow will be consistent enough to fuel your growth.

Now how do you make the right decision ?
This book by Verne Harnish and his team tells you how.
It provides some simple practical tools and techniques like One-Page Personal Plan, Functional Accountability Chart, Process Accountability Chart, Vision Summary, SWT (Strengths, Weakness, Trends) Analysis, The 7 Strata of Strategy, One-Page Strategic Plan,WWW (Who, What, When) Chart, Rockfeller Habits Checklist, Power of One, Cash Acceleration Strategies.

These tools and techniques focus on
1. Reducing the time spent by the top management on operational activities by 80%
2. Refocusing the senior executives on market-facing activities
3. Realigning everyone else (onto the same page) to drive execution and results

The authors claim that by successfully implementing their tools, organizations can
1. Double their cash flow rate
2. Achieve a profitability three times the industry average
3. Get better valuation of their firm than their competitors
4. Help their stakeholders — employees, customers, and shareholders — enjoy the process of growth

I first came across this book at one of my client’s organization where they are using  the tools mentioned in this book to scale up their business. Initial results are encouraging as they have achieved better alignment within their senior management team. Still early days though.

I rate this book as 4 on a scale of 5 and would recommend it to any company which needs practical guidance on how to make their business grow.

Scaling Up  has received very favorable reviews from well respected best selling business authors like Geoffrey Moore, Patrick Lencioni, and Robert Cialdini.

Read what other readers say about this book at, and Goodreads.


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Book Review: The Principles of Product Development Flow by Donald G. Reinertsen

Traditional product development approach does not work well in a complex, uncertain and volatile business environment.
The tendency to increase the efficiency of each step in the development process by working with big batch sizes of work items (specifications, design, test cases etc.) rather than optimizing the system as a whole results in large inventories of WIP (work-in-process) items.
Large inventories slow down the flow of work items causing queues and delays if bottle necks develop during any of the stages of the development.
This results in erratic and late delivery of the product to the market.
But hardly 15 % of the product developers know the cost of such delays.
Moreover the traditional product development encourages conformance to the plan and processes rather than exploiting the variable business conditions to one’s advantage by quickly adapting to the changed circumstances.
The mindset of centralized decision making does not help either.
Besides the economic consequences of the product development decisions are also not correctly quantified.

Donald Reinertsen, a product development consultant for over 30 years, emphasizes that only by ensuring a continuous flow of work items one can overcome these challenges of conventional product development approach.
His book The Principles of Product Development Flow – Second Generation Lean Product Development provides a comprehensive guidance on how to achieve this objective.
Reinertsen has drawn upon ideas from the fields of manufacturing, economics, queueing theory, statistics, telecommunication network, computer operating system design, control engineering and maneuver warfare and crystallized them in form of 175 principles that question the tenets of conventional product development and show a new way of developing products.
These principles are classified and discussed in his book under eight major themes – economics-based decision making; queues; variability; batch size; WIP (Work-in-process) constraints; cadence, synchronization and flow control; fast feedback and decentralized control.Guidelines to implement these principles are provided with ample examples.

A very useful and concise guide on how to develop products effectively in an economically viable way in presence of variability, this is one book that must be on the bookshelf of every product developer.
Read the reviews  about this book at, and  Goodreads.

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3 Pillars of a Retrospective

In my previous blog post, I made an appeal to treat retrospectives as sacrosanct and not to skip them.
Here I will discuss the 3 Pillars of Retrospectives i.e. the critical success factors without which retrospectives will not be effective and beneficial.
The three pillars are:
1) Safe Environment
2) Effective Facilitation
3) Follow-up
Safe environment
A safe environment is an atmosphere of mutual trust between the management and the project staff.
The participants of the retrospective should feel secure enough to openly discuss the work they did in the project; admit their mistakes; frankly air their  views; point out the areas of improvement in the system, without fearing adverse impact on their performance appraisal, compensation and other benefits.
Only then true and clear picture of the project will emerge.
If the environment is not safe the participants will play safe by not coming out with their views in open.
This will result in a false sense of well-being prevailing in the team.
This is not good for the project or organization success in the longer run.
Effective Facilitation
Retrospectives are highly people interaction oriented affairs.
Hence they require an efficient facilitator to manage them.
Without effective facilitation discussions in a retrospective will not be focused; may turn out to be a complaint airing session; may become a blame game and sometimes even turn hostile.
All these factors will result in a dysfunctional team.
Though retrospective literally mean looking back, a good retrospective session also results in action items for improvement after the team have discussed their lessons learned.
I have come across many teams who have stopped doing retrospectives despite having a safe environment and effective facilitators.
Why ?
Because no one acted upon the suggestions that were made during the retrospectives.

In my forthcoming posts I will be discussing how to erect these three pillars in software projects to have safe and effective retrospectives.

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Retrospectives are Sacrosanct ! Don’t Skip Them !

Practice makes a man perfect“.
Persistence is the key to success“.
Through practice even an idiot can become wiser“.
These are all great sayings !
Sadly they don’t hold good if you are practicing or persisting with a wrong thing.
In such cases be assured that success, perfection, wisdom or whatever you are seeking will remain elusive.

The  project planning and execution practices, which you may have got used to and are comfortable with, may not necessarily be the right way and the only way  to project success.

So how will you know which is the  “right way” ?
By regularly and frequently “Inspecting” your ways of working  and “Adapting” them to appropriately address the prevailing project situation.
This is what will set you on the right direction and on the right track to success.

The practice of “Inspecting and Adapting” is also recognized in one of the Agile Software Development principles which states “At regular intervals,the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
Don’t you think that it is an universal principle that makes sense in every aspect of our lives both at the individual level and at the social level?
Then why should our projects be an exception ?

Irrespective of the software development lifecycle (whether the classic Waterfall or the emerging Agile) followed by your project, the practice of regularly taking a hard look at your way of working and continuously improving them is a must for the success of your current and forthcoming projects.

How do we ingrain this practice in our projects?
By performing a ritual called “Retrospective” at every significant milestone -  at the end of a  phase; at the end of an iteration; after the release of of a product version; after project completion; after project cancellation.

It is quite natural that once you cross a significant project milestone you feel like taking a well deserved break instead of participating in a retrospective.
I find, this is one reason (there are many more !) why many projects either do not conduct retrospectives or pay a lip-service to it by going through the motions without active engagement of the team members.
But do they realize what they are losing out?

If you compromise on retrospectives, you have lost an opportunity to
a) bring your stakeholders and team members together to share their experiences, to celebrate the project accomplishments and to appreciate each other for the job well done
b) build cooperation within your team and with multiple external teams and groups
c) look back and reflect on your mistakes and learn from it so that in future you sweat and bleed a lot lesser in a project
d) look ahead and plan a fresh approach for the next project or the  next phase, iteration or release of the same project

Having raved about the retrospectives so far, let me also caution you that, a retrospective is a double-edged sword.
If you do not manage it well it will turn out to be nothing more than complaining, blaming and finger-pointing game that can even become hostile.
If you do not make at the minimum an honest and sincere attempt to implement the action items for improvement you identify during the retrospective sessions you are sowing the seeds of cynicism and indifference among the team and the stakeholders.
You can reap the benefits of a retrospective only if it is well structured, well managed and the action items arising out of it are tracked to closure. Effective facilitation of the retrospective sessions can ensure this.

Retrospectives are  sacrosanct !
It is perhaps the most important step a project can take towards encouraging and motivating continuous improvement especially in a dynamically changing and competitive business environment.
So don’t ever compromise on Retrospectives !

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Book Review – When Teams Collide

International teams are now a reality in multinational organizations.
In this book, Richard D. Lewis, an internationally known cross-cultural consultant and trainer provides guidelines on how to  successfully assemble, manage and strengthen international teams.
He  discusses the following 11 skills that an international team leader must acquire and apply.

  1. Categorizing cultures
  2. Organizing the team
  3. Speaking the language
  4. Leading the team
  5. Profiling team members
  6. Recognizing speech styles
  7. Communicating in English
  8. Using humor
  9. Making decisions
  10. Behaving ethically
  11. Building trust

Through well illustrated  diagrams  Lewis analyses profiles of hypothetical team members from 24 different nationalities and suggests how they should be led for best results.

He provides advice on various issues like -
How can we get things done with colleagues who have different worldviews?
How can we strike a balance between core values and the necessary diversity -– and is diversity within the team a strength or a hindrance?
What is the role of the team leader in all of this?
How do you establish team trust? How important is team humor?
Who decides the team’s ethics?
What misunderstandings can arise in a virtual team, lacking face-to-face contact?

The discussions in this book are well supported through case studies involving multinational organizations like DaimlerChrysler, KONE, Rolls-Royce, Boots, Pfizer-Upjohn-Pharmacia – drawn from his 30 years of experience in the field.

An useful guidebook for those working on international teams.

Buy the Kindle book version.
(Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones and tablets.)

Key takeaways :

  • Good leadership in an international team depends more on the personality of a leader rather than the country she hails from.
  • There are  three cultural categories (Lewis LMR model proposed by the author) in which different countries are slotted
    • Linear-active : Task-oriented and organized
    • Multi-active: Emotional and impulsive
    • Reactive: Good listeners who rarely initiate actions
  • To promote synergy among the team members, the team leader must be able to distinguish between the various cultural categories her team members  belong to. This means that the team leader should familiarize herself with strengths, weaknesses, insights, blind spots and taboos of the cultures the team members hail from.
  • Right from the beginning the team should be organized in a manner that maximizes the potential offered by its cultural diversity.
  • While interacting with team members , the team leaders must adapt their approach based on the cultural background of an individual.
  • Becoming aware of how  the styles for motivating and issuing directives differs in different languages can make an international team leader’s job easier.
  • Though team members will communicate in an agreed upon common language for e.g. English, it is important to recognize that their respective national communication styles  will be projected into the team language.
  • A sense of humor from the leadership will be a factor in controlling the team. Most international teams that “come of age” will develop their own special brand of humor.
  • The international team needs a clear decision making process and well-defined mechanisms to break deadlocks during discussions.
  • Guidelines are needed for leaders on how to proceed ethically through the maze of established ways of conducting business in various cultures.
  • In multinational team it is essential that the leader creates trust among members quickly.




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Book Review – Disciplined Agile Delivery

Success of agile methods in small organizations with co-located teams is well-known. But scaling Agile to an enterprise level is a different ball game. It requires a more rigorous  approach than many of the popular agile methodologies .  The rigor is needed especially in the areas like architectural planning, modeling , risk management and  governance. The challenge here is how to bring about this rigor without compromising on Agile values and principles.

Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) , is  a process  framework  that meets this challenge. It takes a  pragmatic approach that strikes a  right balance between a lightweight, highly people dependent agile method and an  overweight, highly documentation oriented traditional development.

DAD framework is fully described in this book by Scott Ambler and Mark Lines, who are its creators. Hear more about this book from Scott himself:

(If this video does not play view it in You Tube site.)

The authors define Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) process framework as a people-first, learning-oriented, hybrid, agile approach to IT solution delivery that follows a goal-driven, risk-value life cycle that is  scalable and enterprise aware.

DAD embraces Agile values and principles but differs from other popular agile methods in following areas as described in the book:

  • The authors of DAD, believe that people are primary, but not the only determinant of success. Assembling a good team and letting them loose on the problem at hand has a risk of the team spending considerable effort in developing their own processes and practices that may be not be effective or efficient. To avoid this risk, DAD  provides coherent, non-prescriptive,  process framework  based on learnings of experienced agile practitioners.
  • While core agile methods such as Scrum and XP are generally project focused,  DAD explicitly strives to leverage and enhance the organizational ecosystem in which a team operates. In other words it does not isolate itself from the culture and operational realities and constraints of an enterprise.
  • The DAD process framework extends the construction focused agile lifecycle to address the full delivery lifecycle (i.e from project initiation to final deployment). It recognizes that work emphasis shifts throughout the lifecycle. Therefore it defines three phases with lightweight milestones to ensure that the team is focused on the right things at the right time. Areas of focus include initial visioning, architectural modeling, risk management, and deployment planning.
  • DAD provides guidance on adopting and tailoring strategies from several agile, lean and even  traditional methods to meet the project needs. It clearly makes the practitioner aware of the pros and cons of the choices they make.
  • DAD shifts the focus from producing software to providing complete IT solutions that provide business value to the stakeholders within the economic, cultural, and technical constraints.
  • DAD is more risk focused than other agile methods. It recommends early in the lifecycle, risk reduction practices like getting stakeholder consensus and architecture validation  Also throughout the lifecycle there are explicit checks for continued project viability, development of  sufficient functionality, and production ready solution.
  • DAD also proposes appropriate governance strategies for Agile teams . Many of the agile methodologies are silent about governance. DAD’s governance strategies are not of command-and-control type. They are focused on facilitating collaboration and creation of a learning environment.

I have recommended adoption of DAD to one of my clients and we are working towards implementing this framework it in their organization with the help of this invaluable book. The initial results are quite encouraging.

The book is very well written and systematically organized. The several strategies suggested by DAD are very well summarized in form of tables in every chapters. Besides there is a very illustrative case study that provides an example of how DAD is followed in a software development project.

Highly recommended for anyone who needs a practical and pragmatic advice on first steps towards scaling Agile.

Publication Details:
Authors : Scott Ambler and Mark Lines; Paperback: 544 pages.


Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction to Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)
Chapter 1 Disciplined Agile Delivery in a Nutshell
Chapter 2 Introduction to Agile and Lean
Chapter 3 Foundations of Disciplined Agile Delivery
Part 2: People First
Chapter 4 Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities
Chapter 5 Forming Disciplined Agile Delivery Teams
Part 3: Initiating a Disciplined Agile Delivery Project
Chapter 6 The Inception Phase
Chapter 7 Identifying a Project Vision
Chapter 8 Identifying the Initial Scope
Chapter 9 Identifying an Initial Technical Strategy
Chapter 10 Initial Release Planning
Chapter 11 Forming the Work Environment
Chapter 12 Case Study: Inception Phase
Part 4: Building a Consumable Solution Incrementally
Chapter 13 The Construction Phase
Chapter 14 Initiating a Construction Iteration
Chapter 15 A Typical Day of Construction
Chapter 16 Concluding a Construction Iteration
Chapter 17 Case Study: Construction Phase
Part 5: Releasing the Solution
Chapter 18 The Transition Phase
Chapter 19 Case Study: Transition Phase
Part 6: Disciplined Agile Delivery in the Enterprise
Chapter 20 Governing Disciplined Agile Teams
Chapter 21 Got Discipline?

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Book Review: Interpreting the CMMI – A Process Improvement Approach

Perhaps no other process improvement framework has ever been so  misinterpreted and misused by the IT industry as CMMI. The original purpose of  CMMI i.e. process improvement is largely forgotten and the focus of the CMMI  initiatives in most of the organizations has been reduced to getting successfully assessed at the targeted  maturity level. Many prospective clients require an X maturity level (usually maturity level 3 or above) from the software services organizations as an eligibility criteria to bid for projects. Even if some of the clients do not insist on CMMI maturity levels, the organization’s marketing and sales teams jump into the fray  to increase their chances of winning the bids by flaunting their CMMI maturity level ratings.

In such a scenario no one really seems to care whether implementing CMMI has really resulted in any business benefits (apart from becoming eligible for and/or winning a bid) in terms of faster delivery, improved productivity , better quality of the products and services.

Therefore it is very heartening to see that the authors of this book primarily take a process improvement approach  towards interpreting CMMI to derive real business benefits as against writing a cookbook on how to pass a CMMI appraisal.  They state that “our experience tells us that organizations that focus on an appraisal view will fail. They fail to truly satisfy the model mainly because of a lack of institutionalization, but also will fail to provide any real business value to their organization in return for the expense. Those organizations taking the process improvement view will succeed in providing business value

But recognizing the sad reality of the rat race for maturity levels they also provide ample information (mercifully only about 10-15 % of the book content) concerning what is important when preparing for and facing a formal appraisal of your process improvement efforts.  .

The other plus points of this book are:

  • the pragmatic approach towards process improvement
  • incorporation of lessons learned by the authors in course of their work with various organizations—what worked, what didn’t, and what organizations have told them about the pros and cons of using the CMMI.
  • list of things that most organizations tend to forget about each of the process areas
  • ideas in measurement that have been well received at authors’ client sites and international conferences.
  • the chapter on high-maturity practices which has clear-cut  instructions on reading and interpreting statistical control charts and also has simple examples of process performance baselines and process  performance models.
  • discussion on how the generic practices from CMMI  can amplify the benefits of agile methods and make them stick.
  • the conversational tone with ample doses of humor in the text, which lightens up this book on a subject considered dry by most of the IT professionals

One limitation of this book is while trying to “write this book for the widest audience possible—that is, for the experienced process improvement practitioner, the inexperienced practitioner, the CMMI expert, and the CMMI novice” the authors have not gone deep into most of the topics they have discussed. Hence the book does not rise much above an overview book.

Nevertheless this is one book which everyone should read if before they tackle the CMMI elephant !

Publication Details:
Authors :Margaret K. Kulpa and Kent A. Johnson ;  Publisher: CRC Press LLC. ; Hardcover: 426 pages.

 Key Topics in this Book

(Note: I have written about the 2nd edition of the book, which corresponds to CMMI – DEV 1.2 and SCAMPI 1.2.  Since the publication of this edition next versions of CMMI-DEV and SCAMPI has been released. So some of the material in this book may be outdated. Yet the general principles and concepts  still holds good and definitely worth the read.)

This book has 24 chapters spread across  six sections. The key topics discussed in these sections are given below.

Section I. Introduction : Purpose of the book; what process improvement really is; why to use CMMI and how to use it; structure of CMMI; CMMI representations – Staged and Continuous.
Section II. CMMI Process Areas: Overview of the Process Areas in context of maturity levels 2,3,4 and 5.
Section III. Implementation: Aligning multiple process initiatives; suitability of CMMI for small organizations; establishing a process improvement group; roles and responsibilities of people involved in process improvement efforts; planning and tracking process improvement activities; defining charters, procedures, processes and policies; documentation guidelines.
Section IV. Measurement: Measurement issues; basic metrics to collect as part of normal CMMI implementation; statistical process control; measurements from a high maturity perspective.
Section V.  Appraisals:  SCAMPI(Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement) appraisals types; steps in SCAMPI-A approach; developing PIIDs (Practice Implementation Indicator Description) ;
Section VI. Odds and Ends: Blending Agile and CMMI ; closing thoughts on process improvement, change management, management commitment, rewards and punishments, quality assurance.

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Book Review: The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking

How to exploit the combined power of online and offline networking  for business success is what this book is all about.

It has four parts.
Part 1 : The Joined Up Approach to Business Networking – what networking is and what isn’t; the four ingredients for success of   joined up networking; behaviors and attitudes that define the great networkers.
Part 2: Online and Face-to-Face Networking Options Explored – different types of networking options, their pros and cons and maximizing the networking effectiveness in each of these options; where and when to use these options; how to use blogs to increasing your networking impact.
Part 3: Essential Networking Skills for the Joined Up Networker – making a great first impression; effectively working a room; creating a connection and starting a positive relationship; turning your network into your own online community; networking across cultural barrier.
Part 4: Putting Your Joined Up Approach to Networking into Action – setting networking goals; measuring progress of networking activities; deciding who you need to recruit into your network; making the most of the time and resources available for networking.
Each of the sixteen chapters in this book has exercises for practicing what one has learned and links and references to further resources.

I am not a great fan of “How to”  books.  But since this book has been published as a part of  Financial Times Guides series my expectation was it will better than most the run-of-the-mill guidebooks. Well it was, but only a shade better.

The book is well structured (though somewhat repetitive) and well written, however it did not provide me any new insight into the art and science of networking.

Most of the concepts and techniques discussed in the book are common sense which most of the experienced professionals will be aware of. Whether they apply them or not, is a different story ! This book does not really make a strong enough business case for such professionals to motivate them to network better.

But I found a couple of concepts  interesting  and well presented viz; Measuring the Opportunity Score; Sorting your contact list into A-Listers, B-Listers and C-Listers ; Think, Feel, Know styles of responses from people.

While there is nothing much in this book for an experienced professional , it may serve as a good introduction to business networking for those who are beginning their career.

Publication Details:
Author : Heather Townsend ; Published:2011; Publisher: Pearson Education Ltd. ; Paperback: 224 pages.

Some Takeaways:

    • Opportunity =  Credibility X (Personal Brand + Visibility + Social Capital)
    • Classify your contacts into following three categories :
      • A-listers: contacts well connected to your target market and likely to help you immediately achieve your business or career goals.
      • B-listers: contacts you enjoyed meeting but unlikely to immediately help you  achieve your business or career goals.
      • C-listers: contacts you met but are very unlikely to help you achieve your business or career goals.
    • Focus on building relationships with A-Listers; Stay in touch with B-Listers;
    • People generally send three types of signals on how they preferred to be communicated with:
      • Think -  factual, methodical, logical
      • Feel -  empathetic, sensitive, communication through stories
      • Know – Instinctive, quick decisions


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Book Review: Top Business Psychology Models

Business psychology: Studies and theories which help us understand or explain human behavior, emotions and cognitions at work. Business psychology has linkages with other areas like human physiology, spirituality and philosophy which have implications on performance at work.

In this  book the authors, Cantore and Passmore, have picked 50 business psychology models that:

  • have been tried and tested by them and their colleagues over many years and found to work well with a wide range of clients and organizations in many contexts;
  • are practical and have some evidences to support them;
  • are easy to comprehend without being too simplistic;
  • are drawn from diverse domains of business and positive psychology to provide variety that sparks interest among the readers to refer to more detailed literature;
  • are a mix of well-recognized “classics” and emergent ideas;
  • encourage a positive, optimistic and appreciative outlook on life and the work.

These models are introduced in short chapters (around 4-5 pages per chapter).
Each chapter is split into  five short sections:
1. The Big Idea – explains briefly what the model is all about.
2.  So What ? – explains the implications of the model, what it might mean for those working in an organization.
3. What Else ? – offers some of the limitations of the model and  arguments against the model.
4. Leadership Challenge – provides exercises for the leaders to try out the model.
5. More Help – provides one or two key references supplemented by additional references for further study of the model.

The chapters are  categorized under three parts in the book :

Part One – The Individual at Work, focuses on difference between individuals, their personalities and the way they interact with their colleagues, managers and the environment.
It also looks at – ways people can get a better understanding of their own preferences and approach to work; impact of change on individuals and how a leader can create positive responses to change while acknowledging the loss and emotional transitions people experience. The models chosen  by the authors offer insights into matching people with roles and get the best out of them.
The twenty two models  discussed in this part include – Maslow’s Theory, GROW Model, Learned Optimism, Psychometrics, Emotional Intelligence, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Part Two – Team Effort, reveals some of the assumptions leaders have about the dynamics of people working together. In groups or teams people’s motivations change and understanding this shift is the key to help people work well together. The models selected for this part  help bring clarity and practical help when handling complex human relationships.
The sixteen models discussed in this part include – the Hawthorne Effect, Theory X and Theory Y, Groupthink, Belbin Team Roles, Tuckman’s Group Development, Social Loafing Theory and Cynefin Complexity Model.

Part Three – Organizations, provides models for creating and sustaining positive organizations that enable employees to make excellent contribution to organizational goals while offering great relationships, and high level of job satisfaction. It also has some models that challenge the way we understand learning, leadership styles and the nature of organizations.
The twelve models discussed in this part include – Appreciative Inquiry, Psychological Contract, Force Field Analysis and the Vitamin Model of Stress.

To provide a concise overview of 50 models in 200 pages is a daunting task by any standards. But the authors have done a pretty good job here in introducing the reader to these models and giving pointers to further information. The writing style could have been a little bit more engaging and interesting for the readers.

A very good reference book which should be on the bookshelves of business leaders, consultants and coaches.

Publication Details:
Authors : Stefan Cantore and Jonathan Passmore; Published:2012; Publisher: Kogan Page ; Paperback: 224 pages.



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