Newsletter: Organizational Paralysis

Organizational Paralysis

Inconvenience or catastrophe

Organizational paralysis prevents a company from serving its stakeholders; the consequences can range from minor inconvenience to catastrophe. E.G. the absence of a key support person, to the CEO that fails to make the critical decision or investment.

Obstacle to action

Organizational structure is often a prime obstacle to action. Restricted communication or transparency are culprits, but also the more subtle way that status and titles create barriers and the notion that only ideas or instructions from above are valid. The struggle is partly with human nature; we instinctively want to protect ourselves and fear change.

“A body in motion stays in motion”

The role of Product Owner is largely undervalued in organizations, either from fear of ceding power or of change. But active and competent POs may be the key to curing organizational paralysis. When POs focus on customer value and requirements they are serving their own organization’s best interests. They manage and prioritize backlogs to reduce waste and ensure the most important things are done first. They create movement, momentum and continuous progress “a body in motion stays in motion” (Isaac Newton). By focusing on real customer value they prevent the organization from settling for mediocre results.

Agile Lean Leadership

For more on the Agile Lean Leadership framework, the role of the PO and the supporting tools please see the links below.


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