Management II: Structure + Agility

Cover image for Management II: Structure + Agility

Great management requires rules, systems, and procedures—but it also demands the flexibility to shift and transform those processes on the fly in response to changing circumstances. This Program—the second in our Management series—will look closely at that tension to help managers find equilibrium between two priorities that don’t always align: adaptability and structure.

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Program Overview

Management is a balancing act. On the one hand, we have the concrete and structured: workflows, deliverables, and deadlines. On the other, we have the changeable and nuanced: interpersonal dynamics, shifting landscapes, and emerging innovations.

In order to effectively lead a team, a manager must be versed in both: equally capable of creating an orderly system for getting work done and discarding or radically updating that system when it is no longer useful.

This second Program in our Management series is all about striking that balance. How can we bring agile processes into our workflows and decision making? How can we lay strong foundations for productivity and break out of unhelpful routines? And how can we continuously improve on the good work we’ve already done?

The Management II Program explores these questions and asks how we can best position ourselves and our teams to succeed under fluid conditions.

Key Questions

What is Agile and how is it changing the way teams work?

What is the difference between a poor process and a bad habit?

How can we improve the processes that govern our work?

How can we build a culture of continuous process improvement?

Field Manuals

The Management II Program is made up of 3 Field Manuals (our version of an online module). Each one contains a variety of types of content and social exercises culminating in a mini-project, reflection, or debate. Each Field Manual will take you between 30-45 minutes to complete but you can jump on and off at your own pace, as often as you’d like. The deeper learning happens in the discussions with your fellow learners so be sure to check in on the conversations regularly.

  • Agility

    Agile has gone from trend to reality for many organizations. But what is it? And how can it help us be better managers? This Field Manual introduces the Agile movement, and explores its history, its applications, and the underlying principles that make it such a powerful tool for fast, resilient collaboration.

  • Process

    We can’t improve what we can’t see. And many of us can’t see the underlying processes that drive the work of our teams each day. Examining our processes closely helps us shed light on what we’re doing—and uncover insights that will help us get better.

  • Improvements

    A great team is never done reinventing itself. In this Field Manual, we’ll explore the cycle of continuous improvement and learn how managers can successfully guide their teams by fearlessly embracing change.

Case Studies
  • “Stand-ups” in Action

  • Lick’s Breakthrough and the Invention of the Personal Computer

  • The Birth of the Doctor’s Visit

  • Iteration in Action - The Control Group

  • Failure Gets Crafty

  • Defining Workflow Processes

An excerpt from the Program

While it may seem dull and tedious on the surface, understanding how we do what we do—mapping our processes—can be creative, and, ultimately, freeing. Sometimes, understanding a process can even change the world. Watch the following animation to learn how.