Some Non-Cash ‘Carrots’

This content is syndicated from On Agile Leadership by Manfred Lange. To view the original post in full, click here.

Leadership sometimes requires finding a 'carrot' to make things happen. Not always does the 'carrot' need to be cash or other monetary items. Let me give you two examples.

In one case I worked with development team that wasn't keen to try pair programming. However, I observed that they were using pretty old computers for development and they were not happy with the performance.

Therefore I purchased a couple of high-end workstation, shiny, brand-new and fast, along with really nice large flat panel displays. I also got a desk for each of them so it would be easy for two people to sit next to each other on those desks. And finally I announced the rule that these boxes are dedicated to pair programming hence the powerful machines.

It didn't take long for the 'carrots' to show an effect. Slowly first but then more and more people tried it. Some only for a short time, some for more. And eventually I had to get more such machines and the team was totally hooked.

In a different case I was working with a team that was sitting on very old C++ code. The available tool set was appalling, and so I gave the team the direction to get onto Microsoft .NET, in particular C# where a much better tool set would be available, including good refactoring support, unit testing, and better libraries. And all the memory management crap would disappear as well.

Again it was close to impossible to get there. And some of the reasons given were just fine. For instance there were significant technical obstacles to make that shift easy.

Therefore I asked one of the team members to find out how to move the native C++ code to Managed C++. Sure, that wasn't straight forward either but it was an enabler and good step in the right direction. As a consequence it became much easier for the team to mix and match Managed C++ and C#. And since the tool support in C# was much better, more and more code was eventually written in C#.

These are just two cases where using an appropriate 'carrot' helped the team to move faster towards a desired outcome. Sure, in particular the second example is a bit special. Yet, I am sure that you are able to find more 'carrots' which work in your particular situation. I'd be interested in what you find out!

Leave a Reply

What is 2 + 6 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
Please do this simple sum so I know you are human:)

There are 101 ways to approach anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”


“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”


“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”


“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”


“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”


“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”


“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”


“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”


“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”


“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”


“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”