A Radical View Based on Evidence
Jim Morgan, M.A., CCMP®, PMI-ACP®, PMP®, has shown that most approaches to agility miss important lessons from social science and thus cost unnecessary time and money. In particular, the standard route of bringing in an army of outside coaches and facilitators goes against the proven success factors for organizational culture change and decades of research on self-organizing teams. Meanwhile, it drives up costs by forcing organizations to pay for all those additional people, instead of retraining existing workers and managers—that is, coaching them to “be agile.” But his is also radical in believing agility can and should apply to every part of most businesses.
His expertise came by testing in the workplace practices gathered through a vast amount of research into the scientific literature on teamwork. Here are the results:
- Measurable successes in improving performance and processes in every position held, at small (25 people), medium (300 people), and large enterprises (Honeywell, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Microsoft, NetApp).
- Creation of Full Scale agile™ (FuSca™), which includes detailed guidance for creating self-directed work teams; implementing evidence-informed versions of Scrum or Kanban; lightly organizing startups; coordinating multi-team programs; managing agile transformations; or expanding agile thinking across an enterprise.
- Creation of an “An Evidence-Based Model for Agile Organizational Change,” the first approach to Agile culture change based on a review of objective evidence as opposed to biased personal success stories.
- Training and coaching of hundreds of executives, project/program managers, and other leaders on agility or teamwork.
- Extensive authorship on teamwork based on more than 1,000 scientific and trade sources: His writings include a 2009 book, The SuddenTeams™ Program, now incorporated into FuSca; The Radical Agilist Blog; and a previous blog now compiled here as The Truth about Teambuilding.
- Numerous presentation credits including radio interviews, global conferences, and university lectures.
- Rigorous certifications that require proof of having done the work, extensive training, comprehensive exams, and continuing education, in three overlapping disciplines:
- Certified Change Management Professional (one of only 500 globally when earned in 2018).
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (2013).
- PMI Project Management Professional (2007).
- Experience working at all levels of an enterprise:
- Single teams to multi-team programs to entire organizations.
- C-suite leaders, middle managers, supervisors, and team members.
- High scores on scientific tests for persistence toward long-term goals and the ability to read others’ emotions.
- Ongoing participation in professional groups related to Agile, organizational change, and specific technologies or processes (DevOps, Internet of Things, digital health, etc.).
Biography of a Black Belt
After an early career as a professional writer, Jim began training self-directed work teams in 1994 at Los Alamos National Laboratory. After moving into project management, he taught team leadership or assisted teams at a wide variety of organizations including Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, the City of Seattle, Red Hat, and Honeywell, focusing on Agile since 2008. From 2000 to 2014, Jim operated TeamTrainers Consulting to train teams and managers how to apply group psychology principles to teamwork. Now he promotes progressive management techniques in small- to mid-sized organizations through Full Scale agile™.
Jim gained his ability to gather and explain scientific evidence through a master’s degree from the world’s oldest journalism school, the University of Missouri, and training in project management with a graduate certificate from the University of Washington. He holds black belts in two martial arts and lower ranks in others, having trained for more than 40 years with some of the biggest names in their arts, and he taught at the university level. Jim has traveled to all 50 U.S. states, lived in six of them, and visited or worked in 10 other countries so far. For fun, he sails and plays congas (not at the same time!).
During the COVID lockdowns, Jim turned what was a hobby project into a business startup, assisted by three consultants, to create “The American Revolution Tour of North Carolina™.” This website is an online guide to exploring more than 90 locations, covering not only battles, but stories of protests, personal heroism, women, minorities, and more. Background pages summarize the history of the war, biographies, and military life. Research for the website turned up events and details either forgotten, even by historical organizations, or not widely known. He now operates it as a side business.