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The Leader's Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  458 ratings  ·  46 reviews
A radical new management model for twenty-first century leaders Organizations today face a crisis. The crisis is of long standing and its signs are widespread. Most proposals for improving management address one element of the crisis at the expense of the others. The principles described by award-winning author Stephen Denning simultaneously inspire high productivity, cont ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Jossey-Bass (first published September 14th 2010)
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Sergey Shishkin
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership
Easily the best book on modern management that very much resonates with me. I especially liked how Denning separates principles from practices and gives examples of successes and failures. Unlike many other books describing organization change, this one does a great job highlighting cause-effect relationships and explaining why the principles make sense, how they support each other and what dynamics are at play when an organization doesn't live the principles. Readers coming from software develo ...more
Oliver Thylmann
Dec 23, 2012 rated it liked it
For somebody having done agile software development there is not much new and I am not sure it will really help old school managers. It is a good introduction though.
Deniss Ojastu
Apr 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: management
The author took the Agile principles from software development and packaged them into what he calls a radical management. The ideas themselves are very righteous and I cannot agree more with them. I especially liked the chapters on Delighting Clients (you need to have your clients in mind above anything else) and on Radical Transparency (honesty, authenticity, accepting failures).

However, the book itself provides relatively little novelty compared to any other publication on Agile principles -
Alena Kuzniatsova
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first this book didn't excite me. It includes an error about the Agile Manifesto being signed in Colorado, instead of Utah where it was actually signed. Plus it seemed like it was just going to repackage scrum, but use different words so it could be more broadly accepted. Ultimately though, the book proved insightful and motivating.

The author set out to discover the best management methods for our modern world and essentially discovered that scrum embodies a great approach. He pulled 7 princ
Lukasz Nalepa
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-work
I had high hopes regarding this book, after good reviews and recommendation from my friends. Unfortunately, they were not met, as there was barely anything new to me here, and some facts and statements were a bit twisted, or slightly misunderstood by the author.

This book is a good and comprehensive introduction to a modern approach to management, taken mostly from Agile and Lean practices in the IT industry (and Toyota of course). It is written to address those, who are unfamilliar with the IT
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Dated - but still some good concepts.

Particularly enjoyed the final chapter which outlined how he rolled out agile in his company - more as a revolution than your typically (and usually failed) agile adoption plan.

I found it a little too prescriptive and hence dated. Many modern agile practices have replaced ideas proposed in here that are now questioned e.g. velocity, planning poker. We have discovered new models of agility which work better than many of the (now dated) practices described in t
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mba-courses
There is another way to organize your business than along the traditional, outdated lines most companies use. With seven principles: delighting clients, self-organizing teams, client-driven iterations, delivering value to clients in each iteration, radical transparency, continuous self-improvement, and interactive communication you can create an organization that keeps innovating and delighting both employees and clients.
Khalid Sulami
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The essence of this book is about the followings:
1. All what you do is about client’s delight
2. Creat diverse team from different disciplines with different mindset
3. Make the iteration of your product a client centric
4. Creat a unique value with every iteration.
5. Be transparent even with your client
6. Keep looking for self improvement opportunities
7. Interactive way of communication
Brad Dunn
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have kind of stopped reading 'work' books this year, in fact, my reading rate has gone way down. But this book kind of got me really pumped up about work again. I think its the best workbook I've read in a while.

It's essentially a book about Agile and Cross-functional teams. I am genuinely surprised that nobody has recommended this book to me before. But I wonder if its because everyone uses cross-functional teams by now :)
Cippo Lippo
Somehow repetitive

I read few book a months, however this book took longer then I anticipated. The author does not add anything new on the subject of Agile or as here is called, radical management. The example are known and not that impressive. Clearly this new dogma of manage,ent is still incubating and we need to wait for very large organisations to showcase the value, rather then self referential books.
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: management
The title - "Radical management: Reinventing the workplace..." - is a bit too much for this book. This is a collection of ideas from many other authors and companies about process-, product- and people- management - from agile and kanban to team self organisation and empowerment. In this respect, the book is very repetitive, not radical and by far not a reinvention. ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Lean methodology (Toyota Production System) - just with another flashy name. But the ideas are still gold.
Giuseppe Zangari
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Revolutionary. I think it's usfeul for everyone that work with people and create product or services for other people.

Alan Page
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites. It appplies agile approaches to management and leadership. It was years ahead of its time, and still valuable.
Nic Brisbourne
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Denning makes a plea for companies everywhere to change management models from the hierarchical approach that evolved in the 20th Century to self organising teams where the role of management is to set objectives and remove impediments, leaving everything else up to the teams. This is a fundamental restructuring of work to give a full partnership between management and workers which speaks to the goals, behaviours, economics, and ethics that must govern the workplace for this century.

The reasons
Patrick Verheij
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book gives really nice summary of principles and practices to create a workplace that is both fun and effective. I really like Stephen's accessible writing and clear tone of voice. He is a true evangelist for a more radical approach to management, and I agree with him that it would lighten up the world quite a bit even though he doesn't say it that way explicitly.

Alas, although what he writes is an excellent vision, practical implementation will be a major challenge for most organisations.
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: management
Stephen Denning presents us with a vision on a new way of working. The way to accomplish this fun and effective way of working is by applying radical management. Away with traditional top-down management, welcome self-organisation. I like Steve's vision, especially because it matches the vision of say, people like Seth Godin. Enlighting customers is positioned as a key principle, together with six other principles. A lot of them are bought directly from the Agile way of thinking, which we have k ...more
Helen Savore
Jun 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a book I happily keep losing. Radical management is a great collection of all the thoughts, methods, and techniques that fit the evolving context of the 21st century. You can trace some of the ideas shared here back to agile concepts, systems thinking, architectural concepts, but Stephen Denning repackages and combines these together into a mixture of evocative stories and information concentrate that leaves a lasting impression.

What I especially like is it binds it together into busine
Torben Rasmussen
Aug 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
This is an excellent gathering of the principles and practices that have proven successful within areas of agile, lean, coaching. All these distilled into a consistent set of principles and practices for management in the 21st century.
While not much of this is new, it is new that these principles and practices appear in a terminology and context that is aimed directly at management at all levels. I think that this book can inspire many of todays leaders to begin the slow revolution in making th
Melanie Blau McDonald
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
One of the challenges of teamwork, for a manager, is pace. Often, in the name of the team, progress is forestalled due to 'group think' or endless meetings addressing specific details. And it's not as if the details may not be critically important. But how to deal with them without derailing an entire group's forward movement? Stephen Denning has an answer for that and for other management conundrums.
This book is not for beginners. This is for an experienced manager who wants to up their game or
Julie Bell
There are some good points around, however, I didn't feel like there were many new ideas. I get it, people need to love their work to be truly productive in a knowledge economy. I know many people that love their work, but it is generally part of their make-up and/or inner drive and not soemthing easily influenced by management motivation. Maybe I'm being too cynical. I did appreciate the perspective about autonomous teams creating a shift in power - a power shift that is tenuous, especially whe ...more
Chet Brandon
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: management
The author focuses on the use of software programming technique of SCRUM or Agile Methods applied to general management situations. He identified 7 Principles of Radical Management. His argument is that this style of management is a necessary innovation in management methods to meet the societal, employee and customer demands of the 21 century. I see much opportunity to use these concepts in business and have begun working them into my leadership methods of the EHS function for Fortune 500 indus ...more
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. This focuses on the concepts of how people are treated and how to yield high engagement. While many concepts overlap with Agile, Scrum and Team self-management, this book is more general which fits a great need... it will help people apply fantastic concepts even if they cannot reinvent the entire organization... it will also help in businesses that are very different from software development where scrum and agile is well accepted. It is useful for those in areas that have not yet ac ...more
Derek Neighbors
Oct 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
The content was fabulous. I am not sure I liked the layout and bullet point style. Seemed like too many lists that were too long. Some people might love that format however. Did I mention the content is fabulous? Denning is a thought leader that gives insight into the future of the world of work. If you are an employee remain hopeful that work will get more humane. If you are an employer embrace change or be in for a rough future. Read the book.
May 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Had some great points about how times have changed. The post-war management style of the factory era does not work in all of our service-based industries. Enjoyed the positive vibe but did feel it could have been cut in half. I felt I was reading the same thing over and over just written in a different way. I think the author could have taken advantage of a chapter overview at the end of each one or something along those lines; just felt wordy.
Jade Meskill
Nov 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Denning has taken a hard look at Agile techniques being applied to software development and adapted the use and language to how businesses manage their people with respect. Any leader or business owner should read this book and see how they can radically transform their management style and organization.
Raman Ohri
Nov 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: work
The book is essential a cookbook. Combine several popular movements and get a more potent, fulfilling workplace. I agree with most of what's here, though I've read a decent amount about each of these movements. If you've kept up with Seth Godin, lean mfg, and agile software dev, you wont find much groundbreaking here. The shameless shilling for the authors other books felt crummy. ...more
Sep 13, 2013 rated it liked it
A good introduction to Scrum for dummies, definitely entertaining, with some attempts to simplify Agile language. But it is putting Scrum too far onto a pedestal and lacks real world depth and knowledge as to how to implement Radical Management.

I would recommend this book to managers who want to know Agile more and want to change but are not sure what options are out there.
Scott Mabry
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nothing new here in my opinion but well written and through provoking. Most business books these days seem to espouse these same principles which might have been radical 10-20 years ago but are found everywhere in print and social media. Still if you are looking for a good book on revitalizing or changing your workplace this is a worthy read.
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