Jan Bosch is a research center director, professor, consultant and angel investor in start-ups. You can contact him at jan@janbosch.com.

Opinion

Don’t be a sheep

Leestijd: 4 minuten

During a meeting this week, I had to think of a famous quote by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” The two senior leaders to whom I was talking complained about their R&D organization doing everything right on paper from an Agile, data-driven perspective, but still ending up with building humongous, inflated features that were released after many months of development.

This is of course a classic example of feature creep many companies fall into. When exploring how the situation developed, the discussion made clear that a very small number of influential people in the R&D organization had managed to convince the others that the initial plan of releasing a minimal viable feature wasn’t possible as it would cause angry customers.

I don’t want to focus on feature creep but rather on the ways a vocal minority in an organization, or even society at large, can have an impact that far exceeds the size of the group. In general, I’m a big proponent of a small group of individuals taking charge to initiate change within an organization. Even if the senior leaders pride themselves on leading major changes in their organization, almost always some individuals had been pushing for and championing the change for quite some time before it was picked up by senior management.

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