Agile Software Development, Scrum, Extreme Programing, XP, Test Driven Development, TDD, Feature Driven Development, FDD, Lean, DSDM, Behavior Driven Development, BDD, Refactoring, Pair Programming, Kanban

The Eupsychian Manager

The word eupsychian (pronounced ‘you-sigh-key-un’) was coined by Abraham Maslow. It comes from ‘eu’ meaning good (e.g. euphoria) and ‘psyche’ meaning mind or soul. Eupsychian means ‘having a good mind/soul’ or ‘towards a good mind/soul’. Maslow’s research into organisations in the 1960s showed that productivity is directly linked to the level of safety and self-actualisation that individuals experience. The most striking insight (at the time) was that different people have to be managed differently. Current research echoes this.

The talk will illustrate how Maslow’s insights and the insights of those he inspired are helping organisations to improve the environment for and with their employees and how these principles have helped me be a more eupsychian manager. In knowledge work, the employee knows more about her job than her line manager. The quality of managers as information mediators has been profoundly challenged, if not invalidated. The traditional picture of managers instructing subordinates makes no sense in knowledge work. There is an urgent need for management to change its focus. Understanding organisations as complex self-adaptive systems, management describes the activities required to setup and maintain a system to deliver a desired value, or simply, to carry out work. I posit that, in knowledge work, the focus of managing has to be social.

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