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What is “management by walking around”? June 13, 2009

Posted by HubTechInsider in Agile Software Development, Management, Project Management, Uncategorized.
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Sometimes also called “Management by walking around” or MBWA, management by sight is a management strategy that can and should be integrated into any management style or approach. It is very people-oriented and it requires managers to be visible and interact heavily with project team members. Interactions at all levels of the project team foster the quick and efficient gathering of information about the project and the project team members.

Management by sight is very direct and the manager practicing it utilizes observation and visibility to conduct project analysis and project leadership, to monitor the situation, and to provide control when necessary.

I have had a great amount of success using this management technique and I thought I would share with you twelve guidelines for MBWA which were shared with me by @sjohnson717 on Twitter in response to this original MBWA post. These tips are great and I recommend following them when using this very simple and effective management technique.

Simple and effective management techniques are what every manager needs more of these days!

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I’m Paul Seibert, Editor of Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a Boston focused technology blog. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, even friend me on Facebook if you’re cool. I own and am trying to sell a dual-zoned, residential & commercial Office Building in Natick, MA. I have a background in entrepreneurship, ecommerce, telecommunications and software development, I’m the Director, Technical Projects at eSpendWise, I’m a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Tshirtnow.net.

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1. Ted Hurlbut - June 13, 2009

MBWA is an absolutely necessary compliment to the quantitative analysis necessary to successfully managing a small business. It confirms the quantitative analysis at the same time it opens up new avenues of inquiry.

2. Jim Holland - June 15, 2009

MBWA is key to really understanding team dynamics, knowing personas, capabilities and even physical alignment (where’s my workspace). From a leadership perspective it’s imperative to observe, learn, adjust and apply for team effectiveness. MBWA is critical to applying internal NIHITO (nothing important happens in the office), in other words, “get your butt out of the chair and see whats happening” and provides you the hands on, but not the over-the-shoulder pressures.

3. David Locke - June 15, 2009

While you are walking, you need to be talking, and not to yourself.

MBWA is the base for building influence, because in the understanding motivations and interests enables you to align your team to your needs and goals.

You can manage from your chain, but to lead, you need to get up and MBWA.

4. Stuart - July 11, 2009

MBWA is a core and mandatory part of management, not an extension.

The fact that there is an acronym for what should be standard practice in virtually all management positions, identifying it as a style or strategy of management only serves to illustrate the problems that exist in projects and in management training. Of course if it actually motivates people to get of their butts out of the chair, then so much the better but the misgivings remain.

Even when you are managing just yourself, walking around is advised too!

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