3 Measures of Momentum

Momentum is like a booster rocket that when when ignited makes obstacles easier to overcome. When a team has momentum, they are “in the zone”. Things just seem to flow.

Maxwell explains Momentum using an analogy of a train:

A train traveling 55 mph on a railroad track can crash through a 5-foot thick steel-reinforced concrete wall without stopping. That same train, starting from a stationary position, won’t be able to go through an inch-thick block in front of the driving wheel.

It is never the size of your problem that is the problem. It’s a lack of momentum. Without momentum, even a tiny obstacle can prevent you from moving forward. With momentum, you’ll navigate through problems and barely even notice them.

As a leader, your responsibility is to understand momentum, to get it moving for your organization, and to sustain it over time.
John C. Maxwell

Skip to 14:20 RE: Maxwell on Momentum

When I first learned about Momentum it helped me think about the leadership role in a new way. I realized then that I could come to work every day and focus on problems. On good days I would assist the team to solve those problems. I would feel good because I would see an immediate impact. But ultimately the impact I would have is small, fleeting, and doesn’t scale. Problem solving is important, but the ultimate problem solver is a team with Momentum.

Problem solving only scales if it is the responsibility of the team. A leader’s job is to enable the team by setting the right conditions.

In this article I want to briefly outline the three measures of Momentum; with the proper mixture of capabilities, alignment, and energy you have the conditions for a team to achieve Momentum.

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Add a Drain to the Product Development Backlog

Your product development backlog needs a drain, a construct to focus intent on an important task that all-too-often gets overlooked: removing low value issues from the backlog. As I’ll explain, there are significant benefits to the system: greater predictability, higher morale, and the delivery of greater business value. It is important to use this construct because it encourages us to face an uncomfortable truth, we can’t do everything.

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