By Brian Lucas
This one is for you Fran!
“Good morning Mr. Briggs/Phelps, the situation in…Your mission should you decide to accept it is to…”
This is a second perspective on Mission Impossible (MI), one of my all-time favorite TV series. MI really was a very fine example of an agile organization and operation. First off, their funder the “Secretary” gave them a goal and then stayed out of the team’s way. The Secretary never told them how to accomplish it; although at times a deadline was set, based on environmental conditions, that the team might not have otherwise known about.
Next the team was a prime example of a mind mapped virtual corporation. A small core team, each being a strong and well-rounded member, worked together all the time. Their interactions became second nature and their mutual trust complete. Each member had their own particular strength and volunteered their effort without being ordered to do so by the titular head Briggs/Phelps. Actually Briggs/Phelps was a model for what I see the role of an agile leader evolving into, an active player/director not just a facilitator.
When additional resources were necessary, they were selected from the mind mapped, prescreened portfolio of all the virtual team/corporation members. These professionals all had reached prior agreements with the IMF team and flowed easily into the workforce.
The team rapidly assembled without a lengthy prestaging organizing effort. While there was some planning done by Briggs/Phelps, each member often had input into the plan. Team members clearly felt comfortable questioning Briggs/Phelps, who justified points with logic based on the need of the circumstances, not blatant authority. The point being, the team very clearly understood exactly what was expected of them. Furthermore, they accepted the assignment, they were not ordered to do it.
They were given total freedom of operation. Briggs/Phelps saw that they got all the resources they needed so the team was able to operate with great efficiency. The pipeline and the fulfillment of these resources were immediate, there was no bureaucracy slowing down the fulfillment. The team didn’t have to constantly justify their needs, nor were their requests second guessed by executive management.
Finally, the team always did a remarkable job of communicating with each other; before, during and after the job. They had a very informal recap, where they all got a chance to appreciate a job well done and comment on any remarkable occurrences.
Well Fran, how was that? As you can see I did not mention computers once. To all my readers, I hope you enjoyed the simple analogy and remember till next time – keep agile!
 I enjoyed both actors’ performances. I am a fan of Peter Graves. He was so funny in Men in Black 2.
 Agile teams are not enough, if you are going to have an agile organization. You need to embrace the concept of a virtual enterprise.
 The term was made popular by Tony Buzan. His conception was of a radial tree with key descriptive words.
 A virtual corporation or enterprise is a temporary alliance of entities that join to share skills, core competencies and resources, in order to better respond to market or other sourced demand opportunities. According to Fuehrer, 1997 they are “…a temporary network of independent institutions, businesses or specialized individuals, who work together in a spontaneous fashion by way of information and communication technology, in order to gain an extant competitive edge. They integrate vertically, unify their core-competencies and function as one organization (or organizational unit).”
 Some critics devaluated Peter Lupus’s performance. I am actually a fan of his. Do you know that throughout the entire series, he was the only IMF member who never made a mistake? He never made a noise that alerted and enemy or flubbed a quick clean-up an errant object in a dangerous situation. He was 100% reliable and an absolute team player. That is something to which every agile team member should aspire.
 As a Scrum master is described to be.
 Wouldn’t we all like to have the kind od resources that the Secretary of the United States could clandestinely provide us?
 Darn you caught me!