Management 3.0: Context is Everything

This is a guest post by Ralph Roosmalen

Scrum versus Waterfall. Management 1.0 versus Management 3.0. Automated Testing versus Manual Testing. Estimation versus No Estimations. SAFe versus LeSS. So many different opinions on all kind of topics and it seems like people always want you to choose between left or right, up or down etc. When choosing a method or a framework for you and your team, your particular context is always the one to start with!


Fast food and fine dining – both restaurants, but different approaches

McDonald’s is a restaurant. You maybe don’t like the food they serve or have other ideas about the definition of a restaurant. But this is a fact: McDonald’s is a restaurant. My daughter is 14, within two years she is allowed to work at McDonald’s. She could work in the kitchen, prepare the food. I love her and she has great talents but I didn’t see her having the talent of preparing food yet. Still, she will be able to work in a kitchen in two years.

Management 3.0 can help you manage complex adaptive systems or in other words organizations. However, the McDonald’s kitchen is not managed using a Management 3.0 approach. It is about order, rules, and checklists

De Librije is a restaurant in The Netherlands with 3 Michelin stars. I just checked: they are almost fully booked for the rest of the year. I have seen a documentary about this restaurant and their kitchen is nothing like McDonald’s (yeah … you think). The management style in their kitchen is Management 3.0. It is about creativity, experiments and taking responsibility, on every level. 

McDonald’s type of restaurant with Management 3.0 would fail, De Librije type of restaurant with Management 1.0 would fail.


The army – Management 1.0 or Management 3.0? 

When I ask people for Management 1.0 examples they often mention the army.

I disagree with the statement that the army is completely and always Management 1.0. Imagine you would be sent into battle with a team, and you have to ask permission for every decision you want to make to the commander in HQ. The same for him, he has to ask permission from his commander. You would lose the battle.

However, when the battle is over, things will go back to Management 1.0. Based on the situation, a management style is decided. Things don’t follow this pattern in the battle, though. The strategy is adapted in ordered to win the battle (the main objective). Based on the situation, a management style is decided. 

Scrum – the daily standup 

An important meeting within Scrum is the daily standup. Most Scrum Master will tell you, that when you don’t do a daily standup, you don’t do Scrum. When my team is sitting in one room, including the Product Owner, and they have extensive communication during the day, I don’t mind if they skip the daily standup. I know they will communicate about progress and impediments. They don’t need that safety net.

It will be different when I coach a new team. In that case, I strongly advise the team to have a daily standup.


I’ve pointed only 3 situations out of thousands of possibilities to give an example of how important is the context. You can have the same discussions on the topics I mentioned at the start of this blog post. Yes, sometimes SAFe will be a good approach but also sometimes LeSS will be a good approach. There will be projects where a waterfall approach can help you but also projects where Scrum will give you most value.

Always look at the context, what could work? Don’t judge any method, framework or whatever upfront. Most approaches can give you value when you use them in the right context.


If you and your team are still looking for a method or framework to work for your specific needs, let us know. Through the uber-customized workshops and coaching session, we can support you to find the best method for you.

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