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Jurgen Appelo calls himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Since 2008 Jurgen writes a popular blog at, covering the creative economy, agile management, and personal development. He is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in agile organizations. And he wrote the little book How to Change the World, which describes a supermodel for change management. Jurgen is CEO of the business network Happy Melly, and co-founder of the Agile Lean Europe network and the Stoos Network. He is also a speaker who is regularly invited to talk at business seminars and conferences around the world. After studying Software Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and earning his Master’s degree in 1994, Jurgen Appelo has busied himself starting up and leading a variety of Dutch businesses, always in the position of team leader, manager, or executive. Jurgen has experience in leading a horde of 100 software developers, development managers, project managers, business consultants, service managers, and kangaroos, some of which he hired accidentally. Nowadays he works full-time managing the Happy Melly ecosystem, developing innovative courseware, books, and other types of original content. But sometimes Jurgen puts it all aside to spend time on his ever-growing collection of science fiction and fantasy literature, which he stacks in a self-designed book case. It is 4 meters high. Jurgen lives in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) -- and in Brussels (Belgium) -- with his partner Raoul. He has two kids, and an imaginary hamster called George. Jurgen has posted 145 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Move Your Desk

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Desk colorThe more I thought about the idea of walking around, the more I got the feeling that the practice is suboptimal. Years ago I realized that the concept of “being there where the work happens” can be taken a step further. I solved it by picking up my stuff to go and sit with my team, at an ordinary desk, just like everyone else. It might have been the best management decision I ever made, vastly increasing the amount of social time I could enjoy with my team members.

Social time turns out to be deeply critical to team performance, often accounting for more than 50% of positive changes in communication patterns.

- Alex Pentland, “The New Science of Building Great Teams

After I had moved my desk, whatever happened, I was always around. This allowed me to pick up much more of what was going on, and understand much better what other people cared about. They regularly asked for my opinion, when otherwise they only did this when I happened to be walking around. And I picked up signs of joy and frustration, which I wouldn’t have noticed if I had not been there. This convinced me that MBSA (Management by Sitting Around) can sometimes beat both MBWA and MBFA.

Interestingly enough, not everyone is of the same opinion. Richard Branson, the famous founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, has always practiced the opposite approach. He prefers not to sit with his management teams, because in his view this could inhibit their creativity and self-reliance. Instead, he prefers to leave them to their own devices most of the time, but guarantees regular face-time with everyone by flying around all the time.

But of course, that’s easy to do when you have your own airlines.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jurgen Appelo. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)