Posts Tagged ‘culture’

It’s All About That Jell

Agile, Traditional, Lean, Burndown Charts, Kanban Boards, Earned Value Management Metrics, Code Coverage, Static Code Analysis, Coaches, Consultants, Daily Standup Meetings, Weekly Sit Down Meetings, Periodic Program/Project Reviews. All the shit managers obsess over doesn’t matter. It’s all about that Jell, ’bout that jell, ’bout that jell.




All About The Jell

The Last Retrospective

April 20, 2014 Leave a comment

In an ongoing agile endeavor, the practice for eliciting and applying freshly learned knowledge going forward is the periodic “retrospective” (aka periodic post-mortem to the “traditional” old fogeys). Theoretically, retrospectives are temporary way points where individuals: stop, step back, cerebrally inspect what they’ve accomplished and how they’ve accomplished it, share their learning experiences, suggest new process/product improvements, and evaluate previously implemented improvements.

As the figure below depicts, the fraction of newly acquired knowledge applied going forward is a function of group culture. In macho, command and control hierarchies like culture B, the application of lessons learned is suppressed relative to more flexible cultures like A due to the hierarchical importance of opinions.

Gained Vs Applied

Regardless of culture type, during schedule-challenged projects with a fixed, do-or-don’t-get-paid deadline (yes, those projects do indeed still exist), this may happen:

Last Retrospective

When the elites upstairs magically determine that a panic point has appeared (sometimes seemingly out of nowhere): retrospectives get jettisoned, the daily standup morphs into the daily inquisition, corner-cutting “practices” become best practices, and the application of newly acquired knowledge stops cold. Humans being humans, learning still naturally occurs and new knowledge is accrued. However, it is not likely the type of knowledge that will help on future projects.

Four Attributes

March 22, 2012 1 comment

Assume that every commercial enterprise can be “objectively” (LOL!) characterized by the following four discrete attributes:

  1. Trustworthiness [untrustful | trustful]
  2. Transparency [closed | open]
  3. Fairness [unfair | fair]
  4. Product_Quality [crappy | meh | excellent]

If I did the math right, there are 2*2*2*3 = 24 attribute combos. At one end of the spectrum, we have orgs that are untrustful, closed, unfair producers of crappy products and services. At the other end of the spectrum we have enterprises that are trustful, open, fair producers of excellent products and services.

So, what do you think the ratio of OrgAs to OrgBs is in the world, and why? Do you think the ratio is increasing or decreasing as civilization advances? Do you think the four attributes are uncorrelated or are they intimately coupled? Can an untrustful, closed, and unfair org produce excellent products and services? Given an OrgA, can it transform into an OrgB? Given an OrgB, can it transform into an OrgA? Which transformation is more likely?

Five Levels

October 27, 2010 4 comments

According to Russell Ackoff, there are five types of conceptual content. In order of increasing scarcity, they are Data, Information, Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom.

Data and information answer “what something is” questions. Knowledge answers “how something works” questions. Understanding answers “why something is the way it is” questions. Wisdom, the rarest form of conceptual content, is altogether a different beast. It answers all questions.

The acts of probing, sensing, and measuring produce raw data. The filtering, integration and association of data fragments creates information. The mistake-prone application of information and learning from errors leads to knowledge. The application of holistic, systems thinking to knowledge creates understanding.

Unlike the other four types of content, which integrate up and progress sequentially from each other, wisdom may not. Wisdom may appear instantaneously on its own by the grace of some higher power. It has to be that way. If it wasn’t, then only highly educated and experienced intellectuals would be capable of acquiring wisdom – and we know that isn’t true, don’t we? Wisdom is accessible to all human beings regardless of race, age, culture, wealth, or any other trait. The trouble is that society, especially western societies, wants us to think otherwise. No?


October 10, 2010 2 comments

“I’m just an ordinary average guy….. Pick up the dog doo, hope that it’s hard (woof woof).” – Joe Walsh

Okee Dokee. Today is my birthday and it’s self-assessment time. Time to step back and guess who I am and where I stand……

At the present time, I’m a dude with a stage 3 mindset working in a stage 3 benevolent patriarchy. My situation may not be as nirvana-ish as being a stage 5 dude working in a stage 5 DEPAM, but it sure beats being a stage 1 dude imprisoned in a stage 1 malevolent patriarchy, no?

How about you? What’s your self-assessment, today? Awe come on, don’t be shy.

From Consumer To Participant

October 7, 2010 Leave a comment

As I’ve stated before, I love Clay Shirky. The guy is phenomenally perceptive and insightful in detecting subtle changes in global trends and patterns of behavior. In “Cognitive Surplus”, Mr. Shirky recounts the rut of one-way consumerism that most of us were in, and many of us are still in, until relatively recently. The figure below shows the “old days” model, which is still “these days” for a boatload of people – especially institutional SCOLs.

In the “old days” model, content was concocted by “professional” content concocters and spoon fed to us through the (yawn) standard one-way media outlets of TV, radio and newspaper. The media creators and the media communication infrastructure owners had full say over what we heard and saw through the limited, one way-media outlets. We were (and most still are) passive consumers sitting in our lazy boys and scarfing up the input provided to us.

With the advent of social networks, the situation has changed drastically. As the figure below illustrates, the “old days”, one- way system of forced feeding has been supplemented by a parallel, “new days”, two-way system in which you and I have the opportunity to participate and create. The meteoric rise of social networks has allowed previously shackled DORKs like you and me to actively create and share content while simultaneously allowing a much greater variety of choice over what we consume. Ain’t life grand?

Of course, the emergence of this brave new world has triggered great angst and fear in those old school power mongers who can’t or won’t morph with the times. As far as most corpricracies go, they’re still stuck in the mindset of “we’ll control the crap and we’ll control the distribution of the crap of what you see and hear. As you know, we’re better and smarter than you and your fellow amateurs, so it’s in your best interest if you forgo the opportunity to participate.

The DORK Is Born

September 27, 2010 2 comments

Unlike upstanding citizens, I’m both internally and externally verbally weird. For example, I think that when a proven, in-the-trenches, problem-solving, core worker jumps ship to another org it often hurts a corpricracy more than when a BM, CCRAT, BUTT, CGH or other non-DORK leaves.¬† Because of anointed (not necessarily earned) positional power, non-DORK managerial workers are given the opportunity to positively influence an org’s social and economic performance. However, as all of us know, not all managers exert any positive influence at all. Au contraire, the really¬† “bad ones” just flit from meeting to meeting conjuring up innovative procedural and financial obstacles to getting work done while simultaneously collecting super-sized paychecks. Who says managers aren’t innovative?

Because of this so-called distorted (and “bad”?) attitude, it makes me laugh when I hear of frantic counter offers being made when non-DORK managers leave, while nary a whisper is uttered when a highly productive, problem solving DORK rides off into the sunset. I laugh even more heartily when a non-DORK SCOL is presented with a going away cake or even better; an org-financed buh-bye party. Why laugh? Because the alternatives are much less palatable.

Breaking News: One of the byproducts of writing this stupidly RUU blarticle was the emergence of the “DORKacronym from the bad-person corner of my psyche. I’m giddy with excitement cuz now I can interchange usage of the venerable “DIC” acronym with “DORK” in my future ramblings. Whoo Hoo, a landmark event!

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