Top 2 reads of the year

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1. Wardley Maps

About situational awareness and strategic planning. This includes, why maps matter, how to map, some common economic patterns useful for prediction, common forms of doctrine and the concept of context specific gameplay.

Video: https://vimeo.com/189984496

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/swardley/an-introduction-to-wardley-maps

2. Boiling frogs

GCHQ’s internal Boiling Frogs research paper on software development and organisational change in the face of disruption – https://github.com/gchq/BoilingFrogs

The pace of disruptive change is increasing, from the rise of cloud technology, social business, the Internet of Things and others. We feel it as much as other government departments and so we offer this internal research paper publicly, not to present policy or guidelines, but to stimulate debate.

So why the title “Boiling Frogs?” The story goes that if a frog is placed in a saucepan of cold water, which is slowly heated, the frog adapts its body temperature to the changing heat of the water and gradually goes to sleep. The frog goes to sleep at 40 ˚C, unaware that at 100 ˚C it will boil! However, if the frog is placed in already boiling water it immediately jumps out to safety.

p.s. other people who made a significant influence – http://agilemindstorm.com/2015/05/12/people-that-made-great-impact-on-my-thinking/

Question on errors and randomness?

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Is it possible to build an organisation which benefits from uncertainty, errors and randomness?

reality

  • How small should be the teams? 
  • What should be minimum process?
  • What is the level of centralisation/decentralisation?
  • How often achieved agreements must be reviewed?
  • What behaviour is needed?
  • What is the ratio between explicit and self-discipline?
  • What is the level of autonomy?
  • Can growth be the target?
  • Should it reflect value delivery?
  • Should org. look different depending on the context?
  • Should unstable be new stable?

Those are curse words for any member in a company. Often companies are designed as if for any non-repetitive task it is exactly known what is going to happen and what is the most efficient way to do that.

Value structure

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Forget old company structure – it doesn’t support growth! By the way did you notice that clients, customers or users are never represented in organizational structure? It is like company exists for itself, but not for the clients…

Inspired by Niels Pflaeging ideas was writing some posts about what type of change we are introducing in my company. Any change is not an easy thing to do as different people need different arguments. Analogy with Scrum framework helps to explain these ideas to those practicing Scrum. I must say this comparison is so obvious that you get buy-in instantly.

But there are other people in the company. I found this article about product lines which basically is orientation towards value but has this smell of control and hierarchy. But even with control mindset and orientation towards value creation brings such benefits:

  • Improved productivity by as much as 10x
  • Increased quality by as much as 10x
  • Decreased cost by as much as 60%
  • Decreased labor needs by as much as 87%
  • Decreased time to market (to field, to launch) by as much as 98%
  • Ability to move into new markets in months, not years

Have no idea how precise are these numbers and how they were collected, but i think this can help to sell it to top management. What do you think?

p.s. posts that i mentioned above:

  • Org. design: value structure Highlights from my presentation where i try to explain why do we need value oriented structure in the company

Make it difficult to hire a manager

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Here is the article that shows how managers create more work for others, but necessarily contribute to value creation – http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/the-true-cost-of-hiring-yet-another-manager/

A large software company we worked with recently eliminated more than 40% of its supervisors, ensuring that the people who actually develop the product aren’t overburdened with managers and other functionaries.value stream

Seems to be that idea (mentioned in my previous post “Org. design and Scrum“) of making it difficult to hire a manager is not such a bad thing after all… Especially if you want to create network organisation oriented towards value creation, but not hierarchy and functional departments.

p.s. you can read more about network organizations here – http://www.organizeforcomplexity.com/