Why isn’t systems thinking one of the first techniques any IT change agent reaches for? Most change professionals have not been trained in applying systems thinking techniques because it is viewed as an engineering or academic practice. It provides a framework for the introduction of lean techniques, which have become popular to deliver the maximum business value. Lean provides tool and philosophy and systems thinking provides the breadth of scope to apply those tools. Systems thinking provides process improvement with both a scope by defining what a system is and a business related goal for improvement, to improve the delivery of business value. (more…)
October 20, 2016
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October 18, 2016
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We should be guided by theory, not by numbers. – W.E. Deming
Many process improvement programs falter when, despite our best efforts, they don’t improve the overall performance of IT. The impact of fixing individual processes can easily get lost in the weeds; the impact overtaken by the inertia of the overall systems. Systems thinking is a way to view the world, including organizations, from a broad perspective that includes structures, patterns, and events. Systems thinking is all about the big picture. Grasping the big picture is important when approaching any change program. It becomes even more critical when the environment you are changing is complex and previous attempts at change have been less than successful. The world that professional developers operate within is complex, even though the goal of satisfying the projects stakeholders, on the surface, seems so simple. Every element of our work is part of a larger system that visibly and invisibly shapes our individual and organizational opportunities and risks. The combination of complexity and the nagging issues that have dogged software-centric product development and maintenance suggest that real innovation will only come through systems thinking. (more…)
October 16, 2016
SPaMCAST 415 – Risk Tolerance in Agile, Kotter Change Model, Innovation Bandwagon, Requirements Part 3Posted by tcagley under Agile, Change, Innovation | Tags: Agile, Change, innovation, Requirements |
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The Software Process and Measurement Cast features four columns. We begin with our essay on recognizing risk and risk tolerance. Any discussion of risk begins with acknowledging that risk exists and then recognizing specific risks. Once we know risks exist we need to determine which risks we care about. Risk tolerance affects how everyone in an organization behaves.
Kim Pries the Software Sensei discussers change models, focusing on the Kotter model of change. Kim discusses how change models can be used for hardware, software, processes and procedures.
Gene Hughson brings his wonderful Form Follows Function Blog the podcast. In this installment, Gene and I discuss All Aboard the Innovation Band Wagon. We talked a lot about how to define innovation AND why innovation and change is powerful.
Jon Quigley anchors the cast with the third installment in a three-part arc on requirements in his “The Alpha-Omega of Product Development” column. This week Jon discusses managing requirements.
Re-Read Saturday News
We continue the read/re-read of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (published by Jossey-Bass). We seem to be moving from cliffhanger to cliffhanger over the past few weeks, and we shall do so again today. Lencioni uses crises to illustrate common problems that make teams into dysfunctional collections of individuals. This week we tackle the the sections from Entering the Danger to Rebound.
Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads.
The Software Process and Measurement Cast 416 will feature our interview with Kirk Botula. Kirk is the CEO of the CMMI Institute. Kirk and I talked about organizational capability and why capability is crucial for organizational health and agility!
Shameless Ad for my book!
Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.
October 15, 2016
Today we continue our re-read of the business novel, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, Copyright 2002, 33rd printing). If you do not have a copy of the book, please buy a copy from the link above and read along. We seem to be moving from cliffhanger to cliffhanger over the past few weeks and we shall do so again today. The crisis Lencioni illustrates are common problems that make teams into dysfunctional collections of individuals. (more…)
October 13, 2016
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The world made up of interlocking systems. At more finite level, such as a company or product, understanding systems is crucial for being effective and efficient. For example, have you ever observed a team spend time researching, prototyping, piloting and then implementing a change to improve a product’s delivery rate, only to find that the process change yields little to no big picture impact? The second or third time you make this observation it drives the point home that optimizing steps within a system doesn’t always translate into better overall performance. We need to think of the system as a whole. Systems thinking pushes us to take a more holistic path.
A system is a group of interacting, interrelated, and interdependent components that form a complex and unified whole. Russell Ackoff, the management guru, defined a system as “an entity which is composed of at least two elements and a relation that holds between each of its elements and at least one other element in the set. Each of a system’s elements is connected to every other element, directly or indirectly. Furthermore, no subset of elements is unrelated to any other subset.” A critical core to these definitions is that a system is a number of related components that interact. I add that the core of most (if not all) systems operate within a larger systems ecology that they interact with and which provide feedback and guidance. (more…)
October 11, 2016
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Efficiency a measure of how much wasted effort there is in a process or system. A high efficiency process has less waste. In mechanical terms the simplest definition of efficiency is the ratio of the amount of energy used compared to the amount of work done to create an output. When applied to IT projects, efficiency measures how staffing levels effect how much work can be done. The problem is that while a simple concept, it is difficult because it requires a systems-thinking view of software development processes. As a result it is difficult to measure directly. (more…)
October 10, 2016
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The Software Process and Measurement Cast features our interview with Marcus Hammarberg. We often think of Agile as a tool to build or maintain software. In some cases, people have recognized the applicability of Agile and lean techniques in other parts of the business. In even rarer circumstances, people like Marcus have found a way to use Agile techniques to have a huge impact in the real world. Marcus tells use how he was able to use Agile and lean techniques and philosophy to save a clinic and more importantly to change lives of real people. It is an amazing and uplifting story. (more…)