Rip Currents Are Complex!

We have been using the metaphors of heat death (controlling how people work to reduce variability to a negligible level) and gray goo (little or no control leading to process anarchy) to illustrate the impact of process control strategies. Neither extreme is a good idea. In most circumstances, every organization and team needs to find their own equilibrium spot. VUCA, an acronym for the attributes volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, describes four of the factors that define why organizations vary between strict control and laissez-faire approaches. (more…)

A Sweet Spot!

In the essay, Balancing Control and Self-Organization to Avoid Heat Death I said that there is a need to strike a balance between controlling how individuals and teams work and just letting people do their own thing.  Stated slightly differently, there needs to be a balance between autonomy and control.

Finding The Sweet Spot!

In a world where organizations like Theranos (over control) and the City of Flint, Michigan (laissez-faire crisis management) exist, organizations have to find a way to make sure they attain their goal without killing the company or injuring their customers. A framework that guides how workflows and decisions are made provides structure so that decisions can be made when a crisis occurs (crises are inevitable). Too much or too little control makes decision making more difficult when a crisis occurs. Every organization has to find a balance between control and autonomy. Every organization and team will have a specific Goldilocks answer. This is true for whole organizations as well as software teams that have embraced agile frameworks and methodologies.  One size does not fit all without a bit of tailoring. This premise is not the controversial part of our last essay, the problem is that the word control bothered some of the readers. (more…)