Direct Playback
Subscribe: Apple Podcast
Check out the podcast on Google Play Music
Listen on Spotify!

In SPaMCAST 541 we discuss using guardrails in decision making. Guardrails are a tool to ensure alignment with the organization’s goals and objectives and to keep people on the right path. Well-formed guardrails conform to five attributes that help teams and individuals make decisions.

Our second segment features Jon M Quigley and his Alpha and Omega of Product Development column. Jon discusses reciprocal agreements and their impact of on teams and products. (more…)

 

No Guardrails Needed

Guardrails are a tool to ensure alignment with the organization’s goals and objectives and to keep people on the right path, but they are not effective in all circumstances. Three circumstances that lead guardrails to be less useful include: (more…)

Sometimes you might need a guardrail to make the right decision!

Guardrails are a tool to ensure alignment with the organization’s goals and objectives and to keep people on the right path.  Well-formed guardrails conform to five attributes that help teams and individuals make decisions. The power of guardrails lays in the fact that they shape decisions by defining boundaries. As a consultant, the first time a client asks a question, the answer almost always needs to be “it depends”. No boundaries or guardrails for the decision have been established. The four values stated in the Agile Manifesto establish a set of guardrails to guide decisions.  For example, the Manifesto states that “we have come to value working software over comprehensive documentation”. That value does not state that documentation is never a good idea but rather establishes a bias when deciding how much documentation the work requires. The value as stated in the manifesto provides a starting point for guiding behavior. Four common ways guardrails impact decision making include: (more…)

Sometime you need something to keep cars off of the sidewalk!

Guardrails are a tool to ensure alignment with the organization’s goals and objectives and to keep people on the right path. Guardrails are an everyday fact of life. Several years ago, I was on vacation in Lima, Peru. During the vacation, we ventured into the heart of the city to see the sights, at the end of the day four of us piled into a cab on a very crowded street to go back to the hotel. Mass was just ending at the cathedral and there were throngs of people taking to the street. The driver inched along for a few minutes then pulled the car up on the sidewalk and began rocketing forward (the rocketing part is my recollection). I still wake up occasionally picturing people diving into doorways. Jason Bourne had nothing on this guy. In most societies, there are laws, standards or just social norms about driving on the sidewalk.  I was in India for the past two weeks. When we in touring Mysuru, several coroners had physical barriers (concrete and metal poles) to keep cars from cutting corners and driving on the sidewalk.  Both of these examples represent types of guardrails. Guardrails channel behavior for the benefit of the greater society by abridging, formally or informally, the range of action individuals can take. Breaking through a guardrail requires a conscious decision. Software development, in all of its forms, requires guardrails unless every decision made by a team is scrutinized and approved before it is made. Without guardrails words and phrased like self-directed and empowered teams are hollow.  In order for guardrails to be effective, there need to be a few simple’ish guardrails for the guardrails: (more…)