Herding for pickle beer. Who would have thought!

Herding is a pattern where an individual or team acts based on the behavior of others. Stated very simply, herding is just like the children’s game follow-the-leader.  Last year, I sat in on a discussion in an organization where being perceived as being helpful was a significant attribute for bonuses and promotions. The R&D Group (software development) had recently been asked to implement a significant SaaS package with a due date before Thanksgiving so that the retail portion of the business would not be impacted. The date was absurd. The CIO had gathered a number of teams together to determine if the work was doable. The answer from each team as they went out of the room was no until a single team said they could do it. In quick succession, everyone changed their minds and played follow-the-leader.  All of the affected teams exhibited herd behavior. As soon as one team broke from the pack everyone followed. The cascade was exacerbated when the CIO muttered “thank-you” after the first two teams said yes. Herding in decision making effectively took “no” off the table. This type of behavior is response-driven. (more…)

 

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SPaMCAST 562 features our essay on the power of saying no.  I firmly believe that unless you have control over the amount of work you take, you are asking for a trainwreck.  The problem is that saying no is often harder than being late or over budget.  

We will also have a visit from the Software Sensei.  Kim Pries is back to kick off September with an essay titled, Real Planning. While the actual plan might not be exactly what happens in real life, the act of planning is crucial.  (more…)

Caution!

Just blurting out no, no, not on your life, or flying into a rant about the unfairness of a request is not generally a good strategic or safe approach to sorting whether you will do a specific piece of work. Gut feel or seat of the pants answers are rarely career-enhancing, rather answering any question requires preparation and a scalable process. (more…)