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…)

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…)

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…)

Book Cover

This week we tackle chapter 20 of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! (have you bought your copy?). Chapter 20 completes part 3 which has focused on competence and the run-up to the deployment of the Santa Fe. The title of this chapter is Final Preparations.  We have six or seven weeks left  – Steven Adams is pushing for re-reading Release It, the other option is The Checklist Manifesto.  Both are great . . . thoughts? (more…)

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SPaMCAST 494 features our interview with Alan Mallory.  We discussed his book The Family That Conquered Everest (https://amzn.to/2Iiz3Tc).  The book provides strong lessons on leadership and teamwork in an environment where failure can lead to death or worse!  Danger, mountaineering, and leadership in a single interview; a first for the Software Process and Measurement Cast.

Alan’s Bio

Alan Mallory is an international speaker, author and performance coach who is passionate about leadership and human performance. A graduate from Queen’s University, he has worked internationally with large organizations as a professional engineer and project manager. Living and working abroad has given Alan the opportunity to deepen his understanding of individual and team challenges, better appreciate cultural diversity and successfully adapt to different organizational structures. Through his work and life experiences, he has discovered that his true passion is helping people reach new heights by cultivating effective ways of thinking and taking action. Building experience through a lifestyle of adventure and challenge, in the spring of 2008 Alan embarked on the journey of a lifetime: to attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Along with three members of his immediate family, Alan climbed through some of the most challenging yet exciting conditions imaginable and set a world record when all four of them set foot on the summit. The expedition involved two years of planning and two months of climbing through immense challenges but they were able to overcome these obstacles through strategic planning, healthy team dynamics, self-awareness and perseverance. Alan delivers a number of exciting presentations and training programs designed to help individuals, team members and organizations reach new heights in the way we think and the actions we take in order to achieve breakthrough performance. For more information, visit www.alanmallory.com.

Contact
Phone: 647-388-4044

Email: alan@alanmallory.com

Web: alanmallory.com

Re-Read Saturday News

In week nine of the re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! we discuss chapters 12 and 13, titled Up Scope! and ”A New Ship”.

Current Installment:

Week 9: Up Scope! and ”A New Ship”https://bit.ly/2KfDZbS (more…)

Picture of the book cover

Commitment

Staff liquidity takes a central position in this week’s installment of our read of Commitment – Novel about Managing Project Risk by Olav Maassen, Chris Matts and Chris Geary (2nd edition, 2016) .  Chapter 5 is a relatively short chapter, but exposes one of the critical mechanisms for how Agile teams are able to self-organize and self-manage.  If you are an Agile coach or involved in an Agile transformation, once you recognize the concepts in this chapter you will be surprised how many times you use them.  If have been struggling with the concept how Agile teams can handle the need to shift roles to address changes in needs with management intervention this chapter provides you with the knowledge you will need.    (more…)

Picture of the book cover

Commitment

This week we are back to our read of Commitment – Novel about Managing Project Risk by Olav Maassen, Chris Matts and Chris Geary (2nd edition, 2016) .  Chapter 4 introduces more agile techniques, including work visualization, staff liquidity and a focus on outcomes. (more…)