Can We Get Over Scientific Management, Please?

One of the primary products of the second Industrial revolution around the beginning of the 20th century came from Frederick Winslow Taylor. We need to move on. Read more

Wait…How is Dynamics Easy?

February 28, 2017 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Process 

In my last post, I asserted it doesn’t make sense to put together a static process for something that is as dynamic as the human endeavour of collaborating on projects. Despite my suggestion that dynamic analysis is more complex than static analysis, I even asserted that this approach easier than you might think.

Let me be a bit more nuanced here. Read more

Statics and Dynamics

February 16, 2017 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Process, Teamwork 

Way back, about 35 years ago, I vaguely recall an Engineering course in Statics and Dynamics that was particularly difficult. I’d be lying if I said I could recall any of the formulas from the course, and the textbook is long gone, but I do remember that, well, static analysis was pretty lightweight compared to the sophistication of the dynamics half of the course. Read more

It’s Not About the Tool!

November 16, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Process, Project management 

I’ve been building stringed instruments as a hobby over the past couple of years, and there are a few tools that I have become particularly enamoured with. I’ve got a nice little Japanese file that seems to be just the right size to fit into all the nooks and crannies to tidy things up, and I’ve got a laminate trimmer that’s got plenty of power but is really light and maneuverable compared to the big, clunky old router that I inherited from my dad. Read more

Reductio ad Absurdum

January 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Process, Quality, Teamwork 

I got a note recently from someone halfway across the world, asking about a detail in my white paper about quantifying the quality requirements of a system. The query me ponder for a moment before I came up with a reasonable response, but I think it highlighted something that applies in a broader sense as well. Read more

Leveraging the Frog in the Pot

July 1, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, Process, Quality, Teamwork 

Everyone has heard of that metaphor of a frog in a pot of water: put the little guy in hot water and he’ll jump right out, heat the water gradually and he’ll just hang out there. The gradual changes are too subtle for him to perceive them and do anything about it. This explains why a lot of team environments are the way they are, and might even give us an idea about what we can do about it. Read more

Work Breakdown Breakdown

April 16, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

One of the most useful tools to support consistency across projects is also one of the most misunderstood and widely overloaded tools: the work breakdown structure. Let’s tear this thing apart and look inside. Read more

The Rule of Three

January 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: People, Process 

When I first started focusing on improvement initiatives (over a dozen years ago now), the typical approach was to perform a deep analysis and come up with a big laundry list of recommended changes. That never did much more than pad the wallets of the consulting firm that provided the recommendations. For that reason alone, I’m sure the approach won’t be going away soon. For the improvee, though, the victim of these massive recommendations, there remains hope for a better way. Apply the Rule of Three. Read more

Many Sources, One List

January 12, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Process, Project management 

On any project, regardless of the size or complexity or uncertainty involved, there is one thing you know darned well to expect: things will change. To ignore or be surprised by potential changes is to set yourself up for heaps of trouble. It is important to recognize that change can come from many different directions. In addition, once you have collected all these potential changes from all over the place, it is critical that you triage all of them together, in a single list. Read more

Top of Mind

November 14, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Process, Quality 

A few months ago, I posted some data that suggests that when we compare performance against different approaches to developing software, no particular brand stands out. Each approach appears to provide some net value in some area of performance, but there is no clear winner in the broad-based “this is the best way to develop our products” competition. There might be a couple of well known effects at play here. Read more

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