The Big Shift
Let’s get real for a moment. Why would ANYONE set about disrupting the fundamental beliefs and assumptions of their whole organisation just to make their software and product development more effective?
It’s not for the sake of increased profit – Deming’s First Theorem states:
“Nobody gives a hoot about profits”.
If we believe Russell Ackoff, executives’ motivation primarily stems from maximising their own personal well being a.k.a. their own quality of work life.
Is There a Connection?
Is there any connection between increased software and product development effectiveness, and increased quality of work life for executives? Between the needs of ALL the Folks That Matter and the smaller subset of those Folks That Matter that we label “executives”? Absent such a connection, it seems unrealistic (understatement!) to expect executives to diminish their own quality of work life for little or no gain (to them personally).
Note: Goldratt suggests that for the idea of effectiveness to gain traction, it’s necessary for the executives of an organisation to build a True Consensus – a jointly agreed and shared action plan for change (shift).
Is Disruption Avoidable?
So, the question becomes:
Can we see major improvements in the effectiveness (performance, cost, quality, predictability, etc.) of our organisation, without disrupting the fundamental beliefs and assumptions of our whole organisation?
My studies and experiences both suggest the answer is “No”. That collaborative knowledge work (as in software and product development) is sufficiently different from the forms of work for which (Analytic-minded) organisations have been built as to necessitate a fundamentally different set of beliefs and assumptions about how work must work (the Synergistic memeplex). If the work is to be effective, that is.
In support of this assertion I cite the widely reported failure rates in Agile adoptions (greater than 80%), Lean Manufacturing transformations (at least 90%) and in Digital Transformations (at least 95%).
I’d love to hear your viewpoint.
Organisational Cognitive Dissonance ~ Think Different blog post