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“The kind of spirituality I value is one in which you get great joy out of contributing to life, not just sitting and meditating, although meditation is certainly valuable. But from the meditation, from the resulting consciousness, I would like to see people in action creating the world that they want to live in.”

~ Marshall B. Rosenberg

Hence the motto, “Semper Mirabilis” – always joyful.

Gimme A Break, Here

Here I am, trying to change the world, and most days I feel like I’m being punished for the views I hold and share, and the aspirations I have. Not that it shakes my convictions, nor my resolve.

Decades

For more than two decades I’ve been trying to help everyone in the software industry get past the Software Crisis and discover new, more effective ways of doing things. And there are much more effective ways of doing things that the ways in common usage presently (see e.g. Rightshifting, and the Marshall Model).

I’ve not been having much success, I’ll admit.  But I keep plugging away. I might catch a break sooner or later, surely.

The Message

My message is not “I know this stuff, do it MY way.” I’m not flogging a new method. I’m not selling anything.

My message is “The way we’ve been looking at software development for the past fifty years isn’t working. How about we find other ways to look at it? Here’s a few clues I’ve noticed…”

The Old Frame

The old frame for software development – processes and tools, the very idea of “working software” as the touchstone – holds us back and prevents us from seeing new ways of working and doing.

All our focus on technical skills, coding, design, architecture, testing, CI/CD, technical practices, canned and packaged methods, generic solutions, and etc. has had us barking up the wrong tree for more than half a century.

And the almost ubiquitous centuries-old management factory hasn’t helped us make the transition.

The New Frame

I’ve written before about the new frame, but to recap:

The new frame that my long career has led me to favour is a frame placing people, not practices, centre-stage. A frame focused on people – and their emergent individual and collective needs. A frame more aligned to increased predictability, lower costs, less frustration, and more joy in work for all concerned.

A frame comprising:

Software development, as a form of collaborative knowledge work, is a predominantly social phenomenon. And as a predominantly social phenomenon we will have more success in software development when we focus on the people involved, our relationships with each other, our collective assumptions and beliefs, and everyone’s fundamental needs.

I call this the organisation’s “social dynamic”. Improve the social dynamic in a team or workplace and all the good things we’d like come for free. Like Crosby’s take on quality, we might say “success is free”.

I Invite Your Participation and Support, or At Least, Empathy

Changing the world is not for the faint hearted or indifferent. But if you give a damn, I could really use your support. And a break.

– Bob

Further Reading

Rico, D. (n.d.). Short History of Software Methods.. [online] Available at: http://davidfrico.com/rico04e.pdf [Accessed 26 Sep. 2021].

Simon Sinek (2011) If You Don’t Understand People, You Don’t Understand Business. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8grVwcPZnuw [Accessed 29 Feb. 2020].

Reverse Antimatter Principle

As you probably know by now, the Antimatter Principle states:

“Attend to Folks’ Needs”

– as a means to nurture the social dynamic of an organisation, and thus encourage desirable things like employee engagement, improved morale, increased discretionary effort, improved interpersonal relationships, and joy.

(There are many posts here on this blog explaining and exploring the consequences of the Antimatter Principe).

In the same way that Conway’s Law also has a reverse formulation, we can formulate the Antimatter Principle in reverse, too:

“Create situations where folks’ needs are aligned to the needs of the Core Group, and the organisation itself.”

For example, there’s not much point in hiring people with needs that are misaligned with the needs of the organisation. If the organisation needs folks to learn and upskill, and yet new hires don’t have that need, that’s a wasteful and probably frustrating misalignment of needs. So, having a hiring policy that plays to the reverse Antimatter Principle will be beneficial.

– Bob

Amongst many gems, my new “real page-turner” of a book, “Memeology”, defines an approach to measuring the progress of your organisation at culture change (page 44 in the current print/pdf version – or search for “sparklines”).

Are you interested in tracking your efforts at changing the culture of your organisation – and hence its effectiveness?

P.S. I’m available to help you implement this scheme.

Our Tuesday Drop-ins have been gathering momentum, and finding favour with participants. Various folks have suggested that Tuesdays at 11AM London,UK time is not the best day and time for themselves personally.

I’m minded to diarise a second weekly drop-in, better suited to these folks’ schedules. Accordingly, I’m asking for suggestions as to the best day and time for this, and some indication of your needs.

Some factors include:

  • Work-time or personal time?
  • International participation and time zones.
  • Duration.

Please post your suggestions in the comment section below.

– Bob

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