One week ago

Organizations as Systems – Kurosawa, Clausewitz, and Chess

In order to respond appropriately to the context we find ourselves in, it’s helpful that we be able to correctly define that context. It’s something humans aren’t always good at. Not too long ago, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War was all the rage as among executives. While the book contains some excellent lessons that […]

12 days ago

Management, Simple and Wrong – Semantics, Systems, and Self-Correction

Simple responses to complex situations are both seductive and dangerous. The difficulty in juggling lots of variables tempts us to employ abstraction so as to avoid being overwhelmed. Abraham Maslow’s observation, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail”, applies. […]

1 month, 27 days ago

Innovation, Intention, Planning and Execution

  Convergence is an interesting thing. Greger Wiktrand and I have been trading posts back and forth on the subject of innovation for almost eighteen months now (forty posts in total). I’ve also been writing a lot on the concept of organizations as systems, (twenty-two posts over the last year, with some overlap with innovation). […]

2 months, 11 days ago

Form Follows Function on SPaMCast 442

A new month brings a new appearance on Tom Cagley’s Software Process and Measurement (SPaMCast) podcast. This week’s episode, number 442, features Tom’s excellent essay on capability teams (highly recommended!), followed by a Form Follows Function installment based on my post “Systems of Social Systems and the Software Systems They Create”. Kim Pries bats cleanup […]

2 months, 21 days ago

This is not a project

My apologies to René Magritte, as I appropriate his point, if not his iconic painting. After I posted “Storming on Design”, it sparked a discussion with theslowdiyer around context and change. In that discussion, theslowdiyer commented: ‘you don’t adhere to a plan for any longer than it makes sense to.’ Heh, agree. I wonder if […]

3 months, 2 days ago

Stopping Accidental Technical Debt

In one of my earlier posts about technical debt, I differentiated between intentional debt (that taken on deliberately and purposefully) and accidental debt (that which just accrues over time without rhyme or reason or record). Dealing with (in the sense of evaluating, tracking, and resolving it) technical debt is obviously a consideration for someone in […]

3 months, 9 days ago

Form Follows Function on SPaMCast 438

Once again, I’m making an appearance on Tom Cagley’s Software Process and Measurement (SPaMCast) podcast. This week’s episode, number 438, features Tom’s essay on using sizing for software testing, Kim Pries with a Software Sensei column (canned solutions), and a Form Follows Function installment based on my post “Organizations as Systems and Innovation”. In this […]

3 months, 28 days ago

Square Pegs, Round Holes, and Silver Bullets

People like easy answers. Why spend time analyzing and evaluating when you can just take some thing or some technique that someone else has already put to use and be done with it? Why indeed? I mean, “me too” is a valid strategy, right? And we don’t want people to get off message, right? And […]

5 months, 11 days ago

Systems of Social Systems and the Software Systems They Create

I’ve mentioned before that the idea of looking at organizations as systems is one that I’ve been focusing on for quite a while now. From a top-down perspective, this makes sense – an organization is a system that works better when it’s component parts (both machine and human) intentionally work together. It also works from […]

5 months, 25 days ago

Organizations as Systems and Innovation

Over the last year or so, the concept of looking at organizations as systems has been a major theme for me. Enterprises, organizations and their ecosystems (context) are social systems composed of a fractal set of social and software systems. As such, enterprises have an architecture. Another long-term theme for this site has been my […]