Dear treasure readers,
this week the time between the treasures flew by. Treasure #57 wasn’t until Sunday morning. I hope the podcasts were entertaining, because this week I have something for your ears again. In addition, there is finally an English article again.
Nugget #1 is about courage and experimentation. I took part in the blog parade of corporate rebels some time ago and there was a very controversial discussion about whether rebels are good or not. I too had my difficulties with the concept of the rebel. That’s why I like the definition of the pattern breaker by Stefan Kaduk andDirk Osmetz, founders of the management consultancy of the same name. They describe the position of a pattern breaker on the basis of four aspects. I consider this quotation in particular to be essential when it comes to change in companies:
Pattern breakers do not leave the playing field – otherwise they would be dropouts. You know that sometimes it would be unwise to “bluntly” break rules. Instead, they interpret them in a highly creative way and subtly cross the border between observing rules and violating them.
I am also in this border area from time to time. Because it’s not about rebellion, it’s about moving the company forward. It doesn’t help to shoot myself down or cause more damage to the company. Mostly there is a good intention behind rules. Unfortunately, rules can become outdated or in some cases counterproductive – the famous exception to the rule. That is why I support the call for experiments. “It’s the safe introduction of insecurity into the organization,” sums it up. That a breach of the rules will move the company forward is just my hypothesis. If the experiment succeeds, I create a result. This result proves my hypothesis and helps me to win supporters for a larger experiment. If the experiment does not succeed, I have limited the damage to the organization and still learned. How about a little experiment next week? I am looking forward to your experiences!
Why pattern breaker are more innovative – About quiet courage and the power of experiments (4 min, text, German)
Nugget #2 is the promised English post. John Cutler brings childhood memories to life, because my games were still Summergames on the C64 (the joystick-killer 😉 ) and Tetris on the Gameboy. However, this article is not about computer games, but about software projects and John shows ten harmful practices with the help of the metaphor Tetris. In my opinion, these examples are not only valid for agile software projects. Similar observations can also be made for classic projects in electronics development and mechanical engineering. I would like to mention three of the examples here, as I am very much aware of them myself.
First, there is example #2, the mantra of high utilization. Actually, it should be well known by now and can also be observed daily on the main traffic arteries of large cities. High capacity utilization generates congestion. But when I look around my network, it seems to be ignored in companies by the bank. Instead, teams are filled up with work. As a consequence, there is no flow.
Example #6 is the logical consequence of the high workload. Projects are re-planned and team members and resources are permanently reallocated. This reminds of the lively lane change during traffic jams. Unfortunately, this only increases the traffic jam and doesn’t get you any further.
Example #9 then describes the final collapse. As you fall further and further behind, panic breaks out and the pressure continues to rise. Anyone who has played Tetris will remember. The mountain of stones grows. It’s getting hectic. Unfortunately, there are also exactly those stones that you don’t need right now. In the projects these are the surprises. And at the end it’s “Game Over”.
John concludes the article with six suggestions. I am a big fan of visualization and the view on the whole. What does your Tetris look like? Do the stones just fly around your ears and you are close to game over? Or do you play relaxed at the right tempo for you and you don’t mind if there is some air between the individual stones?
Stop Playing Tetris (With Teams, Sprints, Projects, and Individuals) (5 min, text)
Nugget #3 is a podcast again this week. The t3n team produces not only a diverse print magazine for the digital industry, but also an exciting podcast. Matthias Wagner from the agency Vast Forward, which he runs together with his wife, was a guest. For a captain, a workplace on a sailing ship is nothing special. But for an agency it is. Matthias and his wife live and work on the ship. However, they don’t want to call themselves digital nomads. The agency does not only consist of the couple, but also of a worldwide distributed team of freelancers and permanent employees. Matthias describes very vividly the daily cooperation in this remote-only company. I was particularly impressed by the simplicity with which this challenge was solved. Besides email, Skype and Google Docs, it doesn’t take a lot of tools to get the collaboration up and running. Much more important is the awareness of when which type of communication is used and the right degree of transparency.
New Work: A sailing ship as agency headquarters (32 min, audio, German)
That’s it for this week. Have a nice weekend!