When I first encountered the work of each of these three original thinkers, it blew me away. Their insights on organizational and management behaviors were like a breath of fresh air compared to the C-suite pandering, jargonized junk that business schools spew and pop business icons like Tom Peters promulgate (no offense Tom, I like some of your ideas).
Managers who are skilled communicators may also be good at covering up real problems – Chris Argyris
AFAIK, there’s nobody like this trio of intellectual giants left standing (maybe they’ve won?). There are, however, a handful of second string, accessible, truth-tellers out there. Henry Mintzberg, Sam Culbert, and Steve Denning come to mind. Who can you add to this list?
Every once in a blue moon, BD00’s conscience compels him to apologize to the guild of 20th century management for his non-compliant, “unacceptable“, online behavior . Here’s this year’s mild BD00 apology:
I’m really glad my conscience periodically crashes the Ackoff-Deming-Argyris-Senge-Hamel-Semler-Nayar-Hsieh anti-management party that rocks on in my brain. It gives the non-BD00 half of me the comfort of knowing that he’s not an apathetic, tunnel-visioned psychopath… errr does it?
Even though it has a title and cover design that only a Harvard MBA could love, I picked up Robert Austin’s “Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations” on a twitter tip from Torbjörn Gyllebring. As soon as I cracked the cover, I knew it was gonna be a classic. The foreword was written by one of my all time favorite software authors, Tom DeMarco.
Mr. Austin discovered perhaps the first recorded instance of the well worn “schedule is king!” management law:
Such scenarios, in which program managers or contractors attend to measurements of timeliness of delivery to the exclusion of all else, are reported as early as 1882. In that year, the newly built U.S.S. Omaha was discovered to have onboard-coal-room for only four days’ steaming; in the rush to stay on schedule, no one had been willing to force notice of this defect at a high enough level to ensure its correction.
Every once in a blue moon, I finish a book so engrossing that I immediately reread it before cracking open a different one. Mr. Austin’s MAMPIO is one of those gems and I’m well into my second romp through it. Since it’s loaded with a gazillion ideas for blog posts, expect more over-the-top BD00 distortions to come. W00t!
Temporary and Employee base class “objects” get paid by the company to do work that directly creates value. Manager objects inherit an Employee’s responsibilities and encapsulate new, manager-specific, behaviors; like monitoring/commanding/reprimanding non-manager Employees, Temps, and Assistants. Proceeding down the inheritance tree on the right, a Director object inherits the behaviors of both the Manager and Employee classes while adding new “directorial” behaviors.
When BD00 saw Bjarne’s inheritance tree example, he said to himself “Dude, you got it wrong. If you wanted to model the real world, here’s what you shoulda presented“:
It woulda added a touch of edgy humor to the book, dontcha think?
When I write my first programming book, I’m gonna have diagrams like that and code fragments like this in it:
I’m thinking of hatching a kickstarter.com project and titling the hybrid book something like “Management Idiots And Programming Idioms“. What would you name it, and would you buy it?
Another one bites the dust. Another one bites the dust. And another one gone, and another one gone… – Queen
Companies that have a superficial dual career ladder love to delude themselves into thinking they have a real one. The alternative, which is “unacceptable!” because it would trigger an unsettling feeling of cognitive dissonance and undermine a self-image of infallibility, is to simply own up to the inconsistency and stop lying to themselves and their constituents.
It’s always a sad affair to watch brilliant engineers jump from the dead-end technical ladder to the golden management ladder because it’s the only way they can do more for themselves and their families.
Sometimes the “promotion” works out fine for both the org and the newly minted manager. But sometimes it achieves a double loss. The engineer morphs into a crappy manager with poor people skills, a propensity to obsess over schedules, and a bent toward micro-managing technical details. Plus (or should I say minus?), the org’s product development group loses precious technical expertise. D’oh! I hate when that double whammy happens.
If you haven’t seen the following hilarious and entertaining “I Quit” youtube video, then you’ve been living in a cave for too long. It’s gone viral with over 14 million hits as of this writing.
The fact that so many people tuned in says a lot about how organizations operate in the 21st century. Sure, there’s been some progress in injecting more humanity into the workplace since the dawn of the 2oth century, but there’s so much more that can be done.
Sadly, the dudes who have the power to get it done don’t want it to get done. It’s all about ego, loss of control, loss of stature, yada, yada, yada. Take your pick.
It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. – Upton Sinclair
Oh ratz! BD00 wishes he concocted this brilliant “Planet Of The Apes” parody T-shirt:
But alas, BD00 didn’t create the masterpiece. The Random Manager team did. Damn it! Here’s the BD00 rip off version: