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Posts Tagged ‘management’

Long Live The King!

November 11, 2013 Leave a comment

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.

org perf

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.

sched kingSince there seems to be no worthy candidate on the horizon capable of dethroning the king, expect this monarch to live long indeed.

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!

Management Idiots And Programming Idioms

October 20, 2013 Leave a comment

In TC++PL, Bjarne Stroustrup introduces the concept of a class hierarchy with this simple business world example:

BS Class Hierarchy

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“:

BD00 Class Hierarchy

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:

Access Convenience

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?

mipi

Another One Bites The Dust

October 13, 2013 Leave a comment

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.

The MDL

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.

jump

So Much More

October 9, 2013 Leave a comment

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

They’ve Finally Done It, They Are In Control!

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Size, Flexibility, Learning

August 2, 2013 Leave a comment

Size Flex Learning

So, do ya think that the losses in flexibility and capacity for learning are forgone conclusions as an org increases in size (i.e. adds more managers, directors, executives)? If not, got any examples that demolish the theory?

One of the great tragedies of life is the murder of a beautiful theory by a gang of brutal facts. – Benjamin Franklin

A Bureaucrat’s Dream


Thanks to powerful, vested interests and ignorant leadership, some stodgy dinosaur orgs still cling to a bevy of high-falutin’, delay-inducing, product conception/development/maintenance processes. Because of the strong nuclear forces in place, it’s virtually impossible to change these labyrinthian processes – despite those noble “continuous improvement” initiatives that are seemingly promoted 24X7.

The state transition diagram below models a hypothetical schedule and budget busting maintenance process. But beware! Since BD00 likes to make sh*t up, the 5 role, 12 step, bureaucrat’s dream is a totally contorted fabrication that has no semblance to the truth.

PRB

Of course, some classes of discovered product defects should indeed be run through the ringer so that they don’t happen again. But mindlessly requiring every single defect (e.g. a low risk, one-line code change?, formatting violation?, documentation typo?) to plod through the glorious process is akin to using brain surgery to cure a headache.

Many of these process worshipping orgs can save a ton of time, money, and frustration if they “allowed” a parallel JFTDT process for those simple, low risk, defects discovered during and after a product is developed.

JFTDT

But no! In zombie orgs that have these types of beloved processes in place, it can’t be done. Despite the unsubstantiated and outrageous BD00 claim that the vast majority of discovered defects in most projects can be safely run through the insanely simple JFTDT process, anyone who’s not the CEO that thinks of advocating for a parallel, streamlined process should think twice. No one wants to be the next dude who gets shoved through the hidden JSTFU process.

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