Fresh from Tom Gilb’s “Advanced Agile Practices” presentation, I give you Dave Rico’s 14 pitfalls of agile methods:
If you look closely at the list, the entries don’t just apply to attempts at agilization. They are daunting challenges for any aspiring corpo change agent who wishes to make a sweeping change to “the way we develop products“.
A disgusted reader recently sent me this link regarding yet another textbook example of corpo scam artistry: “Bwin.party proposes new bonus plan for top execs as share price languishes“. Since the board of directors at a borg is usually a hand picked crew of yes-men by the “senior leadership team“, the article headline should probably read: “Bwin.party executives propose new bonus plan for themselves as share price languishes.“
When pay for performance under the current set of “KPI“s (Key Performance Indicators) stops the money from flowing into the pockets of the head shed aristocracy, the answer is always the same no-brainer. Simply get your board-of-derelicts to lower the bar and champion a new set of bogus KPIs to the powerless and fragmented shareholdership. Ka-ching!
With the old bonus benchmarks now akin to launching manned space flights to Alpha Centauri, Bwin.party is proposing a new scheme that more accurately reflects the company’s lowered expectations. Under this plan, CEO Norbert Teufelberger would pick up a maximum bonus of 550% of his annual base salary of £500k, while chief financial officer Martin Weigold would receive 435% of his £446k annual pay packet. - Steven Stradbrooke
When borgs perform brazen acts of inequity like Bwin.party (“party” is literally true for the execs), the rationalizations they spew to the public are mostly hilarious repetitions recycled from the past:
- Bwin.party says the paydays are necessary because the US market is beginning to open up, and the hordes of US gaming companies looking to move online lack senior management with online know-how.
- The potential for US companies to poach senior execs from experienced European companies represents “the single biggest threat to Bwin.party’s ability to retain its senior management.”
- Bwin.party also suggests its top execs deserve danger pay due to “aggressive enforcement of national laws against senior executives within the industry.”
Danger pay? Bwaaahahhah and WTF! That excuse certainly wasn’t dug up from the past. Ya gotta give the clever board-of-derelicts bonus points for such creative genius: “If ya break the law and damage the company, don’t worry. We’ve got ya covered.” Why not go one step further and give Bwin.party’s employees hazard pay for having to work under such a cast of potentially criminal bozeltines?
To determine if executive compensation has any correlation to company performance, BD00 performed 30 seconds worth of intensive research and plotted the results of his arduous effort for your viewing pleasure:
So, whadya think? Is executive compensation tied to performance over the long haul? Regardless of how you answer the question, ya gotta love capitalism because after all is said, it’s the worst “ism” except for all the other “isms“.
When I started this blog four years ago, I had to decide whether to publish as an anonymous coward or to use my real name. I struggled with the decision for a bit because I knew I was going to write frequently, real frequently, about dysfunctional management and institutional behaviors that I’ve both experienced and (even more so) read about over the years. In addition, since I’m a high energy, passionate animal who doesn’t hold much back and at times finds it hard to compromise, I knew that much of my content was going be highly caustic and offensive.
Out of fear of repercussions, I decided to start writing incognito… until a dear friend brought up the perplexing issue again. After rethinking the situation, I resolved to let it all hang out. I gingerly hoisted my name up on my “About me” page. Never say never, but I didn’t (and still don’t) care about climbing any corpo ladder or presenting the squeaky clean image that all main stream “leadership” books tout as necessary to “get ahead“. I have some hairy warts and barnacles growing on my brain and, hell, I choose to expose them.
So, if I don’t want to get ahead by movin’ on up, then WTF does BD00 want? I want to keep ruining drill bits while I blast away at the impenetrable bedrock that entombs the holy grail of effective software development. I like going deep, deep, deep down into the unexplored corners of programming (in C++, of course), design, architecture, requirements, and the squishy realm of team-based software development processes. These closely-coupled topics excite me because there seems to be no bottom, no final “truths“, no end to life-long learning in any of them. It’s what I was meant to do.
What were you meant to do?
Somewhere on the road from small startup sensation to huge institutional borgdom, the oft-repeated process of “manage-ification by growth” fires up and kicks into high gear. It’s inevitable, or is it?
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!
You are in the future. You were sent by a magical wormhole as you entered the elevator, What do you see? The remains of your company, destroyed… The only clue to what happened? An organizational chart where all boxes read: “Manager”. They’ve finally done it, they’ve destroyed the company by turning everybody into a manager – Random Manager
It took forever, but I finally received my POTM T-shirt from my Germany-based e-friend, Vasco Duarte (@duarte_vasco). W00t!
You can get your very own copy of the POTM masterpiece here: POTM T-Shirt.
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