Changing customer expectations, “burning platforms,” competitive pressures, and increasing regulatory requirements are just a few of the substantial challenges that modern business leaders face. These pressures have pushed many businesses from the merely complicated to the complex domain, requiring new approaches to management — evolutionary agility at scale.
If software QA began with a specific number of bugs, it might be easier to find all the issues. For example, many puzzle books show you a drawing and ask you to find an exact number of hidden objects. Or, they show you a pair of drawings and ask you to spot a certain number of differences between them.
In software development, the target number of differences — or bugs — isn’t always so specific. How much easier would software QA be if someone could whisper in our ear how many bugs there are to find? In reality, we never know. We only know a minimum: if we’ve found 37 bugs, we know there are at least 37 bugs. Maybe there’s one more to find, or maybe there are hundreds — we can’t be sure.
As an IT department, you receive so many requests that you often have to put your own long-term improvements on the back burner. When you finally come up for air, you realize that your tech platform left the “patchable” state a long time ago — and now it’s burning.
You need slack time to make critical long-term improvements — before your staff loses faith and leaves. This is easier said than done, since finding slack time (without working longer hours) often requires making tricky trade-off decisions. Here are five areas where you can carve out the time you need.
HiPPO is the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. If you’ve spent any reasonable length of time in a large corporate environment, you will probably have seen something a bit like this firsthand. It usually happens when a group of people are attempting to make a difficult decision, for which there are lots of opinions, but not a lot of data or analysis. There’s often a spirited discussion exploring the various options when the person in the room who is further up the hierarchy (and therefore typically paid more) expresses what they think.
Once people start to get “Stop Starting Start Finishing” thinking (Kanban) or “focus on the current sprint” thinking (Scrum), a frequent question that comes up is how to deal with people who are required for different activities throughout the work life cycle.
Why is it that as we approach our goals they seem to be more difficult to achieve? Why is it that things progressing so well seem sooner or later to turn sour? And when things turn sour, how is it that they seem to do so in such a rapid fashion? Why is it that every problem we solve seems simply to lead to a whole new set of problems? Why is it that the problems we thought we solved yesterday seem to come back to haunt us in a few weeks or months? Why is it that a group of individuals each doing what seems so sensible manages to create something that none of them want, i.e. bureaucracy? Why it is that no matter how much money I make it never seems to be enough? Why is it that co- operative partnerships that should produce tremendous results so often end with the partners becoming adversaries?
We are all overworked, overstressed and overcommitted.
Yet we seldom know why.
Our projects are too demanding, we say. Or maybe it’s because our backlogs are too big. We believe it’s because our jobs are too important. We’re too special to slow down.
But we’re wrong.