Every once in a while, you run into an individual or an organization with an acutely mechanistic view of software development processes. “Mechanistic,” in this context, means that processes are like machines: you wind them up and let them go. As long as they continue to operate, good things will result. This misconception echoes a similar view of political systems that is alternately harmless and dangerous. In “The Place Of The Independent In Politics,” James Russell Lowell warned that too many Americans had lapsed into a view of the Constitution that it was a “machine that would go if itself.” “I admire the splendid complacency of my countrymen,” Lowell said, “and find something exhilarating and Read more
Posts Tagged 'culture'
Here is a question to get your mind going. Has the evolution of computing been shaped by Western 20th century politics and culture or have our designs been more indebted to unchanging human psychology? While this sounds like an abstract debate in which only academics would revel, it started with me tweaking Apple’s iPad in a tweet for what I believe to be ambivalence within the iPad’s file system design. The iPhone and iPad file designs do not exactly follow conventional and hierarchical folder/directory designs of yore. The reason is obvious. Most everyday users of ubiquitous devices have no need for the extra complexity. Many casual users of smart phones and now pads and slates Read more
So long to the gorilla dust at GM. That’s what billionaire entrepreneur founder of EDS and ex-General Motors executive Ross Perot called the annual optimistic projections of GM executives during the 1980s, as it continued to lose market share. “When gorillas fight, they throw dust in the air to distract one another,” Perot said. Gorilla dust wasn’t just thrown only by Chairman and CEO Roger Smith throughout the 1980s, as GM’s US market share dropped from 46% to 36%, but also by his successors Robert Stempel and Jack Smith throughout the 1990s and Richard Wagoner into the 2000s as well. GM’s current US market share is under 18% — that was, before the bankruptcy announcement Read more
According to some observers, the new generation of workers entering organizations are different. This generation, sometimes labeled “millennials” or “digital natives,” number almost 70 million–greater than the prior “gen Xers” (51 million) but somewhat smaller than the generation of “boomers” (83 million). Some are suggesting that these digital natives, having grown up in an environment rich in information technology, approach knowledge work differently and present challenges for current management and organizational practices. Have you noticed any differences in work habits as new hires enter your organization? We put together a short scenario that illustrates what some see as how these new workers may be different. Here is how it begins: Jeri Smith heads down the Read more
Twenty years ago, Peter Drucker wrote about the coming of the new, information-based organization, which twenty years later we now take nearly for granted as incarnate everywhere. While information-based organizations rely on and have been largely created by advanced IT, Drucker notes that not all such organizations require advanced IT. Advanced IT lets firms eliminating layers of management that previously served as filters and transmitters of information. IT-enabled point-to-point delivery of relevant information lets companies build scale without building mass. Learning from industry, the United States military has taken notice and found ways to do the same. Drucker identified three major evolutions in the concept and structure of organizations. The first occurred in at the Read more