Sep 062013


Let me start with full disclosure: A) I am a fellow of the Lean Systems Society; and, B) I will be attending the conference. Obviously, I am a little biased. This very natural bias notwithstanding, if you find my blog posts (click here and here) of interest, I am fairly certain you will have a ball in the conference. Moreover, I believe you will step out of the conference with a few actionable insights that might surprise you.

The #1 problem most of my clients are struggling with these days is complexity; #2 is that they are expected to solve the complexity problem through best practices: #3 is that I tell them something like “I don’t know that best practices apply to your situation; Dave Snowden has very clearly demonstrated that best practices are applicable only up to a point.” Most times when I utter these fatal words, a fourth problem arises: the client rolls his eyes in total exasperation that can have only one possible interpretation: “What kind of good-for-nothing consultant have I got on my hands? He can’t even give me best practices.”

From what I can glean, we as a movement are fast moving toward numerous environments to which best practices really really really do not apply. Think, for example, of the Internet of Things (IoT). What best practices can we bring to bear on testing an environment characterized by 10B, 20B or 50B devices and sensors? If you think this is example is futuristic, try Mobile testing. Year-to-date we have seen more than 11,000 distinct Android devices. What best practices can we apply to testing such an exponentially growing number of devices? In most Mobile engagements I witness a very rudimentary “best practice” – we only test for the three top Android devices… Well, maybe it is not three but the top five Android devices, but the fundamental problem is the same: how on earth would you manage the incredible amount of configuration debt you are likely to drown in if you tried testing 11,000 distinct devices?!

I really do not know which actionable insights I will acquire/evolve during the conference. However, I am fairly certain I will step out of it with some wisdom that I have so far failed to grasp. It will come out of interactions with colleagues, friends and new friends. Such wisdom, even at the era of Social, can only be developed through face-to-face interactions in this kind of conference. There is no substitute to so doing when you try to push the state of the art.


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