Weekend Reading is way for me to share what’s influencing my thinking.
The John Cutler Section
John had a number of pieces out this week, but I only want to focus on one: Scaling Traps - Where Intuition Leads us Astray. This is another article he’s done for the GitPrime Blog, and if you aren’t following this, please do. Right out of the gate it hits very close to home, discussing “an organization that is struggling with limiting work in progress.” I have a feeling that this is the majority of organizations. If you’re in a position to hire people for your team(s), you really need to read this. As usual, John isn’t prescriptive with a solution, but there are a lot of good questions to ask yourself, and hopefully by finding those answers you’ll also help find a solution to your scaling problem.
Teaching Your Team How to Troubleshoot Tension, also from the GitPrime Blog, is a fantastic little piece reminding us that team tension is not always healthy, nor does it magically produce better results. It gives us a nice reminder that decisions have to be made, but they don’t have to be made in a destructive way, even when people disagree. Speaking of Disagree and commit, there’s a Wikipedia page for that.
I know I said I only wanted to focus on one Cutler article, but that’s for that that section. John wrote two articles that tie into this problem of tension. The first, and shorter of the two, is Yes, But… , which is really about trying to remind you to put yourself on the other side of the equation to see if you can envision how things got to where they are without ascribing malice or incompetence. The longer article, Look Before Leaping, is a example-laden message to know what the situation/culture is that you’re trying to change before you try and change it. Pretty standard advice in any org takeover, but it’s always nice to have case studies and not just a bullet point on a list.
What if you created cross functional teams around user experiences instead of “products” or layers of the technology stack? In Calibrating Technical Teams with a Simple Shift, we find out what that looks like. Oddly enough, what drives success? “A shared purpose, and facilitating communication.” Shocker, right?
Since I’ve already blown the “just one Cutler piece” idea, check out both WIP It Real Good and So That Prioritization Spreadsheet…. You can never gaze into the void long enough to solve Work In Progress/Promise and the infinite priority problem. But at least in these you’ll get good questions to ask yourself.
Thanks for reading! See you next week.