Fly me to the moon…

And get me back. Before the decade is out. Kennedy’s challenge to the US was, whatever its political motivations, all the more remarkable in that when it was made the US had amassed less than fifteen minutes of manned flight in a single sub-orbital mission.

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You can’t do it like that!

“You can’t do it like that!”

“Why not?”

“We agreed at the beginning of the release that you would do it like this

“Ah, but doing it like this makes no sense now.”

“Look, in the meeting minutes. You agreed!”

“So? We’ve learned a lot since then…”

“But you can’t do it like that!”

Bureaucracy hates self-organisation.

(I’m pleased to say that this little exchange was inspired by a happy experience of a team deciding that they could do it like that)

Desire paths, social networks, shadow organisations

Prompted by Scott Berkun’s recent post on thinking in desire paths, here’s a picture of a Finnish equivalent:*

Desire path at Kera station, Helsinki

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Complexity - the new Behaviourism?

Thinking on organisational change comes in two varieties. On the one hand, there’s a body of work and practice that focusses on deep group and individual reflection, on the questioning of assumptions and identities, that I’ll characterise as analytical, as it’s mode of operation, and the positions taken and strategies followed by its practitioners, stem directly from the world of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. On the other, a set of concepts and interventions that grow out of both the behaviourist psychology of the mid- 20th century, bolstered (though I’m sure those holding these current ideas would be loth to admit it) by more recent developments in systems thinking and complexity science, which I’ll name behaviourist (acknowledging that this is not the whole story by any means, but for now it serves my — admittedly oppositional — purposes).

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Jazz, Agility, Innovation

I was intrigued when I heard about Adrian Cho’s book The Jazz Process: Collaboration, Innovation and Agility. Over the years I’ve enjoyed working on development projects with many, many colleagues who’ve astonished me with their musical intelligence and experience — as players of all sorts of music, composers, or simply with extraordinary deep knowledge. Late night talks with friends and fellow developers in the pub, at meet-ups and conferences, makes it clear that this is a widely accepted phenomenon. So when an active jazz musician who’s also a senior development manager at IBM writes a book on the subject, maybe — just maybe — there’ll be some useful insights, particularly about collaboration and innovation in a large organisation.

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Kent Beck and Software G Forces

At ScanDev 2010 last week, Kent Beck spoke about Software G Forces (slides from an earlier version of this talk are here. Observing that the move in our world is towards more and more frequent releases to users, Kent asked the question — what does this mean for our organisations? (agile in organisations this was the focus of the track - he said he’d tackled the implications for teams and team practices in earlier versions of the talk).

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EPIC goals of coaching

Coaching doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it isn’t purposeless. I’ve found it useful to think about coaching in terms of goals, and in particular what kinds of goals we can establish.

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The post-bureaucratic organisation

Steve Freeman tweeted this interesting review by Kailash Awati of a case study by Dr Damian Hodgson, drawing in turn, and in part, on work from the 1990s by Charles Heckscher on the Post-Bureaucratic Organisation.

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