Improvising Processes

A post on a Japanese site about ACM got me think again about what it means to handle unpredictable situations.

In Jazz and other genres of music, there is a tradition of improvisation.  That means, there is a section of the piece, where a particular musician is expected to improvise a solo. Continue reading

Lean Publishing of Books in the Cloud

Those who follow this blog frequently will know that I am currently in the process of finishing of a book called “Mastering the Unpredictable“.  We are having the official launch on April 14, and it should be available before that for pre-order on Amazon. Along the way I have learned a lot of book publishing, what used to happen, and how that entire industry is being radically transformed. Continue reading

Would Taylor have used PriceLine?

If you could use a time machine to pick up Fredrick Winslow Taylor, and bring him to our time, would he use PriceLine to find a hotel to stay in?  We would have to fill him in on 100 years of technological development first, of course.  This odd thought occurred to me as I was making arrangements to attend the event in Washington DC next month.  It was Nathaniel Palmer who pointed out to me that using PriceLine is the antithesis to Scientific Management. Continue reading

Chasing Rabbits with BPM

Chasing the Rabbit” by Steven J Spear is a book about what he calls high velocity organizations.  Velocity is equated with success because these companies have the agility to respond and capture business.  It is not just speed.  These organizations are able to capture quality.

I was interested because someone had told me this was the secret to highly reliable organizations.  The book covers in detail the US Navy nuclear program which has 5700 reactor years of use without a single nuclear mishap.  Continue reading

It is All Taylor’s Fault

The Industrial Revolution brought about mass production of parts and products. The concept behind mass production is: break the job into a series of well defined components (interchangeable parts), and set up to produce those parts in large quantities to get economy of scale. Millions of identical parts can bring the price down of a completed product. The cost of setting up a factory is high, but is recouped through small savings multiplied by many instances.

Fredrick Winslow Taylor applied these mass production ideas to work and called it “Scientific Management“. Continue reading

Kanban for Software Development

Last Wednesday I got a full scale indoctrination into the agile software development methodology called Kanban, loosly based on the Toyota Production System (TPS) mechanism with the same name.  Toyota uses the kanban as a mechanism to allow for just the right amount of parts to be ordered and to be delivered just in time (JIT) in order to avoid overproduction and waste in the production line.  Kanban Software Development Methodology (KSDM) brings the same lean ideas to a development team. Continue reading

Taiichi Ohno Reinterpreted

Taiichi Ohno is credited with the creation of the Toyota just-in-time production system, and his book “Toyota Production System: Beyond Large Scale Production”  is a surprisingly good read even today when many of these principles are considered well established.

My interest was in understanding how this philosophy applies to Agile/Lean Software Development.  Continue reading

26 Hints for Agile Software Development

I collect nuggets of wisdom on various topics. Recently I have been going over the topic of Agile software development; what really matters?  Below is a list of 26 key principles to guide an agile software development team.

  • Get case 1 fully working before starting case 2. Another way of saying this to use a kitchen metaphor is: “Serve the current meal before starting to cook the next“.  Continue reading

Process Language, Agility, and Fitness

When designing a business process, you need to design for change, because business is always changing and agility depends upon the ability to change.  Once you understand that change is a constant part of business, you know that the business process you design today is not going to remain static.

If you are going to design for change, it is important to pick the right language.  If you pick the wrong language, then change will be very difficult.  We say that a language is a good language Continue reading