The planning fallacy is the tendency of people to underestimate how long they’ll take to complete a task or project. Why are we struggle at estimation? Kahneman and Tversky (1979) thought that it had to do with information input. When people estimate, they tend to consider only factors related to the project that’s in front of them, instead of considering factors from prior experience. The approach of only thinking ahead doesn’t have the benefit of considering more factors and considerations. It may also feel a lot better to think ahead than to recall the painful trauma of failed projects of the past. And yet, the past can be a fantastic source of factors. I’ve had software projects get delayed by[…]

Software agility is not business agility (Klaus, 2018). If that sounds true to you, then the rest of this post should be a fun read. If it is not, this may be challenging. It could still be a fun read. Software Agility The collection of knowledge called Agile Methods, as applied to developing valuable software, is deep and broad. Much of the variance both within communities and across communities is caused by the ambiguities in their experiences and where they’re at in their personal and leadership development. There are good reasons for the distinctions among the different forms of Agile. The Universe is whatever you say it is, so just say. Business, Busyness, Problems Have you ever participated in a[…]

Marty Cagan lists four big risks in product development: value risk (will they buy it?) usability risk (can they figure out how to use it?) feasibility risk (can engineers build it?) business viability risk (can the business work with it?) Cagan’s framework is a great read. I’d like to build on and acknowledge Cagan’s ideas here. The intimate relationship Canadians have with risk Water is to fish as risk is to Canadians. If you aren’t from here, maybe you’d be in a better position to see it. There’s a skill, called inversion, that I think Canadians are pretty good at. You imagine the worst that can happen, and then you write plans to avoid those nightmare from coming true. It’s a good skill. I[…]

There’s an entire complex rooted on the idea that business plans are intelligently designed. Let’s probe that idea a bit. I enjoy Eric Beinhocker’s ideas about complexity economics. I’ve written of his ideas again and again and again. One of the most polarizing talks I’ve ever given was centred on his idea of a Library of Smith. It’s the idea that every single business plan that has ever been written, will ever be written, or can ever be written is contained in an imaginary library named after Adam Smith. Somewhere in this library is the elusive Google Business Plan from 1999. There’s also GE’s business plan for 1956. And another business plan with the letter ‘A’, repeated 99,000 times. I[…]

Often, there is a crisis that is visible to all, but nobody acts. Why does this pattern repeat? Spoiler: One of my favourite books is by Shigetaka Komori: Innovating Out of Crisis: How Fujifilm Survived (and Thrived) As Its Core Business Was Vanishing. In it, Komori describes how Fujifilm survived while Kodak failed. Another one of my favourite books is by Kathleen Thelen, in an epic entitled How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, the United States, and Japan. In it, Thelen describes how institutional lock-in occurs. In this post, I’ll combine themes from Komori and Thelen, with an insight about beliefs, in an effort to explain a part of why groups of people who are[…]

Canadians are a people shaped by physical and social geography. Both explain a portion of why we are who we are, and how we relate to each other. Covid-19, an executable snippet of code wrapped in protein with the sole goal of persistence, is shaping us. It has already affected our social demography. Will it change Canada’s social geography? What It Is Population density is a pretty good indicator of attitude. I can’t make the claim that it’s always causal for all people, After all, did living with 25,000 others in a square kilometre in downtown Toronto make you more conscious of mental health challenges facing the population, or were you always conscious and chose to live with others who[…]

The diagram below, something that John Cutler put together, made me think. I got a kick out of it. Maybe you will too. First, I’ll unpack the image. Second, I’ll contribute a few thoughts. What are you looking at? If you look down the centre, you’ll see nine instructions, called mandate levels, labelled from A to I. At level A you’ll find the instruction “Build exactly this [to a predetermined specification]”, at F, “Increase/decrease [metric] known to influence a specific business outcome”, and at I, “Generate [long-term business outcome]”. To the left, you’ll see a few boxes, labelled Eng, Design, PM, and GM. To the right, similar boxes labelled PROD DEV TEAM, PM, GM. The organization on the left is[…]

The one pager is a beautiful tool. It’s one page. It is something that you are bringing to a persons’ mind. It contains a limited amount of language – around 300 words or less if there is a chart or many bullet points. Most people can read it in around 90 seconds, though, some can do it in 60 seconds. Those are the constraints. You use tools to achieve goals. We’ll start there, dive into each one, and I’ll conclude with a few experiences. Goals Three common goals are to persuade, to declare, or to engage. Persuasion is often about convincing oneself, another, or a group to form a belief. Declaration is often about sharing or proclaiming a decision, fact,[…]

What if the rate of forgetting is interrelated with the rate of learning? What might that mean? The Knowledge Funnel The Knowledge Funnel is a model that describes how knowledge is made useful by an organization. At one side, you got mysteries. We live in an era where the number of mysteries vastly outnumbers the amount of knowledge. There is no shortage of mystery. Heuristics are rules of thumb that work most of the time, but not all of the time. There are lot of heuristics. They tend to form the core value driver for many organizations. There are comparatively fewer algorithms. Those organizations that have fit algorithms are often extraordinarily profitable and competitive. Some researchers focus on converting mysteries[…]

What is Airlocking? Airlocking is a process where a belief spreads and locks-in to the point that direct, disconfirming, evidence is disregarded, and people believe something to the point that they’ll kill themselves by throwing themselves out of an airlock. If there is another term for this phenomenon, could you please let me know? In the meantime, I’ll call it Airlocking. Etymology Consider the following scene from Avenue 5, Season 1, Episode 8. It aired just as those in the United States and Canada were understanding the full gravity of Covid-19 in March, 2020. TV is useful because it gives everybody the opportunity to experience the same phenomenon for themselves, independently. Everybody has a different reflection. The whole episode is[…]