Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change Diary

A diary of organizational change in a software company, by James Shore.

Week Nine, Monday:

The mantra was, "failure is not an option"... so failure was swept under the rug. Little failures, unaddressed by unaware management, cascaded into big failures that were "addressed" by blaming and bullying. This led to a vicious cycle in which fewer little failures were reported, more big projects went under, more blame and bullying, and still more people stopped reporting problems.

Week Nine, Tuesday:
...by good planning I mean something very specific: developers estimating their own tasks and business folks prioritizing those tasks.

Week Ten:

I am able to introduce new ideas when people trust me.

I no longer approach my work from the standpoint of "I'm here to Change Things." Instead, I'm interested in showing people ideas, seeing what they think, talking about alternatives, listening to experiences, etc.

I have a pretty low tolerance for bullshit and it seems that organizations always accumulate some amount of bullshit. My intolerence makes me seem unfriendly and critical, which makes it harder for people to trust me.

By "asking permission," I mean just that. I don't assume that people want me to tell them my ideas. I don't assume that they want me to show them how to do something... I'm just offering to help out.

I've seen how hard organizational change can be, and so I no longer attempt it. I just share ideas, lead by example, and have fun doing it. If things change, great! It's a much easier approach to life... and you know what? I think it's made me more effective as a consultant, and as a change agent, too.

Week Seventeen:

Q: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Just one, but the light bulb has to want to change.

Week Eighteen:

People in positions of authority need to stand up and say, "We need to do this, this, and this, or we're going to fail. Trust my judgement and let me do my job, or accept my resignation."

No comments: