Tame the Flow - Zähme den Fluss

Es gibt viele verschiedene Richtungen in denen man sich auf das Thema "Produktivität" zubewegen kann. Ich möchte mich hier auf einen sehr persönlichen beziehen.

Ich habe jahrelang geglaubt dass es das Wichtigste ist Mitarbeiter zu motivieren um hohe Produktivität zu erlangen. Mit jedem Jahr Erfahrung wurde es aber klarer - der Schlüssel liegt wo anders. Mitarbeiter sind bei ihrer Einstellung immer motiviert - es liegt an uns diese Motivation einfach nur zu erhalten.

Aber wie? Ganz einfach: Ermöglichen sie ihren Mitarbeitern möglichst viel Erfolgserlebnisse, die sie selbstständig erzeugen können! Und das ist nichts anderes als FLOW! Nicht umsonst wurde das Gefühl, wenn man mit sich im reinen ist, pure Kreativität herrscht und man neues erschafft genau FLOW genannt.

Aber wie erzeugt man diesen FLOW? Und genau das ist nicht mehr ganz so einfach. Genau aus diesem Grunde ist dieses Buch entstanden!

Steve Tendon und ich haben unzählige Male diesen Flow an uns und in unseren Teams erlebt. In diesem Buch haben wir unsere Erfahrungen fundamentiert hergeleitet und zeigen auf, wie es in der Praxis funktioniert. Wie man Schritt für Schritt sich dem Flow nähert - wie man ihn zähmt ("tame") und schließlich ihn immer stärker werden lassen kann.

Kommen sie mit auf diese Reise die voller Leuchten in den Augen steckt.

Wolfram Müller

Neuauflage ab Januar 2015 im J. Ross Verlag


During the past 40­60 years, the fast­paced progress of information technology has propelled most advanced countries towards an information­based, networked economy. Conventional means of management are no longer effective, or even socially acceptable. Management methods and organizational models are under constant evolution. Contemporary knowledge­based companies find ways to profitability by *engaging their employees rather than controlling them; and individuals are motivated by social engagement and collaborative relationships.

There is a challenge to identify, describe, specify, and implement effective management methods and organizational designs representing these new realities.

Organizational design has been approached in many ways: with simple approaches about how labor could be divided into tasks and then coordinated; with elementary organizational structural types, like: simple structure, functional structure, divisional structure, team structure, matrix structure, project structures, autonomous units; with principle­guided organizational design, with principles like: objective, specialization, co-ordination, authority, responsibility, definition, correspondence, span of control, balance, and continuity; with abstract organizational reference models, like the 5­part organization; with more elaborate and dynamic organizational models, like: the learning organization, McKinsey’s 7S Model, and the reconfigurable star model organization. There is no shortage of ideas about how organizations are structured and how they work.

Nowadays the actual organizational structures are no longer represented by traditional organizational charts. Even “matrix” structures and “dotted­line” relationships are gross approximations. Organizations have become decentralized, distributed and networked, and richer organizational descriptive notations have been proposed, like languages based on taxonomies of unit roles and relationships. The transition to the information­based, network economy is now ubiquitous and undeniable; and the contemporary general organizational design and management methods struggle to come to grips with its consequences and impact on organizations.

In this book we posit that valuable insights can be gained by studying the organizational and management approaches successfully adopted by the industry that produced the information revolution in the first place — that is, those organizations that engage in software development — and then extrapolate those organizational and management processes to the more general case of knowledge­based organizations. Nowadays, knowledge­based organizations encompass the majority of organizations. Even the most resilient and traditional “brick­and­mortar” businesses are forced to become knowledge­based organizations. For instance, consider the impact of large­scale 3D printing on the construction industry ("Contour Crafting"), where literally bricks and mortar become software. Or nanoscale technologies, where manufacturing at the sub-atomic level becomes software.

Software development organizations — like Microsoft, Google, Oracle; but also high profile open source organizations like Apache, Ubuntu, Drupal and others — can be considered as archetypal knowledge­based organizations, because the totality of artifacts produced by a software business are purely immaterial. Software development organizations were the first one to confront the challenges of completely immaterial processes, entirely based on knowledge. They were also the first organizations to experience the impact of information technology (especially the development of computer networks) on their internal work processes and organizational structures.

Furthermore, due to its frantic and exponential pace of innovation, the field of software development has also been a testbed for a variety of approaches and methods for managing immaterial knowledge work, typically under the form of software development processes and methodologies. Numerous alternatives evolved over a relatively short period, with a lot of healthy competition in between them; with vehement "holy wars" between proponents of one approach or another; and with many anecdotes about both successes and failures.

Given the above, the premise of this proposal is the following:

If software development organizations can offer any kind of improved organizational management approaches, then such approaches should be applicable to the modern, decentralized, distributed, and networked knowledge­based organization. Such organizations are experiencing today the same socio-techno-structural impact of information technology that have been experienced first by software development organizations, wherein all processes dematerialize.

This book is not only about how to manage knowledge-work, but also how to bring an organization to a state of hyper-productivity. Hyper-productive teams and organizations have always existed, both in fields of business and in the field of military. Naturally, they are rare statistical outliers. The main focus of this book is how one can build and manage a hyper-productive knowledge-work organization, by taken as a source of inspiration the experience matured in the field of software engineering.

 

This book is divided into four parts:

Part I - What and Why

This part of the book starts by describing what hyper-productivity is in a software business, presenting the case of Borland International and the Quattro Pro for Windows team. That team of developers was the most productive that has ever been documented. The history of Borland International is taken as an example of how hyper-productivity is a trait that can be acquired, transferred and lost; and hence sets the foundation for making it possible to bring other organizations into a productive state. Considerations are presented about why it might be worthwhile caring about hyper-productivity in a knowledge organization. Hyper-productivity is presented from the perspective of *organizational patterns* and how sociological aspects determine the social structures and shapes that characterize hyper-productive organizations. The Scrum method is examined as a collection of prepackaged patterns that can, potentially, lead to hyper-productivity. Two foundational patterns are identified as `Unity of Purpose` and `Community of Trust`.

Part II - Management, Leadership and Organization

This part of the book presents a collection of thoughts and describes a number of management approaches which can contribute in some way to building hyper-productive knowledge organizations. The nature of knowledge work (as software) is examined, and how a parallel can be drawn between managing knowledge work and the strategy making activities of business leaders. The iterative, exploratory, adaptive, and empirical process, that is at the root of strategy making, is the same as that used in knowledge work; the consequence is that senior management is at least conceptually well equipped to manage knowledge work. The key process is a social learning process. Management's responsibility and weaknesses in building a learning organization are highlighted. Known management approaches that help this process are examined, like: discovery driven planning, beyond budgeting, incremental funding, and throughput accounting. Next the critical roles of hyper-productive organizations are examined, considering lessons learned from open source software. Also, anti-patterns to hyper-productivity are briefly considered, like some roles that are typical of Scrum. The importance of pride in workmanship, fun and slack are highlighted; as well as practical approaches for creating shared visions at the team level, which then relate to the unity of purpose at the organizational level.

Part III - In Practice with the Kanban Method

This part of the book goes into practical details about how to manage knowledge work through the Kanban Method. First it is shown how there are strong ties between the Kanban Method and the Theory of Constraints. The Theory of Constraints is one of the most successful approaches to improve the performance of organizations; though it has not been fully exploited in the context of knowledge work. The intent of this part of the book is to show that a combination between the Kanban Method and the Theory of Constraints is an excellent combination. On the one side, the Kanban Method provides the tools for dealing with knowledge work management. On the other side the Theory of Constraints provides the focus, especially in terms of determining `Unity of Purpose`, and the leverage that will allow an organization to continuously improve towards higher and higher levels of performance. Some fundamental drawbacks of how Kanban is commonly implemented are addressed and resolved through the application of the Theory of Constraints.

Part IV - In Practice with Scrum

This part of the book, similarly to the previous one, is of practical nature and shows how the significant productivity improvements can be achieved also when starting with Scrum rather than with the Kanban Method. The Theory of Constraint is again used as the catalyst that enables continuous performance improvement. Organizational change is considered from the point of view of the Theory of Constraint, and how it relates to the flow of work through a knowledge based organization. The nature of constraints is explained, and also where and how to start an improvement initiative, going from major releases to backlogs. Execution of control becomes paramount to balance resources towards demand and achieve due-date performance, ultimately reinforcing the `Community of Trust` that is grown within the organization. Particular tools of the Theory of Constraints, like Drum-Buffer-Rope scheduling and Critical-Chain buffer management, are described in a way that further enhance Scrum.