no creativity / innovation without failure

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

bob sutton published some nice words about innovation and on how much failure is related to it. he brings out that in a creative environment there should be enough room for experiment, errors and learning. i really support this idea and therefore want to recommend his list of advices that correspond to it here:

  1. take a little risk
  2. try something you are bad at
  3. encourage someone who has given their all and failed – don’t humiliate or punish them
  4. remember that by insisting on perfection and worrying too much that something bad will happen, you preclude the possibility that something great happen – or of suffering failure that will teach you a lesson that will make you a huge success the time after
  5. talk about your mistakes and let others know what you have learned from them (this is all about after action reviews and retrospectives)
  6. punish inaction
  7. punish “cover your ass” behavior – that isn’t the kind of action we need right now

five half-truths about teams and teamwork

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

when it comes to teams and teamwork, there is a lot unfounded belief and intuition. some aspects of team building and team performing are commonly accepted, and are therefore not questioned or scrutinised. but there are truths that, when we look closer at them are not really true.


managing software development

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

i came across a nice essay of reg braithwaite on what managing software development really means. he states that it basically consists of three main theories:

  • accountability for results
  • authority over resources
  • making decisions based on judgement

in addition, management has to be accompanied by courage. good judgement means that uncertainties or risks, which are connected to options, have to be evaluated and reduced. sometimes you even cannot get a clear view of the decision basis and you have to cope with the risks bounded to your options. or you might possibly have to accept negative consequences that potentally will arise from any of your options. so you need more or less courage to decide which option to take.

i personally think that you should also add the need of a strategy to the above mentioned aspects. a red thread has to run through all of your decisions. they have to match to each other and should tend to a certain kind of long term goal, which also has to be accepted by your staff.
if your strategy doesn’t fit to the circumstances, i.e. the skills of your staff, the working environment or of course to a business case, you will be blamed for poor management.