We need to design things so that we have locality in our systems and the organizations that build them. And we need simplicity in everything we do.
It’s all about how our daily work feels. Is our work marked by boredom and waiting for other people to get things done on our behalf? Do we blindly work on small pieces of the whole, only seeing the outcomes of our work during a deployment when everything blows up, leading to firefighting, punishment, and burnout? Or do we work in small batches, ideally single-piece flow, getting fast and continual feedback on our work? These are the conditions that allow for focus and flow, challenge, learning, discovery, mastering our domain, and even joy.”
The Third Ideal is Improvement of Daily Work. It is the dynamic that allows us to change and improve how we work, informed by learning.
‘It is ignorance that is the mother of all problems, and the only thing that can overcome it is learning.’
For the leader, it no longer means directing and controlling, but guiding, enabling, and removing obstacles.
The opposite of the Third Ideal is someone who values process compliance and TWWADI (‘The Way We’ve Always Done It.’) It’s the huge library of rules and regulations, processes and procedures, approvals and stage gates, with new rules being added all the time to prevent the latest disaster from happening again.
The Fourth Ideal is Psychological Safety, where we make it safe to talk about problems, because solving problems requires prevention, which requires honesty, and honesty requires the absence of fear.
One example are blameless post-mortems. Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.
The goal is to enable the people closest to the problem to share what they saw, so we can make our systems safer. The only rule is that you can’t say ‘I should have done X’ or ‘If I had known about that, I would have done Y.’ Hindsight is always perfect. In crises, we never actually know what’s reallyl going on, and we need to prepare for a future where we have an equally imperfect understanding of the world.”
Fifth Ideal is Customer Focus, where we ruthlessly question whether something actually matters to our customers, as in, are they willing to pay us for it or is it only of value to our functional silo?”
Horizon 1 is your successful, cash-cow businesses, where the customer, business, and operational models are well-known and predictable. Horizon 1 thrives on process and consistency, on rules and compliance, and on bureaucracies, which create extraordinary resilience. These are the mechanisms that allow greatness to be consistently delivered over.
Almost all businesses fade over time, because any profitable operation will attract competitors. The economic logic of selling reductions in transactional cost is irresistible and inevitable. Which is why Horizon 2 lines of business are so important, because they represent the future of the company. They may introduce the company’s capabilities to new customers, adjacent markets, or with different business models. These endeavors may not be profitable, but this is where we find higher-growth areas. It is from here that enterprising leaders create the next generation of Horizon 1 businesses.
Horizon 2 efforts come from Horizon 3, where the focus is on velocity of learning and having a broad pool of ideas to explore. Here, the name of the game is to prototype ideas and to answer as quickly as possible the three questions of market risk, technical risk, and business model risk: Does the idea solve a real customer need? Is it technically feasible? And is there a financially feasible engine of growth? If the answer is no to any of them, it’s time to pivot or kill the idea.
Cores are the central competencies of the organization. These are things that customers are willing to pay for and what investors reward.
Context is everything else. It’s the cafeterias, shuttles between buildings, and the thousands of things companies must do to operate. They’re often mission-critical, such as HR, payroll, and email. But our customers do not pay us for the great payroll services we provide to our employees.
Wardley Map is one technique to better localize what parts of various value chains are commodities and should be outsourced, which should be purchased, and which should be kept in-house because the creat durable, competitive advantages.
Technical debt is what you feel the next time you want to make a change.
Software is like a city, constantly undergoing change, needing renovations and repair. Being able to test and push code to production is more productive, makes for happier customers, creates accountability of code quality to the people who write it, and also makes the work more joyful and rewarding.
Innovation and learning occure at the edges not the core. Problems must be solved on the front-lines, where daily work is performed by the world’s foremost experts who confront those problems most often.
A bad system wil beat a good person every time.
“Bash is the disease you die with, but don’t die of.”
“In order to speak clearly, you need to be able to think clearly. And to think clearly, you usually need to be able to write it clearly.”
|Crossing the Chasm||In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey A. Moore shows that in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle - which begins with innovators and moves to early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards - there is a vast chasm between the early adopters and the early majority.|
|Wardley Map||A Wardley map is a map of the structure of a business or service, mapping the components needed to serve the customer or user.|