Dale Myers' Blog: Think. Plan. Act. Repeat.

Dale MyersI recently reconnected with a former colleague that I’d not seen in several years. He was the type of person that just didn’t fit the corporate mold – you know the kind that speaks their mind, is impulsive, a little volatile, moves really fast, and makes decisions from his gut.

Over lunch, he told the story of his latest venture of buying an underperforming manufacturing business, turning it into a growing, profitable entity and then selling it for big money to a large competitor.  He talked about how in his first days as the new owner, employees were coming to him with a variety of ideas.  He didn’t really know the industry and there were no formal business cases, user studies or even customer requirements to review. But, his intuition helped him identify the winning ideas, and whom to trust. He approved the ideas that “felt good.” Many of the ideas…

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God plays dice

Thomas Schelling, in his fascinating book Micromotives and Macrobehavior (pp. 64-65 of the 2006 Norton edition) writes:

Ask people whether they consider themselves above or below average as drivers. Most people rank themselves above. When you tell them that, most of them smile sheepishly.

There are three possibilities. The average they have in mind is an arithmetic mean and if a minority drive badly enough a big majority can be “above average”. Or everybody ranks himself high in qualities he values: careful drivers give weight to care, skillfyl drivers give weight to skill, and those who think that, whatever sle they are not, at least they are polite, give weight to courtest, and come out high on their own scale. (Thsi is the way that every child has the best dog on the block.) Or some of us are kidding ourselves.

I’d long heard something similar in that “75 percent…

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Musings about Software Development

We have all been there – walking on eggshells to avoid outbursts from  a boss, co-worker, or client.  So we skirt the issue, pretend the bad behavior doesn’t exist, ignore the problem, and spend extra time planning how to present an issue so that the person in question doesn’t explode.

While I know that this type of behavior is rampant in business (I’ve experienced it more than once!) – it has serious (and expensive) consequences in the IT industry.  The repercussions stemming from having to “walk on eggshells” to avoid the potential wrath ranges from minor  “oversights” to full scale project failure.

The Challenger disaster is one such failure where group-think and avoidance of conflict ended up costing lives and millions of dollars.  A video chronicling the group think behavior depicts the group-think behavior and steps are taken in companies to address such behaviors. This is all good.

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