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Collaboration and Innovation: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate” *

Show me a recent company mission statement or a set of corporate values and I'm willing to bet that it'll contain the words collaboration and innovation. It'll probably also contain the word agile and maybe lean as well but let's not get sidetracked in the first paragraph. Whilst I don’t dispute that innovation and collaboration are ‘good things’, when they appear in high-level mission
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Think Global, Act Local - How To Sub-optimise Your Global Operation

I think it was sometime in the early 2000s when I first came across the expression "Think Global, Act Local". The phrase has been attributed to Patrick Geddes, a Scottish town planner and social activist, and originated way back in 1915. These days it is a rallying cry for global corporations, and it has appeared in nearly every leadership presentation I have seen over the last 10 years. At the time,
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You Don't Know What You've Got 'Till It's Gone

"Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone "  are lines from the 1970 Joni Mitchell song "Big Yellow Taxi" which was an early reflection of environmental blots on the landscape. Those lines work on so many levels from reminiscing about personal relationships, missed opportunities and regrets about leaving situations or places. But it struck me that they
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Change Debt - No Second Chances

In the past few years ‘Technical debt’ has become a fairly hot topic. Using the description from Wikipedia, ‘Technical debt’ is a metaphor referring to the eventual consequences of poor system design, architecture or development within a codebase. The debt can be thought of as work that needs to be done before a particular job can be considered complete or proper. If the debt is not repaid,
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7 Deadly Sins of Process Improvement/Change - #7 Extravagance

My final deadliest sin is that of extravagance. Extravagance is not confined to process improvement, but for many years was something of a feature of the IT industry. Extravagance has two meanings, and both are relevant in this post. The first definition refers to the lack of restraint in spending money or use of resources. The second refers to the excessive use of elaborateness in style, speech or
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7 Deadly Sins of Process Improvement/Change - #6 Ignorance

My penultimate deadly sin is that of Ignorance. Ignorance is purely and simply a lack of knowledge, information or understanding. Ignorance itself is not the deadly sin as clearly we are all ignorant about certain (most?) subjects. The sin is in failing to do something about rectifying your own or other's ignorance when it matters, or in pretending that you know about matters which, in reality, you
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Redundancy - the Ultimate People Process

In 2006 I was made redundant for the first (and last) time. At the time I was  devastated, not least because I was completely blindsided by the decision. Just a few weeks previously I had my annual performance review at which I "Far exceeded expectations", received a 5% bonus and a 10% pay rise. At that time bonuses were far rarer than rocking horse droppings and pay increases were 0% to 1.5%
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7 Deadly Sins of Process Improvement/Change - #5 Carelessness

At number five on my list of deadly sins we have Carelessness, where a person or group fails to give enough attention to avoiding errors and mistakes. I deliberately chose to include carelessness in addition to ineptitude because I’d argue that people with good knowledge and understanding who have done their planning and preparation can still be careless and make clumsy and costly errors as a result.
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7 Deadly Sins of Process Improvement/Change - #4 Impatience

Whilst sin number two in my list is Inertia, sin number four is almost the opposite; Impatience, the state of restless eagerness. Typically this is a management problem but it can also stem from within a change team, or individuals caught up in the excitement of a change, or even in desperation for a change to the existing status quo. I have seen many change programmes wound down or cancelled
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7 Deadly Sins of Process Improvement/Change - #3 Ineptitude

People make mistakes. Apparently it’s what makes us human, although it most certainly isn’t a purely human trait, as mistakes take place in the animal world every time a predator catches its prey. What I mean by ineptitude in this context is either actively making clumsy, silly, avoidable mistakes, or forcing others to do so through your actions. There’s quite a close tie-in to our opening sin
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7 Deadly Sins of Process Improvement/Change - #2 Inertia

Continuing on the theme of 7 Deadly Sin of Process Improvement and Change, my second deadly sin is Inertia, the tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. Inertia may be caused by a number of things including fear, ignorance, lack of confidence, uncertainty but it has the same effects regardless of the cause. At best, inertia will lead to nothing happening at all - a kind of nothing ventured, nothing
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7 Deadly Sins of Process Improvement/Change - #1 Arrogance

Just over three years ago I posted an article on this blog called 7 Deadly Sins of Process Improvement (or Change Management). It recently dawned on me that, although I said I would expand on the 'sins' I mentioned in the original post, I never got around to it, so I'm now trying to make amends for that oversight!  The first of my deadly sins is arrogance. Arrogance is defined as “having or revealing
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Dodgy Decision Making In the Wake of a “Successful” SCAMPI A Appraisal

So your organization now has a huge deck of PowerPoint slides produced by the SCAMP A Appraisal team, and somewhere towards the back there’s one particular slide that tells you your rating (you hope!). It’s probably taken you a long time to get to this point, maybe even years, and the relief from those intimately involved in the whole exercise is palpable. Your SEPG can relax and everyone can look
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Criteria for Creating Project Artefacts

If I take a look at the people I follow on Twitter (currently about 1100) they fall into roughly several main categories listed here but not in any specific order:- Process and Quality Experts (including CMMI, ITIL and ISO specialists) Apple technical experts (including magazines and developers) Apple fanboys and girls Business leaders (non-IT) Musicians and other "celebrities" Journalists IT professionals
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The Trouble(s) with Software Process Improvement

Fifteen or more years of software process improvement efforts have not lead to the remarkable changes that people like Watts Humphrey may have envisaged when he wrote "Managing the Software Process". The reality is that despite our efforts software development projects continue to fail either completely or to meet their intended budget, time and quality objectives. Even high maturity organisations
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Sustainable Change Requires Preparation

Last time I wrote about a simple change lifecycle with a start, middle and end, and I focused attention to the end phase. That may seem a topsy turvy way of looking at things, but the reality is that if we don't think about the end goal at the start, we are going to have serious problems throughout the change cycle. It is generally accepted that change initiatives should be managed as projects. This
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Knowing When Enough is Enough

In an increasingly unstable world, where corporations and individuals are being subjected to manifest and constant change it's frustrating to realise that there are still very few people who understand enough about the management of change to enable change programmes to have the best chance of succeeding. Often, even the simplest concepts are ignored. Given that change generally occurs over a period
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Leave "Stealth Mode" to the spy planes

Over the years I've heard numerous references to "Process Improvement by Stealth". The New Oxford American Dictionary defines stealth as "cautious and surreptitious action or movement". Neither cautious or surreptitious are words that should be associated with process improvement or indeed any change initiative where the first three laws for success are Communicate, Communicate and Communicate. Stealth
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Consider all your Stakeholders

Over the next few days I'm going to change tack a little bit and post some bite size blog entries focusing on some critical success factors and key points of failure associated with operating an effective process management function and performing process improvement. Each of the entries I'm going to post represents an element of process management that is often overlooked, especially in inexperienced
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