The role of leadership in software development

The role of leadership in software development


>>WILDAVSKY: My name is Adam Wildavsky. I’m
a software engineer here and I’d like to thank Joe Little in the back for bringing Mary and
Tom Poppendieck to town. And I’m not going to tell you much about them you’re all here
because you know who they are and you wanted to hear them, so without further ado.
>>POPPENDIECK: Good evening everybody. So I’ll thank Adam for choosing the topic for
tonight. So I didn’t actually choose I gave them a list of several things and–I–if you
don’t like it I can change it. I got my computer here and–you want me talk to about something
else or ask questions about something, that’s quite all right because this one happens to
be about leadership. Actually I said the history of leadership. But–well after a late dinner
last night I went back to the hotel room and started to gather together the talks that
I’ve done before and I really realize this was the—first time I–or second time I did
this talk it was already videotaped in on web. So maybe I better say something more
or different than that. So, I renamed it A History of Leadership and changed a bunch
of stuff and we’ll see how it goes. But I would like really to encourage you to ask
questions and, you know, if you don’t like it challenge me or whatever you want. And
then we’ll just [INDISTINCT] from there. A little bit about my background; I started
out life as a programmer back when programmers were called programmers and so developers.
And programmers did like all sort of things like understand customers and test their software
and, you know, work with engineer–electrical engineers. And I do process control systems.
First I did the controls of a physics experiments at the University of Wisconsin and then I
did process control systems for 3M. And then I became a manager at a manufacturing plant
where we found ourselves in serious competition with Japan and decide that we had to do something
entirely different we’ve been doing before. And we did something that in the early 1980’s
what’s called Just In Time which came to be called Lean and we did the–change our plans
around quite a bit. A little bit more about that later on in the talk. And later on I
went back to corporate head quarters and I did a bunch of product development. So, I
was an IT manager. I was a developer. And then I got in to product development. I did
lighting systems with ultra-pure plastic; honest. And eventually in late 90’s 3M had
this really cool [INDISTINCT] offer that I couldn’t refuse. So I went off and found myself
managing a software project again as a program manager. It was a government project and it’s
the very first time I ever heard this thing called Waterfall. We didn’t do that; honest.
You know, I learned how to do software projects as an engineer in a–in a department where
they didn’t do computers. Computers were new but they could put control systems on process
systems in their sleep. So, I learned about projects from engineers who knew how to put
plans together and always hit deadlines and that was kind of interesting. So, then I–we–I
spent at 3M perhaps a dozen years or more being a manager. And I kind of liked the role
manager and I got involved in talking about how you can apply Lean ideas to software and
I found some people that weren’t software thinking, like, really bad things about managers;
maybe with good reason. But you didn’t like the fact that there was a stereotype that
all managers are bad and should disappear and so, I occasionally talk about leadership
and what leadership is all about and what can do when it’s done right. So that’s what
I’d like to talk about today although it’s not going to always be about what leadership
is done right. Because we’re going to start back in 1850 because it’s a history; I like
history. And on October 5th, 1841 was the first serious train wreck in the U.S.; honest.
At least that’s what I understand form reading the history. And the interesting thing was,
up until this time there weren’t any really big organizations outside of, you know, church
and military and some government stuff. But big companies were just starting to exist
because transportation was just becoming available and you could just start amalgamating a bunch
of things and creating big companies. And trains use to, like, go from here to here
on a track and then another train a few days later from here to here on a track. And all
of a sudden they started putting a lot of trains on the same track and one fine day
a couple of them ran into each other. And then I said, “Oh, who caused that?” So, there
was a big question about how do you run a large dispersed train or railroad organization
in such a way that trains don’t crash because you can’t have lots of people sending people
down the same track. The answer after a, you know, government investigation and all that
sort of stuff was; guess what? You’ve seen this hierarchy before. It was an organizational
structure that kind of looks just like the, you know, pyramid that we out come to wonder
about. And the investigation came up with six principles of administration. This is
sort of the first–this is what management is all about or this is what managers are
supposed to do. First one was; there was supposed to be proper division of responsibilities
so that people had, you know, control over who decided who, what trains went where. There
needed to be sufficient power conferred to enable the–the people with the responsibilities
to carry them out. There had to be a means of knowing whether such responsibilities where
faithfully carried out. There had to be great promptness in reporting all derelictions of
duty; got it. And information obtained through a system of daily reports and checks. And
adoption of a system to enable the General Superintendent to detect errors and immediately
point out the delinquent person, so it was all about assigning blame if something went
wrong because that’s what they we’re trying to do is. If the trains crash somebody has
to be responsible and take the blame. This is from a very interesting book called The
Leader’s Handbook by Peter Scholtes and if you want to read more interesting stuff about
leadership this is–I think this is the book. And he’s actually quoting The Visible Hand:
The Management Revolution in American Business by Chandler in 1977. And in that book Chandler
says, “Basically everything there was to know about management was invented by about 1912
or 1915.” I think stuff has been learned since then but that’s what he said in 1977. And
so, the beginning of management in big organization is all about hierarchy and assigning blame.
Now there were other big organizations as they said they were basically military organizations.
And there, you know, doing the right things is a matter of life and death in other things.
So, let’s talk about what happened in 1880’s. About this time guns became more prevalent
in war and it turns out that a general could no longer stand on the top of a hill and orchestrate
a battle. Because distances were further and guns were, you know, enabled–you know, things
got just way more confusing than they used to be. And so, Suzanne, you’re going to have
to help me. Helmuth von Moltke? Yes? Did I get that right? She’s from Munich, so, you
know, she can get me right here; is the chief of general staff in the Prussian army from
1857 to 1888 for 30 years. And he–in the institute of this concept of command intent
he said, you know, in a war where a general can’t stand in front and tell everybody what
to do; we have to do something different. “No plan of operations extends with any degree
of certainty beyond the first encounter with the main enemy force.” Where have you heard
that before? Lots of people are quoted but that’s where it started; von Moltke. And so,
he had this thing called–now what’s that?>>Auftragstaktik.
>>POPPENDIECK: Got it? Auftragstktik. Okay, or close anyway which is mission tactics.
And it’s all about delegation of decision making authority to subordinate commanders
within the context of the higher command’s intent. So instead of telling people what
to do; you tell the next level of command what you want done. And let them figure out
how to make it happen. And so that’s command intent. And he said the heart of mission command
is this; the advantage which a commander thinks he can attain through continued personal intervention
is largely illusionary by engaging in it, he assumes a test that really belongs to others
whose effectiveness he thus destroys, he ought to multiply his own task to a point where
he can no longer fulfill the whole of them. So the idea of delegation down started with
people who had to win wars where the rules of engagement had changed. And one of the
interesting things you’ll see is that a lot of the good about leadership actually have
come from this origin of various military engagements where things got to be a matter
of life and death. Where–you know, this is the way we always did it. It doesn’t hold
anymore. Now let’s go to 1910. And it’s a–it’s, you know, the modality has just been invented
and is about in 1913 was the first assembly line; automated assembly line. And in 1911
Frederick Winslow Taylor wrote the book The Principles of Scientific Management. This
is not the same as the scientific method, okay. It’s totally different, in fact 180
degrees the opposite. But he had this idea and you got a picture, it’s the U.S., it’s
the automotive industry or the steel industry. Most of the people that are working there
have come from some other country, can’t speak English. So, certain people think they must
be mot very smart because they can’t speak English. And they have to be told what to
do; so there’s a lot of–in Frederick Winslow Taylor’s writing; sort of condescension to
people who actually do work. They’re not smart, they have to be told what to do, they’re lazy,
they will not do the job unless you make sure and keep track of every last thing that they
do. So the underlying theme here and the underlying assumption is that workers will do as little
as possible, that workers do not care about quality so if they aren’t forced to have quality
it won’t happen, and that workers are not smart enough to know the best way to do their
job. So, you need the smart people; the engineers to tell the workers exactly how to do their
job. And there’s a lot of that and the things that he did and has hit a lot of the assembly
type manufacturing environments, like automotive and also that was likely done in the steel
industry. His view of efficiency was that efficiency comes from knowing exactly what
you want men to do and then seeing to it that they do it in a best and cheapest way. So,
they don’t know how to do it best and cheapest but, you know, the smart people; the managers,
the engineers they do. Experts define the best way. And the way they do it is by breaking
down the job into individual parts and finding the best way to do each part and then paying
the workers extra if they do it the best way that has been determined. At the–the highly
insulting flavor to this is really there. I mean, that’s–it’s comes through. And many
of his writings actually I just reread this book about a year ago and I was kind of appalled.
And it’s true that it was written in another age. But it has the flavor of there are only
certain smart people and everybody else is lazy and needs to be told what to do. And
if you watch management in many of the western societies that theme has made it into a bunch
of places but not all places. For example; I worked at 3M and I never actually noticed
this kind of philosophy. And I’m pretty sure the reason is because 3M processees were big
roll goods, you know; make big rolls of sandpaper or tape or something like that. And the people
who operated the production equipment had to be extremely skilled workers. In fact the
first RND head in 3M; the first person that headed up RND got fired because he couldn’t
get along with the production workers. And the production workers knew everything there
was to know about how to make tape and if the RND guide won’t listen to them; they needed
somebody else in charge of RND. Interesting enough you’ll find in Toyota a very similar;
it’s the way the things are manufactured. And the skill in manufacturing this is the
primary focus and things spin out from there. So that’s the one bets way. Somebody figures
it out; somebody knows what’s the one best way and tells everybody what to do. And you
see a lot of that in some industries. But now let’s go to 1920’s and this isn’t very
long after that. And we’ll talk about Charles Allen. He was the guy in New Bedford, Massachusetts
who started up the whole concept of industrial training. If you look into the vo-tech schools
in United States you’ll find that most of them had their origins in Massachusetts with
three fellows. One of whom was Charles Allen. And his idea of on-the job training was that
there are people who really know how to do a job and the way they get people to learn
how to do the job is have a master train the new people coming on to the job. He said,
“Second class trainers produce second class learners.” So, you really need experts who
know how to do the job to do training. But one thing that experts may not know how to
do is how to train people. So, he focused it at how do we train experts to train people?
Because they know how to do the job but they don’t know how to train. So he had a four
step method. Now this is the days of divide every job in to a lot of little bits. And
there’s nothing totally wrong with that but it wasn’t have experts figured it out. It
says, have that master craftsman divide the job into four steps; preparation, presentation,
application, and testing and then train people how to do it. Now what we have at war–there’s
a lot of war that triggers stuff in my story and this particular war was a war of [INDISTINCT]
at sea. Where it had the most ships at the end was the winner basically. And so there
needed to be a lot of ships built in Massachusetts. And so Charles Allen was asked to put together
a training program for shipbuilders. And he put together training program for shipbuilders
by training supervisors how to train people how to built ships. And in two years 88,000
shipbuilders were trained with a hundred supervisors learned how to do training. And at the end
of the war in fact, there were more ships on–in the U.S. than–besides–so I guess
it worked. In any case–in any case he wrote this book it’s called The Instructor, the
Man and the Job; A Handbook for Instructions of Individual–of Industrial and Vo-Tech subjects.
And he wrote a whole concept of training people with on-the-job training. It was very different
then the scientific management of the, you know, the automotive industries. And think
about it, a ship is a little bit different than a car. Ships are all sort of–one of
much more so than a car is. And so you needed skilled workers that could bring their skills
to other areas. And now it’s the 1930’s and we’re now going back to Germany. And we have
a concept of–got that? Truppenführung– Truppenführung; okay, which is unit command
and this is the German field manual from 1933, 1934. And there’s some interesting things
in here. You can see the history from von Moltke. It says in section four; lessons in
the art of war cannot be exhaustively compiled in a from of regulations. The principles must
be applied in accordance with the situation. Good idea. Simple actions logically carried
out will lead to the–most truly to the objective. The command of an army and its subordinate
units requires leaders capable of judgment with clear vision and foresight and the ability
to make independent and decisive decisions at all levels of the organization. An officer
is in every sense a teacher and a leader. The decisive factor despite technology and
weaponry is a value of the individual soldier. The battlefield requires soldiers who can
think and act independently; who can make calculated, decisive and daring use of every
situation and who understand that victory depends upon each individual. Okay. So you
think perhaps of military as being tell everybody what to do, but the concept of make sure that
everybody is able to think for themselves is what really works. So now we go to another
war, lots of wars and this is 1940’s. And that is actually IBM Poughkeepsie Plant and
the workers there are mostly women because of course most of the men are over in Europe
or some place like that. And there’s a need for wartime material to be produced. And in
that time women had very little experience in industrial–I mean actually nobody was
in factory until like, 30 or 30 years before that. And women didn’t work in factories until
there was need for production and no men to do it so, you had a very inexperienced work
force that need to be trained–train very rapidly. Now what did they do? They went and
they dust it off that Instructor, The Man and The Job that we–had been written 20 years
by Charles Allen they said, “Oh, this looks like a good idea.” And after a full start
they decided the first thing to do is to train first line supervisors who should be masters
at their job. So you have a few people that know how to do the job; what you got to do
is train the supervisors how to train–how to train the workers to do the job. And it
was divided in to three parts: job Instruction which is how to train workers, basically break
down the job in to parts and teach each person how to do each part, how to improve the way
work is done and how to treat workers with respect; okay, job methods; how to improve.
So it wasn’t teach people how to do things it was teach them how to do things and then
constantly improve the process and also teach workers with respect. Now remember they’re
making munitions that haven’t actually ever been made before; airplanes those area kind
of new and things like that. And so they had to figure out how to manufacture them so they
had to constantly improve the process in how to treat workers with respect. Now this is–was
a very successful training program. In fact in this quote here it says without question,
the most successful corporate training program in the history of United States about 1.7
million people were certified and trained. At the same time we had Deming; this is W.
Edwards Deming at that time. And what he did was he taught statistical process control;
basically defense contractor, engineers and technicians training over 30,000 people. These
two programs were extraordinarily successful in increasing productivity in United States
and in Canada, basically in North America. And however they were war programs and when
the war was over they were dropped pretty much. Except, you know, they were moved to
countries that seemed to need them because they didn’t have any infrastructure and these
programs are brought to Germany and especially to Japan. And in Japan they were very interested
in these programs and–so both TWI and SPC went and were taught in Japan in the early
1950’s. So for example here’s the materials from training with an industry. It was introduced
in Japan in–as I said late 40’s and 50’s and all three sections were very well received
but most importantly the job instruction one. How to train workers through their supervisor,
how to break down the job into details and train is to this day one of the pillars of
a supervisor training program in Japan. It’s a 10-week program where you have a half of
day and you do the stuff. And at the bottom of the training materials that we some on
a–another slide, I don’t–I don’t have it here. It says if the learner hasn’t learned;
the teacher hasn’t taught. So the burden is in the supervisor to make sure that the people
know how to do the job. Job methods; how to constantly improve stuff was pretty good.
But Taiichi Ohno the guy that invented the Toyota Productions System had a better way
to do that. So eventually he had it improved. And to this day the improvement on that is
taught in Toyota, too. And then here is Deming. He went in 1950’s to Japan and he was kind
of annoyed because he got ignored in the U.S. after the war was over. And he said as much
more that statistical process control it’s the whole system. So, he gave lectures to
the tune of, you have to appreciate not just the piece you’re doing but the entire system.
You have to understand variations. And Deming when he talked about variations he said, The
thing you have to realize about variation is that there’s two kinds, there’s a stuff
you can’t do anything about, and the stuff you can do something about. So there’s common
cause; it’s just there and there’s special cause. And it’s a good idea to find out if
there’s a cause. What the cause is and fix it. But it’s not a good idea to try to get
rid of variation that’s just plain inherent in the system. If you try to do that you actually
are going to make the system worse. And he had a treating course. I have a brother-in-law
who went to it in the ’80–yeah, late 80’s. And he would–he would have somebody, like
you come up here and he would say, “Here, here’s a bag. It’s got some marbles in it.
I only want you to get white ones out of it.” And you put your hand in blind and if you
got white ones he would say, “You are good.” And then he’d have you come up, and you would
put your hand in and you get black one and he would bellow out and tell you, “You should–I
told you not to pull out any black. What do you, you know, what don’t you understand about
that?” And then, “I’ll tell you what, try again, here’s some money. Now put your hand
in and–and don’t pull out any black and if you get only white, you get this money.” Didn’t
work; okay, and the point is that if variation is inheriting the system, no money yelling,
no amount of money is going to change that. You have to change the system instead. You
also talked about the theory of knowledge that is to use a scientific method, not scientific
banish but scientific method in order to solve problems. Think about it, create hypothesis,
do experiments. Or sometimes called plan, do, check, act; you’ve heard of that? And
then psychology, when it comes to people it’s not numbers; it’s pride, it’s commitment,
it’s pride in your work, it’s applause, it’s trust that matters. It’s not making sure that
numbers are met. And he was already bygone that policy too. Somehow we seemed to have
forgotten some of that stuff. Anyway, in the 1950’s another thing was going on in the U.S.
And that was the Cold War. Another war and it–and you’re going to see here that war
tends to bring out good behavior. This was the Polaris Project; it was one of the most
successful weapons projects in the U.S. And what it was–was weapons program that was
triggered by a scare. The scare was, “Oh my gosh, Sputnik went up and we’re going to get,
you know, missiles coming at us. We had better put some missiles underwater at sea and patrol.
This project was supposed to take like 10 years, 9 years. But everybody was worried
so they’d changed the schedule and started launching submarines that could control with
the underwater missile launching capability in three years. So it took a nine year impossible
schedule and made it into three year schedule. It was an amazing feat. And guess where PERT
came from; you’ve heard of PERT and all of its derivatives. This had actually came form
the Polaris Program. Now there’s a guy that evaluated this program because after the Polaris
success; its success was attributed to this wonderful management technique called PERT.
And so, Harry—Harvey Sapolsky was asked to do a sort of a check it all out, interview
all of the people and he was allowed to do an independent summary of what actually went
on in the Polaris Project. PERT was a management system that Rear Admiral Rayburn thought was
just told the whole world and congress especially was the one thing that was going to make this
program so much in assured success that they didn’t have to worry about it. And really
what Sapolsky says is it was a façade to keep congress happy. If congress thought it
wasn’t people, it was the system that was going to make it work, they would keep funding
it. Actually in practice it wasn’t really used to manage the program day to day, not
for the first four or five years when they launched submarine. And in fact the technical
officers thought it was unreliable and the contractors thought it was relatively worthless.
However, it became the goal standard against which we decided that we should manage projects
after that; honest. And Sapolsky said, “Why was the Polaris really successful? Was it
really this management tracking system or was it something else?” And he put in there;
quality of leadership was first. The technical director who was Levering Smith maintained
control not only over all of the engineering drawings but also over the description of
success. What an interesting thing. So, over the time, every iteration which was about
18 months to 2 years he got to define what was success at the end. So he decided when
he knew what he could do. Well, we’re going to define that as success and then that would
be the next goal. And they would need it because, you know, he knew they could. So he got control
over that and he also had control over all the interfaces and he focused everybody on
nothing but; get this thing in the water. In fact the very first week; two weeks when
he got assigned he said, “Let’s see how can we do this fast?” You know, somebody’s building
a submarine down there and I forget where and it’s about half done he’s, “Tell you what?
Why don’t you take that submarine, cut it in half, stretch it out, I think it was 16
feet and then put them back together and then we’ll figure out how to put missiles in that
16 feet.” And he did that like within two or three weeks after he got started and up
to this day that is the standard length of what a missile submarine carries 16 feet.
Why? Because it seem like a good number at that time and he had to have one fast. That
was a [INDISTINCT] The number of missiles was because he talked to a lot of the submarine
captains and then talked about what they would be comfortable with. And those decisions were
made within the first month. He had the decentralized competitive organization. They had 10 fundamental
technologies they had to invent in a very short time. So what he did was; for every
technology, every subsystem technology he had three or four competing vendors, competing
to be able to have the honor of putting that in there. Now imagine the government program
doing that today; kind of interesting. And we call that set base design in design–in
hardware design that is have multiple options and when you get to the decision point, you
choose the best one which is what he did. Emphasis on reliability; if there was one
thing that Smith was criticized for; it was being too much of a fanatic about testing.
Those of you who know Agile, so that was his big criticism and then everybody was really
engaged in making this happen. Contractors went out to–and had meals with, you know,
government people that wouldn’t be allowed today either. But it was then and that’s–those
are the reasons why it was successful. So, really good kinds of things that we talked
about in Lean product development were involved in making this successful. Now we go to the
60’s, so we’re the next decade and we have the Toyota Production System suddenly coming
on the world. It actually had been going since the late–early 50’s. And here is Taiichi
Ohno who was involved in making this thing work inside of Toyota. It’s very counter intuitive.
It seems okay today; it kind of make sense. But you know, when I was in the manufacturing
plant in early 80’s it did not seem very sensible to us. We thought they were nuts. And so did
most of the people in Toyota. It needed the people he managed. So, you know, for the longest
time, they didn’t call the Toyota Production System, they called it the Ohno System, you
know, because they figured if it failed, it was his system. And but then he kept getting
more and more, you know, responsibility and there’s more people reported him like kind
of had to adopt it in after while, they discovered it actually worked. As coherent and intuitive
as it is. And so he has a system that’s fundamentally about Just-In-Time Flow which in our plant,
we thought was nuts but actually, it worked for us too and Stop-the-Line Culture. Don’t
build in anything that has–if you find an error, you stop and fix it. But not only that,
if you are building something that might have defects, you need to put in place in mechanism
to find the defects the moment they get injected and stop everything and fix them. Don’t find
them later, find them right on the front. So mistake proofing your manufacturing line
and you can think of that as mistake proofing your code with a test structure. Right away
as soon as you do something wrong on the keyboard, I did too when I was programming, you have
a mechanism to run it against something to merge it with other code, find out if something’s
wrong, if it is, you fix it. No problem. You just did it in the last 10 minutes. You come
back 10 weeks later and find out something’s wrong is a much bigger problem. So that Stop-the-Line
Culture Mistake-proof of a system so errors cannot get injected. And lastly, relentless
improvement. I’ll tell you a little more about that in a minute. So his book was–this book
here which was written in ’78 but didn’t become available in English until ’88. I wish I could’ve
read it in our plant in the early 1980s because it really would have helped us. We had a book.
It was not very good but it helped–I mean, it was good but it was good but it was not
great–well-translated into English and all those detailed industrial engineering stuff
[INDISTINCT] but it was our bible in figuring out how to do just in time in our plant. This
book is really good and even today, it’s good. It’s a wonderful book to read. And then he
wrote another book which was published in 1982. It was translated then and then recently
retranslated into English in 2007. I’m just going to read you one thing because I have
here relentless improvement, learn through experimentation which is one of the pillars
of the Toyota way today and he didn’t write much about it in his book but he did write
about it in the workplace management. So, for example, this is just one quick example
out of that book. He said standard work. Now you all heard of Standard Work. Do things
one way, okay. He said, when creating Standard Work it’s going to be difficult to establish
a standard if you are trying to achieve the best way. Now we’re going back to the scientific
measures as one best ways. So now, there’s not a best way. This is a big mistake. What
you really want to do is you document exactly what you’re doing now. If you make it better,
that’s kaizen. That means change for the better. And if not, and you establish the best possible
way, there’s no motivation for kaizen. So the idea is you don’t want to be perfect otherwise,
nobody gets to improve it. That’s why one way of motivating people to do kaizen is to
create a poor standard. Interesting concept. So, remember the goal here, it’s not to have
the best way of doing things. It’s to motivate people to constantly improve the way things
are done. Don’t make it too bad, okay. Without some standard, you can’t say we made it better
because there’s nothing to compare it to, so you have to have a correct standard for
comparison and then you take that standard and if the work is not easy to perform, you
give many suggestions and do as kaizen and the whole idea is to have all of the people
that are doing the work constantly improve it. That’s kaizen. So that is–his constant
improvement is much more important than telling people the right way. And there was this feeling
and I recognize it because we also had it in our plan that only people who really knew
how to do the job were people who were doing the job, so those were the people who just
figure out how to do the job. It’s true that the supervisor needs to train new people but
it’s also true that the people doing the work are the ones with the problems, the issues
and stuff like that and they are the ones who should be constantly improving it. So
in the 1970s, we had Theory X and Theory Z, you’ve heard of those? Okay. Theory X, most
people dislike work and don’t give their best efforts at their job. Therefore people must
be encouraged with financial incentives or threats to work towards organizational objectives.
Generally people would rather avoid responsibility and preferred people to tell them what to
do. Now, there are plenty of people that actually believe this. I don’t happen to be one of
them. I haven’t observed it to be true but there are people who kind of–you can tell
from their behavior that they fix this. And then there are–of course, they don’t tend
to be the people that are being directed, they tend to be the people that are doing
the direct. And then there’s Theory Z. And Theory Z became popular when people discovered
that what was going on in Japan was actually more successful than what was going on in
the US. Let’s see what this all about. So there was a book even written by Theory Z.
Theory X came from McGregor and Theory Z came from Ouchi, there was this Theory Y too but
I’ll skip that. And Theory Z says, on the contrary, people are motivated by the satisfaction
of doing a good job, the enjoyment of cooperating with others and being recognized by them and
the satisfaction of using one’s talents to the fullest. Fundamental difference in perception
of what motivates people and this–became the basis of what was going on and in fact,
you can see this in a book, for example, by Ishikawa. How many have heard of Ishikawa
diagrams or cause and effect diagrams? Okay, well, those of you you haven’t, they’re pretty
good. Anyway, this is that saying of Ishikawa and he wrote the book, What is Total Quality
Control and this is in the–it was in the–I think it was in the early ’70s because otherwise,
I wouldn’t have it on the slide, right? And so he was from the ’50s, a very strong leader
of the quality movement in Japan which really was what was patterned–what the quality movement
moving to the US in the early ’80s was patterned on. And Ishikawa proves in many of his writings
that this Theory Z is the fundamental perception of what that whole total quality movement
was built on. He said in the book, The fundamental principle of successful management is to allow
subordinates to make full use of their ability. It sounds a little bit more like the, you
know, the war manual than the scientific management. Everyone who is connected with the company
must be able to feel comfortable and happy with the company and make use of his capabilities
to realize his potential. A lot in his writings about people must be able to realize their
full potential and this management’s job to set up the situation so that they can. Top
managers and middle managers must be bold enough to delegate as much authority as possible
and that is the way to establish respect for humanity as your management philosophy. Now,
this is not a delegate’s delegation so you can assign blame, you know, back to train
wreck management. This is a delegation so people can work to their full potential and
that’s Theory Z. So, you know, I have a book in my shelf that I bought in about 19–you
know, late 1970’s and it was–maybe, I think it was the early part of ’80s called Theory
Z Management and it was all about how, you know, some people might take this but this
is what actually really works. I was lucky enough to be in the company where Theory Z
was kind of the philosophy anyway so that was very handy. And just about that time,
I had been working in, you know, process control and I did a process monitoring system for
video tape manufacturing. And my assistant went into a plant about 60 or 70 miles from
where we lived and they invited me to come out and be the IT manager in the plant. So
I’ve never been a manager before and it was a little scary because, you know, I read books
that say management’s different than being a technical person and I was a really good
technical person and I had no clue if I would be any good at a manager but I thought I’d
give it a try and it was kind of fun actually. We went to the plant–I went to the plant
and my boss Dave Dilger who’s a plant manager says, so, you know, you own responsibility
for systems. Now, systems are not just computers. They’re anything that makes things work around
this place. And I actually spent four years taking computers out of the plant. Because
we had this thing at that time, you know, computers had just learned how to do scheduling
and they were used first and foremost as schedule manufacturing plants; this thing called MRP,
Material Requirements Planning. So back in those days, there was MRP–there were MRP
systems and they said, if you would just do what the MRP system tells you to do exactly,
then your plant will be perfect and if you’re not perfect then you’re just not trying hard
enough. Now, our plant, at that point, packed out about–for every week, we’d schedule what
we wanted to do and we’d look ahead and all about 60% of our weekly plan. We just weren’t
trying hard enough, right? 60% of plant. And the other problem we had was that our competition
started selling video cassettes which is what we made for a whole lot less money than we
could make them for. So this was really serious. We weren’t–actually, we’re doing all the
right things according to the book and they were doing stuff in Japan that was so much
better that they could–we thought they were dumping. Nope. They were making stuff better.
They were making stuff higher quality than us, and then we’re getting it over to US and
selling it at–less than we can make it for and they were making money. I’m thinking,
whoa, either we got to close this plant or we got to do something like dramatically different.
We decided that we didn’t believe in this–at first, we didn’t believe in this thing called
Just-in-Time. But, you know, the more we study that the more we thought, whoa, It seems to
be what’s working for them as much as it doesn’t makes sense. So we–there was a small Just-in-Time
movement in the US. There weren’t any real consultants; maybe one or two. There was a
little tiny group this is sort of like, agile software development in 1999, right? And so
we went and we learned about it and we gave it a try because it was either close the plant.
And what we did was we took the conference table about like this big. We laid out paper.
We draw all of our processes on it and then Gary, as being the materials control manager
produced our weekly pack out and then we had coffee cups and in the coffee cups, we had,
as you can see, little sticks and this got–each coffee cup was a cart of video cassettes.
Say, a thousand video cassettes decked in the cart. And that said–the stick here said,
this is, you know, T120 black or T120 red, says what kind of video cassette, what color,
how many minutes, that sort of thing. And so we pretended that those were carts and
then we had some carts ready to pack out and what we did was we simulated all–no computer
systems. All we did was, we had a pack up, we started with some inventory. We started
packing out and when we used up one of those cups, we would take a stick and we bring it
down to the next process on the table and we say, okay, process make that. And then
we would simulate having that process, make some more of that and see what we would need
to do to be able to pack out. So we simulated a pull system and after a few hours, it kind
of worked. So, we said, okay, this is cool. But there were three of us and this is a plant
with a thousand people and a lot of complicated processes all scheduled by my computers. And
so we decided we better get the general managers to come in and take a look and so the next
Saturday, the general managers came in to take a look at this and the five of us simulated
this and they said, It might work. It seems like a perish concept but, you know, we’re
just managers, we can’t make this happen. And remember, there is no IEs around there;
there’s no consultants to help so we have to figure this out for ourselves. And so the
general managers said we better call in the general supervisors because they could help
us. So then two weeks later, the general supervisors came in on Saturday and we spent all day doing
this coffee cup simulation ki9n dof thing with these dozen or so people, we were able
to do a much more detailed simulation and it kept locking up after like 24 to 48 hours.
And so we changed the rules, we changed all sorts of stuff, went to lunch, had a big break,
came back, changed some more rules and suddenly, we got it right. We got the idea of level
loading and we were able to simulate one full week of pack out with no lock-up. Yes. So
we thought wow, this is pretty cool. So the general supervisor said, Yeah, but, you know,
like, we can’t make this happen. There’s a lot of detail work here. We better get the
supervisors involved. So then the general managers, general supervisors, the shift supervisors,
all walk through the simulation on the three shifts because we were three shifts a day,
six days a week and they all walk through it and they said, Well, this is, you know,
kind of interesting. It might work actually. But we’re just, you know, we’re just the bosses
around here and there’s a lot of work so we better show this to all the shift workers.
So everybody that was involved which is like 90% of the plant went through this simulation
and then the shift supervisors with their teams on their shifts figured out where the
up–the, you know, opposing shifts how to make it work in their area. How to put the
little cards and what things are going to happen because remember, all my computers
are going to get turned off one day, one day because we couldn’t figure out of how to face
it in, had to be called Turkey and one weekend, we did, we turned off the computers and we
printed out the week’s pack-out and we sent it to packing and hell the rest, okay. And
by the end of that week, guess what our pack-out percentage was, 95%. Now, remember, we’d never
done much better than 60% or 65% trying this MRP thing forever. It just couldn’t be done
and suddenly, we started a poll system and wow, we could pack out basically everything
we wanted every single week. Poll systems do that for you, you know, and if you try
it in any other kind of schedule and you’ll see the same thing but that’s not the idea.
The lesson is that we couldn’t have done this without engaging all of the people in the
plant to figure out how to make it happen. Why do we get 95%? Because–guess who figured
out how to make it work. It wasn’t some, you know, people coming in from outside saying
you put this here and put this here. It was the shift supervisors puzzling through with
their shifts and the people next to them how they were going to make it work. If something
goes wrong, guess what, people who have to deal with the problems have already simulated
that, kind of know what to do, make some adaptations, figure it out and that’s why it worked because
the people doing the processes designed their own processes. So it wasn’t like we went to
the people in the plant and said, Oh, dear. We are in bad trouble. What do you think we
should do? That doesn’t what we did. We said, We’re in bad trouble. We have a plan. We’re
pretty sure that this is going to make things better. We’re not sure how much but we think
it’s worth the shot. Here’s the general idea and we’ll show you with the simulation in
detail, give you all the help you need to work it up and in the end, you got to figure
it out and make it work yourself. So there was a lot of leadership from the management
team but in the end, the details were worked out by the people on the floor and that’s
kind of my vision of leadership. In addition to the fact that I also got an interesting
taste in my mouth as far as outsiders coming in and telling people how to do stuff. I’m
pretty convinced that if we had a bunch of outsiders coming in and telling us how to
do stuff, we wouldn’t have been successful and it was near successful as us puzzling
this out, figuring it out, banging our heads against the wall, getting everybody involved
and admittedly, you know, it was, I’ll close the plant or figure-it-out situation, so it’s
not like we had a choice but it was everybody getting engaged and figuring out how to make
it work. So that was the result. And the employees said it was the best thing that ever happened
in the plant. So this–if Japan can, why can’t we? That’s up there because there was a video
in the early 1980s about Japan being so good all of a sudden when I used to, you know,
before this, Japan was known for making cheap junk. Anybody remember those days when Japan
was cheap junk? Okay. Well, it didn’t happen at about 19–late 1970’s that kind of changed
around, and by 1980, it was, Why can’t we do that? And this video was made with Deming
in it and Deming got rediscovered and from 1980 until 1993 when he died. And by the way,
he was born in 1900. So he got rediscovered when he was 80, worked until he was 93 and
basically kind of turned forth around and lots of other people and many of the things
that you read up from him came from that time. Now let’s talk about the 1990s. Actually,
in the 1990s, I was not in computers. I was working in product development in 3M which
is a fun thing to do because 3M kind of does new product development for a living. I still
think that Google has copied a lot of 3M ideas like our 15% time and things like that but,
you know, so I kind of get some of those ideas and I think highly of Google because I kind
of thought highly of 3M and there’s a lot of similar culture there. But in the 1990s,
I was doing product development with plastics, not–not–well, I had some with embedded software
and some with plastics. And I was–well, I’ll show you later product champion most of the
time and so what was going on in sulfur at that time was kind of hidden from me. But
we had this thing called Waterfall as Jack Colt told you. I didn’t hear about until the
end of the decade, if you’ve seen that, yeah. Okay. And then there was this process maturity
model. Yes, we saw that too. I learned about this one in 1999 actually, honest. And then
we had, you know, project management in all sorts of flavors, good old Purt coming back
to haunt everybody and the thing about this in particular is that having moved from a
scheduling system that was pushed to a poll system and seeing the difference. I never
believed that if you guys would only try harder to meet your project deadlines, you know,
all would be perfect. Probably, you’ll get 60% performance against plan on a week to
week basis. Anything that’s scheduled at a detailed level, that’s pretty much what you
get. And if you switch to a poll system instead, you’ll probably do a whole lot better. So
there is this poll push system and then there is six sigma and I never was too much involved
of this, 3M got involved in there after I left. And so there was lots of process, okay.
In fact, there were some companies–they still–some of them exist, which think that process is
going to settle of our problems. If you just have a standard process, anybody can do it.
Everybody in the company should have the same process whether they’re doing the same thing,
should be the standard across the company. Interesting ideas, it’s not like process is
wrong because, you know, we had a lot of process improvement we had to constantly do in our
plant but making it be all and in all and–so we can have fungible people and so that everybody
does exactly the same thing means forget process improvement, forget constantly having new
ideas from people, forget people working through their maximum of their potential. So, I want
to tell you about plank roads. Just because I want to tell you about plank roads. This
is the plank road and that’s in the mid-1980, 1840’s to 1850’s. You ever hear about plank
roads? In the US, in Milwaukee where I live, we have this road called Watertown Plank Road,
t goes to Watertown. So what happened was, railroads came into the country, about this
time, you saw that at the beginning and there was a massive boom in plank road construction
because they wanted to get stuff from the farm to the sea where the railroad station
was and so there wasn’t a whole lot of money around so they thought, we start up these
little businesses where people would pay to have this plank road put in and get a lot
of investors and it would be paid for with tolls, the tolls were generally regulated
by the state. So instead of building roads, the state just had this laws for, you know,
one cent of mile or something like that and they were amazingly successful and you know,
you just find this hard to believe because you haven’t ever seen one but actually, there
were immediate positive results far superior to muddy, rutted roads, dramatic decrease
in travel time, expand–much expanded real markets, so they were very, very successful
and therefore, well, they got built all over the country. You can look in the southeast,
you can look in the Midwest, you can look all across New York and you’re going to find
a huge numbers of plank roads were built but there was a problem. The investment period
was 10 years for pay off. That’s what it was sold as. It turns out, after something like
four years, they started to die the, you know, wood rats and about four years later, every
single plank road within four years after it was built had to have serious maintenance.
In fact, which was less than half the projected life screen and annual cluster maintenance
were, for instance, 20% to 30% of the initial cost. And guess what, that money didn’t exist.
It hadn’t even paid back, it’s initial investment. So stuff would rot out and they would take
out the wood and put in gravel. And in the end, all the plank roads ended up becoming
gravel roads but when they were gravel, there were no longer toll roads and they basically
got maintained by the state. So that’s the story of plank roads. They were amazingly
successful at first but they–as Jim Surowiecki says in The Wisdom of Clouds; the first plank
roads were a huge success. People looking for a solution to the road problem found a
ready-made, one at hand. As more people built plank roads, they’re legitimacy became more
entrenched and the desire to consider alternate solution shrink. It was years before the fundamental
weakness of the plank roads that they didn’t last long enough became obvious. Okay, it’s
sort of like, for every problem, there is a solution that is fast, cheap and wrong and
this is one of those. And so to go back to our process chart, I think for every problem,
there is a solution that is quick, cheap and wrong and heavy processes happen to be in
that category in my view. Just a quick–this isn’t actually fair but I thought I wouldn’t
pick on the software processes but there is this interesting thing that was reported in
Fortune–in Fortune Magazine in July. A 58 large companies out of a non-six sigma program
has 91% have trailed the S&P ever since. Well, anyway, what really makes organizations work
is not one standard process and fungible people that do exactly what’s written down. That’s
going back to Taylor. That doesn’t work. At least, not in my experience. So let’s look
at organizations that are–what I’m going to call high reliability organizations. That
is organizations where mistake is a matter of life and death. For example, firefighters,
nuclear power plants, power grid dispatching centers, hospital emergency rooms, air traffic
control, aircraft carriers, those kinds of places. Think about an aircraft carrier. I
mean, the planes don’t have a lot of place to land and a lot of place to take off and
there’s huge amounts of potential for accident and they’re going to be fatal if they happen
most of the time. High reliability organizations have more than their fair share of unexpected
events and they persistently have less than their fair share of accidents and they really
relate to this because our plant worked in almost exclusively highly explosive chemicals.
That’s basically what, you know, happens in our plants. When I did computer control systems,
I had to put my computers in class one group D enclosure so those of you have been in explosion
environments know that that means that no, you know, it’s got pressure out so that no
spark can get–so that no spark from the computer–pressure in so no spark can get out kind of thing.
And so, in our plant–actually, in all 3M labs, all labs have an explosion wall, in
case, you know, whatever blows up in there, it just–it will collapse out. It’s happened
once or twice. We had a plant to–we had a fire once and the plant manager was really
pleased it wasn’t our coating area. It lasted about 15 minutes. He says the first time in
the plant that a woman cause the fire, a woman found it, a woman who put it out. And because
he was proud of that–but anyway, we had–we had an occasional disaster too and I was involved
in the startup at the Oklahoma City plant where I was doing a startup. I was sitting
in the control room and the project manager was there and the alarms went off and he’s–I
looked at him, he says, They’re just testing the alarms today. And then all of a sudden,
they got up and shout out of the room and I says, Just testing, sure. And they weren’t.
So I went out and here’s this cloud of smoke, what is it? It’s CO2. Now CO2 sits in all
3M plants by the coater head because if there’s a fire, that’s what you got to do, is suppress
it immediately with CO2. But if you’re a person and you get suppressed with CO2, you’re going
to also get suppressed. So this is not a good thing and this is a startup. Startups are
the most dangerous time in any kind of an environment and here was this huge cloud of
CO2. The question is, was the area clear? Now, fortunately, for everybody the plant
engineer happened to be at the coater room door when this happened and he was smart enough
and he always knew exactly what to do because he lived in that plant. He cleared the area
and by the time the project manager got down there, the plant engineer had everything under
control, knew that the area is clear but it was scary because it’s, you know, when you
get involved in life critical situations, you have a huge emphasis on safety. In our
plant, we had–somebody did nothing but make sure everybody understood safety. The common
characteristic of these kinds of organizations is mindfulness. This is a very interesting
book about these kinds of organizations by, let’s see, Weick…
>>Weick and Sutcliffe.>>POPPENDIECK: Weick and Sutcliffe and it’s
called Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity. And what
they say is that in these kinds of things, nuclear power plants, aircraft carriers, that
sort of thing, mindfulness is the thing that makes things work. It’s the thing that you
have to have throughout the culture of the organization in order to have high reliability.
What is that? It’s preoccupation with failure which sounds strange. Why are we preoccupied
with failure? Think about it. You have to always expect that’s something’s going to
go wrong and always be prepared for it. There’s none of this life is good. This is, ignore
all those little problems. You can’t ignore issues. You never ignore issues. You make
sure that you’re always aware that something unexpected could happen and you’re prepared
for it because it can–anything that can go wrong will eventually go wrong. You know,
if you’re building something that’s going to be on a transaction processing environment
some day in your code and you say, well, that’ll happen once in a million or once in two million
times, you know, it’s going to happen. Someday, it’s going to bring some system down and it’s
going to cost one whole lot of money if that transaction system gets tied up for an hour
or two. A lot more than it would cost you to pay attention to it on the front. Reluctance
to simplify. The fact is, we live in a complex unpredictable world and standard procedures
cannot replace thinking people. So you will not–you will find–like I went to an airport
and it was very interesting. I was watching the driver and he had a, you know, luggage
cart behind him and he got out of the luggage cart and he seemed to be totally absentminded
as he walked to the front of the luggage cart, took these two triangles that were sitting
there, put one by each wheel and then went off and get whatever. It was so routine, I’m
sure he didn’t think–he didn’t look like he was thinking about what he was doing but
to him, stopping a car meant checking the wheels. There was no question. It’s just,
like, it was so automatic. It happened. You could see how automatic his reactions were.
That’s what happens here. You have standard procedures. You must check the wheels but
you also have everybody paying attention to make sure that that doesn’t–that that happens.
Sensitivity operations. What you really have to do is be attentive to the frontline where
the work gets done and it’s called in the Toyota Production System, Go to the Gemba.
Go where things work. In an aircraft carrier, the head of the–I don’t forget which they
call the admin will spend time on the deck because that’s the only place you can really
feel what’s happening. Commitment to resilience. You have to take every single smallest incident
that happens and deal with it. Stop, investigate, find the first root cause and fix it. And
also you have to have difference to expertise. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most senior
guy in the ship. The experts are the ones who really understand the technology on how
to do the detailed stuff. So you use mission command not detailed command. I’m going to
talk about mission command versus detailed command later so you just have to remember
that for a minute. Oh, now. It’s next. Mission command versus detailed command. Okay. So
this is straight out of the Armed Forces commanding control book. It’s called Mission Command,
command forces and it’s about what constitutes commanding control in the US Armed Forces.
And by the way, it’s an interesting book, it doesn’t have–it doesn’t have a copyright,
it says, “Please use this however you want.” So that’s why I get to copy it. And it defines
very clearly there’s mission command and detailed command. And mission command, if you look
at it, it assumes that war or whatever is your doing, economic war you name it is, if
you’re in detailed command deterministic and predictable. But if you want mission command
what if war is probilistic and unpredictable? Then maybe you have a different approach.
It accepts mission command that there is disorder, there is uncertainty and therefore it tends
to lead to decentralization, spontaneity, informality, loose reins, self-discipline,
initiative, cooperation, acceptable decisions faster rather than optimal decision as is
listed over here. And so the kind of leadership that you need is there. Now, that’s command
and control. So I don’t like the term command and control is bad because people tend to
think that command and control means detailed command. But in army manuals does not actually
what it means at all, it means both of these. And when you have this kind of an environment
over here which is all of these probabilistic and other things then you want mission command
versus detailed command. So, where does software fit in? I think it fits over here, just like–just
like those high reliabity organizations fit over there. So, now where does software fit
in? When I was at 3M I was what–with the last decade on 90’s I was what was called
a product champion and I’m going to call it for purposes of now, a product leader or at
Toyota this person would be called a chief engineer. So, when you’re developing a product
it is really important for the organization to make sure that they get the right thing,
they get what people really want and–and I was a very big advocate, and I still am,
of making sure that when people are working in a project they talk the potential costumers,
they walk on their shoes, they understand them. But when push comes to shove it–you
don’t leave important decision up to a vote, somebody takes responsibility for making the
ultimate decisions or maybe you can have a committee vote. But if the committee votes,
you know, then who’s responsible? Or maybe you can have a marketing person say “Oh, all
of our competitors are doing this maybe we ought to do the same thing.” But, you know,
that’s not going to give you the next generation product either. So, instead when you need
to–in the end have somebody that really is deciding what a product wants to be this is
a leader not somebody that tells everybody what to do, but somebody has a vision. And
at Toyota and actually 3M the chief and the–the champion, was exactly very similar; responsible
for business success and it was okay to have failures too because of you didn’t have a
few failures you weren’t trying. Which probably sounds familiar at Google, right? If you don’t
have a few failures you’re not trying. But you got to have also responsible for business
success, develops deep costumer understanding. So this-this product leader is responsible
to really understand costumers and bring the team out to understand costumers. Develops
a product concepts but note, creates a high level systems design. The chief engineer at
Toyota is one of the most skilled, technical people in the company, highly skilled engineer.
At 3M, the product champion was 95% or 98% of the time a highly skilled technical person
not from marketing. It didn’t get marketing input but the vision had to marry the available
technology with the market need and that was generally done through the eyes of somebody
who really got the technology and then understood the market. And that is also the same concept
that Toyota has with their chief engineer. Sets the schedule, that’s interesting, I can
talk more about that later if we have time if you ask questions, but the chief engineer
sets the schedule, decides product concept to release it’s going to be 15 months sets
the major milestones and that’s what happens. Understands what costumers will value and
conveys this to the engineers making the day-to-day tradeoffs by walking around and talking to
them, by making sure they understand the metaphor or what you’re trying to accomplish. And this
is important the chief engineer has deep knowledge of the technical details not every technical
detail but certainly is a highly competent technical person. Arbitrates tradeoffs when
necessary and defends the vision. And whether is the chief engineer or the product leader
defending the vision against or from. Well, then we have other people here, in a classic
matrix organization anyway, you have another kind of leader this is what we could call
a department leader, functional leader at 3M. So you have a product development process
of some sort and the end is to create not just a product but a value stream that brings
in some money somehow. And you have somebody who has a vision and understands technical
opportunities and really understands the market and knows how to create some outcomes valued
by costumers so that you can get some money in. And then you have the development them
that works. And the important thing here is these technical people that are developing
the product there also a learning stuff. And one of the things in any product development
process is that you’re not just developing a product, you are developing knowledge that
will be use in future products. And that has to be captured or you just re-learned it you
dump it on the ground so you have useful knowledge, where does it go. And like in my product for
example as working in light fiber and we have a lot of optics and I’m a mathematician, I
got the optics but we have a lot of chemistry and I’m actually not a chemist. So, we also
created a lot of chemical inventions and we had to have places for that to be–have a
home. So, here is where somebody who protects the knowledge of a particular technical area
will come in and create functional expertise whether it’s how do we do use our interaction
design, how do we do security, how do we do chemistry, whatever or in–in our cases was
how do we do micro structured surfaces, how do we do ultra-pure plastics, you know, detailed
how do we do the specific area of chemistry. So, I had accesses to like some of the best
people in the world in the chemistry environment and in the areas that I was working in and
it’s because they had a functional home where they had their equipment and material, their
processes and they could do experiments and bring it in to the product. So, the product
leader and then the functional leaders, and then what happens here is as these functional
people with deep knowledge get assigned into teams, they bring good decisions, integration
thinking, innovation comes from this deep technical knowledge brought to bear on a new
product to people are trying to develop. So that matrix of somebody leading the product
and somebody understanding the underlying technology is where I’m thinking about in
product development in general and certainly even in software development a–an idea of
leadership, this kind of leadership of the product and leadership of the technical expertise.
So I’ll look at it this way, when you have a really important brilliant product you need
to understand–you need to have somebody that really understands the market that has business
responsibility, costumer understanding, overall planning anyway, tradeoffs. And you need to
have technical leadership. You need an architecture. You need some technical guidance on tradeoffs
and integration and stuff like that. And that’s what they call the product leader. Product
leader can be one or two people. If it’s two people however in Toyota for example always
does it with two people. They have a brand manager up top and a very good at that because
of their history, you know, they are founded Steve Cook who’s a brand, you know, Procter
and Gamble brand manger graduate. And then they have a technical leader and these two
joined at the hip working closely together direct the product. So you can handle these
two or one but my observation is brilliant products have both. In some way to understand
the market and understand timing and in some way to understand the underlying technical
capabilities marry in the head of a very, you know, one or two people which then bring
in the technical team. But you need one other kind of thing. You need–let’s go back to
the training with an industry; supervisor’s job is to act as a teacher, make sure people
who are new know how to do things, solve problems, set standards constantly improve. And make
sure that everybody that’s there is assigned into jobs and career paths where they can
reach their full potential, somebody that’s taking care of people. And so somehow that
role and these roles become my vision of the important leadership roles and in any development
organization whether it’s software or whatever. Now, we have some other people we see around,
we see process leaders, okay? And if you have a new process it doesn’t hard to have process
coaches but overtime that needs to become embedded in the organization and become the
job of the supervisor, line manager, as supposed to the other way around. And we have these
people that we call project leaders, worry about funding, and scheduling and tracking.
We actually didn’t have project management as a–a valid title in 3M until the mid to
late 90’s, because we had products but we didn’t really have projects. Okay? So, the
idea here is that if you have overall release planning with people able to meet the schedule
based on, you know, milestones that they meet then that is something that can be assumed
into that job. So, any questions so far? None, okay, sort of–yeah, go ahead.
>>No–I’m thinking probably to myself [INDISTINCT] where do consultants fit into this [INDISTINCT]
>>POPPENDIECK: Well, you know, I actually told you that already. He wants to know where
consultants fit into this picture.>>The ones that disappears, how you [INDISTINCT]
>>POPPENDIECK: You know, at 3M you then have consultants unless you needed help.
>>Right.>>POPPENDIECK: And you’re goal in life was
not to need help, okay? So–and remember in our plans I think I had mention the strong
bias against depending upon consultants and so I see consultants as teachers feeding ideas,
and getting people on–align on the same thinking process so that the management team can get
their act together and head together and figure out in detail what it takes to move forward,
okay? So, lots of–lots of things about ideas but not going in and solving the company’s
problems, the company has to solve its own problems. So, new ideas, new ways of thinking
about things, new ways thinking about how to aligns processes. We had an–we did have
a consultant come in to our plant actually, he was there for a day, looked around the
plant, and at the end of the day he said “You ought to go see the Nabisco factory in Chicago,”
I mean we’re in, you know, Hutchinson, Minnesota it’s a long way, but I use to work in Chicago
and I remember the Nabisco factory, “Because they make cookies, you know, what you make
isn’t much different than cookies. But cookies have to be made and got into shelves and sold
and in people’s house and eaten all in a week, it’s really fast. Those foods companies they
have this problem solved. You ought to figure out how they do it,” that was like golden
information it never occurred me until that time, that they were companies that had been
doing this for like decades, its just a time thing and it was entirely possible if you
had perishable items. And in fact if you look at ZARA which doest very rapid replenishment
of clothing in fashion stores, they treat clothing like perishable food. And it’s–they
do. So the idea is don’t figure out what’s going to be bought constantly replenish and
rapidly make and move stuff into the market, get it bought, and get it use in a very, very
short cycle time. That’s really about all I remember he told us, but it was very interesting,
very good idea, very good mental model for us. It’s–made the whole thing seem possible.
Oh, maybe those guys in Japan weren’t so nuts. Actually if they could do it on the Nabisco
surely we were smart enough to do it too, that’s what we figured. We were young and
we were kind of foolish but we were actually, also quite successful. So, consultants can
see ideas but in the end the company has to figure out how to solve its problems. And
pretty much I looked at a management team that has, you know, close responsibility for
the lives or maybe, you know, a few hundred people getting in line and thinking alike
and figuring how to change that world. And that kind of group of five hundred thousand
people with, you know, group of management that, you know, eight or ten that can talk
to each other, not to fifty, that kind of group can make dramatic changes fast. If you’re
talking about three or four thousand people that need to be change I’m thinking “Yeah,
I don’t think so.” So I don’t try to go there. So, that’s–and I have this [INDISTINCT] 1:16
because I really did not spend my life being a consultant, I spent my life in a–as a manager
in a large corporation in which if you had to have a consultant you weren’t really doing
your job and I have that bias until this day although they do have some good roles.
>>I come from financial services firm.>>POPPENDIECK: Uh-hmm.
>>And I–I’m just wondering if you [INDISTINCT]>>POPPENDIECK: Uh-hmm.
>>Now, we used to rely on consultants because we used to have things that were sort of,
you know, can processes that [INDISTINCT] operations environment or even in business
environment. And we used to really rely on them to [INDISTINCT] objection of external
perspective.>>POPPENDIECK: Uh-hmm.
>>For the last two years.>>POPPENDIECK: Yup.
>>From another firm.>>POPPENDIECK: Make sense, it–really a good
idea.>>This–this role that that really fit.
>>POPPENDIECK: Especially any process which anybody in your industry can do already, okay?
So, if want them to look at your, you know, precious proprietary things probably not but
if you–there’s a really good process that everybody in the industry has to do and you’re
not doing it as well as the others, you better just figure out how everybody else just doing
it and either buy it out or bring it in, it makes a lot of sense. So, you definitely want
to make sure that on the stuff that doesn’t really matter you are at least equal to everybody
else in your industry, don’t even try to be better through. What you really want is one
of those few things where if you’re better it’s going to matter to your market and those
are not where you want the consultants. Because once you teach the consultant how to do your
core important things right, you know, they can sell it to somebody else. But, yeah, that’s
another good spot for consultants’, standard processes that must happen correctly within
any kind of industry. You have no business doing it worst than anybody else, okay? Once
its known in the industry how to do stuff I–I remember I was a–as a process control
engineer one of the things I did was evaluate was this computer screens that were used to
control processes. And actually, at least in my opinion and I’m bias and have a memory
that undermine, that would be quite right, but as I recall the TVC’s 2000 or 3000 the
Honeywell screen set the standard for user interaction in process control design. And
then I went out to all the other companies that have process control systems and anybody
that that didn’t look at what Honeywell was doing and invented their own user interaction
screen they just, you know, they–they couldn’t–they couldn’t come close. And I couldn’t really
have a lot for respect for the ones that didn’t recognize. The standards have been set just
go follow it, instead of trying new invent your own thing because you probably not going
to come out with anything better. So, there’s areas where you definitely should be seeing
what everybody else does and either buying another [INDISTINCT] to help make it happen.
And I’m not even saying anything wrong about six sigma because in our plant if we didn’t
have really high discipline and good processes we certainly weren’t going to be able to solve
our problem and, you know, capture the market and we do, we change–the whole plans are
wrong, we drop the prices dramatically, we had very standard processes but they were
all devise–devise by the people and the quality program and the six sigma programs have many,
many things in common. So, you know, nothing against that, that’s actually why I pick that
one, is because I think it has a huge amount of good stuff. As long as you don’t think
it’s going to save your company because it isn’t, the people are.
>>You’re–you’re statically [INDISTINCT]>>POPPENDIECK: It wasn’t mine. I was just
doing the funny quote there.>>The reason for that one [INDISTINCT]
>>POPPENDIECK: Uh-hmm.>>So who’s going to [INDISTINCT]
>>POPPENDIECK: Well, I’m not going to chase down that path, how about that? Anymore questions,
yes?>>It seems that the product leader really
needs to have a good marketing, very deep marketing and very deep technical knowledge,
do you find those people?>>POPPENDIECK: So, the marketing leader has
to have access to deep, technical and ar–no, it’s a deep marketing knowledge not have it.
So, let’s take the case of–first of all I wont to answer your second question for a
minute, but example is the Lexus, when the Toyota decided to do–they decide that they
were in a cheap car market and their–their buyers were going up and getting more money
and they–they have a luxury car. So that was a decision by EG Toyota who pretty much
said we need to go this way. And they tap a very senior marketing executive from the
US to figure out how to sell the car because it was a US car. And he wrote a book about
it and he said in that book that the hardest thing you do was go back until EG Toyota that
the car could not have the Toyota name, it had to have a different brand and–because
it would have the wrong image. Now, the chief engineer was not figuring out what kind of
image the Lexus had to have in the US, was not figuring it out that that it had to have
a new distribution market. But the chief engineer was responsible to make sure that that was
thought of. And that it happened in the same amount of timeframe as everything else. So,
while the–he was doing all of this marketing investigation he was also going to Japan talking
to the chief engineer and the team like that. So he had access to stuff and understood that
entirely new distribution market–distribution system had to be set up in time for the introduction
of the car. And while we’re at it, they also had to build complete new manufacturing facility
because the tolerances on the car were much tighter than any existing process equipment.
So, the chief engineer had to know that he had to build a value stream, new manufacturing
capability complete new distribution system, and a car and synchronize it. Now, one person
didn’t do that all by themselves but they knew that it had to happen and had, you know,
plenty of help to make the things that they didn’t have expertise [INDISTINCT] happen.
So, that’s the–one person can’t do it all but in the end somebody ends up being responsible
and in Toyota and in 3M, it usually starts out anyway with new products being a technical
person that has the vision of the technology in the market as opposed to the other way
around. So, where do these people come from? Depends on the company. It depends on if your
company values them, they tend to actually grow. So in 3M we actually didn’t have a lot
of trouble finding product champions because people love to be on this teams, that was
the best job in the company. Everybody aspired to be a product champion; you could watch
them–I work for–I work for Roger Appledorn, he invented the overhead projector and he
brought into the company billions of dollars of micro structured surface business, he was
an amazing guy and, you know, just to work for him was amazing and he thought me a lot
and I tried to pass it on to other people. You don’t have a few to seed and you don’t
respect the job, you won’t have the people but it’s actually a really fun job and when
it’s there people will find their way into it that are good. We had a talk two weeks
ago at the Lean product and process development conference in the–Denver and this was a talk
by somebody from GE Medical Imaging System and he was talking about how they decided
they were going to have product managers wing to wing responsibility for a product and they
had no people like that. So, they did their best shot of assigning them and then they
created training, lots of help, a product leader console so they could get together
and help each other out, plenty of guidance but they first decided they really had to
have this wing to wing ownership responsibility. So, it’s not people that happen by magic but
you can if you decide this is important, find and grow the people to make it happen but
you have to respect an honor them, it has to be really the best–well, I think the best
job in the company. More questions? Yes.>>Okay, you may have answered this already,
I assume [INDISTINCT] collaborated on me but in my organization, and some of the organizations
I have seen, the IT well improve, you know, as a service, right, in the business. So they
don’t necessarily have like business knowledge which gives me a full [INDISTINCT] representative
from a particular business function that is [INDISTINCT] the company needs [INDISTINCT]
is public leader as you mentioned, right? Where I see the technical lead…
>>POPPENDIECK: Help?>>Well, I–I’m just–my experience…
>>POPPENDIECK: But go ahead, yeah, go ahead, go ahead.
>>From my experience I’ve seen that the business, I mean, when the functional people come in
and they play more as a [INDISTINCT] leader and in–from your development team–0your
technical group maybe an architect or project manager or business analyst is more of that
technical leader role.>>POPPENDIECK: Uh-hmm.
>>So, when you start saying that you have a product leader here and–and this best job
is out there, you see mostly as that–those individuals from the It services that are
playing more the part–the leader role or do you seem to be more as those business representatives
that gets to see that it’s coming in [INDISTINCT] leader role.
>>POPPENDIECK: So, IT is an interesting situation because it’s a service organization into an
organization that then provides product sense of market. So, you’re like a layer removed
from where the money is and I’ve seen some interesting stuff from McKenzie about how
the best way to run in the situation like that is to create a product manager role inside
of IT and not believe everything that the business does but actually figure out what
they–help them to figure out what they really need in order to be profitable because–or,
you know, in order to get productivity out of your services because if you just do everything
they say and it’s one person, what if they get it wrong and how are you walking in their
shoes and really understanding how it works? And so if one model is to be actually product
company and sell your products into the rest of the company. There are other models too
but it’s a struggle in that particular situation to figure out where the real ownership is
because you are one level removed from where the real value is and you need to get close
to the value in order to have the vision of what your trying to do.
>>I’m actually at McKenzie and…>>POPPENDIECK: You remember that report?
>>Yes.>>POPPENDIECK: It’s about–it’s about–thanks
for–because I’m pulling Spain and in Europe and it’s about three or four years old and
if you check it out or give me an email I can probably send you the reference. So if
you’re at McKenzie, you better give me [INDISTINCT] send me an email. Any more? So, I’ll just
rap up with my last story and that is a story about a philosopher in Italy that was strolling
through a quarry some decades ago and he went up to some stone cutters and he says, So,
what are your buildings? I mean, you know, philosophers do crazy things. So, the first
he said was to the first fellow he ran into. So, What are you doing? And he said, You know,
what do you think I’m doing? What did it look like? I’m cutting stones. I don’t like this
job I hate it I have to do it because I can’t get any other job and it’s really hot then
go away, I don’t want to talk to you. Okay, so being a, you know, intrepid philosopher
he goes on to the next fellow and he says, What are you doing? And he says, I’m earning
a living. I am putting food on the table, house over my family, you know, I’m earning
a living. And well, actually that wasn’t such a bad response he felt a little bit better
but, you know, we’ve got to always check out three different sources, that’s my theory
too. You can’t ask just–you can’t read one book on anything, you can’t talk to one people
or person or anything. You got to check out three. So, there goes the third person and
she says, So, what are you doing? And he said, I’m building a Cathedral. This is a book by
Ricardo Semler which is called Maverick and he also wrote the Seven-Day weekend and it’s
about the company in Brazil that his–he–he took it over as a very young age and his–he
first ran it sort of like a judicial company, almost killed himself and then he said, Something’s
wrong here. And he got a brilliant personnel manager and he said, What I really want is
Cathedral builders, so he took this parable and he said, I want Cathedral builders. What
does it take to have Cathedral builders and he kind of changed the whole philosophy of
the company around, I got to figure out what it takes to of every single person in my company
be a Cathedral builder. So, there’s a lot in this books, they’re pretty radical actually
about how he has a very large engineering organization with pretty much no rules and
it works but he’s trying to create an environment where–what [INDISTINCT] everybody reaches
their full potential, they build Cathedrals. So, what your trying to do, this is what I
remember from my experience in the planks and from other times that I was working. I
had this beaten into my head, the idea is to move responsibility and decision making
to the lowest possible level, that’s what you do when you’re a leader. You don’t make
the decisions, you do the same thing that they figured out in the art of war and, you
know, the 1870’s and 1930’s move this–it’s the individual who counts and it’s the leader
who makes that individual feel valuable and take initiative, that’s the good leader. So,
if you have people, how do you know whether you have stone cutters or Cathedral builders?
Do I have a test and you can all take this test. So, says somebody shows up with your
company in the morning and they get annoyed by their job, something in their job makes
them annoyed. I mean, it could happen to you, right? Ever been annoyed by something? Okay.
So, let’s just pretend that happens. Now, the question is, what would you expect them
to do? Would they complain, would they ignore it or would they fix it? If you pretty much
expect everybody to complain and you have Cathedral stonecutters and after they ignore
it, you have people who are earning a living and if you basically have the stuff in place
that the people are expected to fix this stuff that annoys them then you have Cathedral builders.
So, this concept that relentless improvement means, the structures are in place, the management
encouragement is in place, the leadership is in place so that when people are annoyed
by something in their job, their boss’s job is to help them fix it not live with it, not
well, sorry that’s regulations, but okay, how about we figure out what the real problem
is, you know, maybe that’s not the problem let’s get it at the root cause. How about
you come up with an idea about what make it–what might make it better? Maybe we could do some
experiments to figure out whether not that really makes it better, that’s the job of
a manager in an organization that has Cathedral builders and really can do constant improvement
all the time for decades on it. So, if you have cathedral builders, you have a leadership
culture which helps people who were annoyed by their job use their creativity not to drop
a suggestion in the suggestion box but to go out and figure out how to solve the problem,
get data, try experiments to prove that there’s a better way and make that better way the
way things are done. So with that, it’s time to go I guess and thanks everybody.

15 thoughts to “The role of leadership in software development”

  1. This. Is. AMAZING. What a remarkably clear, and exceptionally well-presented discussion. I am very glad I took the time to watch this video. I feel like it took me from 0 to 60 in understanding the importance of business process management—and how not to shoot myself in the foot with it!

  2. very good talk. Lots of examples, I love learning from examples.

    I would like someone to video a few actual projects in progress and then put the best bits on youtube. A bit like Ripple Down Rules, where good ideas get linked to examples. Not just one or two, but a few hundred.

  3. I love Google, Sony, Microsoft, Facebook, Aazda, GM. Ford, Samsung and Apple!!! In other words I love my family… -Some gys on my family dont like each other…!

  4. The network.
    Was in the links quickly.
    Communicate Well .. a category or group or field, group.
    The rest of the group leader.
    Description and responsibilities of each group.
    Send to a larger center. To check in, and management.

  5. A little bit slow at the beginning (the first hour of the video hahahaha) for anyone that have had a management training, but well… it's ok, like @meitarm already said, it's a nice summary on the management topic. And please change the name of the video to comprehensively management or something like that, because the name it has now is really wrong!!!

  6. So in 3M the workers actually weren't workers, but they were skilled engineers, who just had no other workers as helpers. Additionally, sure, workers know how to do their work. But there is still good to be roles for people and supervision. You still had managers and supervisors and normal visors doing their things. It is not so good, that in a software project you just get random people and let them figure things out without any frame of reference who is project manager, and so on. Also in bigger software companies there is more going on, and sometimes it is more efficient to decide from top how to mold things. I mean, managers decided to go to lean model, not the workers. Also many levels of managers simulated the lean way of doing things, so at higher levels managers knew what they wanted. It is not so good if you have managers, but they are not deciding things nor "simulating" things.

    And software engineering is not manufacturing job. On the other hand, it should be as much as possible: There should be certain ways of doing things instead of ad hoc banging of heads against walls. For example always gather requirements first, then do specification, then prototype and definition, coding, etc… and documents always consistent,… If you just let workers do work, it is not the most efficient way possible. Sure you can let workers use tools the best possible way, but things need to be in order. In manufacturing you have assembly lines that move slowly. A worker cannot suddenly decide something that doesn't go with the assembly line. In software development the workers need to follow requirements. But if requirements are obscure, how do you follow them? Workers sort the requirements out? How do the workers know, how many features the customer bought? There needs to be some management and differentiation of work, you can't just "let the workers figure everything out". Someone needs to be project manager and so on.

    How does an individual worker improve the process, if he has the power over only his own little work area? I mean, each worker needs input from others, or might have to take care of other work areas which are not by standard and therefore seem (are) messy? I think that there should be general framework and practise for doing things. One worker cannot affect that framework, he needs the support of supervisors. But if supervisors don't listen, then things don't improve in general. And then you need a manager who introduces the next "lean".

  7. The idea of moving responsibility and decision-making to the lowest possible level has fascinate me for quite a while. This is also a message Cris Brogan has in many of his writings, that, ideally, each person should totally own what they're doing. People give their best only when they know it's their very own thing that they're working on.

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