The Toolkit – Part 1: Foundations (13) – blood and bone

This post is part of the working draft of the DriverlessCrocodile Toolkit (read more here). I’d love comments, links to resources related to the theme, and original contributions. If you’ve worked through a process of defining your values, vision, mission, and core activities, you’re just about ready to set some more specific goals and do some actual work. You’ll probably…

Tim O’Reilly on debugging your organisation

The skill of debugging is to figure out what you really told your program to do instead of what you thought you told your program to do. Tim O’Reilly quoting Andrew Singer on The Product Science Podcast Tim O’Reilly takes the idea of debugging simple code and applies it to fixing the successful-but-damaging algorithms of the large tech companies that…

Steve Blank: definition of a startup

I’m horrified to discover that I haven’t posted anything much focusing on Steve Blank’s work on Startups, customer discovery and iteration. His definition of a startup is a great place to start: A startup is a temporary organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. Steve Blank – The Startup Owners Manual And here’s a little more:…

A balancing act for leaders (1)

Some types of work that leaders do: Foundational and Directional Work This is the vision and values stuff – identifying needs, thinking through the “why” of the project, articulating its importance and sharing the vision and values with those both inside and outside the organisation. This is the work that keeps you and your team and partners focused and on…

Seth Godin on slack in systems

If you ask most people who run a factory, or an organisation or a sports team, what they’re looking for is a taut, firm connection between and among everybody: everybody busy all the time. The reason that a bucket brigade is so much more efficient than people running back and forth and back and forth to the source of water…

Project phase, organisation size and specialisation

A friend shared this great analogy* for how teams work at different project phases. Early phase: Golfing Buddies (2-3 players) In the early phase of a project you and a partner or two (if you have any!) do all the work. You do a lot of your work together with quite a lot of crossover, share tools, might carry each…

Friction (2): emotional friction

This is a different kind of friction: the uncertainty, delay and discomfort that comes from lack of trust or understanding. Like bureaucratic or procedural friction, emotional friction slows us down and makes things more difficult than they need to be. It takes many guises: The extra time we spend second-guessing and explaining ourselves because we’re worried someone will take what…

The Onion (1): understanding interesting problems

This post is a sketch of a way of thinking about how problems work, and what we need to do to make our solutions (“the change we seek to make”) effective. It’s bit abstract – I’ll share a more concrete illustration in a later post. We often talk about interesting problems as if they’re discrete units: How can I keep…