Archive for the ‘Blame’ Category

Happy 2011!! Don’t let mediocrity be a “goal”!

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

With many people and business executives making New Year’s resolutions, today’s topic is about goals and how setting the wrong goals can often undermine becoming high performance.

For example, a business *goal* of +/-10% budget/schedule? What’s wrong with this picture?  What’s it saying about an organization who makes a business *goal* out of being within 10% of their budget and schedule?

Does it give customers a warm fuzzy that a business knows what it’s doing when *their* *GOAL* is to come within 10% of what they said they’d do?  *THAT’S* supposed to make you feel good?

Shouldn’t goals be something to aspire to?  A challenge?  And, if getting within 10% of the budget or schedule is an aspiration or a challenge, that’s supposed to be *goodness*?

Such goals are nothing more than an aspiration to be mediocreAn admission that the organization actually has little confidence in their ability to deliver on commitments, to hit targets.

That’s one way to look at it.

Another is to say (what’s probably more accurate) that their estimates are a joke, and that when the “estimate” becomes the allocated budget, what they’re saying is that they’re praying the estimate won’t screw them.  Furthermore, it’s a likely reflection that they really don’t know their organization’s true capability in a “show me the data” kind of way.  They don’t have data on lead time, cycle time/takt time, touch time, productivity, throughput, defect/muda or other performance-revealing measures.

And so, without real data to instill confidence in capabilities, setting lame goals to hit targets is like many other things such organizations do: they go about business without a clear understanding of what they need to do or what it’s going to take to get the job done.  That way, when they don’t hit their targets they can just blame the innocent or find some other excuse for remaining mediocre.  After all, how exactly would such an organization expect or plan to hit their targets?  Come on!  Let’s be real.  They have no idea! 

Either way, making it a *goal* to do something we *expect* them to do is rather lame!

This year, don’t make lame resolutions, instead, come up with a strategy and a plan to to attain *confidence* in being able to hit specific SMART targets.  Then, grow that confidence and narrow the spread of the targets.

Blaming CMMI is just another symptom … of LCPBCs

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Stop blaming CMMI for bad processes.  Stop blaming CMMI for not getting real value from performance improvement efforts.  Used correctly, CMMI fixes processes, doesn’t make bad processes.  Bad processes are a symptom of using CMMI incorrectly and blaming CMMI is to run away from the true issues.  The true issues are that the organization/company doesn’t have a culture to support high performance results long before anyone thought to use CMMI.

This is most typical of level-chasing pathological box-checkers who want ratings at any expense to effectiveness, morale or efficiency.

You can always tell these types of organizations from those who truly want to improve.  Level-chasing pathological box-checkers (LCPBCs) don’t know what their own processes are, and when they start to look they don’t like what they see but refuse to do anything progressive about their ineffective, inefficient, and otherwise broken processes.  LCPBCs often rule by fear in one form or another; they don’t practice TQM, don’t employ Lean principles, don’t value when people challenge the status quo, don’t value the expertise of people not in powerful positions, and don’t empower their people to make decisions or to take responsibility for the entirety of the health and well-being of the organization.  LCPBCs are also easily picked out of a crowd by their belief that you can improve performance without changing anything difficult and by limiting whatever changes might happen to the technical staff alone.  You’ll often find them hunting for “CMMI in a box” (or even “agile in a box”) and they’re looking to do it cheap, fast, and start “right now!”.

True, that some executives are LCPBCs because they don’t know any better, but there’s hope for those executives who are interested in making informed decisions.  Others are doomed to low returns and continued recurring process (and appraisal) costs.  Slapping CMMI on top of such a discordant, caustic, corroded, and sick culture will only make things worse.  And, blaming CMMI for failures to produce advertised outcomes, or for costing time and money and adding no value is just another symptom of the problems that existed in such organizations before CMMI was ever introduced.

Blaming CMMI is just the latest cop-out excuse in what’s likely a long list of excuses for the organization’s failures to materialize success –
It’s not CMMI … it’s immature, unreliable, culturally caustic organizations being exposed by the dust the CMMI stirs up.

Next time: How to not be a LCPBC: Making the marriage of CMMI and Agile a no-brainer.