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James O'Sullivan
We need to have places to work where people thrive not just survive.
We need to have places to work where people thrive not just survive.
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James's posts

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American family and friends

Just because humans naturally form hierarchies, doesn't mean that they the optimal way of structuring ourselves. In some places they are downright harmful (social hierarchies for example). I'm not completely against hierarchies. They work well for simple domains, unfortunately few things are simple these days. Layering a hierarchy over a complex or complicated system can restrain the system or cause more complexity. 

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Nespresso's machines and pods are just a delivery mechanism for it's coffee business. If you remove the competitive advantage of being vendor locked, you have to compete on the quality of your product. 
Incumbents use lawyers...@Nespresso's business model comes unstuck in France ‪#‎bmgen‬ http://t.co/ZHMjwfqZ4w tks +Alexander Osterwalder 

To say that I'm confused about my career path is putting it mildly. I constantly reverberate between several themes (in no particular order):

1 - I love writing software when I have autonomy, mastery and purpose.

2 - I love helping build, guide and mentor teams towards high performance.

3 - I need to be hands on, but not necessarily all the time.

4 - I dislike people management, but love technical mentoring.

5 - I love seeing things grow and mature and being part of that.

6 - I dislike consultancy because of number 5.

7 - I'm passionate about building places of work where people can thrive.

8 - I think I can make difference in small and medium-sized businesses with regards to number 7, but realise that I can't do it just from grass roots efforts.

9 - I'm unhappy when I'm not part of forming technology strategy.

10 - I need to be continually learning and experimenting.

11 - I really dislike people management.

12 - I'm worried about being able to get a software development job when I'm in my fifties (still a while away yet), due to the bias towards youth. Even though it's been proved that this bias is unfounded.

13 - I want to experiment with different organisation structures.

14 - I need to be part of something bigger than me.

15 - I love product development, not project development.

The typical path would put me into fulltime management, which would satisfy some of the above, but I don't think would satisfy me.
Staying in software development would also satisfy some of the above, but I'm really worried about 12. It also doesn't give me much clout to deal with larger organisational issues which is my dual passion (thriving) along with software development.

Now that I look again at the items above, I think I need to go back to technology start-up life and grow with a company from the beginning. Until I come across the right opportunity, I think my next step will be into an established innovative technology company such as Google, somewhere that is continually pushing the boundaries. 

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Having been on teams in survival mode in the past, these signs are all too familiar. 
Interesting list of signs for survival mode. I would like to highlight the last point / sign: "Being non productive for a long period of time". This looks highly unintuitive, doesn't it? The expectation would be that you are so busy banging out or fixing things and you have to, to survive your current situation, and that's the definition of productive, no? No. Actually, I've seen this happen more than once that people were completely stressed because there was so much to do that they actually couldn't finish anything.
I know of myself that if pressure and stress overwhelms me I tend to end up procrastinating, because I either lack the guidance of what to fix first or I already lack the power to actually push through and finish whatever is at hand. And of course, this is just adding to the stress, so it's a self-feeding process that keeps you under pressure. You have to actively step back and break the vicious circle. I mainly use a personal backlog of sorts to notice when I fall into this trap and I try to address the problem head-on when I notice it.

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Emergence and its life cycle feels right to me, but I'm going to have to re-read this a few times to fully grok it.
Meg Wheatley posits that there is a lifecycle of emergence as a sequence of stages: 1) Networks 2) Communities of Practice 3) Systems of Influence

The business operating system

Software development is core to your business rather than a supporting function, whether you like it or not. Every company has different needs and piecemeal generic or big box solutions don't cut it anymore. Not only does software allow you to streamline your business, it allows you to codify how your business works. Essentially creating a business operating system (bOS) on which your company runs. In turn this will allow you to respond quicker to market pressures, enabling your agility. It can do this because software is easier to change and more reliable than written process which people have to follow. Combine your bOS with analytics to get deeper insights about internal changes and their impact on customers and employees. This data gives you extra confidence to refactor your business. I'd argue that your bOS should be custom and you have developers in-house to develop it. No-one knows your business like you do and an established software development department can build up that domain knowledge to help be a better partner.

Take care though, quality and architecture have to be key. Any software that has accrued large amounts of technical debt can slow things down, and in this case hamper your agility. This includes software that has grown organically, but rarely refactored from a holistic standpoint.

I truly believe that companies who have software as their core, connecting everything and everyone, will be the ones that survive during this current age of disruption. 

What are your objections to continuous delivery of quality software?

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Many companies consider Continuous Delivery as luxury, undesirable or impossible for their business. I believe that it's the opposite and is going to be a critical skill for companies that want to survive this current age of disruption. If you can deliver software to production on demand, it opens you up to various possibilities. For example, you can react quickly to shifts in the market, or perhaps conduct experiments for new features or products. 

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Though I'm uncomfortable with the strength of some of the language in this post, it's generally congruent with my own thoughts about Autism Speaks. Fear-mongering and stigmatizing autistic people makes understanding and acceptance much much harder. I won't light it up blue for autism.

Don't take my word for it though. As always I recommend doing your own research.

Via +Thinking Person's Guide to Autism
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