Optimize for Our Humans

Leading Technical Change is a small, live, remote seminar aimed squarely at a single topic: Real Change in the Real World. A new cohort is open now: March 11,12,14, & 15, 10am to noon Eastern (UTC-5). There are just six seats available, so we can drill down on the actual situations in which you’re seeking change. To give you some of the flavor, let’s talk today about one of the key planks in the LTC trio of strategies: Optimize […]

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Change-Harvesting: The How

The central concept of a dynamic unity is change-harvesting: make a change, harvest its value, use that value to make another change, over and over, change after change, world without end. We spoke the other day about how tools shape problems. "If all you have is a hammer, all you will see are nails." It was a conversation about mental tools: frames, worldviews, culture. My contention is that our trade’s standard frames, worldviews, and culture are failing us, and that

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Change-Harvesting and the Dynamic Unity

Reframing ourselves around change-harvesting involves several important concepts or concept-clusters. Maybe the most basic of these is the idea of a “dynamic unity”. Let’s go there. We call a thing a "unity" because we experience it as a whole thing. It has an inside and an outside and a border. It might be made up of other parts, other unities, even, and the border might actively exchange parts from outside & inside, but still we see it as a whole

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The Camerata is Launched!

Announcement: The Change-Harvesting Camerata is officially launched today! There’s a special launch offer. Read on, to get more info about the camerata itself, and find out the launch deal. A camerata — h/t Jess Kerr for that term — is a group of people working on a common problem, both together and separately. Part salon, part clubhouse, part Republic of Letters, part continuous colloquium, it provides a kind of interactive operational base for that community. A camerata is centered around

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RAMPS – Ways to Affect Purpose

RAMPS: Affecting Purpose Raising a sense of purpose — service to a "greater" — in someone who’s sensitive to it, involves offering purposes and then connecting to them. I try not to frame these muses as mere critique. This one’s hard for me to pull off. Clumsy ham-handed misleading efforts at motivating people via purpose are the norm, not the exception, and I’ll give it to you straight up: one gets a little pissy about it after a while. 🙂

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RAMPS – Purpose is Service to a Greater

This entry is part [part not set] of 15 in the series RAMPS

RAMPS: P is for Purpose, the sense one is serving a valued "greater". Those who rate this band of the motivational spectrum highly can be go-to workhorses, but only if we keep them connected to their valued greater. If rhythm is largely focused on the distribution of "feels good" through one’s working life, purpose works to carry us through the "feels bad" part of it, by transforming the local discomfort into an instrument for the higher goal. Have you ever

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RAMPS – Ways To Affect Mastery

This entry is part [part not set] of 15 in the series RAMPS

RAMPS: Affecting mastery, the sense an individual has that she is growing in a way she values, means first jiggling our ideas about efficiency & relevance in work, then jumping in to the opportunities that jiggling will reveal. We talked about the widespread pernicious conceptual cluster we call "finish-line efficiency": the idea that software development is basically a race, w/a start, a well-marked track, and a precise finish line some distance away. Overturning this is central to engaging mastery. I’m

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RAMPS – Mastery is Opportunity to Grow

This entry is part [part not set] of 15 in the series RAMPS

RAMPS: M is for Mastery, the sense that my work is actively helping me grow, along some dimension I value. When my motivational spectrum calls for a high degree of mastery, I do my best work when it is just a little over my head. People sometimes confuse the drive for mastery with a drive to know everything. But it’s not the knowing, per se. It’s not catching the skill, it’s chasing the skill. My own spectrum rates mastery the

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RAMPS – Ways to Affect Autonomy

This entry is part [part not set] of 15 in the series RAMPS

Autonomy is the sense of free motion in a team. I adjust the levels of this by expressing important needs as problems, letting go of unimportant needs, and managing risk by a combination of acceptance, next-stepping, and iteration. The more we need creative technical work, the more we have to concern ourselves with providing the humans who do it the adequate autonomy to do it well. Machines can’t give us what we need, and the extent we build machine-like things

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