Up until the industrial revolution, success came from personal competence. You were judged on how well you mastered your craft. When industrialization took over, mechanization became the winning process.
Both craftsmanship and manufacturing have well-understood and static problems – demand is predictable.
Software development, however, is not a product of a well understood and static problem. It is more about exploring unknowns and adapting to reality. It is about collaboration and social learning based on knowledge and creativity. It is therefore a more demanding process combining methodology, process, and leadership.
Yesterday I wrote my first blog post for Sigma. My new position as Enterprise Mobility Manager for Sigma includes some promotion and marketing. It’s in Swedish but here is an English google translated version.
Understanding what to do, where to go and what the end result will become like is important for planning, understanding and motivation of all teams. This is sometimes called establishing a vision, but the word vision is too grand for me; it sounds like a prophet, Martin Luther King or Gandhi mixed together. Especially when undertaking greater challenges where the destination is beyond the horizon it’s important to discuss the direction. It’s about start giving people an idea of the end result. If people do not know where they are going or how they are going to get there, they are soon going to become very frustrated.
In order to set a destination you need to look beyond the horizon that promote change and improvement but at the same time says something of what we can do to reach it. The destination can consist of many goals but often not focusing on the measurement of the goals. For example “Our new product shall help knowledge based workers to collaborate over long distance. It focuses on collaboration and simplicity and enables high-quality teams to brainstorm, prioritize and reflect. It is not a project management tool or a tracking tool; it’s more of a sandbox that can help knowledge based workers to reach their goals.”
What is so great about a common, accepted and understood direction is that different stakeholders and team members can start working and at the same time has some idea what it will result in so that the can take micro-decisions that is based on that direction.
Don’t forget to document the “destination” with what success is, why it’s important and how you know you’ve achieved it. Post it prominently and involve you visionary destinations in you planning and demos. But remember you will not reach the destination because it’s just an imaginary goal, when you traveled beyond the horizon the world will not be as you imagined it; it will be less colorful but more real. Then you need to adapt to reality make the best of it. The best and most valuable ideas will probably present them on the journey. If you plan everything from a total imaginary map your journey will become lined with failures! So setting a visionary imaginary destination isn’t about defining goals and planning the trip, it’s about setting a direction so you can look on the compass when you wandering in the dark.
Related article: Creating a Push from the Past or a Pull from the Future!”