Politics?

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Is representational democracy the best form of government and is capitalism the best economic system?

Both together provide for the optimal society
3
25%
Democracy is the best form of government, but Capitalism leads to corruption
7
58%
Capitalism is the most profitable economic system for all, but Democracy leads to Anarchy and uninformed and unjust laws.
0
No votes
Both Capitalism and Democracy have severe issues, and societies would be better off searching for alternative forms of government and economy
2
17%
 
Total votes: 12

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Wez
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Post by Wez » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:37 pm

devilsadvocat wrote:Wez seemed to think he'd do a better job out of his garage!
Better than complete non-delivery... sure ;).

The primary reason these projects fails is because there are simply too many people involved. Just because something is a 'big system' doesn't mean you have to throw 500 people at it from day one.

I wasn't *quite* suggesting I would do a better job 'out of my garage', rather that I would be able to put a small team together and get something useful delivered. Last year, me and 1 other developer built a fairly complex website (think gumtree but more advanced), for a client. This went into production across the entire Indian subcontinent and worked just fine..... 2 developers! (and I was the only full time)

Pete is spot on when he says that most projects fail because the client can't make their mind up what they want. The trick is.... basically to ignore them. Get the general idea of what is needed and fucking build it. Trying to get every detail right up front kills your project... build *something* first and make alterations later. Software is mutable, which is why we don't 'engineer' software the way we engineer bridges.

I am sure that accenture know this..... but all the while the government are paying them by the hour to sit there and listen to the requirement change, they are probably quite happy to watch the project flounder around. It's all profit.
"Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end."
—Stephen Hawking

selfishbi_atch101
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Post by selfishbi_atch101 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:46 pm

Am unsure if it has been discussed in the forum before, but a good friend of mine introduced me to 'Systems Thinking':

http://www.systemsthinking.co.uk/2-1.asp

This way of working in/with/through/beyond the public sector holds 'targets' as a major cause of problems, which (for me) was a little odd, at first, to grasp. I always thought - targets provide goal-orientate behaviour, focus, motivation, and so on.

This article (although old now) was a really interesting read.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007 ... sscomment1

An extract:

"And if enough pressure is applied, people will meet targets - even if they destroy the organisation in doing so. As quality guru W Edwards Deming put it: 'What do "targets" accomplish? Nothing. Wrong: their accomplishment is negative.'

These are systemic faults, which is why such regimes can't be refined by setting 'better' or fewer targets. Deming added: 'Management by numerical goal is an attempt to manage without knowledge of what to do'. This is what makes it so attractive to bad managers. Unfortunately, in absolving them from the effort of thought, it is also junk management, which has the same effect on the consumer as junk food: obesity, flatulence, discontent and demoralisation.

Lack of method explains why the public sector absorbs so much resource for so little return. It also explains the stop-go, curiously disembodied experience of engaging with it: it's not reacting directly to you, the individual citizen, but to management's abstraction of you, as embodied in the target. Hence the obsession with 'choice', which simply transfers the question of method to you."


I found out this hard lesson in education... where my senior management team were always concerned with grades/targets (setting them and meeting them - and with that comes the tidal wave of bureaucratic silliness) whereas I always felt that skills were more important but, unfortunatley, for *them upstairs*, skills are less quantifiable and difficult to represent in a league table.

Should we have league tables in education... still?

well... that's my lunch half hour nearly over :( so no more posting for me for a while... back to being 'on task/target'...

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Wez
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Post by Wez » Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:57 pm

selfishbi_atch101 wrote:"And if enough pressure is applied, people will meet targets - even if they destroy the organisation in doing so.
Yes yes yes!! Spot on! Seen this happen more than once and watching it happen and having no power to do anything about it is one of the most frustrating things in the world.

Scrum has short cycles called 'sprints' which actually do correspond to a 'deadline' of sorts. The team is expected to meet their commitment but if they don't we waste no time dividing blame and we *do not* start pulling crazy overtime. Instead we sit down in a retrospective, discuss why we missed the sprint goal, whether we committed to too much etc... and resolve to do better next time. It works!
"Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end."
—Stephen Hawking

selfishbi_atch101
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Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2009 2:46 am

Post by selfishbi_atch101 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:59 pm

Wez wrote:
selfishbi_atch101 wrote:"And if enough pressure is applied, people will meet targets - even if they destroy the organisation in doing so.
Yes yes yes!! Spot on! Seen this happen more than once and watching it happen and having no power to do anything about it is one of the most frustrating things in the world.

Scrum has short cycles called 'sprints' which actually do correspond to a 'deadline' of sorts. The team is expected to meet their commitment but if they don't we waste no time dividing blame and we *do not* start pulling crazy overtime. Instead we sit down in a retrospective, discuss why we missed the sprint goal, whether we committed to too much etc... and resolve to do better next time. It works!
Wez,
do you blog about such work experiences? would be interested to read. currently faced with some enthusiasm (from dept. manager, which helps) but also a lot of apprehension. How do you convince co-workers that personal responsibility in job/role is a good thing, when many are happy to hide behind targets?
Anyways, if you do have some experiences (particularly overcoming (groups dynamics) problems) would appreciate finding out about that :)

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Wez
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Post by Wez » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:07 pm

selfishbi_atch101 wrote:do you blog about such work experiences? would be interested to read.
Nope, I have lots of 'one entry' blogs floating around but I am terrible for keeping up with them. However, you are quite welcome to email me on Image. Will all be treated in confidence and I will offer any advice I can.

Migrating to something like scrum *can* be a bit of a challenge, but I have found it to be a really superior way of working. It does mean that certain people have to let go of certain levels of control they felt they had before, but the fact is, that control is often just an illusion anyway. Is the power to set deadlines really that important if the deadlines are hardly ever met?

Drop me a mail if you want to discuss it in more depth, I will answer any specific questions to the best of my ability, and can recommend some reading material too. Some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world are using agile project management methods. Google are famous for their agile approach, and I am aware of many others, from F1 teams to Biotechs that are using scrum very effectively. It doesn't ensure success, and certain discipline is still required, but it keeps you away from that 'death march' that happens on many traditional projects, which is probably reason enough to use it.
"Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end."
—Stephen Hawking

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George
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Post by George » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:04 am

See The Wire for an excellent display of why targets fuck everything up.

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Wez
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Post by Wez » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:45 pm

George wrote:See The Wire for an excellent display of why targets fuck everything up.
....or the Stockwell armed response unit!






(what, too soon?)
"Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end."
—Stephen Hawking

selfishbi_atch101
Posts: 168
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2009 2:46 am

'We're talking about unchecked aggression here, dude.'

Post by selfishbi_atch101 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:02 pm

sheeeee_it, yes, the wire.
My favourite is Season 4. Was so addicted; watched 'chunks' of Season 3 whilst in labour with my daughter, I just couldn't get enough. A whole period of my life where I talked, dreamt, ate, slept The Wire. Those were the days... watching something like that again (2nd time around) is never the same *wistful sigh*

(Thanks again to Wez for the perspective and pointers, have a whole new approach to tackling a record archiving dilemma - announced today in the office, amidst grumbling/disgruntled (sorry, can't decide on the appropriate adjective:0) moans about the situation, 'let's "unionise" on this issue!', haha - so now I've a meeting to schedule for discussion on how to tackle upper management about said dilemma. Gonna be realistic tho, remembering the liability issue, and I must remember not to lose my cool = 'sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes, well, he eats you'TBL quoteunquote)

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Wez
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Post by Wez » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:16 pm

Awesome! Go get 'em! Glad I could help.

Keep positive on it, productive, how it's all going to help, and if you are able, please do keep me posted :).
"Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end."
—Stephen Hawking

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