Flavor of the month

Sometimes, I don’t get how large companies work. Management mostly spends time managing appearances or taking it too seriously. By that I mean, making sure that whatever is the hip, cool, shiny thing that upper management is discussing, their team should be able to show that:

  • Their team understands it
  • Their team practices it already
  • Their team excels at it and even evangelizes it to others.

Let me take an example to illustrate this. Lets say, upper management is discussing “Using analytics for decision making” this week. Managers see a sudden urge to demonstrate incredible competence in this area. So.. they:

  • Show that they understand the decisions should be driven by data
  • Their team collects vasts amounts of data for analytics
  • Their team has been asking other support teams for data for quite some time and have been encouraging the use of data in sub-organizations and scrum teams.

Now, if the manager wants to keep up appearances, he will not trouble the team and use existing knowledge to demonstrate these points. And to me, that makes a good manager.

The other extreme is a manager who will push all this down to his team and start asking for data and analytics on the smallest of item to demonstrate that they are acting on data. This causes a fair amount of upheaval and disruption to the team and costs productivity losses.

There is little focus on what problem organization really wants to solve by adopting data driven decision making. For example:

  • Were bad decisions made when data was available?
  • Is their a desire to use data to make decisions in a certain area?
  • Is there a desire to use data to drive out lethargy?

Unfortunately… there is a new flavor every couple of months in large organizations.. so its upto good management to ensure teams stay on track.


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