Unicorns in the mist
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Unicorns in the mist

From chaotic to chaordic

About the Book

This is the second and final edition of the book. All of the video content is here.

I have been working in the IT industry for nearly 30 years. The book is my attempt to crystallise what I have discovered working with teams and organisations of various sizes in that time. I believe strongly that there is a better approach than we've always done it that way even though it hurts. Also, if you've always worked in a dull, hierarchical organisation that uses fear and intimidation to get things done when you start out on your own the chances are that's what you will create. If you only have a hammer then everything you look at is a nail.

You can have your cake and eat it, you can have well organised self motivated teams delivering extraordinary things, you can have a disciplined approach which is still fun and doesn't punish people for learning.

This book is assembled from 10 years of blog posts and articles about writing agile software and trying to get things done, plus about the same again as new writing. If there is enough interest in it I will continue to edit and fill in the blanks, otherwise I will leave it and move on to other things.

I got to it via a long road reading a great many books on software development, management and goal setting, as well as banging my head on just trying to get things done without too much pain.

The book is about 170 pages, it has some things in there that will (I hope) make you think about how you do the business of making stuff, whether it's software or something else.

I come from a software development background, but a lot of the things I discuss fit right in with anyone who wants to understand why some things seem to be so hard when they shouldn't be.

You can find more in the about the author section, including how to engage with me as a consultant.

About the Author

Francis Fish
Francis Fish

I do things on the interwebs and talk to people about how to do them better. I own and run the consultancy Lean Teams. I'm the Head of Technology and Development for a UK-based startup and all of the opnions expressed here are my own.

I have found that lots of businesses employ truly excellent people, then put them in silos and stop them working together effectively, almost guaranteeing failure.

Unusually for industry, I am a qualified sports coach. My first paying software gig was in 1985, and I have had lots of splendid job titles over my career thus far, including the coveted Agile XP Coach and Development Manager. I want you to succeed.

All of the video content is here.

Francis's profile on LinkedIn

Francis's CV

The Google group to discuss the book.

The Lean Teams consultancy page

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction to the second edition
  • Introduction
    • Chaordic
  • Towards a lean manifesto
    • Tiny steps make things of beauty
    • Beauty turns ugly
    • Once upon a time in the East
    • Efficiency
    • Quality
    • Silos
    • Value
    • Flow
    • Dirty flow
    • Visualise the work
    • Compromise is bad
    • Slack
    • Experimentation
    • Small batches
    • Buffers
    • Projects are evil
    • Budgets are evil
  • A Lean Manifesto
  • Organisations are sick
    • Setting up to fail
    • Fixing problems, not solving them
    • It’s not your fault
    • Kidnapped by dogma
    • Fads
    • Systems thinking
    • Corporations hate you
    • Dove is the drug
    • Right Shifting
    • Gantt chart lovers’ lament
    • Empowerment is a lie
  • Deming’s 14 points
    • Constancy of purpose
    • Adopt the new philosophy
    • Cease dependence on inspection
    • Move towards a single supplier for any one item
    • Improve constantly and forever
    • Institute training on the job
    • Institute leadership
    • Drive out fear
    • Break down the barriers between departments
    • Eliminate slogans
    • Eliminate management by objectives
    • Remove barriers to pride of workmanship
    • Institute education and self improvement
    • The transformation is everyone’s job
  • Lean isn’t Lean
    • The analytical approach
    • The term Lean
    • Waste
    • Waste and the Theory of Constraints
    • More about targets
    • Demand profiles at source
    • The fallacy of measuring costs
    • Where does continuous improvement come from?
    • Conclusions
  • Why targets don’t work
    • The nail problem
    • Goodheart’s law
    • Campbell’s Law
    • Balanced scorecards
    • So how do we improve?
  • What’s Wrong with Software?
    • What we forgot
    • YAGNI
    • How much is enough?
    • Complify and Simplicate
    • Solutionitis and Cargo Cults
    • Pareto has two ends
    • Productivity
    • YAGNI and real life
  • Agile methods
    • Laments to the 10 years of Agile
    • What is Agile?
    • Incremental balls of mud
    • The obligatory whinge about how no-one understands databases any more
  • Running with the unicorn
    • The commander’s intent
    • Standing on the feet of others
    • How I coach
    • Old mistakes in a new guise
  • Essays
    • Ravings
    • False analogy - meh
    • Tumbleweed interview candidates
    • Survivor bias: an experiment
    • Generic is the wrong answer
    • Why I hate todo list apps
  • Appendix - at the feet of the master
    • We meet the master
    • Java is the new ‘C’
  • Bibliography

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