My hero Mr Fred Brooks wrote about a tar pit. He was referring to projects that just seem to slow down and deliver less and less as if drowning in treacle (and not nice smelling treacle).
But it occurred to me recently that companies get to the same situation, (maybe I have been doing too much fractals recently?)
Small companies with simple chains of command can move quickly. Big companies with complex chains of command, endless meetings, gate reviews, go/no goes etc can’t. At all.
It dawned on me one of my (many ;-)) pet hates is fake bosses. If your boss can’t answer and take responsibility for 80% or so of normal work questions then they are not a real boss. Can I take the day off on Friday? – ‘I’ll check’, Can we use a database for this database, instead of Excel – ‘Let me get back to you,’,
They are the tar slowing the org down. At first I thought they were the grease keeping the working parts of the org working in harmony together, but no, they are the gloop slowing all progress.
I’m fascinated by corporate culture development, I mainly work in big companies and it’s interesting to see how things vary, and what works and what does not. I am always amazed how much professional management is still based on Taylorism. Taylor made huge contributions to industrial management over a hundred years ago, not sure how well his approaches translate to software developers. Well I am sure actually, but as a technical specialist rather than a toy manager its rarely my place to point out.
Do any of you work in a large company that you feel is well managed? (no names, just a yes/no and maybe a why)