Profound

Profound - Dr Deming - S2 E7 - John Hunter - Curious Cat (Part 2)

February 16, 2022 John Willis Season 2 Episode 7
Profound
Profound - Dr Deming - S2 E7 - John Hunter - Curious Cat (Part 2)
Show Notes Transcript

This is part 2 of a two-part episode with John Hunter. John Hunter's background includes two areas of focus: management improvement and information technology program management. His experience is in improving the performance of organizations. For the last 15 years, his focus has been on management improvement with a concentration on using technology to aid this process.

Linkedin
Curious Cat
Johnhunter.com

Here are some links John sent me.

Sales Commissions


  https://deming.org/eliminate-sales-commissions-reject-theory-x-management-and-embrace-systems-thinking/

(including why Fog Creek Software got rid of sales commissions)

Why ThoughtWorks Eliminated Sales Commissions

https://deming.org/why-thoughtworks-eliminated-sales-commisions/

https://deming.org/eliminating-sales-commissions-at-air-force-one/

The System of Profound Knowledge Applied to Sales and Marketing (presentations at Deming Institute)  
 
https://deming.org/the-system-of-profound-knowledge-applied-to-sales-and-marketing/

Related Material:

https://management.curiouscatblog.net/2010/01/28/the-trouble-with-incentives-they-work/

The Existing Management Conditions Limit How Effective New Strategies Will Be

https://deming.org/the-existing-management-conditions-limit-how-effective-new-strategies-will-be/

(with related links including )

https://management.curiouscatblog.net/2010/12/08/building-adoption-of-management-improvement-ideas-in-your-organization/ )

John Willis:

Hello again, John Willis. The Deming, profound Deming podcast. This is part two of the John Hunter, curious cat. So we're just kind of, I just split it a little bit more than halfway. So again here, hope you really enjoy it. Let me know if you have any feedback. All right, I really enjoyed this podcast. This episode, I learned so much. So I hope you will, too. Thank you. That's the sort of history of my career over the last 20 years, which is, you know, helping people automate the building of systems so that they don't have to stick and spend more time on the creativity of the systems that they want to build, and less time on the sort of the muck that it takes or the toil that it takes to construct those systems, right. Same thing, software development, if you've got, you know, test driven development or behavior driven, all those things. Those are pure sort of shift left me and isms at the end of the day, that allow you more freedom and more creativity. Yeah, no, I totally agree with that. It's a deep I guess, the the old leads this leads into that. The other question, I you know, I loved your your recent I guess you got Tom Peters to retweet one of your things because I I've gone back to your blog many times about that idea of you know, that people misquote damning on the sort of the data question, right, right? You want to explain that to everybody? Or?

John Hunter:

Well, one of the the, it's beautiful, maybe I'll try to look it up while I have it on the eye. So let me see what is the quote?

John Willis:

Coughs quote, right?

John Hunter:

Well, there's several

John Willis:

Demings, right, which is I gotta write down. So it's not like I've met. But it's, you can't manage what you can't measure. Right,

John Hunter:

right. Yeah. Um, and so the cool thing is, um, can't man judge what you can't measure. The cool thing is, if you want to be pedantic about it, they are 100%. Correct. Deming said those words, he said, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it, if you can't measure it, and now the problem is that's in the middle of a sentence. And the sentence is, it is wrong to suppose that if you can't measure it, you can't manage it a costly myth that's in the New Economics. So the funny thing is, you can say Deming said, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it, because he did. Now it is 100% misunderstanding what he said, because if you look at the complete sentence, it says, basically the opposite. Um, and that's one of the things I Deming was very quotable, he said, a lot of things are great sort of short quotes. And you can use that very well, you can make a point to a group of people, and it can encapsulate sort of this idea. But there's real danger when you try to say, well, here's a quote, This is what it means. Um, so Deming will say, you know, at different times, he would, or people quote him saying different things about what's the most important part of the management system or something? And it's like, yeah, maybe he said that, but you have to, to know what it really means you have to pay attention to his whole scope.

John Willis:

Yeah, I mean, yeah,

John Hunter:

I just you learn that.

John Willis:

Yeah. Because you say

John Hunter:

which things are accurate and which things don't really flip. There's another one a disputed quote, where I think Deming did say it as a joke. Um, but other people say no, he would never say that. About if, you

John Willis:

know, in God, we trust

John Hunter:

Yeah, in, in God, we trust everyone else, Spring Data data or something like that. The, um, now, does Deming believe that? No, not in the sense of everything must have data because we just saw that. Yeah, but it's a great quote, for specific situations when people aren't using data well, um, to say, look, where's your data to back up your claim here? Um, and so I think that Deming did say it but who knows, maybe they

John Willis:

looked you you sort of asked in your blog, you know, I like to sort of go do a nice, you know, spend a fair amount of time before I'm gonna go to a gap strike and you know you had asked like, if anybody knows where that I found it in Mary Waltons, the Deming management method where it's all she does say, In God We Trust all others use data. It's a subtle, but um, but I think what you did really well in that blog and I think you according Ackoff, right, which was the concept of you, there's the unknown and the unknowable. And it's a manager's job. And I'm summarizing the manager's job to basically figure that out. Right. I mean, that's why that I agree with you that sort of quote, is somewhat of a misquote, although it can be useful,

John Hunter:

right? Yeah. Well, that's the thing. It's so wonderful doing, in my opinion, once you figure out that you've read a fair amount of damning and a cough and showcased, you can trust that, you know, if they say something, I'm going to pay a lot of attention to it, even if it doesn't seem right to me on first blush, because I've established in my sort of mental model, that this person knows a heck of a lot about management, if they believe something that's different than me, I should pay attention, not just assume that they

John Willis:

open up the book, right? Like I mean, you know, I was just writing something about 14 points related to cyber, it's one of the areas I cover a lot, because in cyber and the whole sort of cyber terrorism, cyber attacks, and I was trying to relate that to 14 points. And so I purposely, you know, you can read a million blogs about Demings, 14 points, right. And that's good, right? That to the point we made earlier, like that it evolves. Right. And this is good stuff. But what I wanted to go back and reread, you know, out of the crisis to make sure I really tried to understand what he was saying in 1980, or 92, when the book was published. And one of the things I've learned about Deming is I guess, you know, like to say he's, he was sort of, I mean, obviously sounds like he didn't suffer fools. He was sort of curtain his words, I felt like in what I've learned about him is like, he used the word that meant something. And if you didn't get it, he didn't sort of step back and say, oh, you know, let me explain it to you for Johnny. You know, he, you seem to be always sort of moving forward. And like you had, and I'll give you an example of something that like, like, really turned the light bulb on for me. He was asked at one point by somebody was interviewed, which said, you talk about Japan, and he said, there was only one person in Japan profound knowledge. And that sounds very egotistical, right, like, my goodness, like, really, is that what he said? But I think if you understand Dr. Deming, like he basically thought of that more, as you know, not, you know, like, what he meant is, there's a body of work that you had to understand, to help improve, to create those improvement and changes your pan. And you know, and I think he just didn't bother to say, Oh, by the way, that is system of profound knowledge, or that is the aggregate of everybody from pragmatism, you know, all the way up to shore it to theory of knowledge, it's variation all through the years, obviously, shoot it through, you get my point, I don't think he would stop and say, okay, he just said, you know, there was only one person who, you know, understood the profound or had profound knowledge. And it wasn't like he was saying, I was the smartest person in Japan. He was saying there's a body of work that had to be appointed. Am I making sense?

John Hunter:

They to me, you are I bet you a lot of people won't understand it. I think one of the things that's true is Deming didn't have the same social niceties that we expect today, where you sort of congratulate everyone on anything they're able to do and you don't criticize them, because that might, you know, make them unhappy or something. Now, there's a very fine line, well, that fine line, but there's a very tricky line between having high expectations for people and not being cruel to people. The, from the people that I knew that dealt with them in a lie in outside of those seminars, is he was very challenging and difficult to executives, he expected them to do what I was talking about a long time ago, which is you are the leader of an organization with you know, often 10s of 1000s or 100 1000s of people who rely on you, a bunch of people like you created the Great Depression with their stupid egotistical behavior. And you in the 1970s and 80s are creating these organizations that have to fire 10s of 1000s of people because of the way you behaved and I I'm not going to sit here. And just, I not criticize you because you have power. And so you shouldn't you're not used to be criticized. On the other hand, if he was talking to people who were doing the work, he was not very critical at all. On one of the things you asked a long time ago about, sort of if there was an aha moment, and for me, there wasn't, it was all sorts of things. But if there's one piece that probably is the closest to an aha moment, it is I mentioned before my dad died. And after he died, I went to a bunch of these conferences and things over the years with a lot of people that worked with him. And also in Madison, they set up the Madison, area Quality Improvement Network, and then they had an annual Hunter conference. And like Deming spoke at the first one. Joiner spoke at them often. And Peter Shor pay spoke at all of them. That's really how I started to know Peter shoulders. Okay, um, but anyway, that at those conferences, and then through the website and other things, I constantly had people tell me, how much of a difference My father made in their life, not in you know, oh, now I'm rich, I used to be poor. Right? Right. Right, I was treated as human beings, like, I don't have this skill or trait or whatever, but my dad did. And I think Deming did, which is he could deal with anyone, he could deal with the president of any company. And he could deal with the people on the line at any factory, or coding things, or sitting in a bank, teller. And that is something that very few people can do well connect with those people, make them feel respected. Make them feel like they are valuable. And the thing is that it's funny because the what you see on the tapes and everything with Deming, you see him being very cantankerous, yeah, I, but he had this other thing that my dad had, too, which is they would connect with these individuals. And they didn't talk down to them. They didn't, you know, they really connected with them as people. And they connected with something that Deming talks about a lot that almost no one else does, which is things like, you know, taking pride in your work, but joy in work, and not in some sort of simple way. It's not what they're talking about is not, you know, how am I happy this Friday? It is how am I happy with what I spent my last 20 years doing? And that, you know, when you say it's not an aha moment, but I saw how powerful of force this was in people's lives, you know, people who, who, I think most people in the United States today, go to work and basically don't like their job and don't take much pride in their job. And that's just the way it is. And it's way it's been for the last 20 years. Well, I talked to a bunch of people over, you know, years that were like, that's the way it was for me, then I dealt with your dad. And now I have a life that, you know, it's not perfect. And it always is every day, like where I am proud of what I do every day, I use my brain at work, you know, many of them would transition from the work they were doing into more responsibility. And so they also were making more money. But it is, it's also the way that I grew up. I mean, I just didn't understand the concept that most people have. I mean, my dad had a job where he did white. He wanted to be doing, I would as a kid, we would it just didn't happen very often. But when we were on vacation, we would sometimes wrap in a factory visit.

John Willis:

We're going to be like you dude, I forced my kids to go to Toyota and Mazda when we made the Japan trip. So

John Hunter:

it uh, it's, you know, it's a very few events of it, but it makes a difference, you see, and it's it wasn't because he I, you see a lot of people who are like you have to separate life and work. Yeah. And it isn't that and it isn't that you have to work all the time. He did not add on this trip to the factory because his boss was made

John Willis:

miserable. Get it? I mean, yeah, your life, right, like, right. I'm in Japan, there ain't no way I'm not going to Toyota plant. Right. And, you know, but it was, you know, a two week trip and one day, you know, one day in Mazda but yeah, now that's the way you know, I've been very much independent and been able to do that with my, you know, I, they don't do it anymore. But for years, I would be invited to Georgia Tech, I'm here in Atlanta and, and I'd lecture to these to the seniors in this there was a, it was like a networking internet infrastructure class and, and I would just tell them, you know, here's the deal, man, like you're all going to rush out of here you're going to get jobs and you need offers and but like you have to find a job that we're nine out of 10 days, they'll never be 10 out of 10. But not in a day, you wake up with a smile on your face. If you can find that I told my boys doubt I tell anybody who's willing to listen to me, you know? Like, that's this sort of magic. Because then to your point, when you go on a trip and you visit the Toyota plant, that's not work. No, we wait. We went to restaurants. We did all sorts of other fun stuff and temples and all that stuff. But to me, you know, that wasn't like, oh, you know, I gotta go back and report to the people I work with. No, I totally get that. Do you got some more time for a couple more questions? Are we? Yeah. You said you like going long we can break up? Well, I

John Hunter:

just I Yeah. I really like this stuff.

John Willis:

Oh, me too. Right. Totally. Yeah. Well, I guess the other thing I like that you were talking about, like the evolution of these learning. So you would, and I've read some of your stuff in the past about about this, you added like the two more deadly sins. Right. And I think, you know, I, you know, I definitely like the IP, like intellectual property, like, unquestioned. So you added that as like sort of nine, right? And then, you know, he was the excessive payment, you know, like, we probably don't have enough time to go into the parts I agree. And the parts I still struggle with, because I've run software companies. And I, you know, the one area I don't fully agree with Dr. Deming is when I got top salespeople making like tons of money, bringing in sales. Yeah,

John Hunter:

I heard you talking about that on another one of your podcast. Yeah, give you a short bit on my piece. Okay. The idea, I think, is that I wrote a blog post on the idea that what you're able to do in management improvement is heavily dependent on what the current state of the organization is. So you can't just magically do any old thing. And think that it's all going to work. Like if you have a completely dysfunctional organization, as many do. And you get rid of performance appraisals, that might be one of the few things that's holding some of the most abusive behavior. So it's not that you, it's not that you can take your screwed up system, get rid of performance appraisals, and things are better. It is, though, that there are many ways performance appraisals are bad. And if your system is improving, it can create

John Willis:

value. But to be clear, I'm totally against performance appraisals, the area I sort of get squirrely with is compensation.

John Hunter:

Well, that's so what I was gonna say is, it depends on your current system. I would say that one of the reasons why sales incentives work so well is that no matter how, what kind of system, you have a good one, a bad one, whatever. If you incentive, good sales people, people who can get people to sign checks, um, they will probably be able to increase sales. So where I think the idea comes from that. In it create, it can create all sorts of problems. Now, if you have a management system that is strong in many ways, it might be that you can keep all or some incentives for exceptional salespeople in place. But my belief would be that if I improve the system, I shouldn't have to use a sales incentives targeted at a few really good salespeople to make things better. And if you don't make the change, there are usually some bad consequences even if they're not in this year's statements, which is if you have good salespeople, and you don't have sales quotas and sales incentives, they help the other salespeople design systems that will help them sell well, if they're incented, to keep themselves as the star and the other salespeople as non stars. They're not going to be incentivized to do that. Now, you need to be pretty far along usually before that's going to factor in. So that's one other piece I was

John Willis:

just gonna say Amazon that is you know, if you if you had the opportunity, working backwards or any books, I mean, they've reasonably successfully figured out how to do what Deming prescribes. One

John Hunter:

of the really good there's a When I listened to that other podcast that I thought of a really good book, which is free, perfect, and now by Ron Roden, they talked about eliminating sales commission and how it helped. There are also a couple of blog posts I've put on the Deming Institute blog, I'll include links to those on, but free perfect now is really good. It's also a really good example of why this Deming stuff doesn't take off more. Okay, so Ron Rhoden did a lot of really good stuff. He wrote that book, it's awesome. Um, and it, you know, it talks about a lot of the things that people that know what they're talking about in Deming and getting rid of sales incentives will say, can happen if you get rid of them? What happened? So they did really well, they're doing awesome. And you're investing in the long term, you're creating a really strong system. So what happened, they were bought out what happened after they're bought out, all the new ideas were trashed. And they went back to the old way of doing things, which is what constantly is happening. Um, managing without sales quotas requires you to manage the system. And that's way harder than just telling, just giving people big bonuses if they can get sales. You know, that's not very hard to do. You hire people who are good salespeople, which Great, that's a very, it's a very specific skill. And another thing is that some of it is just not that fun work. And so one way you make sure that they actually work all the time, is you give them big incentives. Now, it's sort of funny, it's like, you don't usually see people say that, well, garbage man, I can do their job, because it's no fun. So like, you have to do your damn job. You can't just not go to 25% of your addresses, because you don't, but people are worried that that's what sales people will do. Um, so you need to manage that whole system. And that's much harder to

John Willis:

Yeah, no, I yeah, I'm glad this is really good. You know, again, sometimes you can read Dr. Deming and like, you know, not get it. And then like, even when I was learning some of the stuff like I couldn't get system, system, profound knowledge from from New Economics, I just couldn't get it. From there. I don't know why. And it actually took a bunch of health care, blogs and videos that helped me really understand, particularly, you know, the psychology theory, psychology, but I this was really helpful for me, because you're right, at the end of the day, I fundamentally believe that you have to improve a system. You know, sort of

John Hunter:

when you're giving when you're making those people stars, besides them, not then focusing on the system. It's all the other people, the people who are doing the customer service, the people and one of the things that really good salespeople are good at is they're good at dealing with external customers. But they're also really good at going around all the bottlenecks in your internal system, right? Getting their clients special treatment, because they're, they're good at smoothing, people are good at getting people to do stuff. And the thing is, you want that to happen. Now, what you want to happen is you want them to do that by improving the system. So when their customers are complaining that I need all my stuff immediately, what you really want is okay, that's good feedback. Let's look at our overall system, how do we improve the system to make sure that your customer and all the other customers can get this, but what they usually do is they know, they, you know, usually it's just, I mean, it's social engineering, but not in the way that you know, people usually think about it. It's it just glad handing the person to convince them now sometimes maybe they'll take me out to dinner, or sometimes they'll even throw in little Commission's of their own to people. But it's like, if you what will happen, because there are a number of places that have done this, what will happen is you'll lose some of your good salespeople, right? Right. But you'll the ones that you keep, are usually more interested in working on the overall system. And you also usually can reduce turnover a lot. You can do things like give more money. This is one of the things that I personally believe in, though I see it less often, you can start spreading the wealth. So instead of just giving the star salesperson $250,000. And one of the things that they often are coping with is, well, this is actually a different example. But like so I would know people like they graduate from college and they have big, high powered jobs, and they get paid right out of college, you know, $150,000 $200,000 a year. Yeah. And they then have to rely on support staff. The company decides to pay $20,000 A year and it's a nightmare. The people just are not that good. They're not very motivated for this teeny little salary. Yeah, what they should do is pay those pay the people you're recruiting a bit last pay the people who are helping them out and their support staff a bit more, and you will then it's going back to one of the You said earlier, which is, if you're mapping out your career money that you're going to make matters. So it's not like that doesn't matter at all. But I want to work at a company that functions like Toyota, instead of a dysfunctional company where I make a ton of money, but my life is living health. In order to get medication approved, I have to jump through all sorts of Yeah, I remember. So I worked in the secretary defense Quality Management Office. And one of the things we had happened was a general said, in order to buy a $50, coffeemaker, I need to get three levels of approval now that I'm in the Pentagon last week, well, you know, last quarter, I could launch a new killer weapon on my say, so now, I have to get three senators to buy a $50 coffee pot, what in the heck is wrong with

John Willis:

you the disease of just about all sort of Western, you know, sort of, I mean, you know, it's funny because again, I like you asked me 1000 times about type of people I want to hire I like I always shoot for in terms of development infrastructure, always say, I'll take you know, I'll take intrinsically motivated people every day, every time. And then, for some reason, when I we've been hiring salespeople, I don't think that way. And that's kind of its, so I guess I've just had a little bit of an aha moment. So

John Hunter:

it's also it's, it's, it's harder to find those

John Willis:

in a start up, right, where, like, you're literally coming out of the gate. You know, you've, you've need some people that can just sort of knock down big accounts. But yeah,

John Hunter:

and it's the people that go into that. I mean, it's a self selecting funnel, so that those people who you're that are gonna look at your sales position, are going to be people that fell into that pattern of like, Look, I just need to do whatever I can do to make sales. Um, and, you know, I get paid a lot of money, because it's a skill, but not that many people have. It's actually I mean, it's now that software development, salaries have gone up so much, right? It's pretty similar in that they're paid just a boatload of money now, the good ones, um, and you could get some of them who are very much have sort of that pre Madonna, I am God, and I'm not gonna follow your stupid ass subversion GitHub crap, I do it my way and get out of my way. Um, but it's like, that doesn't work. And it's like, if that's the way you want to be, yeah, we'll just have to find somebody else. Do you ever

John Willis:

see, you know, we can wrap up pretty soon, but like, Patti McCord, she was the chief talent officer at Netflix. And it's a great Google, I'll send you a link it's really pretty awesome. You know, so they had this idea at Netflix, like this Reed Hastings sort of culture deck, it's reasonably famous. But she, she talked about, they hired a guy from IBM, because they were very specific about how they hired the people. They wanted, very intrinsically motivated. It was a culture of just like you described very much, right and, and so they hired this guy from IBM, big guy, like a fellow right comes in big shot at Netflix. And, and he after about three, four or five months, you know, Patti McCord said, She invited me, she said, She's the greatest firing person ever. Because she sat and looked and said, it's not working. Because he came in with the whole, like, it's kind of like you described like, like, I think he thought like, he should have an in and out basket, you know, that somebody was going to come fill it. And he thought that people there was a team of people that are going to write his PowerPoint presentations and, and big shot, you know, guy probably went off to another comedy made a ton of money. But she said, you know, she said, he said like after three, maybe five months, and she looked him in the eye and he said, this ain't working. Right. He's like, Yeah,

John Hunter:

then that Netflix stuff. I mean, I remember, you know, 15 years ago, whatever reading it as just, this is awesome. Now, it's hard to make it actually work. But they did really well. And they've done some really good stuff. I remember just being really impressed with that model and what they were trying to do. Yeah, one of the things is actually managing companies in that way is more difficult because you need to actually manage, instead of just sort of holding people accountable to this metric.

John Willis:

Its growth. I've been with a fair amount of startups where I've seen it go from, you know, five people to you know, 100 people, you know, that I've experienced the Dunbar effect, you know, all those things, you know, so that it's, it's that sort of that growth, you know, that that we're like that stuffily Just even the Dunbar number ish that has pins like, like the culture changes. And it's, you know, it's in other words, you talked about a company getting acquired and losing everything. You have these sort of stages of growth in these companies that, like, it's almost the same effect you have here tearing off of. So Well, man, we covered a lot of cool stuff.

John Hunter:

It was great.

John Willis:

So yeah, I knew it would be good. I like I said, I've been following you. And one of the earliest blogs that I sort of stumbled I, I guess the one last thing I what I got the quote from you. But I went all through your website and couldn't find it. But it must have been your website that drove this, this idea this, this quote about, and I'm probably going to mangle it, but is the you know, misunderstanding variation is the root of all evil. Is that something on your blog site, or I just labeled as anonymous, but

John Hunter:

I think people have Deming, say, something similar to that, um, if I don't believe that, if Deming said that I don't believe it is really what he meant. So it's like, I believe it could be something that he said, but it's like, misunderstanding, variation creates all sorts of problems. And understanding variation helps a whole lot and solve all sorts of issues that don't have to become big issues. But there's tons of other evil, there's some people who are just your house, or anything else, okay. Um, disagreement over from last laugh about that sort of thing.

John Willis:

I just, ya know, I always get the same as I'm saying, like I, you know, you set out quote, unquote, route, but, but that idea that you react to special cores, as if it's common causes us to react the common cause of special cause, right? Like, like, you can't, like firing that body because a meteor hit the building, right? Like, right.

John Hunter:

But also, the thing that I find most important about that is, we are constantly we constantly make, the more the most common thing is, there is variation. That doesn't mean anything, it's just common cause variation. But we believe it does mean something until we react to it. And so it's not just that that is a problem. But it is so common, every single quarter, you can have that happen multiple times in the organization, so that there are other things that are problems, but it's like, well, you know, doesn't really happen that much. Who cares? But this is not interesting. Variation just happens constantly, all the time. And people constantly react to it. And then because they don't understand variation, they in their own mind, they see oh, it changed, that was good. We made a difference because we yelled at those employees, and now things aren't as bad. Like, No, it just varied around your yelling had absolutely no effect other than to piss people off.

John Willis:

Well, that was that was the thing that I finally I finally decided to take like an operations research course on course area. And then when I really understood that in sort of, in process control a common cause, you want the sort of the control points to be random. That's exactly the way the world works long as it's within some sort of upper or lower control limit, or it's within a control process. It should be a random number. You know, it should be here, here here. Like I used the thermometer, right? Like, if I wanted to be from 70 to 72 at all times. And I was to basically take 15 minutes stamps outside piece set somebody up the door be 70 point 70, you know, 1.5, it might be 70. And but if I noticed that it was sort of going up in a direction, even though it was within Common Cause then that means maybe I should get ahead of the curve and realize that the air conditioning broke or in each Freon right, so I think a lot of people misunderstand what you aware, like certain people will say, well, some prosecutorial is basically anomalies. You know, they say basically signal or noise, like Yeah, no, not really, because,

John Hunter:

right, and especially that this is easier to see in manufacturing, which is one reason other people don't understand it. But the the most important thing is usually reduce variation. It's just it's very similar in software, but it's harder to judge because we all understand that it's going to vary a lot. But like if you normally have, let's say you do somewhat of a decent job of breaking software development into chunks that can be done. And let's say you break them into chunks that can be done in two weeks. If what happens is you break Going into chunks. And sometimes it takes a week. And sometimes it takes six months, and it just varies all over the place, what you then have is, okay, we have this variation within this thing that's random between one week and six months, like, that's not good enough for us to operate, we can't make executive decisions we can make. So what we need to do is we need to figure out how we can adjust the system to be to have the variation be lower. And really what it I mean, it's in that specific example, what it pretty much always comes down to is doing a better job of assessing the scope of the project beforehand. So often, the reason why they're so inaccurate is because they didn't get a decent idea of what it is. Now, I think the best way to deal with this is agile sort of idea of, well, we don't, we're not gonna worry about that you give it you know, we'll rank the things we have to do. We'll do them in order you have you know, during this, we can rewrite things or whatever. But don't be focused on when are we going to deliver this 26 feature batch, focus on delivering things as soon as they're ready and having them done? And if we need to do something like meet a target in three months, what what is the minimum viable? What's the minimum piece we need for that, we'll do those first. And then we'll add on the little pieces as we go. And that's a different way of dealing with a system problem of if we try to just say, well, here's this big, huge project, is it gonna be done in six months? Good, you know,

John Willis:

but I think that like, and I would definitely have to wind it down here pretty soon because I have a feeling that Zoom will cut me off at some point. But But here, but I do want to make a point, which is that I think the problem we have in software development in general is we don't really do that sort of that variance or statistics events because there's a woman Dominik de grandis, right, she created this game called the DevOps can be in game. And the way we used to run it at DevOps conferences, and you get three teams, and they all have this board, and it's a board and you use dice to do the randomness and, and one team is assigned by revenue. And you do like you do sort of a day, five to day 14, I can't remember exactly right. So it's just sort of every day, you have a stand up and Joe quits. So you have to sort of move anyway, it's, it sort of emulates software delivery, right. And, and basically, one team was assigned, like the goal is for revenue, second team is amount of stories. And the third team is variation. Every time we did that game variation, I mean, just I was joked that if we could extend it out, like five more days, it would have won by a mile. And it's hard because even the people that are on my team that I'll always take variation as Mike the team I did. They'd be like, we got to do revenue,

Unknown:

let's move this story over, like, oh, no, no, stay strong, stay strong,

John Willis:

you create, like a cute chart. And you basically, so again, I just don't think we do that enough in software development.

John Hunter:

Yeah, and I think a whole bunch of it goes back to the bigger management issue of how the organization is managed. So that the problem, it's challenging to get people to change no matter what. But the problem that I see is, I mean, it's a very agile concept of, you know, give me the things you want an order and deliver them an order is very simple. And it's very sensible. I mean, I, it's hard to come up with good arguments against it, in my opinion, but because the management systems are so screwed up, often, we can't even get that done. What I see a lot of times is the people who should be able to prioritize things really can't, right. And it is, instead of saying, Look, since your job, you have to figure out how to do that, in in an organization I was in for a long time, what I ended up doing, even though it's in the software development piece, um, I essentially acted as the product owner making those decisions for them because they couldn't do it. And then I would talk to them as much as possible to get them to give me you know, they're less specific ideas of what the priorities were and where things had to be done. And I just had to make those judgments myself. It wasn't perfect, because they'd get mad at me sometimes for not getting the thing done. They want it but it really did work very well. Just, you know, people can complain about everything, but in most organizations, I would never be allowed to happen. That small organizations.

John Willis:

I didn't have somebody like this, that sort of view the system's thinking this sort of All those combinations. Yeah. Well, this has been fantastic. Hopefully, it's been fun for you too. But yes, it was, we should do this again. Anyway, we'll definitely put links all over the place. I love the fact that you I'm trying to expand my audience too, because all my audience are like DevOps people. Right? Right. So this will be great for me for at least to sort of see some of my other blogs you know, that I guess that I've done with like the hawthorn guy with doors, Quinn, and and then some of the people that probably follow you that, like, want to know, though, hey, by the way, this stuff's happening in Amazon. It's like happening. You know, so that's kind of cool. So, so yeah, the curious cat is I think that people should,

John Hunter:

yeah, definitely. And then I I have John hunter.com, because the site that has thing that has sort of ties everything I'm doing together and has like links to me elsewhere on the web.

Unknown:

Brilliant. Oh, thank

John Willis:

you so much, sir. This was fun and, and definitely, you know, we will get some breathing room, but I'm definitely gonna poke you down the road again. Maybe try to do this again. So,

John Hunter:

again, sounds great. I enjoyed it, and I will look forward to doing it again.

John Willis:

Alright, thanks. Cool.