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Monday, October 01, 2007

Downsizing and Creativity

The threat of loss of jobs impacts creativity adversely.

Why downsizing? Actually any other threat affects creativity adversely. This is where the so called monotonous jobs where the repeatibililty of the process is rewarded and any deviation is punished are affecting the creativity.

If you ask the software developers continuously threatened with consequences of schedule deviation and effort deviation, they will be impacted and minds will start going downhill. have we all seen this - the big IT majors in India may have killed the creativity of the software developers by importing processes that were designed to produce predictable results by machines. The variation reduction mechanisms especially enforced by manufacturing guys on the software development teams are having an adverse impact now, when it is the need - a really urgent need - to increase variation rather than reduce variance.

Further, the variation reduction methods anyway created very less value for even the manufacturing organizations - even there the organizations that focussed on people and their minds are winning - (Toyota Motors)...

Enable human minds to be focussed - in solving problems - thats the only way!

Organization Charts - The Blame Game

It is very interesting to read Mary Poppendieck article.

She proclaims the purpose of creating organization charts was

"The purpose of the organizational chart is to sufficiently specify those duties so that management can quickly assign blame, should another accident occur".

Finding someone to blame is first step to solving the problem as of this approach. As soon as you have been assigned a place in the organization chart, your neck is always under the chopper, as the very reason you have been assigned a place is to blame you if something goes off. That is the reason for organizational politics, ego-centric behaviour and passing the buck so that one can say it is not my work.

Deming talked about the alternate approach - Japan pioneered it and results are there to be seen. In this system, changing the way we work should be the responsibility of top management - not creating blame games in the system.

Interestingly in the article the author claims we should trade process with system. System is a set of interacting elements to achieve a specific function. This focusses on the process interactions and end-to-end flow of work rather than putting the blame on the last actor in the work-stream!

Toyota has pioneered it and so does others in Japan. Living System as a metaphor for organizations is more appropriate. You need system so that people express themselves and learn in the experiences that can not be pre-designed anyway!

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