Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beware of The Seven Last Words of an Organization

"We've never done it that way before."

Following is my review of Gordon Morrison's latest book, Breaking the Time Barrier. This book may present the most important breakthrough to enhance the efficient development of software in the history of the industry.

The seven last words of the organization: "We've never done it that way before." Embrace them and you'll stifle innovation, creativity and sustained profitability.

What kind of company would self impose limits, ignoring possibilities simply saying, "We've never done it that way before?" My experience with thousands of companies proves that the practice is so common as to make it a proverb. To add insult to injury, the very companies that maintain the practice would deny they do it.

The result is something I call "Hidden Inefficiency Virus," or Business HIV. This is the practice of embracing inefficiencies as unavoidable conditions within a process or a business, and then building expectations which anticipate and accept them. And counter to logical expectations, the practice is nowhere more evident and profit robbing than in the engineering of software. The industry most outwardly committed to creating efficiencies and innovation is its own worse enemy.

Gordon Morrison should know. He's been developing software and systems for years. Frustrated with the amount of time and programming energy needed to constantly fix hyper-complex programs, Gordon traced the problem back to its origin, the "spaghetti codes," the non-sequential code writing methodology used by software engineers since the beginning. Then, simply including a logical temporal element to that mess, he is able to untangle the gnarled lines of spaghetti code, making software easier to trace, debug, validate and reuse. Then he published his invention in Breaking the Time Barrier.

Not only does his COSA process reduce the time to develop and maintain software by as much as 50%, but it maximizes the value of the very individuals responsible for writing it by enabling them to focus on improved applications rather than on internal operational minutia of existing products.

Breaking the Time Barrier is short, to the point, and loaded with examples and illustrations of all kinds, perfect for the advanced engineers to which it is intended. For the non engineer, such as I, the book offers a unique and original philosophical landscape which can lead to new and necessary solutions for overworked and under productive people in today's hyper-dynamic and accelerating world. We all need that.

There is no logical reason for a software producer to resist the elimination of the "HIV" in their business. There is no logical reason a CEO would resist the elimination of "HIV" by failing to embrace outsourcing, either. Well, no reason except, "We've never done it that way before." And that, my friends, is illogical.

CJ is a popular keynote speaker, and a regular contributor to HRTools.
Fine his book, The Squaredime Letters. The feedback has been phenomenal. If you want to get your head around the real forces behind our current recession, you must read this book. Check out some content on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Human Assets Bring Life to Business Plans: CJ's Remarks at Rice Business Plan Competition 2009

Administaff sponsored the 3rd and 4th place overall award prizes at the prestigious Rice Business Plan Competition in 2009. I was privileged to present these awards to Tendix Development, LLC, from Johns Hopkins University, (Winner also of the Tech Transfer Award, sponsored by DFJ Mercury) and Integrated Diagnostics, from Carnegie Mellon University, (Winner also of the earth/Space Life Science Innovation Award.)

I had less than 2 minutes to speak, and I wanted to use that venue to impact on this audience of talented entrepreneurs from around the world.

Following is the longer version of my talk:

"On the occasion of this grand and prestigious event, with some of the great current and future business minds assembled together, I share wisdom from a great mind of the past. Though he may not have contemplated the activities of the past several days when he spoke, you will most certainly make the application easily yourself. "

"Albert Einstein said, "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality." "

"What Einstein realized in experience was that there is a difference between mathematics and reality. There is a difference between theory and practicality. One is clean, neat, orderly, predictable and certain; the other is not. On paper, one always works; in reality, it may not. "

"It is as Almanas wrote to Squaredime in my latest book, The Squaredime Letters, “The real world of organizations is much different than what my textbooks led me to anticipate. It is complex, fuzzy, irregular, asymmetrical, random, and in continuous disequilibrium, much different from the orderly and sterile world represented in my early plans.” "

"So, in accordance with the experience of Einstein and Almanas, your business plans, as spectacular, as innovative, as creative and complete as they may be, do not a business make. "

"They now need infused life. And that life must come in the form of inspired, motivated, creative, and innovative people all voluntarily aligning to help create your vision and mission. That life, that unique assemblage of people will be your company’s most valuable, most important, and most critical asset. "

"How well you develop that asset will determine whether even a mediocre business plan becomes an outstanding business, or whether even an outstanding business plan, becomes but another mediocre one. "

"Today, in the end, outstanding or mediocre can make the difference between success and failure. "

"Your most important asset is at the heart of the Administaff mission. Administaff exists to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as our client, to strengthen your ability to best develop your human assets, maximizing your profitability and making life better for everyone involved. "

CJ Coolidge
Rice Business Plan Awards Banquet
April 18, 2009
Westin Galleria hotel
Houston, TX

We could all benefit from this message. It is our people and our people systems which create the greatest opportunity for our companies to succeed. Everything else is just paper.

CJ Coolidge is a regular contributor to HRTools.com.
Get your own copy of his groundbreaking book, The Squaredime Letters.
Visit CJ online at www.cjcoolidge.com.