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.