Showing posts from 2023

The "Smelly Sock" Approach to Feedback

Customer feedback. We all know we need it to make sure we are delivering the right thing. But sometimes we all have trouble engaging. The customer might be busy, or disinterested, or both. So here's a little tip that might just help. Like all the best stories, this happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....  We were working on a web front end and associated backend system for a client. But we were suffering from the "disengaged  customer" anti pattern. The customer would not commit to a web front end design, and help us design the look and feel needed for the application. We provided a few options over a couple of iterations to try and start the design conversation, but none connected despite our efforts. So we threw in a " smelly sock ". Something so stinky it guaranteed to get folks going " Ewwww! Get that out of here!". I seem to remember we disabled all CSS formatting.... Sure enough, we got a reaction during the regular show-and-tell s

Everyone Needs A Coach. Every Delivery Team Needs A Technical Coach

Bill Gates chose to open his 2013 TED talk with the words  "Everyone needs a coach" . Someone to provide feedback, and help them see how others see them. True enough - I have helped many people over the years understand themselves, how they interact with others, and how they can resolve inner conflicts and improve. For me, being an effective personal coach is one part of providing quality leadership to companies, and was one reason I went on the Barefoot coaching course a while back. But let's zoom out, and look at the next level in the software industry, specifically the delivery teams. These folks should be the powerhouse of any company, turning customer needs and ideas into reality that can be assessed for usefulness, and ultimately value (whatever that is - value can take many forms. Maybe a subject to explore another day).  However, in companies I work with I am seeing a problem with many of these powerhouses. Something that I suspect is rapidly becoming a  BIG prob

The Power Paradox

Established companies today are facing many problems. Recovering from the Covid pandemic. Adapting (or otherwise) to remote working. Keeping up with younger, smaller, faster competitors that seem to be able to adapt much more readily to today’s VUCA environment. The list seems to be endless. To do this, many are changing the way they work - they are undergoing transformation . But…many have a problem… I give you the Pitts Power Paradox of Organisational Transformation! (Not exactly a snappy title, granted). Let me explain. Having been involved in many of these transformations where ‘traditional’ companies are attempting to change the way they do business, I am seeing a common pattern of failure. They ignore one fundamental issue that can be summed up in a single quote: “ All organisations are perfectly designed to get the results they get. ” - Arthur W. Jones Every organisation already has a system in place - a way of working - that gets precisely the existing results. To change the r