Archive for April, 2011

Taylorism, Unions and “The Law of Unintended Consequences (Part I)”

April 7, 2011

Because I have hypothesized, and truthfully without consciously knowing the cultural origin of my own hypothesis, that Scientific Management (“Taylorism”) may be at the root of some of our non-academic ideas on workflow, I’ve thought to try to study it a bit more in an effort at becoming more aware of the cultural context  of my own assumptions.

Today I ran some searches on Taylorism and Unions because it struck me this morning that it’s interesting Scientific Management and Unions all appeared during the same time period.

I found some interesting work.

First, this review of a book by Milton J. Nadworny, published by Harvard in 1955: (more…)

Four Conclusions That Happened on the Way in to Work

April 6, 2011

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 -  1915), father of TaylorismOne – figured out I’d inadvertently tweeted a spam site when trying to make a point about taylorism and agile.  Some “@-ed” me causing me to draw the conclusion that I’d picked up a spam link.

Two – ran into a colleague who had changed jobs recently.  He had come to the conclusion that it was the people at his previous company and, since he likes his current team better, that he’s now a bit happier.  I said “Maybe it’s not the people but the work?”  and he then concluded that in fact it might indeed be the drawing of boxes (he’s an IA) just isn’t that interesting.  That it is this software-like version of the ad industry making him unhappy.

Three – saw a truck that says “” – which felt completely ironic under the circumstances of my concern, that I’d tweeted about Taylorism without methodically (and “scientifically”) examining the source of my info. I drew the conclusion that it was a sign (on a truck!) (more…)

“We Look to Scientists to Settle Them”

April 5, 2011

A quick follow-up to my blog post on 4/4.  I just realized as I read this post by Laurent Bossavit, in which the author draws parallels between scientific method and the software development process discussion, applies to my question in my “Fool” post of how much we have to empirically evaluate our own opinions of “how to do.”  I’m not sure I was clear in that post, but I concluded that eventually we might have to “play the Fool” and just decide in the moment.

Reading Bossavit’s article increases my confidence in that conclusion as he says:

The trouble with opinions is that everyone has their own; you can always find one to suit any given prejudice. “Test-driven development reduces defect count”, says one expert; “test-driven development will wreck your architecture”, says the next.

Knowledge cannot be disseminated merely by everyone having a blog of their own. Blogs are great for voicing opinions – are they ever – and for having debates, but it’s unhealthy for debate to go on forever. We look to scientists for settling them.


Teams and Trusting Like a Fool

April 4, 2011

Ryder-Waite Tarot "The Fool"Just when I was supposed to be finishing up these slides for Execs, and instead talking with someone about trust in the context of working relationships, I saw tweets about Lyssa Adkins‘ nice blog post on the same topic: “Is trust earned or granted?

In the article she notices how she gradually granted trust to her toddler and relates this to discoveries working with Tobias Mayer and a client.  One of her discoveries was this line (which does sound like its out of something written by Lao Tzu):

Trust — lead from a place of faith, not suspicion; follow likewise

The conversation piqued my awareness of trust and somehow I started watching how this plays out in my daily interactions. Within the context of two circumstances I made some discoveries.

First, in an hours-long conversation between colleagues on a train, I observed us granting, revoking, and regranting trust over and over, very subtly, as we spoke.  All of this in the quest of understanding what it was that we were trying to say to each other. (more…)