I often see pieces written about startup companies and the methods they use to develop software. Small companies often adapt quickly to new ideas and processes. However, many of us work in larger, more established corporations and don’t get the flexibility to change our processes. In fact, for many of us, the idea of developing software faster doesn’t even seem to make sense. Most of us in large organizations (private or public) have fundamentally different views of our clients and market.
However I read an interesting piece on adaptive, more flexible, startup-type companies that does seem to indicate that many of our larger organizations might want to rethink how they work. The piece looks at an operating system as a way of building products or services. What’s most fascinating to me is that this piece looks at the way in which large, established companies have failed while smaller, younger companies that operate differently have succeeded.
In many ways, software is eating the world. As playing fields level in many industries because of both cheap computing power and complex software, I suspect more and more organizations will feel pressure to become more adaptive. I would especially think this will happen as new, younger managers mature, with new ways of thinking. Those managers that haven’t spent decades working in a factory mentality will see the power and advantages of trusting people, setting a vision, and then allowing people to build software that does the work.
However there are plenty of organizations where you have a wide range of skills, and of employee motivation. There are certainly employees that don’t want to innovate and just want to do the job they’ve been doing. There will always be a need for some grunt style work (though maybe less in technology). We certainly need to adapt any system to ensure those employees that need more supervision to transition to new ways of working get that help.
I expect that we’ll also see more public groups adapt these techniques as well. There is increasing pressure on reducing costs, as well as the need to accomplish more and more, perhaps with smaller groups of people. In many cases this means that software should do more. I would hope that more public organizations adapt their processes in order to meet the demands they face. Those that have, already stand out.
It’s going to be an interesting world the next decade to two, and I really do think we will see more companies adapting the way they work to something that leans towards embracing and allowing creativity and innovation more than following rules by rote.
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