Bulletin 10 August 2018. Tactics trump strategy every time

I’ll keep this quick, I promise. I know, I always say that. But something struck me as I interviewed an old friend and colleague for a survey report I’m writing: we know what the answer is. 

You know, that conversation you had, in the car or in the bar, about how to sort out the problem, take over the world or make lots of money. It wasn’t wrong then, and it isn’t wrong now, is it? 

There’s the rub. Working out the answer is not the hard bit. Yeah, whatever, we know this, right? 1 percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration? Sure, heard it before?

But this is where it gets weird. Not only do we forget that we know what the answer was, we then carry on like we never knew in the first place. 

To whit, a conversation I had with RBS’ Tony Christensen about learning organisations. It was always the right answer, just as agile, or customer-centric, or anything else might be. 

To the extent that it gets dull to hear these terms trotted out. So, what’s getting in the way of, you know, just keeping them front of mind? 

I think perhaps, that the default human tendency is tactical. Our reptilian cerebellum, left to its own devices, simply wants to eat, sleep and have pleasure. Every day we wake up and have to convince ourselves of a higher path. 

So, in corporate culture we are not so much fighting against entropy, but our inability to delay gratification. Meanwhile, we hold entropy to account: put simply, “if you can’t explain to me how this will deliver clear long-term ROI, we’re not going to do it.” Followed by: “Now, lunch?”

This is not so much the sky-hook upon which all business failures can hang, as the plug-hole down which their potential will inevitably disappear. 

In case you were wondering, this has a fantastic amount to do with technology. Any of the strategic topics or trends in discussion — insight-driven decision making, or digital transformation, or DevOps, or whatever faces a constant battle against our all-too-tactical nature. 

Meanwhile, we carry on doing things the way we’ve always done them, long after they pass their sell-by date, because habit trumps tactics. Food for thought. 

Meanwhile, here’s an article for this week.  
 

Seven lessons from writing the report, Scaling DevOps in the Enterprise

It’s never too early to move into a reflective mode. Here’s some thoughtsabout what I have learned, as I complete my DevOps report (due this month): 

1. It’s not (just) about DevOps. 

2. It is all about business value delivery. 

3. Reality is the biggest bottleneck to DevOps. 

4. Man, is there a crapload of DevOps vendors. 

5. Cloud is cause, catalyst and now consequence of the DevOps stalemate. 

6. Enterprises know where they want to end up, but are stymied.

7. Tech could start by turning some of that smartness onto itself.


Thanks again for reading, see you next week.

Cheers, Jon

Bulletin 10 August 2018. Tactics trump strategy every time

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