How do we know we have a good idea?

How do we know?

I was reading the new book by Bas Vodde and Craig Larman recently. Recommended. It’s called “Scaling Lean and Agile Development.”

In the beginning of the book, they give lots of ideas about “how to think.” At first, I found this curious, although the suggestions were very good.

Only today did I connect it to what I think is our biggest problem.

This is how Yogi Berra (and Nancy V) put it:

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”

Or — how do we know if any knowledge work is actually useful? When we do knowledge work, how do we know we have made progress?

We could assume, but as we know, that can have bad consequences.

In the mind of any thinker, his own ideas are always perfect. So asking the Knowledge Worker if his ideas are good is not usually useful.

So, how do we discover the stupidness in every idea more quickly?  We have to have some kind of test, frequently. So, this applies to each Sprint, and this applies in changing from waterfall to Scrum.

Vodde and Larman, at a high level, are helping you discover all the stupid ‘truths’ your organization currently thinks are right. And are helping give you a means to gently convince others that their strongly held truths are just plain wrong.

A respected colleagues says, “Assume half of what you know is wrong.” Seems good advice.

I think that there will never come a day when we are finished rooting out stupidity in ourselves (so be a bit compassionate), in any one person and certainly in the whole team and the larger firm culture. Toyota has gone further: They are rooting out stupidity in the flow of value across all the firms in a value flow.

Taiichi Ohno started implementing Lean at Toyota in the late 1940’s. He was not finished when he retired in the mid-1980’s. I am thinking with Agile, while we can be a bit impatient, we need to take a longer view.




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