John Prideaux

John Prideaux

Leading Digital Consulting at Wisereach

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More classic software delivery mistakes that have stood the test of time!

The thing about really well-formed cunning mistakes is that they  keep being made over and over again. We are all familiar with the character in the horror film who time and time again ignores the obvious warning signs and edges closer towards greater danger. Why don't they run away! I have a few personal recurring mistakes, such as always thinking that there is plenty of time left to do the Christmas shopping, and forgetting to turn the thermostat down when toasting tea cakes!

Call me old fashioned - and many people do - but  I'm a great believer in  people.  I tend to ignore  roles, titles and  rank and look for the person and what they can do.  I'm a big Agile fan, but  I am getting increasingly concerned about the  fixed nature  of roles that  are developing  and are being demanded for in scrum teams, and it  all feels slightly un-agile-ish.  

After decades of learning, why are software projects still making the same old (36) mistakes?

Traditional wisdom tells us that you have to create the right environment for learning. Leafy off-sites are favoured with the aim to get people ‘away from the office’ and free from distractions. But in the age of smartphones and digital collaboration, people are never away from work. Trainers struggle to keep their delegates focused. The only talking you hear in coffee breaks is the chatter of mobile phone conversations. Classes are only partially filled as they re-start. And as the day wears on, the yawns get longer and louder. For courses longer than a day there’s the additional problem of morning hangovers and post-breakfast energy crash!

I have had a number of conversations over the last few months with people who have experienced the demise or watering down of innovation departments in large corporations. It seems that whilst CEOs and their teams recognise the value of innovation, their ability to nurture it continues to elude them.

Managing technology change programmes can often feel like a ‘bloody trail of gangster revenge’. The 1971 film Get Carter describes Jack Carter’s (Michael Caine's) quest for vengeance as 'following a complex trail of lies, deceit, cover-ups and backhanders’. The pun-intended Kata learning technique that sits behind Toyota's Lean success provides a painless alternative for delivering programmes successfully in the dynamic digital era.

Personally, Christmas triggers a two month phase of buying online. This year was no exception apart from the fact nearly every gift I purchased was being delivered via Click+Collect. Christmas day in fact started with the opening of presents and then the now traditional reading of the 20 sales emails sitting in my inbox declaring that the "sale starts now!". As you could expect, I ordered a healthy amount of sales items from the likes of John Lewis, Hobbs, Debenhams and Monsoon, all Click+Collect!

Incredibly, 50% of project management offices close within 3 years (Association for Project Management) and according to Gartner Project Manager 2014, since 2008, the correlated PMO implementation failure rate has been over 50%.

I signed up to a well-known high-street loyalty scheme last week and amongst other things, I was asked to enter my date of birth. Well, like many consumers fed up with having to share my life facts with the world, I used my usual fake DOB (which also makes me feel younger) and is part of my standard online ‘cover’ – I love having multiple identities! It seems I’m not the only one...

John shares his experiences of plodding corporate governance stifling Agile benefits

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