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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
X : Any chance we can meet for coffee? Me : Virtual or in person? X : In person. Me : Whereabouts? X : I'll be in London next month. Me : Ok, A coffee shop in London Hythe. X : Where's that. Me : About 70 miles away. X : Something a bit more local? Me : Hythe is local ... to me.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : Ok, virtual? Me : Sure. What's up anyway? X : I need to pick your brain on how to bring IT and the business closer together? Me : Easy. You put IT in charge. It's a lot faster for engineers to learn about business than it is for business to learn about engineering.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : There's a lot to learn about business. Me : No there isn't, it's mostly story telling. Engineers won't have any issue with finance & law, most will know how to build teams and the strategy / leadership parts of business are mostly snake oil ... it's not like engineering.
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Simon Wardley #EEA
In fact, find yourself an engineering manager who runs a large guild in an MMORPG (i.e. WoW, EVE online) and they'll have had the best leadership training there is ... they'll run circles around your MBAs.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : You're only saying that because you came from an engineering background. Me : Actually, I'm a scientist who got into finance and then into management and finally got into engineering. I come from the business side first and it's mostly storytelling, BS and meme copying.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
I might have learned how to code as a kid but I was selling real estate, trading on financial futures and building teams of cutthroat sales people long before I wrote any commercial code. Business is not hard to start, it's just hard to do well. Engineering is hard to start.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
And it's precisely because Engineering is hard to start that you take your engineers and teach them business. That's the fastest way of getting these groups together with a common understanding. X : What are the business leaders supposed to do. Me : Milk with two sugars?
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : Seriously? Me : Nah, I'm pulling your leg. You'll need some to lift the veil not just make the tea. The single largest problem is not learning about business, it's confidence. You'll find some IT groups have been ... well, abused for decades. This creates three problems ...
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
First you need to instil confidence. Second you need to lift the veil so they see what business really is. Lastly you need to cope with the angry reaction that almost inevitably follows. Keep that in mind and you'll be ok.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : Why anger? Me : Find an engineering manager who has spent a decade of listening to "what the business needs", "business leads, IT follows" and stick them in the back of boardroom to listen. First words they'll say after often won't be pretty. Nothing like lifting the veil.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
... why do you think with "digital transformation" there is a lot of politics, positioning and power grabs happening. There are factional issues at play here, a real repainting of engineering into two groups - a boring old "IT" group and a cool "business" coding group ...
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
... there is fear in some quarters that IT will take over. Been kicking off for a decade now. X : It shouldn't be IT vs Business. It's all business. Me : The correct translation is "It shouldn't be IT vs Business. It's all business except the IT bit which should know its place".
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : I don't understand. Me : The people saying "It shouldn't be IT vs Business. It's all business." are mostly on the business side and what they usually mean is "Show me some magic and then get back under the stairs".
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : Are you anti-business? Me : Quite the opposite. I just happen to know the difference between the illusion and reality of business. People don't tend to like challenges especially to their own power bases. The tech changes are becoming an increasing threat.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
It's not just business that tech folk have been ripping up. Look at politics. Even concepts like "challenge" are different. X : How so? Me : Old world, challenge meant "I tell you what to do and challenge you if you don't do it". New world, it means debate around the idea ...
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
... it takes a very different type of leader to sit there and actually listen and learn from a junior engineer that rips to shreds your precious business idea. Concepts like challenge, communication, structure are all changing. Old table, 2011 study, it might help.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : Do you consult? Me : No. I research. I also teach people to map. I'm happy to chat though. However, I'm not travelling to London for a cup of coffee.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : I disagree with the characterisation of business vs IT. Me : Good. I will note that I didn't start it. Let us all be one, just put IT in charge. X : Why IT? Me : Why not IT? I thought you were arguing it's all one? X : But IT lacks business skills. Me : That lasted 5 seconds.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : How to solve it? Me : Depends upon what you're trying to solve? Reinforcing past power structures or actually adapting? X : Adapt. Me : Are you sure? It means more communication, more challenge, more cell based like structures, less "departments" and "empires'.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : So, where do I start. Me : Look at the table from 2011, ask "Are we more traditional or more new generation" X : More traditional. Me : Ok. So, now you need to start fixing it. X : Yes, but how?
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
Me : Take the following table. Start with phase I, have a discussion internally about each component, listen to your people, mark each component - good to warning - then work to make the bits in phase I all good and then move onto phase II ... keep going.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : Should we get outside consultants to help us? Me : No. You need to do this internally, build up aspects of belonging, safety, communication and challenge within the company. Start the process by asking for help from your own people.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : Any other tips? Me : Sure, along with asking for help from and supporting your own people then you can always create the perception of an outside threat.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : Have you ever thought of giving up research and taking a more leadership position? Me : Corporate leadership is not my thing, I find the people politics and story telling uninteresting. So, I found a different path for particular skills. X : What?
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
Me : I decided to create an army of people worldwide to take out that dreadfully overpriced strategy consultancy industry that enslaves us. My intention is to do this under their noses and for peanuts just to prove you can build a worldwide army of gifted people without money.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : Do you think you can achieve this? Me : No. But the mapping community can. It is growing, it is challenging, it is learning and it is talking. Leaders in that community are emerging in many places. I'm confident people will emerge that will change the world of strategy.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
Me : What I learned long ago, is that leadership is like gardening. It's about creating the right conditions for structures and people to emerge in but also guiding towards an overall design. Leadership is the ultimate support role. X : Any suggested reading?
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
Me : None. But I can suggest an action to start with. X : Which is? Me : Spend your first three months as a CEO doubling up as a receptionist. It's what I did. You'll learn bucketloads.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
X : CEO as a a receptionist? Me : Absolutely. You will learn loads. X : A humility play? Me : If you think it is, you're still not getting it. X : What then? Me : When you're lost in a company, where is the one place you often turn to for help? That's where you want to be.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
X : What do you think the army of mappers should be called? Me : Lol, I just told that I'd call it "The helpful legion of gifted and passionate mappers" and an hour later I see has just added that to their site ... so there we are.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @themapirati
On the topic of Wardley mapping ... If you want to learn, the book (I wrote this bit) is free - There's an awesome list of useful sites and events - and is going to put up a list of mappers -
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 13
Replying to @swardley
There is also Camp on the 15th October in London - - just over a month away, and there are 108 diversity tickets (£50+vat) and 14 supporter tickets left. There's also a waitlist for standard tickets. All the early birds went long ago.
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 14
Replying to @swardley
X : If IT takes over surely it means the business side suffers? Aren't both needed? Me : You're reinforcing division by implying there is something called "the business" that is distinct from IT. It's not. These are just capabilities and engineering should be in the boardroom ...
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Simon Wardley #EEA Sep 14
Replying to @swardley
... whether you like it or not, the most successful companies, fastest growing economy (China) are mostly run by engineers. If you want to bring IT and business together then you have to break down any old political structures. So, put IT in charge and call it "the business".
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