Under-Management Is the Flip Side of Micromanagement — and It’s a Problem Too

I don’t know that one is worse than the other, both can be problematic depending on the context of the work. Under-management is something more people need to consciously address, especially as more and more work moves away from a “command and control” management environment and becomes more “agile” and in the hands self-organized teams.

Micromanagement gets most of the attention, but under-management may be just as big a problem.

Under-Management Is the Flip Side of Micromanagement — and It’s a Problem Too

Spotify, song pairs, and the future of work

Listening to Spotify today, I start with Pink Floyd‘s classic Meddle. After the album completes, Spotify takes me off to “radio” based on the album. I love this feature, btw, I’ve discovered a lot of new music this way. Inevitably this includes more Pink Floyd, which is – of course – awesome.

On comes Brain Damage from Dark Side of the Moon. As anyone who is familiar with this particular song knows, it is actually just the first part of a two-song series that includes the album’s closing track, Eclipse. (To be sure, DSotM is really just one long song, but I digress.) So of course I’m expecting Brain Damage to seamlessly segue into Eclipse.


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“Hey everyone, I know this doesn’t apply to all of you (probably not even most of you), but a couple of people screwed this up and I really don’t like telling people directly that they screwed up and please don’t do it again, so I’m sending out this email to everyone in the hopes that the people that screwed it up will read this and take notice. If this doesn’t apply to you, please disregard, if it does apply to you I sure hope you actually read this and understand that it applies to you.”

Some thoughts on volunteer tech support to non-profits

Some interesting, though probably not unexpected, insights from the incredible humans at BigWideSky about “digital donation errors” made by non-profits.

As part of our study, 2019 State of Nonprofit Digital Giving, we secretly donated to 100 organizations across the nonprofit spectrum from humanitarian, healthcare, environment, food, animal groups, arts & culture, youth charities and more.

Source: State of Nonprofit 2019: Digital Giving Study

I just downloaded the report and am looking forward to reading the full results of the study. Just reading the summary, though, got me thinking.

The challenges faced by many non-profits goes well beyond fund raising. My recent experiences at the Code With a Cause events put on by GlobalHack showed me that many of these organizations know there are things they could / should be doing. There are plenty of open source, “free” tools out there for non-profits to use. But non-profits often a) don’t have the in-house expertise to implement and/or b) don’t have the funding to hire an agency (or freelancer) to develop the solutions they need.

Based on my understanding (which is admittedly limited), the main donations to non-profits are either financial contributions or a contribution of time in the form of volunteering, either in the execution of the main mission or in providing support to operations. There is, as the Code With a Cause events highlight, huge potential for the “donation” of technical – and experience design – expertise.

The big question, though, is how to vet and coordinate technical volunteers. Perhaps set up a non-profit that vets and coordinates technical volunteers, a sort of “volunteer staffing agency” specializing in developers and designers?

Healthcare.gov and the Gulf Between Planning and Reality

Like all organizational models, waterfall is mainly a theory of collaboration. By putting the most serious planning at the beginning, with subsequent work derived from the plan, the waterfall method amounts to a pledge by all parties not to learn anything while doing the actual work. Instead, waterfall insists that the participants will understand best how things should work before accumulating any real-world experience, and that planners will always know more than workers.

Clay Shirky – Healthcare.gov and the Gulf Between Planning and Reality

This quote, especially the part I have highlighted in bold, is the best description I’ve come across of why waterfall methods fail when developing complex systems. Waterfall works great when your measure of success is “Did we execute this plan well”, not so great if your measure of success is “Does this product do what we need it to do”.

What it means to be a Service Designer

“Before you start reading this, I just want to make it clear that this is my solely opinion and perceptions that I have about being a Service Designer, and are based on my professional experience. I’m not defining the profession and I know that each one of us, as individuals, have different perceptions and definitions of it and, of course, it depends on the company we work for. So, I hope to make a good discussion from this post. Thank you!”

Bruno Katekawa – What it means to be a Service Designer

Show Your Map

‘What do you do?’ is a conversational gambit that many people dread hearing. How to respond? What if you consider yourself hyphenate, a multifaceted individual who, for pleasure or for income, does many things? What if you find it difficult to communicate this in a digestible way? What if your personal sense of identity and self-worth is founded upon the avoidance of neat labels and the impulse to categorise? Do you filter and select, presenting just part of who you are? Often this is the most convenient path to take.

Richard Martin – Show your map

Field studies and Intranet Redesign

The corporate intranet, and Enterprise Social Networks, has to support a broad range of users and many different functional use cases. Understanding the context of the people who use the platform, including the things they do that are not directly on the platform, is critical in providing a “right” design. 

“Identifying the real problem is one of the main reasons to conduct field research. After all, if you solve the wrong problem, it doesn’t matter how well you solve it. A great design of the wrong thing? It’ll still be the wrong thing. “