Agile: Do the Thing Right - or Do the Right Thing?

Episode 53 - 14 Sep 2016

It's an age old question: is it better to be EFFICIENT? Or should we strive to be EFFECTIVE? Let's answer that question once and for all.

Key take-aways:

  • Efficiency is Do the Thing Right
  • Effectiveness is Do the Right Thing
  • Efficiency and Effectiveness can be represented on a two-by-two matrix:
  • Low Efficiency + low Effectiveness = "Die Slowly"
  • High Efficiency + low Effectiveness = "Die Quickly"
  • Low Efficiency + high Effectiveness = "Survive"
  • High Efficiency + high Effectiveness = "Thrive"

Do the thing right?


Do the right thing?

Let's get to the bottom of that one once and for all.

This is Cranfield

I spent a year here doing my MBA.

MBA courses have been described in many ways - not all of them repeatable.

One of my favourite descriptions is "Death By Two-By-Two Matrix".

A must have seen a thousand 2x2 matrixes during my time there.

Some of them were actually useful

Anyway... I was wondering if I could come up with a 2-by two matrix that might be useful for those of us in the software development world.

If fact, I've been trying to come up with one for the best part of a year.

Then, about a month ago, inspiration finally struck.

If you've been watching DTP for a while, you'll have heard me talk about the twin commandments of

  • do the thing right, and
  • do the right thing

Would these two things work in a two-by two matrix?

Turns out they work BRILLIANTLY

I was MASSIVELY pleased with myself.

Until I discovered that my discovery... had already been discovered.

Years ago :(

Bad news for me, but good news for you. If it's been around for a while, it must have some value, its likely to well grounded.

It might just be worth paying attention to.

Let's take a look at each of the quadrants

Bottom left is doing the wrong things... badly. I hardly need say that we don't want to be here.

This is the DIE SLOWLY quadrant.

Top right is doing the right things... and doing them well. This is where we'd love to be spending our time.

This is the THRIVE quadrant.

The two remaining two quadrants are more subtle.

Top left, we're doing the wrong things... but we're doing them well.

At first, it doesn't sound so bad. At least we're efficient. But we're spending out time churning out things... that nobody wants.

Think start-up burning through investment funds.

This is the DIE QUICKLY quadrant.

Finally bottom right: doing the right things, but not very well.

Compared with top left quadrant, this is a far more positive place to be.

If we're building the right things, we're likely to be generating income. And if we're generating income, we have the breathing space to figure out how to become more efficient.

This is the SURVIVE quadrant.

There's much more we learn from this clever little matrix,

but I'm going to leave it there for today.

Thank you very much for watching.