S02E01: Keeping up with the machines
Teal around the world, how to evolve monoliths, psychological safety, keeping up with the machine learning onslaught
Welcome to season 2, where I alternate between long-form essays and curated tidbits from the world’s leading agilists, system thinkers, and sociotechnical system designers.
Event: Teal Around The World 🤝
If you have even a passing interest in organization theory, you will have heard of Frédéric Laloux. With his famous book from 2014, he was one of the first people to capture the zeitgeist and make a case for reinventing our organizations.
With the Teal Network, a community emerged to further this mission. Next week, they will host a global conference with Frédéric Laloux as the keynote speaker.
I will be attending the event on Friday, March 3rd, and I hope to meet some of my Belgian readers there. Click here to register, too.
For those outside Belgium, find out more about the global event here.
Architecting spaghetti 🍝
Eduardo Da Silva end Nick Tune wrote an excellent article on a challenge that will ring familiar to many people in IT: when and how to modernize
spaghetti code monolith architectures.
This article builds on some of the patterns in Team Topologies, the book on every CIO’s nightstand. I will cover this approach in more detail in the course of season two.
Quote of the week 💬
Redesigning the lines and boxes in an organizational chart is simpler than changing how that organization in fact operates. Changing the rules and regulations is simpler than eliciting behavior that conforms to them.
—James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State
Psychological safety 🦺
In all companies, the most wicked problems come from the issues that people are hesitant to bring up. Dancing around a problem won’t help you fix it.
Psychological safety became MBA-famous after Google labeled it the driving force for team performance.
HBR wrote a decent introduction to the concept. However, they underemphasize the impact of groupthink on psychological safety. I’ll address that intersection in the course of season two.
The machine learning revolution 🤖🧠
If you hadn’t noticed, the ML paradigm shift has officially gone mainstream:
It’s hard to keep up with everything going on in this space, and I compiled some sources for your convenience:
When it comes to digital strategy, there are two Ben’s who offer reliably insightful analysis:
When Stratechery’s Ben Thompson refers to something as the most surprising and mind-blowing computer experience of my life, you want to be paying attention.
Every February, I look forward to Ben Evans’ yearly presentation of macro and strategic trends in the tech industry. This year’s burning question: what is the right abstraction to understand generative machine learning? What does it mean for search, product, and how we build software?
If you want to try to ingest everything that is going on in the space (reader, beware), I can recommend another Ben who is doing a great job of curating the space through a daily newsletter: Ben’s bites.
If you’re not following Ethan Mollick on Twitter, you are missing out on some very cool prompt engineering and analysis.
In trying to keep tabs on the capabilities of the machines, it’s worth remembering that digital transformation is upstream of AI risks and opportunities. If your organization is still operating under the industrial paradigm, it needs to fix that problem first.