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Experimentation mindset

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SDEC 2014 Keynote - Among the traits that distinguish a good team from a great team is their ability to innovate. And despite the rhetoric in favor of innovation, most organizations are stuck in an implementation mindset, stifling creativity, excellence, and the resultant innovation. The experimentation mindset frees us from self-imposed constraints, allowing us to continually learn and improve.

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Experimentation mindset

  1. 1. Thank you to our Sponsors Doc Norton Groupon - Global Director of Engineering Culture doc@groupon.com @DocOnDev Media Sponsor: The Experimentation Mindset
  2. 2. The Experimentation Mindset Doc Norton Global Director of Engineering Culture doc@groupon.com @DocOnDev
  3. 3. Fixed Mindset Redwood Bonsai - This is a life constrained
  4. 4. Growth (Agile) Mindset Redwood Tree - This is a life freed
  5. 5. Dreyfus Model of Skills Acquisition
  6. 6. Novice Novice • Little or no knowledge • Little or no experience • Need rules • Impatient for results • focus on how over why • Generally one teacher Need a mentor and close monitoring
  7. 7. Advanced Beginner Advanced Beginner • Some experience • Can find information • Break free of some rules • Can’t filter irrelevant information • Can’t determine importance Need experience in limited and controlled real-world situations
  8. 8. Competent Competent • Have a mental model • Associations formed • Can handle the unknown • Methodical • Thinking still steeped in “right” and “wrong” Need a variety of real-world situations to form connections between already held ideas and models
  9. 9. Proficient Proficient • Interested in big picture • Impatient with over-simplified information • Grasp and apply maxims - YAGNI, Do the Simplest Thing That Can Possibly Work • Internalization • Potential to become an investigator / experimenter Need a lot of practice, hindered as little as possible by policies or guidelines
  10. 10. Expert Expert • True Authority • Developed Intuition • Deep pool of knowledge • Can Interlink Skills • Tend to be inarticulate in how they arrive at conclusions • Passionate Advocate for True Learning (having experienced it) Continue to practice. Learn by teaching.
  11. 11. Where are You?
  12. 12. Most think they’re expert Most think they’re expert
  13. 13. Most never progress past proficient Most stay stuck at proficient
  14. 14. From Implementation These first few stages are all similar in that …
  15. 15. Implementation Mindset Get it Right A+ To progress from beginner to competence and into proficiency, our focus is on getting it right. Earning good grades. NOT making mistakes. This is a focus on implementation.
  16. 16. From Implementation to Experimentation But the next phase of growth requires a change…
  17. 17. Experimentation Mindset Explore Different Ways But to progress from Proficiency into Mastery, we must experiment and learn unencumbered by rules and constraints. We need to get it wrong and then make it better. We need to explore different ways. Need a lot of practice, hindered as little as possible by policies or guidelines MUST EXPERIMENT to move PAST PROFICIENT
  18. 18. From Implementation to Experimentation To progress from beginner to competence and into proficiency, our focus is on getting it right. Earning good grades. NOT making mistakes. This is a focus on implementation. But to progress from Proficiency into Mastery, we must experiment and learn unencumbered by rules and constraints. We need to get it wrong and then make it better. Need a lot of practice, hindered as little as possible by policies or guidelines MUST EXPERIMENT to move PAST PROFICIENT
  19. 19. Telephone Sales
  20. 20. Telephone Sales
  21. 21. Telephone Sales
  22. 22. Telephone Sales
  23. 23. Follow the Script This is gonna go GREAT!
  24. 24. Weekly Sales Rankings It didn’t go so GREAT Ptolemy Janet Raphael Susan Kathy Tommy Doc Chris P. 3 weeks in a row below the line and you’re out. 5 weeks in an 7 week period and you’re out. The line was not a set sales target. This was strict rank and yank. 25% of people were ALWAYS below the line.
  25. 25. Hello (sGir/omoadd Damay),!my name is _P_t_o_lePma_ty _M Mici_ch_ha_ee_llaska_k_is_ … Watch the Master
  26. 26. Experiment Jokester
  27. 27. Experiment Demanding
  28. 28. Experiment Calmly Confident
  29. 29. Experiment Played Dumb
  30. 30. Experiment Was just friendly
  31. 31. Weekly Sales Rankings Top in Sales! Doc Ptolemy Janet Kathy Tommy Raphael Susan Andy
  32. 32. I’d like to see you in my office.
  33. 33. Not the feedback I was expecting “The script is proven. It is a best practice. We need to follow best practices to get the best results.”
  34. 34. My last day On the day I decided was my last day, for my last phone call, I stood on my desk. Then Tommy stood, then Kathy, then Ptolemy, then others…. I closed that call. I sold a gentleman 3 years of Field and Stream Magazine. And I gladly left.
  35. 35. “Best” Practices Best Practices are a misnomer. The very notion is steeped in a Fixed and Implementation Mindset. They create artificial boundaries for our learning.
  36. 36. Implementation Mindset Get it Right A+ They wanted me to get it right. Follow the script. Practice the script. Get better at the script. The script was their Best Practice. I was violating best practices. More organizations need an experimentation mindset
  37. 37. Single Loop Learning Assumptions Actions Outcomes Get it Right This is what Chris Argyris calls Single Loop Learning. We hold fast to underlying assumptions, such as the notion of a best practice. Operating in this context, we prioritize how good we are at following the practice over how well we’ve achieved the actual goal. Incremental Improvement & Little innovation (if any at all) A focus on getting it right creates an environment where failure is hidden. Want to look good. Deceit => Suspicion => Contempt => Dark Side
  38. 38. Double Loop Learning Assumptions Actions Outcomes Get it Right Explore Different Ways Double Loop Learning Challenge our base assumptions - remember your purpose • Don’t just get better at code reviews; consider how else you can • Share knowledge, Enforce Standards, Maintain Quality • What if we didn’t have - Annual goals, quarterly financials, managers or hierarchy… • How do we KNOW the latest management/leadership/process trend will work here?
  39. 39. Experimentation Mindset Explore Different Ways The experimentation mindset moves us from not only getting better at how we do things, but finding better ways to do them.
  40. 40. “Best” Practices Instead of “Best” Practices
  41. 41. “Leading” Practices Think of them as “Leading” Practices
  42. 42. Dreyfus Model of Skills Acquisition Montessori Schools and other “alternative” educational formats
  43. 43. Experimentation
  44. 44. Experiment Configuration Finch - homage to Darwin
  45. 45. Experiment Monitoring Panopticon
  46. 46. Build Status
  47. 47. Application Performance
  48. 48. Cumulative Flow
  49. 49. Team Velocity
  50. 50. Code Quality
  51. 51. Code Quality
  52. 52. Retrospectives
  53. 53. Interest Leagues Interest Leagues Communities of people with common interests, related to work, but not directly about delivery of a Groupon project. Java League, Node League, Ruby League, On-Boarding League, Speaker League These groups create our standards. Standards come from the people who do the work. They come from a team self-selected and self-organized people from all over the globe.
  54. 54. Internal Hack Fest GeekOn Two (or more) times per year - Engineering and Product take a week to hack. Cannot be part of your regular work Have to be able to squint at it and see Groupon Projects are voted on and Executive team funds them for additional 20% time
  55. 55. Culture Clubs Culture Clubs Volunteers in each office. Plan office events - parties, charity drives, in-chair massage Culture clubs meet to share ideas and tips. Coordinate events across offices for some occasions.
  56. 56. GEMs Program GEMs program Groupon Enrichment and Mentoring
  57. 57. 360 Feedback 360 Feedback Several Teams were doing this already. Launched multi-team pilot to see if we could spread this throughout the organization.
  58. 58. The Check-In The Check-In Form => Histograms => Overall 01 - I know what's expected of me at work. 02 - I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right. 03 - At Groupon, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day. 04 - In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work. 05 - My manager, or someone at Groupon, seems to care about me as a person. 06 - There is someone at Groupon who encourages my development. 07 - At Groupon, my opinions seem to count. 08 - The mission/purpose of Groupon makes me feel my job is important. 09 - My co-workers are committed to doing quality work. 10 - I have a best friend at work. 11 - In the last six months, someone at Groupon has talked to me about my progress. 12 - This last year, I've had opportunities at Groupon to learn and grow.
  59. 59. 4 things
  60. 60. Know your purpose What problem are you trying to solve? What value are you trying to create? Without this, you are not experimenting, you are meandering aimlessly. Are you building educational software or are you making education available for all, regardless of their financial standing? Are you selling coupons on the internet or are you empowering local business? Tesla Motors recently open-sourced their patents. Their purpose is to reduce carbon emissions and revolutionize the automotive industry. Knowing this, it was the obvious choice. They are blazing the trail, but cannot do it alone.
  61. 61. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford Make Failure Acceptable When failure is acceptable, success is more likely
  62. 62. THINK BIG… start small… Don’t scale too soon. Test in multiple ways. Iterate. Learn.
  63. 63. Assumptions Actions Outcomes Get it Right Explore Different Ways Keep Experimenting.
  64. 64. The Experimentation Mindset Doc Norton Global Director of Engineering Culture doc@groupon.com @DocOnDev Thank You!
  65. 65. Images • Mad Scientist - https://www.flickr.com/photos/dzingeek/4587871752/sizes/o/ • Redwood Bonsai - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/Redwood_bonsai.JPG • Redwood Canopy - https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3548/3498180845_a2d653a323_b.jpg • Child to Adult - http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-rBplVVYK1CQ/Uu-EDJPXSzI/AAAAAAAAAHs/ErtWY1kctiY/s1600/HiRes.jpg • Phones - • http://www.enumclawsda.org/uploads/1/3/3/9/13391741/1971539_orig.gif?119 • http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qASUt2T7C7o/ULvJ8HVU3LI/AAAAAAAAACw/LufW5HYhCyM/s1600/Tel%C3%A8fon+fixe +antic.png • https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7443/8758001086_2692f91620_h.jpg • http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/147894/file-270530761-jpg/images/phone-large.jpg • Phone Script - http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.docstoccdn.com%2Fthumb%2Forig %2F6629075.png&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.docstoc.com%2Fdocs%2F6629075%2FSample-Sales- Script&h=1650&w=1275&tbnid=nhUALN2u__S9YM%3A&zoom=1&docid=- yQKAu8BxDXbEM&ei=PhVFVIvsOcfRiQK9kYGABQ&tbm=isch&ved=0CB8QMygDMAM&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=1681&page=1&start =0&ndsp=25
  66. 66. Reference Material • Dreyfus Model of Skills Acquisition - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_model_of_skill_acquisition, http:// files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED384695.pdf#page=130, file:///Users/mnorton/Documents/Dropbox/Presentations/ Groupon/Experimentation%20Mindset/ADA084551.pdf • HBR: Collective Genius - http://hbr.org/2014/06/collective-genius/ar/1 • How Organizations Learn - http://www.areteadventures.com/articles/ the_challenge_of_entering_the_green_room.pdf • Argyris: Teaching Smart People how to Learn - http://hbr.org/1991/05/teaching-smart-people-how-to-learn/ar/1, http://pds8.egloos.com/pds/200805/20/87/chris_argyris_learning.pdf • Argyris: Double Loop Learning in Organizations - http://hbr.org/1977/09/double-loop-learning-in-organizations/ar/3 • Argyris: Single-Loop and Double-Loop Learning in Research on Decision Making - https:// 093fb1c5e28761e25b79cfc10de03f5a188778a0.googledrive.com/host/0B_RO2ClD0V7AZHpWRS1mNUc2d1k/ argyris.pdf • Lean Change - http://www.lean.org/LeanPost/Posting.cfm?LeanPostId=225 • Scaling Up Excellence - • Start With Why -

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