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SoCAL Lean Meetup Talk


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How storytelling can help

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SoCAL Lean Meetup Talk

  1. How storytelling can help us tackle (and solve) complex problems<br />SoCal Kanban/Lean Software meetup<br />July 12, 2011<br />VenkateshRao<br />
  2. Complex Problems are Mysteries<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />2<br />“Eh bien. …je me pose des questions,…You too, doubtless?”<br />Lord Edgeware Dies, Agatha Christie<br />
  3. Hastings<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />3<br />“Certainly…Who killed Lord Edgeware?”<br />
  4. Poirot<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />4<br />“No no. Not at all. Is it a question, that?”<br />…<br />Why did Lord Edgeware change his mind about the divorce?<br />What happened to the letter? <br />
  5. Hastings vs. Poirot<br />Formulaic questions<br />Obvious logical closure<br />Problem and formula<br />Solution seeking<br />Means-ends reasoning<br />Planning<br />Calculative rationality<br />Jomini<br />Situation-specific questions<br />Non-obvious narrative closure<br />Mystery and clue<br />Resolution seeking<br />Insight-seeking<br />Storytelling<br />Narrative rationality<br />Clausewitz and Sun Tzu<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />5<br />
  6. On Planning and Plans<br />“The process of planning is very valuable, for forcing you to think hard about what you are doing, but the actual plan that results from it is probably useless.” – Marc Andreessen<br />“Plans are nothing, planning is everything” – Dwight Eisenhower<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />6<br />
  7. Who Read Napoleon Right?<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />7<br />Carl von Clausewitz<br />(1780-1831)<br /><ul><li>More like Andreessen, Eisenhower
  8. Better known today</li></ul>Antoine-Henri Jomini<br />(1779-1869)<br /><ul><li>More like mainstream MBA thinking
  9. Less-known, more actual influence</li></li></ul><li>The Journey Metaphor<br />“Jominitells you to first establish your base of operations, then determine an “objective point,” and then choose lines of operations from the base to that point to move your army along. That makes three basic steps: first you figure out where are (Point A), then you decide where you want to be (Point B), and then you make a plan to get from Point A to Point B.”<br />-- William Duggan, Strategic Intuition<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />8<br />
  10. Or…<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />9<br />
  11. Works sometimes<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />10<br />Known map, pre-defined objective: <br />compute the fastest or cheapest path<br />
  12. …but groping creates…<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />11<br />“Simultaneous Localization and Mapping” (SLAM) <br />– sketch of typical situation<br />
  13. ...exploration-exploitation tradeoffs<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />12<br />Unknown/partially known map, unclear objective:exploration-exploitation tradeoff<br />
  14. Three Trade-off Strategies<br />Grand Vision: Build the whole map just for one journey<br />Tunnel Vision: Never backtrack, hope to get lucky<br />Cheap Trick: Build enough of a map to find some high-leverage opportunity<br />Aside: Central idea in lean startup “pivot” concept<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />13<br />
  15. Grand vision: ambitious, brute force<br />Cheap trick: high-leverage insight<br />1+2+3+4+…+17=?<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />14<br />Hey, notice something?<br /> 1+2+3+…+16+17=17+16+15…+2+1<br />
  16. Cheap Trick = coup d'oeil<br />Clausewitz, “strike of the eye,”<br />Mathematical Aha!<br />Significant clue in mystery<br />Enlightenment event at a Zen retreat<br />Elegant design insight, military attack insight<br />What does it feel like?<br />Resolves a building tension <br />Complexity and chaos dissolves<br />Deep emotional relief when you get the insight<br />Unleashes creative energy<br />Sound familiar?<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />15<br />
  17. Joseph Campbell (1949)<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />16<br />“Tchh, tchh…Joseph my friend, everything should be made as simple as possible but no simpler!”<br />
  18. Gustav Freytag (1863)<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />17<br />Climax<br />Freytag Triangle<br />Rising Action<br />Falling Action<br />Resolution<br />Exposition<br />“Tchh, tchh…Gustav my friend, everything should be made as simple as possible but no simpler!”<br />
  19. Double Freytag! (Rao, 2011)<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />18<br />Separation Event<br />Cheap Trick<br />Increasing Entropy<br />Heavy Lift<br />Retrospective<br />Sense-Making<br />Exploration<br />Valley<br />Liminal Passage<br />Evolved doctrine<br />“Moral of the story”<br />Liminal Passage<br />
  20. The Matrix<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />19<br />Neo Resurrection<br />Red-Pill/Blue-Pill<br />Increasing Dissonance<br />Neo Win, EMP Burst<br />Neo vs. Smith Battle<br />Training Montage<br />Neo in Real World<br />Neo Flies into Sky<br />Inside the Matrix<br />Neo-and-boss scene<br />“Neo isThe ONE!”<br />Boss to Neo: “You think that you are somehow special and that the rules do not apply to you.”<br />
  21. Typical Software Product<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />20<br />LAUNCH!<br />Design Aha!<br />Increasing Dissonance<br />Pay off tech debt<br />Launch Heavy-Lift<br />Waterfall Backlog<br />Throwaway prototype<br />Bugs level off<br />Feature freeze<br />Classic Scrum Phase<br />Learned hacks to lean/agile, like marginnotes in Half-Blood Prince<br />Project Kick-Off<br />“We really have to get in on this gamified social commerce mobile check-in trend!”<br />
  22. Marketing Narrative<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />21<br />Product/Market Fit<br />Positioning Aha!<br />Increasing Dissonance<br />Clarify, focus position<br />PR Double Down<br />Develop Brand <br />Narrative<br />Messaging Trials<br />Maintenance<br />Advertising<br />Establish category voice<br />Brand doctrine<br />Project Kick-Off<br />Aside: NOT the same as the Blank/Ries model; that is more sales-driven<br />
  23. Tempo in the Double Freytag<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />22<br />Crescendo<br />Crescendo<br />Increasing Anxiety<br />Decrescendo,Joy+sorrow<br />All-nighters<br />Relief<br />Volatile, dissipative<br />Stillness<br />Steady, slowing momentum<br />Stillness<br />
  24. Tempo Shift Example: PMF<br />“You can always feel when product/market fit isn't happening. The customers aren't quite getting value out of the product, word of mouth isn't spreading, usage isn't growing that fast, press reviews are kind of "blah", the sales cycle takes too long, and lots of deals never close.<br />And you can always feel product/market fit when it's happening. The customers are buying the product just as fast as you can make it -- or usage is growing just as fast as you can add more servers. Money from customers is piling up in your company checking account.” <br />Marc Andreessen in The Only Thing That Matters<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />23<br />
  25. Let’s Try It<br />Pick a finished project in your past…<br />A phase with a consistent TEMPO is an epoch<br />Tempo: rhythms, emotions, energy<br />A SHIFT in tempo: an epoch boundary<br />Let’s map them!<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />24<br />
  26. What about character?<br />So much for plot<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />25<br />
  27. Hastings vs. Poirot<br />Energetic<br />Reactive<br />Impulsive<br />Buys others’ stories<br />Social “old boy” morality<br />Jumps to conclusions but…<br />…is also indecisive<br />Reflective<br />Deliberative<br />Sense of timing<br />Makes up own stories<br />Absolute morality<br />Defers judgment but…<br />…moves decisively<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />26<br />
  28. Hastings is a Toad<br />DOCTRINE: Next Shiny New Thing (NSNT)<br />Motto: I have to have that!<br />Momentum axiom: what are we waiting for?<br />Characteristic emotion: excitement alternating with boredom<br />Characteristic energy pattern: impulsive spikes<br />Characteristic rhythm: excited alternating with lethargic<br />Characteristic belief: variety is the spice of life<br />Archetype: Toad in The Wind in the Willows, who gets all the other characters into one adventure after another<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />27<br />
  29. Archetypes and Doctrines<br />An archetype is the “imprint of a pattern of human behavior” (Jennifer von Bergen, Archetypes for Authors)<br />A doctrine is a set of beliefs about TEMPO management<br />Archetype+doctrine+narrative context=enactment style<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />28<br />
  30. Hastings as Hero<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />29<br />Heroic struggle and failure<br />Jump to conclusion<br />Increasing entropy<br />Rationalization<br />Brute force effort<br />Grand Vision<br />Run around like crazy<br />Denial<br />Wild Goose Chase<br />Restless<br />Reinforced deluded beliefs<br />
  31. Poirot as Hero<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />30<br />Final test<br />Right Questions<br />Increasing entropy<br />Murderer validates<br />Push for resolution<br />Hypotheses<br />“Arranging facts”<br />Calm<br />Tests, Red herrings, Loose ends<br />Calm<br />Improved detection doctrine<br />
  32. Let’s Try It!<br />List the dramatis personae in some completed collaborative project<br />For EACH character, pick a favorite FICTIONAL character that he/she reminds you of the most<br />For EACH, write down a motto that you think describes their doctrine<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />31<br />
  33. Challenges<br />From use cases to archetype-driven design<br />From gamified products to storified products<br />Learn from screenwriters and script doctors<br />From Waterfall/Agile dichotomy to synthesisusing narrative arcs<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />32<br />
  34. The Book<br /><br />More on the stuff in this talk:Chapters 3 and 4 of book <br />Sorry, no Kindle yet (due Fall)<br />7/12/2011<br />Venkatesh G. Rao<br />33<br />