#150: An updated pitch for the podcast

Welcome to the 150th episode of the podcast.

In this episode, I take a moment of introspection to revisit the "pitch" for this series.

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Published: Wed, 21 Sep 2022 16:07:16 GMT


Hello and welcome to the 150th episode of The Better ROI from Software Development Podcast.

When I first envisaged this podcast, I certainly didn't plan or expect to reach this milestone. But just over three years later, here we are.

After all this time, I want to take a moment of introspection and use this episode to restate the case for the podcast series.

One of the reasons I started it was to help me in my ability to explain the need to change management techniques and thus to help others. And after three years, my understanding of the subject matter has matured. I would say that my core beliefs remain the same. If anything, I feel I've learned more to back it up.

Thus, for this episode, I prepared a new pitch for the podcast and I'd like to share this with you now.


Welcome to the Age of Software and Digital.

Like the technical revolutions that came before it - the industrial Revolution, the Age of Steam and Railways, the Age of Steel and Heavy Engineering, the Age of Oil and Mass Production - we are experiencing change at an unprecedented rate.

During the course of my 30 year career, we have gone from it being a rarity of having a computer in the office, let alone the home, to now having computers and software in everything we do. We have them in our phones, in our watches, our televisions, our refrigerators, our washing machines, our cars, our exercise equipment, and even in our children's toys.

And that change continues to accelerate.

We can no longer make assumptions for the coming year, let alone the second half of my career. We can no longer predict what is to happen. And this is forcing our organisations to change.

Whereas previously we may have been able to predict our customers, our market, our competitors 5, 10, 20 years out, we can no longer have comfort in even our short term predictions.

We can no longer have confidence in our ability to make those predictions.

And this brings our organisations opportunities and risks. Opportunities to create new, exciting ways of work, to innovate, to even invent new markets. Where the risks are falling behind and becoming obsolete.

Thus, organisations everywhere are looking for better ways to exploit those opportunities and mitigate those risks through business agility.

That business agility allows us to treat this age as what it is - an emergent domain - an Age of discovery.

It allows us to be comfortable with not knowing.

To be comfortable with knowing our next step should be experimental - testing the ground ahead of us.

Building continually on our prior steps - using iterative steps based on scientific method of continual experimentation and learning.

And then asking ourselves, what next?

Alongside this software development, and what we do with it continues to be an evolving field - one that is still young and growing, one that is likely to take more than my lifetime to fully understand, if indeed it ever can be.

We have tried to use our "tried and tested" approaches to manage our software development, but much of our management techniques rely on techniques pioneered two ages ago - back in the Age of Steel and Heavy Engineering.

We incorrectly assume that, those techniques that have served us so well, techniques that have served our parents and grandparents, will give us the same level of success in this new age.

We are learning that this is not true.

These techniques rely on the work being deterministic - the work being knowable before we start it.

By applying deterministic practice over an emergent, unknowable domain, we attempt to exert a level of control over risk and outcomes that simply isn't possible. In attempting to do so, we give a false representation of the world - one that we would like to exist, but one that simply cannot be.

Not only do these techniques fail to take advantage of this new age, they actively cause our organisations harm.

So what is the solution to this?

What is a silver bullet?

What is the magic unicorn dust that can be sprinkled over the problem?

I'm sorry, but there isn't one. Like the Age of Software and Digital itself, getting the best from Software Development is an emergent field. Indeed, like any knowledge-work - any work that is fundamentally a thinking problem, a problem solving activity - we are learning how to do it better daily.

Do we have better approaches to our traditional management techniques? Definitely.

Are they perfect? No.

Are they easy? No.

Do they produce better outcomes? Yes.

The Better ROI from Software Development podcast is my attempt to help you navigate your organisation through the stormy waters of this new and exciting age.

Through a series of short weekly podcasts, I explore lessons learnt from my 30 years in Software Development, providing advice, guidance and tips.

So join me, Mark Taylor, on the Better ROI from Software Development Podcast to improve the outcomes for you, your organisation and your customers.

So, how was that? Convincing, right? I might even turn that into a trailer for the series.

But it still doesn't feel complete or concise enough. And I suspect it never will. I will always be able to refine and hone that message. Thus any feedback or advice would be greatly appreciated.

So what next?

For now, I'm planning to take a few weeks off - a chance to recharge my batteries.

I suspect that when I come back, I'll be taking that pitch section by section and taking a deeper dive into my thoughts behind each part.

But until I speak to you again, thank you again for taking the time to listen to this podcast. Goodbye.