Digital Project Management Summit Notes

Michael Lopp


Stables and Volatiles

  • William Shockly – Nobel prize for transistor
    • Flat organizations – free flowing information
    • Speed  – because information flows
    • Collaboration
    • Focus on results – informal dress code is a byproduct; can someone add value to team regardless of title or accomplishments
    • Risk takers
  • Stephan story – he was a volatile
  • Stables –
    • happily work with direction and appreciate there appears to be a plan and like to measure things
    • Play nice with others and value efficient no drama teams
    • Calmly assess risk
    • Generate process because it creates predictability and measurability
  • Volatiles
    • Prefer to define strategy rather than follow it
    • Can’t conceive of failing and find a thrill in risk
    • Don’t build predictable or stable things, but they build a lot
    • Only reliable when in their best interest
    • See working with others as time consuming, prefer to work in small teams, don’t care how you feel
  • Allergic reactions
    • Volatiles think stables are slow lazy and political, bureaucrats
    • Stables think volatiles hold nothing sacred, product be darned
  • They’re both right and you need a place where they can both thrive
  • Volatiles start a company, find success, hire more volatiles, become stables to protect their company from volatiles, volatiles leave and company fails
  • How to build a world where they can both thrive
    • Distribute blank slates; give them what they need
      • Every 2 years each employee gets a 3 month blitz to do whatever they want
    • Equal representation of and investment in both
  • Project managers for volatiles need to at least speak the language even if they’ve never been an engineer

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