Friday, January 29, 2016

Ikea Business Model; and Growth and Society

comments on: Peak Stuff and the Hierarchy of Useless Things

"stock analysts" don't exist for Ikea. They have no stock holders. They are completely owned by a "charity."

But all you have to do is look at all the extremely highly paid executives in USA charities to see that charities often take on the form of corporations being run 1st to make executives happy and 2nd for other reasons (charitable in the instance of charities, education in the instance of large universities, profits of shareholders and all the other stakeholders in the instance of companies).

Another similar model you can view is tax evasion trusts set up by the rich which subvert the social contract. They have bought laws and regulation that allow them to set up trusts to benefit them, and/or their kids, and/or their grandkids and have those trusts treated beneficially for the rich, at the expense of society. Some argue Ikea has the same model, pretend it is a charity and use the funds primarily to benefit those creating the charity ("What emerges is an outfit that ingeniously exploits the quirks of different jurisdictions to create a charity, dedicated to a somewhat banal cause, that is not only the world's richest foundation, but is at the moment also one of its least generous"). In Ikea's case some amount does go for the "charitable purpose of Ikea": interior design.

The growth mindset certainly permeates Ikea, as it does public USA companies and "wall street."

> "not as much in the quality of customer experience"

This is so true. As a consumer, I find the customer experience painful much more often that it is good. Basically, the best it gets in the USA (for 95% of the companies) is when you don't have to interface with them at all. Then things are good. And I do think companies have made strides in removing the need to call to get things fixed... But oh my, when you do need them to actually get a hold of them the extremely bad experience is pitiful and truly far beyond pitiful most of the time. They setup extremely insulting processes that completely disrespect your time and humanity.

The horrible experiences when needing to deal with large USA companies is by far my biggest frustration of being back in the USA. As long as you don't have to contact them things are usually decent but I dread any time I need to contact one of them.

My father really liked Small is Beautiful by EF Schumacher which I think takes issue with the growth focus that permeates society (it has been decades since I read it) and instead wishes to focus on better lives not lives with more things.

Related: Kleptocrat CEOs and Their Apologists - Pretending to Listen to Customers Rather Than Actually Doing So - Why Pay Taxes or be Honest - Corrupt Looters at AIG

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How to Respond to a Request for Estimates on Software Development

Response to: Do We Really Need Estimates?

I think it is a question of addressing the purpose those see for estimates. If they just say "lots of people do it, so we should" then your answer is fine in my opinion.

If they say they need some way of deciding if doing that work is wise or something that is going to be so difficult that it isn't worth it then a different answer is needed. If they talk about scheduling then other explanations make sense to me - talking about the issues with fixed estimates etc. but giving them alternatives of fixed schedule with variable features (if there is a business need to deliver on some date)., etc.

Related: Agile Story Point Estimation (2012) - Assigning Story Points to Bug Fixes (2011)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Don't Use Targets as a Management Tool

comments on: Deconstructing Deming XI B – Eliminate numerical goals for management

I agree with the comments that targets are unwise. There is one sense in which I think the idea of (but not actual) targets can be useful and that is in setting the scope.

If we want to find an improvement that is immense (versus small continual improvement) that can set the expectation of how we approach improvement, including an understanding that we are going to have to really make big changes in how things are done.

I have written more about this, here:

Deming on Targets

Basically I don't see that scoping "target" as really a target but it is similar so if you want to see it that way, then in that sense I can see a "target" as useful.

Related: Innovation at Toyota - Targets Distorting the System - Righter Incentivization