Clean Language in Software

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    20-Aug-2015

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  1. 1. Amphora & Clean Simon Coles 2014-01-17simonc@amphora-research.com!1
  2. 2. Intro to Amphora Niche software company focusing on Record Keeping software for R&D ScientistsPrivately held, bootstrappedOver 10 years old, protable, no debtCustomers all over the world, mostly in North America and EuropeOne of the few (the only?) surviving early vendors in this spacesimon.coles@amphora-research.com!2
  3. 3. Sales Challenges Sorting out sales is the key to growth and protabilityTypically a complex saleSelling something the prospect hasnt bought before (were solving a latent problem) Sales needs to guide prospects, rather than convince Help them understand their problem and companySoft sales approach We manage the business for the long termIf we do the right thing by prospects and our customers theyll reward usThis is a hard skill set and attitude to hireBut it is paying off now, huge amount of referral activitysimon.coles@amphora-research.com!3
  4. 4. Technical Challenges Staring at a computer screen all your life isnt normalThe desire to do this is seldom correlated with high communication skillsThe issues which need to be discussed are complex and often involve subtleties which are easily missedLeft to their own devices technical teams can be a hotbed of politics and resentmentAnd thats without considering relations with other departmentssimon.coles@amphora-research.com!4
  5. 5. Software development is composed of two primary activities: learning and communication. Apprenticeship Patterns by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineyesimon.coles@amphora-research.com!5
  6. 6. Organisational Challenges Quality of internal relationships is key to productivity and innovationParticularly between different groups, and those groups have little in common This is often the rst time our employees have direct, intimate exposure to other disciplinesThen throw travel and remote work into the mixKeeping everyone aligned is crucial, and that means communicationsimon.coles@amphora-research.com!6
  7. 7. 3 Pronged Strategy Everyone is trained in Clean QuestioningEveryone is Neuroproled, results shared openlyMonthly Life Coaching !All of these are in the culturesimon.coles@amphora-research.com!7
  8. 8. The Story Many years ago Caitlin Walker came and taught Clean Questioning and Metaphor at New Information ParadigmsThis directly led to the ELN product Helped us work in a new developing areasimon.coles@amphora-research.com!8
  9. 9. Book Plug (Im almost famous!)The initial metaphor development is written up in Caitlins upcoming bookReally helped us identify the adoption and architectural issues inherent in this new marketSystemic Modelling - Adventures in Living, Learning and Working CollaborativelyUseful both internally and also for external discussionssimon.coles@amphora-research.com!9
  10. 10. Fast Forward As is the way, I was doing most of the sales effortWe had sales people, but were struggling to scale Sales people were managing the salesBut I was doing all the meetingsDidnt work if someone else did itSomething was missingMy time was becoming a real bottleneck and it was starting to be a barrier to growthsimon.coles@amphora-research.com!10
  11. 11. Caitlin Returns Nearly a decade later, I nd Caitlin againThis time we did two important things for the sales process A metaphor for what I do in sales meetings so I could pass it onTaught all of the sales people Clean Questioningsimon.coles@amphora-research.com!11
  12. 12. Clean and Sales Clean Questioning in sales is awesomeCompletely changes the dynamicAllows you to go into situations you wouldnt have done beforeSuits our Soft sales approach extremely wellOur sales approach is a major competitive differentiation, we often win deals because were not Like the other guyssimon.coles@amphora-research.com!12
  13. 13. Clean Everywhere Else We then taught everyone else Clean and Systemic ModellingNew recruits get it as part of internal trainingHelpful for Understanding how people look at the worldHow they work at their bestHow to communicate respectfullyHow to resolve issuessimon.coles@amphora-research.com!13
  14. 14. Neuroproling Then we started to get interested in how peoples brains workTurns out this is fascinatingWorking with Caitlin and colleagues we Gave everyone an IQ test and produced a proleUsed that to explore how individuals can work at their bestAnd how the rest of us can helpsimon.coles@amphora-research.com!14
  15. 15. Neuroproling Turns out that everyone is different, especially when you have different professionsHugely helpful for everyoneRaises awareness when talking with external parties as wellSignicant impact in software design, documentation etc.Helps us be more productive, and more harmonioussimon.coles@amphora-research.com!15
  16. 16. Life Coaching Regular Monthly thing for everyoneCompassionate CoachingSessions are completely condential and can be on any subject (personal or work)Everyone nervous at rst but greatly valuedMaking it a general thing is important, no stigma involvedsimon.coles@amphora-research.com!16
  17. 17. Corporate Summary Clean helped us clarify the productClean helped us sell the productClean helps us work togetherNeurodiversity helps us understand each otherNeurodiversity helps us get the best from ourselves and each otherRegular Coaching settles everyone and helps resolve issues before they become issuessimon.coles@amphora-research.com!17
  18. 18. Unexpected Stuff Helped our family relationships e.g. your wife isnt being obstinate, thats how her brain works (and vice versa!)Helped us be better parents More insight into how people learnMore openness in allowing children to explore how their brains workClean questioning is excellent for talking with Childrensimon.coles@amphora-research.com!18
  19. 19. Unexpected Stuff When you are using your brain in the way that is most natural you have a lot more funAsking someone to do something in their Neuro sweet spot is like asking them to be paid to do their hobbyIts no burden to swap activities between peoplee.g. Some people love organising stuff, get real pleasure out of bringing order to chaosSome people really enjoy reading and summarisingSome people love nding the one number thats out of whack in a spreadsheet of nancial detailsimon.coles@amphora-research.com!19
  20. 20. Recommendations Clean is part of the basic skill set everyone should haveNeuroproling is awesome for individuals and teamsLife Coaching is hugely hugely helpfulProblems You need the culture right to pull it off, some of this might backre without a lot of trustIn my experience Caitlins skill set and approach is unique - Ive tried other people/programmes without successFortunately shes very keen on self-sustaining worksimon.coles@amphora-research.com!20
  21. 21. Recommendations Life Coaching can/should be done ASAP It is expensive but well worth itStart with the senior team - lead from the front Find a coach you are comfortable with There are many different styles, dont be afraid to experimentThen roll it out to everyone, without exception 1 session a monthEveryone is expected to have a sessionCompletely condential (and make sure people feel this)simon.coles@amphora-research.com!21
  22. 22. Recommendations Then roll out Clean QuestioningStart with a small group, probably senior managersYou can train internally but would recommend someone like Caitlin for Group training Difcult situations e.g. people who arent that used to talking or where there is discordNote that Clean is a multi-faceted tool and will bring a myriad of benetssimon.coles@amphora-research.com!22
  23. 23. Recommendations Life Coaching and Clean are probably a good basis for any companyYou can stop there if you wantOnce those are embedded, you could look at Neuroproling if you feel your culture can handle itsimon.coles@amphora-research.com!23
  24. 24. Neuroproling Really insightful for individuals and groupsNeeds to be handled with sensitivity but also a rm handDont start it if theres any hint of insecurity or politics in the organisationBe careful how you position and implement it, be aware of the HR issuesYou will almost certainly need external assistanceAs far as I know Training Attention are the only ones providing thissimon.coles@amphora-research.com!24
  25. 25. Questions (After the presentation there were questions. These additional slides cover a bit of what was asked)simonc@amphora-research.com!25
  26. 26. Q: Risk of people being typecast When we Neuroproled people, was there a risk of them then being dened by their prole, and restricted in what roles/tasks they perform?Answer: Not really Everyone is in the right jobs, they are all well qualied and performing wellThis is about understanding ourselves and each other betterThe Neuroprole doesnt really tell you what someones real-world capability is, more how they use their brain to get itWith this knowledge, we can easily help them be more effective and happy with small little changesIf you want to know what someone is capable of look at what they do in the real world!simon.coles@amphora-research.com!26
  27. 27. Q: Example outcomes of Neuroproling Dont give X big spreadsheets of lots of numbers Can easily understand the concepts, it is the presentation which makes it hardSplit into 3 less dense spreadsheets is much more digestibleDont expect X to research and summarise large blocks of text. Y is much better at that (and enjoys it).Xs Verbal is so high he really can talk, think 3 steps ahead, and resolve the technical issue - at the same time. But dont ask him to read notes while doing it.Y really needs to pre-plan things because they cant think on their feet so well, but that means they are very insightful about strategy etc.simon.coles@amphora-research.com!27
  28. 28. Q: Example of Clean Interactions Sales issue being discussed, a techie joins in the conversation with a clean question which leads to a new product resolving the sales issue Techies are excellent debuggers! Clean gives them a voiceManager makes an opaque decision which no one understands Instead of allowing the confusion to continue, Clean Questions deployed to challenge/clarify in a non-threatening wayTurns out manager was unconsciously using a variety of additional considerations in the decisionsimon.coles@amphora-research.com!28
  29. 29. Summary If you want a miserable workplace, avoid CleanIf you want a happy, empowered, joyful workplace give everyone the gift of Clean QuestioningIf your companys success is based on Knowledge Worker productivity Youll have a lot more funYoull probably make more money as wellsimon.coles@amphora-research.com!29
  30. 30. Pointers Caitlins TED talk which is a good intro to CleanCaitlins book (when it comes out)Clean Coaching bookSort your culture out :-) !Happy to be contacted if you would like to discuss furthersimon.coles@amphora-research.com!30