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    This is a good source of buzzword bingo

    The ceaseless pursuit of force multipliers is the only possible route to superlinear productivity improvements as an organization grows.

    Scale organizational efforts across a portfolio of synergistic products.

    Keep responsibility assignment matrices small, sparse, and local.

    I don’t think the conclusions of the article are invalid, it’s just a bit jarring to see this sort of bizspeak on Lobste.rs.

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        Well for one it doesn’t mean anything to most programmers. While these words may have some kind of definition for business people, it does not to your average programmer. It’s jarring to see because it’s not common for programmers to talk in these terms.

        Bizspeak: Force multipliers, superlinear, synergistic, responsibility assignment matrices

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            Management-consultant obfuscation of simple statements (scaling is hard and requires organizational change, don’t spread your company too thin, don’t overload employees) via jargon that seeks to borrow the authority of a wide range of intellectual domains is deservedly the stuff of parody.

            Vertically integrated vision alignment via synergistic extension modalities is a key deliverable within this context target cluster.

            Or, in plain language: clarity of expression is important, especially when trying to communicate with those outside one’s own domain.

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                Based on your attitude and responses I’d say your domain is something in management, and your target audience is managers… While I understand what you’re writing, as others have said, it comes off as negative (I won’t use the actual words most of us are probably thinking). You should consider changing how you write opinion pieces if you want to share it with the intent of feedback.

                Note: I didn’t even read the article.

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              When you use cliched phrases like ‘portfolio of synergistic products’ it comes off as if you’re trying to impress the reader with how smart you are. It reads like meaningless marketing copy [1]. Obviously that’s your choice to make but as a reader its off-putting and muddles whatever point you are trying to make.

              [1] http://1000ventures.com/business_guide/innovation_mbs_radinc.html

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                No need to get defensive at me, you didn’t understand what bizspeak was and you didn’t understand why it could be jarring. I attempted to explain it to you, and apparently I failed. Let’s try again.

                There’s a concept in language known as a common language. Within a field of study people use language specific to that field of study to describe a particular problem. We call this domain specific language. These words have a specific meaning within the context of the field of study that may not be shared outside that field. So for example superlinear in the context of management may mean something slightly different than what mathematics means by it. When interfacing with other fields people tend to try to use common words.This allows communication without confusion, as you don’t have to worry about which kind of “superlinear” you’re referring to. Do you just mean “a lot” as many managers do, or do you mean the literal faster than linear? The audience will have to look through your article to find out and they won’t thank you for it.

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          One “resource contention” I’ve definitely seen inside bigco is integrating with an internal service. Often the documentation & samples are incredibly half-assed or outdated. The onboarding process is thus getting someone sufficiently far up your management chain to talk to someone sufficiently far up their management chain to convince them to assign one of their full-time employees to helping you get set up. Given that modern software development is mostly just about gluing services together, productivity slows to an absolute crawl (and morale craters because the whole thing is a boring slog).

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            This reminded me quite a bit (in a good way!) of The Principles of Product Development Flow, which also uses queuing theory to explore slowdowns and diminishing returns in product development. It’s a great book, and if you liked this article I think you would also like it.

            In my experience, the things described here have been the most likely cause for “why are we getting half as much done with twice the people?” And I wish more companies would put the effort into investigating their own bottlenecks at this level, because it would be much more effective and humane than trying to apply Scrum or Kanban or whatever wholesale.

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              Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue has a chapter on prediction and generalization in social science that you might find interesting. Some of my highlights:

              “Since organizational success and organizational predictability exclude one another, the project of creating a wholly or largely predictable organization committed to creating a wholly or largely predictable society is doomed and doomed by the facts about social life. Totalitarianism of a certain kind, as imagined by Aldous Huxley or George Orwell, is therefore impossible. What the totalitarian project will always produce will be a kind of rigidity and inefficiency which may contribute in the long run to its defeat. We need to remember however the voices from Auschwitz and Gulag Archipelago which tell us just how long that long run is.“

              “The expert’s claim to status and reward is fatally undermined when we recognize that he possesses no sound stock of law-like generalizations and when we realize how weak the predictive power available to him is. The concept of managerial effectiveness is after all one more contemporary moral fiction and perhaps the most important of them all. The dominance of the manipulative mode in our culture is not and cannot be accompanied by very much actual success in manipulation.”

              “It is at once clear that many of the central features of human life derive from the particular and peculiar ways in which predictability and unpredictability interlock. It is the degree of predictability which our social structures possess which enables us to plan and engage in long-term projects; and the ability to plan and to engage in long-term projects is a necessary condition of being able to find life meaningful. A life lived from moment to moment, from episode to episode, unconnected by threads of large-scale intention, would lack the basis for many characteristically human institutions: marriage, war, the remembrance of the lives of the dead, the carrying on of families, cities and services through generations and so on. But the pervasive unpredictability in human life also renders all our plans and projects permanently vulnerable and fragile.“

              It seems actually very interesting to think about organizations from MacIntyre’s perspective centered on telos, narrative, continuity, social meaning, etc. That’s what your final paragraph points to.