small disciplines

Apparently the coach at a local NRL* team used to say “small disciplines lead to great accomplishments”. I haven’t been able to find the quote but I like it.

Many times when there is a change in business, it is the small things that show up first. As someone who spends a lot of time around business software and development teams I’ve noticed many companies beginning to try out open source applications and systems.

The reasons they do this are many and varied. One reason is that the budget is not available for more traditional licensing models. Anyway the people in the company who need to supply a service may well be providing you with s/w that is open source because it fits the need and they can trial it easily.

This won’t probably show up in management at first as it is “off the radar” because it didn’t use any obvious budget. Bootstrapping is the other reason  many small disciplines get adopted and cast a much larger shadow. Bootstrapping is an innovation practice where you use whatever you can to make do.

So in the context of business software it is not unusual to find small sub systems being used. The reason they stay there is that they often work better than the obvious vendor system.

The other key reason is that expectations are much lower so if the IT department or another team installs something to try out then the emphasis is on the actual results rather than the sales pitch.

The management team will then get to hear only about the success of the software because if it doesn’t work then its gone and no one will mention it.

As with anything – small steps all add up. So when we say small disciplines lead to great accomplishments we are really talking about the results of innovation and experiementation at some level. That is; people trying things out and as long as the company has flexibility and freedom to do this when it works we can all share in the success of the idea.

Note: *NRL stands for National Rugby League and I’ve been told the coach was John Lang at Penrith Panthers but happy to be corrected if someone has a more accurate source.