On the Unified Theory or Everything (a.k.a. 42)

It's been ages, since in physics people talk about the TOE.

But what about computer “science”?

And process management?

And continuous improvement?

Are there specific TOEs for those things?

So, there might not be one single TOE for everything we know (maybe), but let me try to summarize and merge the things I know.

Let me try to describe Scrum, PDSA, Toyota Kata, OODA and the Kanban Method.

Scrum

I've studied, learned and praticed some Scrum. Let me (very very briefly) summarize it: you work in short sprints (periods of time).

  1. You start with a sprint planning to organize your work
  2. You do your work, with daily syncs within the team
  3. You do a sprint review with stakeholders
  4. You do a sprint retrospective within the team, to improve

PDSA

I've even learnt a bunch of book by W. Edwards Deming. Let's see the PDSA cycle, first introduced to Dr. Deming by his mentor, Walter Shewhart of the famous Bell Laboratories in New York.

  1. Plan, to identify a goal or purpose, formulating a theory, defining success metrics, ...
  2. Do, to implement the plan
  3. Study, to test the validity of the plan
  4. Act, to integrate the learning, adjust the goal, change methods, ...

Toyota Kata

If you're not yet aware about Toyota Kata, gave it a read: it's a very interesting concept and way of working applying scientific thinking. The Improvement Kata part is made of a few repeating steps:

  1. Get the Direction or Challenge
  2. Grasp the Current Condition
  3. Establish your Next Target Condition
  4. Conduct Experiments to get there

OODA

The OODA loop (observe–orient–decide–act), was born in USAF and it is also used to understand commercial operations and learning processes.

I actually don't know it well, so please let me refer the OODA Wikipedia page.

Kanban

As a certified KMP, I'm biased :) but still, there are “steps” (practices, actually) that can be applied by implementing the Kanban method:

  1. Visualize
  2. Limit WIP
  3. Manage Flow
  4. Implement Feedback Loops

So, What Happens?

Let try to view things in this way:

Scrum PDSA Toyota Kata OODA Kanban
Sprint Plan Plan Current Decide Visualize
Work Do Experiment Act Limit WIP
Review Study Target Observe Manage Flow
Retrospective Act Direction Orient Feedback Loops

I've slightly reordered the steps: Toyota Kata and OOAD are re-ordered to reflect the actual process (in TK) and the Scrum framework (for OODA).

They are very similar, aren't they? It's “just” a matter of properly understanding the current status, plan the next step(s) and, through careful movements proceed with the plan, possibly modifying it depending on the incoming feedbacks.

So, basically, my WMTOE (Working Methodology Theory of Everything) is:

  1. Give yourself a strategic plan, a true North to aim for;
  2. Do a first short step, possibly with a tactical goal in mind;
  3. Check the results;
  4. Possibly adapt the next tactical goal;

And restart with a new short step.

And obviously, if you see that the strategic plan is wrong, during the steps, feel free to change and adapt it as well.

What do you think?


On the Unified Theory or Everything (a.k.a. 42) by Marco Bresciani is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0