Paula Thrasher on Andy Patton's Antipatterns (Las Vegas 2020)

The playbook for digital agile cloud transformation (no prior experience necessary). The one best way, best practice program to digital nirvana. This week's guest is Paula Thrasher. Jonathan Smart, business agility practitioner, thought leader, and coach, reveals patterns and antipatterns to show how business leaders from every industry can help their organizations deliver better value sooner, safer, and happier through high levels of engagement, inclusion, and empowerment. Sooner Safer Happer: Antipatterns and Patterns for Business Agility For Leaders At All Levels, In All Roles


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Jon Smart

Author, Sooner Safer Happier


Paula Thrasher




Welcome to anti-patterns. Anti-patterns your playbook for your dev ops, agile digital cloud transformation, no prior experience necessarily. This is your one best way. Best practice program to digital and environment. Today, I am joined by Thor crusher, Paula trasher, Paul thrash, Paulie smasher. So, Paul, what do you do?


Uh, so I'm Paula Thrasher and I lead digital transformation and I've been a executive for large companies, especially in the defense and aerospace business. And over the last couple of years, I've really, uh, helped companies learn how to deliver better value, safer, faster, and heck.


Ah, so, so defense you say, uh, so that's good. So, I mean, do you won't turn away from a fight?




Because obviously dev ops is a battle ground. You need rules, you need bureaucracy, you need powerful, oppressive leadership from the top. You need very important that you need one way of working. You need your playbook, you don't want people thinking for themselves, do you, or they'll mess up and you need the frameworks you need to squash the rebel Alliance, seek them out and crush them.


Ah, you know, I actually think that, uh, you know, you can't really force. I think if you kind of get in there and you're bossy pants and you tell everyone what to do, it really demotivates people. It's actually not the best way to lead a transformation. I think if you're going to ask people to make a transformation, you have to really, you know, invite over and flicked. I mean, I don't think, uh, you know, the usual way of just telling people what to do is the way to actually get them to buy in and actually contribute to your transformation.


Um, so, um, if people don't conform, then obviously you need to outsource them. Captain Thrasher, you need to get rid of the premadonna tech keys and you need to surround yourself with rather excellent managers. Managers are the ones who actually get the work done. You need to hire more project managers. I have found in my experience to write down the work in order to hand it over to the prima donnas who you've successfully outsourced to another location, managers really are my kind of people. I really feel at home with lots and lots of managers. You need the people to run the meetings, ensure that people are meeting their drop dead date, milestones, and show the status reports are written and submitted that the requirements are perfect. It just spend longer on your requirements to make sure they're right before being handed over and very important that you need to hold people's feet to the fire. Otherwise they will slack off on shore to off shore in one easy step. How do you do that?


Well, first, you know, I, uh, I think the challenge with, you know, your hire contractors is the contractors get smarter and then we get dumber. So if you really want to train your organization, if it really matters, you have to actually invest in your own people because they're the ones that are gonna deliver value. And, you know, I think that a good high performing team is self-organizing you still need managers, but you also need to bring the whole team together and really help the organization deliver value. If you outsource this to the contractors, the contractors learn how to deliver value for your industry, but you don't. I think it's a real mistake.


So obviously defense, you know, so not an it company, uh, not like Facebook. Um, and so therefore you don't really need your it geeks. Uh, you don't, you, what you want is you want people building spaceships, uh, jet engines, rockets, I presume.


So obviously you should outsource it because it's not your core competence in, in aerospace or defense. There's this great company that I know of. Uh, Andy patterns outsourcing, uh, software development company, got a great location in Kazak Kazakhstan. It's a joint venture with Russia and China. It's a very secure, very secure indeed, um, people cycle through about every eight weeks. Um, no one's around long enough, so there's no security breaches, no one's ever there long enough to pick up enough information. Uh, they all follow a very rigorous certified, really our job practitioner, uh, training scheme, cookie cutter training pro program. And they all follow the one best way playbook. So, uh, so captain trasher, I'm very happy to offer you my services. Should you wish to outsource more it, which obviously is the best way forward. It must be what you're advocating.


And here's the thing I found for actually working in the defense industry and things. Um, you know, often over time, you know, contracts were set for a very long time. So actually, you know, the people we had and the people that work in government agencies, I mean the worst hardest thing to do is to fire a government employee. It's nearly impossible, right? So you actually have to take the people you already have and use them to make your transformation. And you can't just like send them off to China, Russia. And even if you did send them off to China and Russia just don't recommend any defense company try is that it's back to the issue about you're really not growing organizational talent around your value proposition. What is, what is it? And then in the military, it's not just only value like financial value its mission, right? We've got to achieve a mission and it's pretty hard to achieve the mission. If you know, it's, it's the person of the week, it's not replaceable resources. Uh, you've really got to optimize for your own organizational learning,


Um, for your own organizational learning, by the way, as a great chocolate cake anyway, optimize for your own learning dev ops dev ops is hot. You need more dev ops. I can provide you with some dev ops.


Well, I mean, I agree actually, you know, this is I I'm with you. You do need more dev ops, but, uh, you know, I think you need to be careful about why, why do you want,


Well, perhaps nevermind, why you need a DevOps team or even better if you're really good, you need a dev op you need one single dev op you put them between dev and ops and you're good. So you've got your dev you hand over to your dev op your dev op hands over to your ops. Then no one has to change their ways of working ticket based development. You raise a ticket to your dev op to say, here you go. These long-lived code branches, which have been open for months and now available for you to do the code merge there, Mr. Or Mrs. Dev op once every three months you raise the ticket, uh, the dev op does the merge, um, and then ships it dead easy. Nice and cheap. Just have your dev op.


Yeah, I, you know, I think the thing about saying we're just going to have a person, is that the idea is really, I mean, I think the concept behind DevOps was really the whole system. It's the entire way we think about how we do work. It actually starts with how we come up with the idea and the mission and how we actually deliver that the whole process. And if you just say, well, it's one person's fault. You're just, you're, you're, you're picking one bottle, right? And real goal, I think is to first off, you know, the role-based silo is a terrible better, right? But that's, you know, having everybody organized by flavor is, is not effective. You should really organize by the value you want it. And, and then beyond that, you know, I think really what you're trying to get is, you know, you're trying to empower that learning and get smart people and smart teams of people, and then have them let the robots help automate and make things go fast.


And, Hmm, that was good. And you need to do agile right as well. So you've got your dev op, you've got your dads. You need to do agile, right? You keep it to update. If you don't want to involve the business somewhere, we have to do agile. But in my experience, it's very easy. You need standups. You need to have a shed load of post-it notes,


At least pre pandemic. You need scrum masters. You take your business analysts, you rename them to product owners. You take your project managers, you now call them scrum masters. Bob's your uncle. You score highly on your, how agile am I test? You make sure your level four out of four on your agile maturity model, or alternatively you hire contractors from anti-pattern software development company in Kazakhstan, who already are level four after four. Now you're agile. Now you're drinking the snake oil. So then it doesn't matter. You only go to the dev op once every six months with the ticket. Am I right?


Hmm. You know, one thing I actually learned in one of my transformations is you would think all the agile stuff, you know, magic results and suddenly you're delivering better value. Um, but actually, you know, you have to look at that whole life cycle again. And one of the things I find is that sometimes agile teams are deploying stuff too quickly to the dev op or the ops team. And the end result is you still can't get things into production. You still can't deliver value faster. So the benefit of looking at the whole life cycle and not just agile for a small subset of one silo, is that you're actually optimizing the entire process of value delivery, not just one area. And actually often everybody goes faster, but the whole thing goes slower, right? Just to me, it doesn't, you know, it doesn't work how agile you are. It's how your results, what value are you actually getting to the business?


It seems to me, captain trasher when you like messing up homogenous workplaces and ruining the standardization and the standardized work. And I said amazes me that you actually get paid to do that. You must tell you what you must be a really good salesperson. If you can convince people to bring you in to do anything you mentioned on this call. I guess if anyone out there is interested in hiring captain, trasher call one 800 trash captain now. So that wraps up another Andy patterns. Anti-patterns your playbook for your dev ops, our job, digital cloud transformation, no prior experience necessary your one best way, best practice program to guaranteed digital Nirvana tune in next time for someone more commercially savvy than captain trasher, which going to be hard.


Hi there, John smart here, Andy partners at the building, if you haven't caught on Andy's my alter ego and advocate for anti-patterns that act as a headwind to delivering better value, sooner, safer, happier. Maybe you can identify with what Andy believes the best practices. Hopefully you're experiencing what our guests are advocating. And to be clear, my role as anti-pattern in this series is a hundred percent parody. All of the guests have signed up for the intentionally uncomfortable banter and insults. Learn more about these anti-patterns and patterns for better ways of working, leading to better outcomes in my book, sooner, safer, happier, available in all formats. I also encourage you to attend the virtual DevOps enterprise summit, Las Vegas, taking place October the 13th to the 15th, the DevOps enterprise summit events and community are near and dear to my heart. I truly


Believe it's one of the best places to learn from the actual experiences of our peers and to make new and lasting connections.