Roland Dürre
Thursday May 29th, 2014

The Goal is During the Journey …

It happens all the time, both in enterprises and in other social systems. People suffer from something that is wrong or getting worse each day, although, basically, this would not be necessary. Perhaps because processes and/or the supporting technology have outlived their usefulness. But perhaps only because technological debts have accumulated. Because a system that used to be quite useful became totally out-dated as time went by. After all, a system that used to be a good tool can also suffer from old age.
Those enthusiastic people in the enterprise who worked with the system found out about this and are now unhappy with the situation. The same is true for those responsible. Consequently, the old world has to be improved. Everybody desires the same thing, because they know quite well what they need and want.

And then there is the job for the project head. He gets the great task. He is supposed to significantly improve a state of affairs which is making many people unhappy.

Basically, everything seems quite simple: both the users of the system and those responsible for the technology know exactly what they want. The “leaders”, too, back the project. Even the budget is available and actually seems quite generous.

But then come the eggheads with their strange ideas: legal service, worker’s council, data security, quality popes, administrative instances and diverse persons responsible for processes want to be heard. Additionally, quite a few “minor zones of battle” are created for personal reasons.

A complex Requirement Engineerung (RE) is initiated. The most adventurous extra functions are created through bizarre mind games. And all of a sudden, you will find functions on the documents that you will probably never need. To make up for it, the most elemental basics were forgotten.

In doing so, the people pervert a project goal in such a way that it becomes the natural enemy of all parties involved in the project. Naturally, the project will blunder from the outset. And even when the project starts, “wise ones” will already foresee that the entire thing is going to end in disaster.

However, the “wise ones” prefer to keep quiet. After all, they do not want to seem to be the eternal grumblers. Besides, they know that their arguments will not be heard, anyway. Just like they know that the morbidly pleasant anticipation, too, will not help anybody. Instead, it will only harm everybody. So what to do?

Isn’t it really a shame?



Incidentally, what I related here is not something that rarely happens. As I perceive it, it actually happens at least with fifty per cent of all projects. The idle power will climb infinitely. And only because we sometimes find heroes who in the end will see to it that the damaged projects will work out after all, you mostly get some desired results. Even if in a rough-and-ready manner.

Well, this is when I start dreaming of an improvement process which is supported by all parties concerned and where simple improvements are carried out in small, shared steps like pearls strung together pragmatically on different chains. This is when the journey becomes the goal. Very “agile”, “lean” and “open”.

Why not with Mobprogramming and similar innovative methods? But I will write about mob programming and that it might actually be a helpful collaboration model for leadership teams at some other time.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Here are my tweets of last week on
Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:

140605 What moves you during the day will be what you dream of at night – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140606 What you deal with will remain with you – also when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140607 You cannot buy words – especially not when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140608 Words are not dollars – something you will notice particularly when blogging and twittering. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140609 Words will often do more damage than beatings – not to forget when blogging and twittering! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140610 Words will also be swords – be careful when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140611 Wishes will not promote work – not even when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See twitter.com and “follow” RolandDuerre!

Enjoy!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

Werner Lorbeer
Wednesday May 28th, 2014

The Fox in Charge of the Henhouse … And Then Some …

Aus der Telekom-Werbeseite

From the Telecom advert page

The ECB warns against DAX 10,000 … and caused said warning itself by interest-free money.

This is material for Gutjahr and Rangi Yogeschwar in their correct journalistic reporting. It is high time for an ideological criticism against the ECB money politics (mind you: this is no “capitalism criticism” as we had it in the 19th century).
If too little is invested in the € countries, then the reason for this is not that money costs too much. In fact, it is already very cheap. Even Karl Schiller knew without simulation calculations: “You can carry horses to the trough, but they must do their own drinking”.

The true EU bank scandal lies in the fact that government bonds still do not have to be backed by individual capital. Naturally, another scandal is that shadow banks are not even regularized through individual capital deposits. And that derivatives produce multitudes of borrower’s notes which at any time may switch from the game table to the economy of real products if business suffers interruptions.

Here is what I demand: “Assign chips to the players = strict regulation of the derivative market”. That would mean they would have to stand in the queue at the casino cashier’s desk for their money and at least the federally regulated casino would make a profit. And the tables could be closed down at any time. Ackermann (Deutsche Bank) could not have been more wrong when he said that substance-free capital flows will create wealth.

The breach of the Lisbon Contracts “no bail out” was in violation of the law of nations and must be rectified. At least those who violate the contract should be legally forced to exit the € zone. Such an exit might be voluntary or forced due to violation of contract. What we are currently doing by shaving off retirement money, life insurances and savings through low interests cannot continue.

Or else, you have to face the responsibility: The slogan “If the € fails, Europe will have failed” is such a brilliant formulation that most of the journalist still swear by this formula, regardless of the fact that the propaganda slogan does last two minutes under closer scrutiny.

But this is how it works: the fashionable media ideology (the latest error of the editorial departments: “EU criticism == anti-European”). The back coupling mechanisms are hard to explain and if, like today the ECB, you lament your own back coupling, then you have to masquerade as the hen if you are the fox. Greetings from anonymous.

wl
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday May 27th, 2014

From Collateral Damage to Collateral Benefit

You often hear people talking about “collateral damage” (Wikipedia). Of course, you will also find the term “collateral damage” in Wikipedia.

Looking for collateral benefit however, the only entry I find on the internet is one I do not find satisfying: collateral benefit (Kollateralnutzen), so they write, is the “humorous counterpart of collateral damage”. And in Wikipedia, I cannot find the term “collateral benefit”, either.

I think this is a pity and wrong.

After all, here is what we have: you do something evil, inimical or just wrong. For instance wage war. You want to do damage to someone, namely your enemy. And apart from the damage you wanted to do, you actually do a lot more massive damage. This extra damage is called collateral damage.

On the other hand, you can do something good, humane or simply right. And I am sure in this case, there will also be some additional – even if not predictable – collateral benefit.

Perhaps we should simply integrate the term collateral benefit into our language and at the same time push aside collateral damage. People might actually more often be able to distinguish between good and evil, which again might make them do the right thing more often than the wrong thing?

So please remember: whenever you do something good, there will always be lots of additional collateral benefit – why not do the right thing?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday May 25th, 2014

A Splitter of my Medical History …

My Tonsils Have to be Removed

I consciously remember more than 50 years of my life. Consequently, I also have a medical history. What I mean with this is the interactions between myself and doctors and hospitals, as well as the interference with my body by doctors.

Fortunately, the list of interferences of members of the medical profession on my body is short. I say fortunately, because the ratio between useful and detrimental medical procedures and treatment in my case is 1 : 2. And my best visits to doctors were those when the “Gods-in-White” said that “we could do something about this, but it is not absolutely necessary” – and then I was happy to avoid treatment.

Here is one of my less positive experiences. I only relate it here because once in a while, it is a good idea to do your own public outing.

During the winter of my last term at elementary school (1959/1960), I had a particularly serious cold. Mind you, this was not because I was physically a very weak child. In fact, it was more because I was always disobedient and ignored all the many good pieces of advice given me by the “adult world” around me. So when the weather turned frosty, I still refused to wear a woollen cap, regardless of what my parents had said. My parents used to say: “Those who don’t want to hear must feel!” or just: “you have only yourself to thank for it!”

So when I was nine years old, I was rather seriously ill for a considerable time after Christmas and had to see the doctor several times. Our general practitioner, Dr. Halbeck (I am not sure if I remember the name correctly) was a mild-mannered elderly gentleman who – in my perception – was actually quite aware of how difficult it is to deal with health, medicine, causes and the correct treatment.

Which is why he transferred me to the specialist, the perhaps most famous ENT (ear-nose-throat) expert in Augsburg, a Dr. Harlander. This is also a name I am not sure I remember correctly, which means I cannot say if this is actually his name. Just like I do not know if Dr. Halbeck received a “kick-back” from Dr. Harlander for the transfer …

We were welcomed warmly in the practice by Harlander. After all, we, as the family of a tenured civil servant, were privately insured. Dr. Harlander had an impressive practice in a huge villa, he was a very wealthy and important person in Augsburg. And in the Diakonissen-Haus (an extremely abominable hospital near Augsburg Central Station), he had an entire set of so-called in-patient beds.

And, medically spoken, Dr. Harlander was an absolute genius. He saw immediately what was wrong with me! The tonsils – they must be removed! – was his quick verdict. And he assured my parents that soon, when I was going to attend grammar school, I would be in considerably better health, which would drastically improve my chances of graduating from high school. My parents liked what they heard and consequently, they wanted him to remove my tonsils.

It so happened that Dr. Harlander’s in-patient beds in the Diakonissen-Haus were occupied for many weeks in advance. After all, Dr. Harlander was a very successful doctor and had his standards. And “no sweet without sweat”. Consequently, the good doctor did as many operations as his tools could master. And such a thing as an empty in-patient bed was not an option for Dr. Harlander.

And then came spring and I was healthy again. But alas, the in-patient bed was booked for me. Consequently, I had to make my appearance at the Diakonissenhaus although I was in perfect health and the sun shone brightly.

I do not very well remember the operation and its surrounding circumstances. But after the operation, I got to eat ice-cream every day. And my parents also brought a present to the hospital when they visited. In those days, Viking cars in HO scale were my true love. So I got three plastic cars in a sack, as a reward for having been so courageous.

The three toy cars looked rather cheap. Besides, they were not Viking cars. Instead, they were special bargains from one of the supermarkets which at the time sprouted all over the place. Very plump fakes with plenty of weaknesses if you looked at details. I was disappointed. And from that time on, I had to go through life without my tonsils. And ever since then, I also hate “fakes”.

To make up for it, I have been suffering from chronic neck throat aches to this day. The only times I feel really fit around the throat is when I spend a few days near the ocean. And as soon as I am back in high Munich or in air-conditioned surroundings (plane, ICE, modern building), my neck starts feeling bad.

Today, I read that it is not at all a good idea to have had your tonsils removed. Among other things, persons without tonsils have a statistically higher rate of suffering from throat cancer.

With our seven children, the occasional ENT specialist also advised to remove the tonsils. But we always declined. Today, they are all grown up, still have their tonsils and, at least as far as I know, enjoy excellent health….

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

The picture shows the view from the hospital complex in Augsburg. It was taken from the angle of Riegele Brauwelt, which is right opposite of Augsburg Central Station.

Roland Dürre
Thursday May 22nd, 2014

Tweets on Twittering and Blogging #220

Here are my tweets of last week on
Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:

140529 Where there is no vice, there is no virtue – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140530 Where there is no love, you will always find faults – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140531 Where there is smoke, there is usually fire – this is also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140601 Where plenty is accumulated, plenty will find its way to – also true for blogging and twittering? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140602 It is good to start out well, but it is even better to finish well – also true for blogging and twittering. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140603 A job well done is a huge job done – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140604 Accepting charity means selling your freedom – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See twitter.com and “follow” RolandDuerre!

Enjoy!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday May 20th, 2014

Almost Alone in Bed…

 

Carl and Gerlinde (XXXV) What a fantastic idea – at long last, Carl had the entire weekend to himself! He was free to do – or not do – whatever he wished to, without having to hurry after some Gerlinde who wanted to go shopping or take Saturday afternoon coffee or drive to Frankfurt in the evening for a visit to the cinema! Or to the theatre, or the opera – or even to a concert. Basically, the only thing that brought solace was the glass of wine afterwards.

But then, those glasses of wine were also responsible for his headache when he had to exert himself on the bike competing against Gerlinde on the next morning, because, after all, exercise was healthy, wasn’t it? Even when it rained, you were only permitted to dismount when the softened skin around your bottom started getting wrinkles. Blessedly, at least, it was the e-bike he dismounted from! ”At long last, you will be left in piece by me”, Gerlinde had playfully twittered when getting out of his car on Saturday morning at the railway station. There was just enough time for a quick kiss before she disappeared in the middle of her gabbling ’Girly Group’: they were going to Cologne in order to take a look at God knows what nonsense …

Unbelievable! Now he actually sat all by himself at home on the patio! Just he and his beloved bottle of beer! They both contentedly peeped into a garden that almost seemed to jubilee as it blossomed. What wonderful calm. There was nobody who constantly pestered him. And nobody foulmouthed his beer. He even heard the birds singing: he had never noticed them, except when they lay next to the rhododendron bushes minus their heads because the neighbour’s angora cat Stuppsi had again been on the warpath. However, with their heads attached to their necks, their singing was definitely impressive, even if Carl could not identify any of those industrious miracles of sound. Come to think of it: wasn’t it a pity that he was so ignorant about birds. In fact, he would have loved to know more about them.

Perhaps the varieties were as many as there were beer brands – and there were certainly quite a few of those. Actually, it was a little hot and humid this morning! So much the more did Carl enjoy the nice cool shade on the patio. Totally relaxed, he permitted gulp after gulp to just flow into him. However, it did not take long for him to notice that this bottle, too, was already empty. If that was not speedy progress he was making here! The bottle might well not have been really full: these days, you never really knew, did you? … ”So what are we going to do now?“, Carl asked the hibiscus in front of him while doing some inner contemplation in order to be able to optimally prepare his next steps. There was no way he going to lift even a single finger doing anything in the garden! That was a given! The ’Gerlinde-free time’ was far too precious for that. Today, he was going to really ’let the soul swing free’, as his friend Kurt would call it. At least, it was now ten o’clock and the morning still looked spotless and fresh! Oh my God – the newspaper! He had almost forgotten about the newspaper. That was definitely the solution to his problem! Along with a wonderful espresso – and since today no punishing sideways glances from Gerlinde could send him straight to hell, he could even indulge in the occasional ’Davidoff–small cigar’! The stupid espresso machine was unexpectedly clumsy this morning! But after three ’coronary-arrest-threatening attempts’ and a rather significant flooding in the kitchen, he finally managed it. However, directly afterwards, the next Nobel-Prize worthy task was waiting: he had to identify and take hold of exactly the one capsule out of Gerlinde’s thousands of colourful ’Nespresso Capsules’ that would make him slide into the Espresso blessedness cultivated by her! As it turned out, Carl found a surprisingly pragmatic solution to this challenge! He drank two glasses of Schnapps, closed his eyes and then just took the next capsule, before, thirty minutes later, already standing on the patio with a wonderfully aromatic Something!

Well, if he was in a tight spot, there was nothing he could not do! Unfortunately, a strong wind had started to blow. In fact, it also started raining lightly and Carl even thought he heard muted thunder in the distance. Naturally, with this weather, the small cigar no longer looked all that attractive. But still, Carl was not going to allow this to lower his high spirits. Taking his espresso, he crawled back into the house, closed the patio door and sat down comfortably on the huge, soft leather armchair. This was definitely not bad! And instead of the small cigar, he opted for a prickling Aperol Sprizz. And since it tasted so delicious, he let another one follow. Well, and then there was the newspaper! But when, still uncertain, he started looking for it, he suddenly felt something like a light feeling of hunger develop in his body. The small portion of herring salad Gerlinde sometimes served with a slice of dark bread around this time as brunch certainly would have gone down well about now. He actually had to admit it. But then, he could do without! In fact, he could very, very well do without.

Besides, who prevented him from warming up the asparagus risotto Gerlinde had prepared in advance – along with the salmon he would have to get from the basement. But was it really a good idea to go into the kitchen and actually do some work? Wouldn’t that have topped everything: you were not sending your ’household lover’ to Cologne for an entire weekend in order to roam around inthe kitchen yourself, did you? No way. Where would that have put him? You did not have to turn completely apish, did you? After all, being male today already meant you were the dumbass from morning to night, didn’t it? Outside, the thunder was really cracking! An actual thunderstorm had found its way to his place. There was no way he could ’quickly take a stroll to the Italian restaurant’! This deluge was worse than anything he had ever experienced during Gerlinde’s rain marathon bike tours!

Even Stuppsi was carried away from the last reachable bird’s nest and anxiously looking for protection between the rubbish bins. Gerlinde would have gloatingly smiled – she hated the bird killer! With worry, Carl made the pilgrimage from window to window in order to witness this apocalypse from all possible perspectives: he also saw how his magnificent silver birch mutated into a fearful ground-coverer with every new gust of wind and the neighbour’s huge spruce boldly touched his patio – with the wind one or two notches up, the top would actually be stirring around in his fourth Aperol Sprizz … Around 3 p.m., Carl was suddenly in the grip of such a ravenous hunger that he spontaneously decided to consume Gerlinde’s asparagus risotto.

Without salmon, because the stupid animal had, of course, forgotten to thaw in time! Well, you cannot expect more from fish, can you? And the risotto was similarly stupid and got itself scorched – but there was no help for it. Carl was so hungry that he pressed it through his gullet regardless. And it was definitely not his problem how said risotto was going to cope with the schnapps he poured after it. And the cutlery sitting on the table was also something he could not have cared less about. For him, all that counted at this moment was his soft bed in the darkened bedroom.…

When Carl woke up from his midday nap with a start, it was exactly 18.00 hours! This was touch and go! Another fifteen minutes and he would have missed the beginning of the sports program! He quickly threw on his dressing gown, took a bottle of beer and a few chips – and here he sat in front of the television set! Well, to be perfectly honest, he more lay than sat – because today there was nobody to prevent him from pleasurably putting the entire length of his uncovered, muscular legs onto the cool glass top of the side table. Whenever he lifted them for a short time – which actually was no small feat as far as the stomach muscles were concerned – there were some really dark spots on the freshly polished glass. Also, Carl voluntarily made do without the comfortable pillows he would usually put under his legs.

After all, this would have been only half the fun for Gerlinde: the really crass prints on glass could only be produced by strong, perspiring men’s legs! Well, this was just a fact! But then, it was also a fact that Dortmund could no longer win against Leverkusen. Again, they played a tie. And it was also true that he was again hungry! Was it really possible that now he would have to get all the food by himself? On top of laying the table and afterwards removing everything? No, there was no way Gerlinde could have expected this of him on a work-free day – even she could not be that evil.

With energy, Carl pushed his uncovered legs from the glass top, grabbed the cut tongue-blood-sausage and dully, like an elk down for the count, made his way to the patio. After the terrible thunderstorm, the evening was surprisingly mild! Carl could hardly believe what he was seeing. With unexpected new energy, he only took a few minutes to take white bread, cheese, butter, two bottles of ice-cold Jechtinger Rivaner and the entire package of small cigars to the patio table.

And when the totally wet Stuppsi appeared out of the darkness and anxiously looked at him, he good-naturedly threw her one tongue-blood-sausage after the other. … Except – Carl could not even start to explain why eventually, when he shortly woke from his comatose sleep in the middle of the night, Gerlinde, too, had appeared. It was her, wasn’t it? Even if she was lying on the wrong side of the bed? After all, he had just given her fluffily wet curly hair a pat, hadn’t he? This is what Gerlinde liked. It made her purr – like Stuppsi… KH (Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday May 18th, 2014

The Electric Steam Engine ;-(

In one of my last articles, I questioned whether we need all those absurdly many electric devices (elektrischen Helferlein) I found in my household.

As it happens, I was invited to attend a factory tour at Porzellan Manufaktur Nympenburg a few days ago. And I was surprised to see that most of the machines used for making porcelain are not electrically powered. Basically, the only thing you use electricity for in manufacturing is the light.

The energy for the diverse tools and machines is generated with water power, for which a side channel of the Nymphenburg channel, which, with four metres of decline, produces quite some power, is used. And the energy is then transmitted to the work places () – where it moves diverse machines – by transmission belts. Everything is exactly like it was a few hundred years ago. As opposed to this, the ovens in the distillery are powered by gas.

The plant reminded me of pictures from the times of the “industrial revolution”. In those days, every manufacturing company or plant had at least one huge steam engine the power of which –by the standards of the time, said power was enormous – was then distributed to the various work places through a complicated system of scrollers, often needing several hours for the process.

And then electrification came along. The steam engines and mechanical power transmission systems disappeared. They were replaced by small, de-centralized electric motors and fuse boxes, transformers and cable systems.

What an improvement! No more soot and black faces. One should really imagine it was a huge step in the right direction.

Except that it was all a huge lie! After all, 50 % of all electricity world-wide is produced through burning coal! In other words, the electricity is produced by some kind of coal-powered steam engine. Also in Germany! In fact, in our country, we sometimes use particularly environment unfriendly brown coal, but also high-quality coal imported from, for instance, Australia. Before it can be shipped to Germany, it has to be transported from the outback to the harbours. Then it is carried through several oceans to Germany and then driven into the hinterland through Germany. What ecologic nonsense!

And if now I take a look at all those many electric devices I use, I am aware that in each of them half a steam engine is hidden. As likely as not, the good old steam engine with its transmission belts was not really a lot more inefficient than what happens today with first processing coal, then transport, electrification and transfer….

Actually, it seems to me that the water mill at the Nymphenburg porcelain manufacturing plant seems highly recommendable. The same is true for the windmill in youir garden or the photovoltaic on my roof.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

An Interview for the DOAG

During the big Nuremberg DOAG conference, Dietmar Neugebauer asked me for an interview on “leadership and management”. DOAG is the German Oracle User’s Association, or simply the German “Oracle-Community”.

Here is the text supplementing the video on the DOAG-Website:

InterFace managing director Roland Dürre thinks managers today are confronted with ever higher expectations. He tells DOAG managing director Dr. Dietmar Neugebauer what he thinks are the criteria for successful management. Among those criteria are ethics, civil courage and empathy. However, as opposed to the material values, such as profit, turnover and advantages, you cannot easily measure them.

And, of course, here is the video:

The video was made by DOAG.TV. Many thanks!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday May 15th, 2014

My Three Leadership Principles

A short time ago, the entrepreneur’s coach, leadership trainer and author Bernd Geropp started a Blog Parade (Blog-Parade) on “leadership principles”. He also asked my opinion. Well, why not take part?
Bernd asked what my three most important leadership principles were. To start with, I had to do some intense thinking. But then all was immediately clear.

I only have three principles! Because I am an ALO-Type!

ALO is my abbreviation for

“A” = Agile, “L” = Lean and “O” = Open!

So this is all about:

Agile

Speaking of agile, I cite the agile manifesto. Everything you need to know is written in there, there is no need to add anything. Incidentally, this manifesto is not restricted to programming, but can also be applied to your entire life (Link).

Lean

My way of communicating and working must be simple.
Keep it simple, stupid!
Because I am stupid and therefore should not make things look complicated. Otherwise, I myself might no longer understand what I am talking about. And that means I have to try and improve all the time. For instance by reading, trying out new things, experiences and adventures.

It is a little like my personal “leadership Kaizen”.

Open

Whatever I say and do should always be open and transparent! That’s all!

Well, those are three very simple principles, aren’t they? But careful: living them is not quite as easy as talking about them.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

I found a wonderful article (Artikel) by Marcus (Dr. Marcus Raitner) on the “blog parade”. He writes:
The basis of my ideas is the right attitude in the sense of a fitting concept of man. Based on this, you get the central principle of trust and finally the serenity for working totally relaxed on the leadership level.

Those are wonderful values, I absolutely agree. I might perhaps have chosen humility or civil courage instead of serenity. In fact, I would have found it hard to restrict myself to three, because there are so many dimensions. Basically, there should be no “either/or” in management. Instead, you should always think “both of them” (one of the theses presented by Hans Ulrich on “Change in Management”).

But then, I was supposed to write about principles. So what is the definition of principles? Is it values? Aren’t values also principles? Clarity? Well: everything ALO!