This Month’s Pattern *

04 Happy Clappy Meetings

Display of high morale becomes a factor in personal performance evaluation.

High morale is an unfailing indicator of organizational health. Similarly, low morale is a sure sign that something is wrong. There is a certain kind of managerial mind that seizes upon this relationship and attempts to exploit it in reverse. The logic goes like this: Force morale up and other good things will follow.

Ah, but how to force morale up? In particular, how to do it without investing all the bothersome time and energy and expense necessary to make things truly improve? That’s a tough one, but don’t think people won’t try. Thus the sour humor of the saying, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

A common attempt to force morale is a ceremonial meeting in which the boss, smiling broadly, stands in front of the assembled group and opens the floor: “Let me hear what you folks have got to say,” he tells them confidently. “Anything at all, even the bad news and the hard questions.” Note the tone here and the subliminal message: There is nothing to hide because we’re all a big, happy family. (Happy, dammit, happy. Pay attention.)

At one company I know, the Happy Clappy ceremony is called an All Hands Meeting, all hands because everyone is invited to attend. But when one brave soul actually held his hand up and asked the CEO a hard question, the result was not exactly what he might have hoped. The CEO mumbled something and quickly got off the stage. Later that day, the impudent questioner was called on the carpet by his immediate boss and disabused of the illusion that hard questions were actually welcome. After that, the meetings were unofficially called No Hands Meetings, since it was understood by all that no one was to raise a hand to take part. —TDM

When you get the sense that what is being solicited is not your input but only your approval, you know exactly what’s happening: Welcome to another Happy Clappy meeting.

Photo Credit:  Chris Linn, Corporate Entertainer



* Each month we plan to publish here one of the patterns from our Jolt Award book, Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies — Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior. (Watch this space for a mere 86 months and you'll have read the whole thing.) The book is published by Dorset House Publishing, in the US and Hanser Verlag in Germany. It is available at Amazon and also as a Kindle book.

events

Brussels, Mastering the Requirements Process
20-Feb-2018 to 22-Feb-2018

James Robertson teaches Mastering the Requirements Process. Please contact I.T.Works

for details. 

Oslo, Mastering the Requirements Process
13-Mar-2018 to 15-Mar-2018

Suzanne Robertson teaches Mastering the Requirements Process. For more information on this popular course, contact Den Norske Dataforeningen.

Stockholm Kravdagen
22-Mar-2018 to 22-Mar-2018

James Robertson talks about Business Analysis Agility at Kravdagen

Rome, Mastering the Requirements Process
9-Apr-2018 to 11-Apr-2018

Rome, Mastering Business Analysis
12-Apr-2018 to 13-Apr-2018

James Robertson teaches Mastering Business Analysis. Contact Technology Transfer for details of this course.  

London, Mastering the Requirements Process
17-Apr-2018 to 19-Apr-2018

The Spring edition of Mastering the Requirements Process with James Archer. Please contact IRM UK for details.

Brussels, Business Analysis Agility
23-Apr-2018 to 24-Apr-2018

James Robertson and James Archer teach Business Analysis Agility. Contact IT Works for details of this course.  

London, Business Analysis Agility
26-Apr-2018 to 27-Apr-2018

James Archer presents Business Analysis Agility. Please contact IRM UK for details of this course.

Stockholm, Mastering the Requirements Process
15-May-2018 to 17-May-2018

Oslo, Business Analysis Agility
29-May-2018 to 30-May-2018

James Robertson teaches Business Analysis Agility. Contact Den Norske Dataforeignen for details. 

Czech Republic, Mastering the Requirements Process
30-May-2018 to 01-Jun-2018

James Archer teaches Mastering the Requirements Process. Please contact Aguarra for details and registration.

Brussels, Mastering the Requirements Process
5-Jun-2018 to 7-Jun-2018

James Robertson teaches Mastering the Requirements Process. Please contact I.T.Works for details. 

Hilversum, Mastering the Requirements Process
11-Jun-2018 to 13-Jun-2018

James Archer presents Mastering the Requirements Process for Adept Events. Details and registration: English - Dutch.

Oslo, Mastering the Requirements Process
11-Sep-2018 to 13-Sep-2018

Mastering the Requirements Process with Suzanne Robertson. Contact Den Norske Dataforeignen for details. 

Stockholm, Mastering the Requirements Process
25-Sep-2018 to 27-Sep-2018

Brussels, Mastering the Requirements Process
9-Oct-2018 to 11-Oct-2018

James Robertson teaches Mastering the Requirements Process. Please contact I.T.Works for details.  

Rome, Mastering the Requirements Process
15-Oct-2018 to 17-Oct-2018

Budapest MRP
16-Oct-2018 to 18-Oct-2018

James Archer teaches Mastering the Requirements Process. Please contact Aguarra for details and registration.

Rome, Business Analysis Agility
18-Oct-2018 to 19-Oct-2018

James Robertson teaches Business Analysis Agility. Contact Technology Transfer for details of this course.  

Hilversum, Mastering the Requirements Process
5-Nov-2018 to 7-Nov-2018

James Archer teaches Mastering the Requirements Process. For details please contact Adept Events. Dutch description, or in English.

Oslo, Mastering the Requirements Process
13-Nov-2018 to 15-Nov-2018

Mastering the Requirements Process with Suzanne Robertson. Contact Den Norske Dataforeignen for details. 

London, Mastering the Requirements Process
14-Nov-2018 to 16-Nov-2018

James Archer teaches Mastering the Requirements Process. For details and registration, please contact IRM UK.

Brussels, Business Analysis Agility
19-Nov-2018 to 20-Nov-2018

James Archer teaches Business Analysis Agility. Contact IT Works for details of this course.  

in depth

Business analysis is often seen as a technical skill. But the business analyst has another set of responsibilities -- to dig into what the stakeholder's mind and uncover what is really needed, and not just what they say they want. 


A Ruby Beam of Light, Book I of Tom DeMarco's Andronescu's Paradox saga is now available in English in paperback and ebook, from Double Dragon Publishing.

"This war isn't going to blow anything up, only turn everything off."



Suzanne and James Robertson's "Requirements: The Masterclass LiveLessons-Traditional, Agile, Outsourcing". 15+ Hours of Video Instruction. 



Als auf der Welt das Licht Ausging, the German edition of Tom DeMarco's science fiction epic, Andronescu's Paradox, has now been published by Hanser Verlag in Munich.  Translation by Andreas Brandhorst.



James Robertson’s webinar for Software Education explains how agile stories are best used to ensure the right solution. Writing the Right Agile Stories on YouTube. Download the webinar slides.