- Paperback: 201 pages
- Publisher: Financial Times; 1 edition ( 8, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0130086959
- ISBN-13: 978-0130086952
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #766,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artists Work 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
Managing When You Don't Know Where You're Going
If you don't know where you're going, any mapwill do. This conventional wisdom sounds right to many managers. It highlights the safety of having a clear objective for your management actions. It implies that all management actions are likely to be confused and inefficient if you don'thave a clear objective. If you don't have a good fix on your destination--be it a product or service, a strategic or competitive outcome, or anything else--you may as well not start the journey.
For a lot of your work, though, this so-called wisdom is wrong. Why? For one thing, you can't always know your destination in advance. Whether you're designing a new product, running a business in volatile conditions, operating a process that might encounter unforeseen inputs, or just trying to figure out what to do with your life, the journey usually involves exploration, adjustment, and improvisation. Situations in which you don't or can't know the results in advance are common and consequential. All businesses face them.
If you're not too narrow in what you're willing to call "management," you can manage these situations. You can enhance effectiveness and efficiency, and you can improve the likelihood of valuable outcomes. However, the methods you'll use will differ from, and sometimes conflict with, methods that work when you do know where you're going.
There is an increasingly important category ofwork--knowledge work--that you can best manage by not enforcing a detailed, in-advance set of objectives, even if you could. Often in this kind of work, time spent planning what you want to do will be better spent actually doing (or letting others in your charge do), trying something you haven't thought out in detail so you can quickly incorporate what you learn from the experience in the next attempt. In appropriate conditions--only inappropriate conditions--you can gain more value from experience than from up-front analysis. In certain kinds of work, even if you can figure out where you're going and find a map to get you there, that may not be the best thing to do.
Forging ahead without detailed specifications to guide you obviously requires innovation, new actions. We take this observation one stepfurther by suggesting that knowledge work, which adds value in large part because of its capacity for innovation, can and often should be structured as artists structure their work. Managers should look to collaborative artists rather than to more traditional management models if they want to create economic value in this new century.
We call this approach artful making. "Artful,"because it derives from the theory and practice of collaborative art and requires an artist-like attitude from managers and team members. "Making," because it requires that you conceive of your work as altering or combining materials into a form, for a purpose. Materials thus treated become something new, something they would not become without the intervention of a maker.
About the Author
Rob Austin is Professor of Technology and OperationsManagement at Harvard Business School where his research focuses on the changing nature of work. His experience includes a decade with Ford Motor Company; from 2000 to 2001, while on leave from Harvard, he served as a senior executive for a new division of a leading technology company, helping to establish a new organization and technology platform. He is author of Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations, and co-author of Creating Business Advantage in the Information Age, and Corporate Information Strategy and Management. A Cutter Technology Council Fellow, Dr. Austin holds a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon.
Lee Devin, Professor Emeritus at Swarthmore College and dramaturg for the People’s Light and Theatre Company, has more than 30 years of experience in the theater. He has won prizes and grants for play scripts, librettos, and translations that have been published or performed worldwide. As an Equity actor, his roles have ranged from Malvolio in Twelfth Night to Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire. He has been a visiting consultant or artist in residence at Columbia University, the Folger Library, Ball State University, the Banff School of the Arts, University of California San Diego, Bucknell University, and the Minnesota Opera. Dr. Devin holds a Ph.D. from Indiana University.
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Top customer reviews
Both have hard deadlines.
Both have fixed budgets.
And both are highly dependendant on the actors they get.
This book is written for software managers to show how other industries manage the creative process, yet still deliver a great product within these constraints. This is one of my favorite Agile books, and the foreword by Eric Schmidt of Google alone is worth the read.
At the outset, I opened the book expecting some encouragement for software development managers like me to be a little more... theatrical in the way we approach projects. I was a little concerned that the single focus
on one theatre group would wear little thin. But the authors draw on a rich seam of of other sources, introduce well-reasoned arguments and examples, and show both the limitations of their approach and counter-arguments. I'm convinced, more.than ever, that we need to learn a lot about artful making as the knowledge revolution progresses. Just need to work on the rest of my team... or should I say "cast"?
That sounds a lot like agile development and the authors draw on examples from that community (along with the theater community, Deming, and other examples that are from the emergent rather than planned side of the fence) to make their case.
The points made in this book resontated with me but I've been in many situations where the culture will be a barrier to implementing these ideas. The question I had after reading this book was how to get from where most of the organizations I've been exposed to are to the state this book proposes?
Artful making is making a comparison between several different ways of creating products and divides them into industrial and artful. Examples of artful making in the book are theatre production and also agile software development. Then from that perspective, the book looks at several aspects of artful making and tries to describe qualities about artful making that can help managers create such an environment. The book describes these qualities in rather abstract terms and names them release, ensemble, collaboration and play.
Personally I felt the comparison in the book was a too big simplification. Of course, theatre production and software development can learn from each other, but still in the end of the book, I was not really convinced that they are artful making while the other product creating methods are industrial making. The book takes then a lot of (interesting) examples from e.g. Apollo flights and puts them in the category artful, though to me some of the comparisons were not clear or obvious at all.
All in all, I DID enjoy the book and found it useful reading. I've rated it 3 stars because I would rate "measuring and managing" as 5 stars and this is book was clearly not as good. 3 starts, in this case, does mean that the book is still a recommended reading and it does provide interesting insights and stories.