Steve has been interested in the performance of IT teams and organizations for many years. His work goes back to the 90’s when he experienced, first-hand, what a hyper performing team feels like during his stint at Borland International.
Borland famously fought off Microsoft in one of the most competitive markets in the 90’s: the code editor and compiler market.
During his experience at Borland, Steve got inspired to go beyond the basics of the definiton of performance and started to look for references and inspiration which later led to the definition of his TameFlow system which he describes in this TameFlow introductory book: The Essence of TameFlow.
Among some of the original sources of inspiration for his work, Steve mentions The New New Product Development Game by Takeuchi and Nonaka; David Anderson’s Agile Management for Software Engineering: Applying the Theory of Constraints for Business Results; Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience; and many others.
Why do we talk about Hyperperformance and not Hyperproductivity?
Steve explains why he struggled with the use of the word “productivity” and ultimately decided against it. The use of the productivity word develops a focus on the wrong kind of metrics, as well as the fact that it drives a single-dimension focus. In contrast, with the word performance, Steve tries to elicit the different aspects that we need to take into account if we want to improve our teams and organizations. Among the different focus aspects Steve mentions what he calls the 4 flows in the TameFlow system:
- Operational Flow: How well are you delivering? The operational flow is the conventional “work flow” that determines how work moves through an organization.
- Financial Flow: How much wealth are you creating? Financial flow is measured in financial throughput. It represents the rate at which an organization turns its products or services into profit or to other units of value.
- Informational Flow: How well are you communicating? Informa- tion is the lifeblood of an organization; even more so in modern knowledge-based organizations.
- Psychological Flow: How happy are your people? The highest levels of individual or group performance are achieved when people reach mental states of flow, which is generally associated with a state of happiness.
The take-aways for Scrum Masters
Finally, we review the concrete take-aways Scrum Masters can apply based on the work that Steve has published under the TameFlow banner.
If you want to know more about TameFlow you can visit Steve’s site on the topic: https://community.tameflow.com. In this community you will find others that are applying these insights to their work.
About Steve Tendon
Steve Tendon popularised the Theory of constraints in some of the agile community and he is also the Creator of the TameFlow systems thinking approach which nurtures breakthrough performance innovation.
This system is described in the book with the same name: Tame the Flow.