I like Adhocracy, therefore I am an Adhocrat Henrik Emilsson

I stumbled on a Wikipedia-article about Adhocracy today, and it made me think about software development methods and software development organizations.
Here are my thoughts…
Heavy-weight development processes strive for being more and more formal and thereby (intentionally or unintentionally) turning the organization into a bureaucracy.
Whereas light-weight development methods seem to strive for the opposite i.e., striving for a more adhocratic organization.
If this sounds reasonable, it might also seem reasonable that many organizations once have started as an adhocracy (start-up company), then moved more towards being a bureaucracy (expanding, need process and method), to finally find out that they really want to get back to where they came from (creative environment).
Not that I would ever think that you need to go through the bureaucracy to realize that you don’t want to be there; it seems more like the bureaucratic approach happens because the “industry standard” tells you that you need to go there.
So, because I nowadays see myself more as an Adhocrat than a Bureaucrat, I will try to encourage you to not go through the heavy-weight processes in order to realize that all you wanted was to get rid of them.
And I do hope that my children won’t have to experience the bureaucracy before the adhocracy when they one day decide to become software testers like their beloved father.

Rikard Edgren June 5th, 2008

A lovely quote for the same thing:
“One easy way to move fast is to travel light.”

(Matt Heusser)

Henrik Emilsson June 5th, 2008


And (perhaps not obviously) analogously:
In order to make use of your brain capacity, make sure that the environment stimulates it.

Martin Jansson June 13th, 2008

I do not believe start-up companies adhocracies. From what I have seen there is usually a lot of chaos, still it is not bureaucracies. I believe an adhocracy is grown into an organisation the same way an bureucracy is grown. It is hard be either from the start.

I’ve read about organisation that had something called “Organised Chaos”. It meant that they had a backbone of processes and procedures which they could lean on at any time that they needed to gain fotting. At all other times they were in the chaos to find new ways.

From what I read on the wikipedia about adhocracy it would be interesting to work in that kind of environment. Still, I believe it would result in chaos. That anyone can make decisions that would affect the future of the organisations can have severe impact. As an individual in an organisations you would probably act self-centered to some extent on some occations. When this happen it might prove a catastrophe for the organisation when decisions go opposite ways.

Henrik Emilsson June 13th, 2008

Martin, you are right about startup companies.
I would like to change the sentence about organizations to:
“… many organizations once have started as a chaotic adhocracy-like organization (start-up company), then moved more towards being a bureaucracy (expanding, need process and method), to finally find out that they really want to get back to where they came from (creative environment).”

What I meant was that in the start-up company case, there is a lot of creativity and problem-solving going on; though pretty unorganized and chaotic. Despite the chaos, this kind of creative environment is something you seek once your stuck in a non-creative environment.
Also, I truly believe that chaos is something that breeds creativity because such an environment rewards being creative. So Organized Chaos is certainly a good environment to work in!