Working between cultures

When people from different cultures have or want to cooperate, it is almost a given: Misunderstandings, frustrations, them and us…. Recognisable? Even if you do not wat to walk this way, be assured at least some frustration with cross your path.

Our cultural background determines our values and aspects like time or how we define ourselves. It is formed based on the culture we grow up in during the first 12 years of our lives. Being borne a German, I will always get nervous if something does not happen in time. But time can be seen very different in other cultures. In Africa, executing a task will take as much time as it needs. As simple as that. In our western society, we plan upfront how much time something takes and we will be frustrated if we cannot do or discuss everything we hoped for. None of these approaches is better than another, they are simply different.

You could argus the same about truth. Is there absolute truth or right or rong? Again it is some of the western societies who believe it, while there might also be multiple truths or truth might even be regarded as dangerous.

If you want to learn more about your own culture, I would recommend Richard D. Lewis, When cultures collide but also “De corporate tribe” van Danielle Braun en Jitske Kramer.

Waterfall and Agile projectmanagement – same same, but different?

Pure IT projects are currently executed through Agile project management, where specialists take quick decisions and where building and re-building of the software occurs. But each and every IT project has a component of change management – in the end all the end users must be capable to use the new IT solution. Is Agile really the way forward here?

Based on my recent experiences, the short answer is no. And as a consequence, all IT project will have a component of project management which is executed in a waterfall style. The reason? One of the big requirements for working Agile is 100 % resource availability. This is simply not the case in most non-IT oriented worlds.

So how does it come together? Primarily with lots of mutual understanding. Working with deadlines is also common in the waterfall methodology, so there is a common denominator. That not the deadline is moved but rather the quality (or completeness) of the solution is compromised is something new for waterfall driven solutions.

It remains a challenging ride for both sides!

Anders leren denken – en waarom het nodig is

anders-leren-denken

In het verleden ging het in het (academisch) onderwijs altijd over kennis, kunde en de inhoud. Echter worden de meeste mensen nu voor functies opgeleid die nog niet eens bestaan. Zij (en wij) hebben andere vaardigheden nodig om met de snelle veranderingen mee te komen. Het gaat over de zogenoemde “21st Century skills”, met als onderdelen kritisch denken, creatief denken, communiceren en samenwerken (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/21st_century_skills).

Misschien leuk om eens te kijken waar jij, de lezer van dit artikel, nu al mee te maken hebt: 

Hoe vaak loop je zelf tegen complexe situaties aan en heb je geen idee waar je moet beginnen? (Kritisch denken)

Welke situatie is alleen door een nieuwe aanpak op te lossen? (Creatief denken)

Hoe kies je de beste (creatieve) oplossing? (Combinatie van creatief denken en kritisch denken)

Welke voorbeelden komen er langs? Ik ben heel benieuwd naar de antwoorden! Hoe pak je deze situaties nu aan? Het is heel waarschijnlijk dat je onderdelen van de vaardigheden inzet zonder er bewust van te zijn.

Hoe zou het zijn als je bewust een denkprocess toe kunt passen?