work levels

Why Time Span of Discretion Works

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Timespan of Discretion is the biggest point of complaint that the old folks in the Glacier Metal related work (Requisite Organization, Stratified Systems Theory, Career Path Appreciation, work levels or worklevels, etc.). If you’re new, you may be scratching your head about this Time Span of Discretion.

Elliott Jaques claimed to have discovered that you could determine the complexity of a…

Using Timespans to Solve Communication Problems

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Ever wonder if timespans has any practical usefulness? Here is how I used timespans to clear up a communication problem in a global IT architecture group for an international bank.

Awhile back I worked with a group of enterprise architects (EA) at an international bank with major operations in all the inhabited continents. The group, although “headquartered” in the US, had members in each of…

International vs. National matters more for you than raw company size

Candies. Licensed through

Why was I a big success consulting with an international investment bank but considered an idiot when consulting for a national insurance company doing the same type of work? If you are a hidden high potential, the fact that the company is international vs. national matters more than raw company size because of issues of complexity.

US Air Force Feeling the Level-shift Pain In Drone Program

MQ-1B Predator UAV drone from U.S. Air Force. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Sabina Johnson

We’ve talked about how you can level-shift a job down — making it so that it only requires a lower level of work — can change the playing field and let you compete in what seems like a closed market. The Register, online source of all that is geeky news goodness, recently wrote about the US Air Force’s problems in handling how the Predator has changed the face of military reconnaissance flying but the Air Force can’t make the transition.

Kinston & Rowbottom's "A New Model of Managing Based On Levels of Work"

Here’s the second in the set, from 1990. Warren probably hasn’t really looked at these for some time, and I know that he has taken things farther in documents coming out of his SIGMA Centre.

Warren Kinston and Ralph Rowbottom. 1990. “A New Model of Managing Based On Levels of Work”. Journal of Applied Systems Analysis, 17: 89-113. [PDF, 9.3MB]

The introduction from this…

Tata Sons’ Complexity Diagram

ADLER typewriter Model n°7 (Frankfurt / Germany). Unknown model date (probably ~1930/40). By Dake

I went ahead and read some more of the Tata Sons material on their implementation of Billis’s (Rowbottom’s & Billis’s?) Work Levels. They use a two dimensional model to measure the level of work done within a company (see page two of the interview with Exec. Dir. R. Gopalakrishnan; the diagram is down the page). “Management Scope” goes up the Y-axis while “Company Scope” goes out the X-axis.

Does Requisite Organization Really Work Over the Weekend?

Week-end pleasure. (c) 2010 lilie Mélo

Is there any evidence, even from your experience, that Elliott Jaques’s Requisite Orgainzation (RO) will solve the Model I problem of defensive coverups that Argyris describes? Does it really work over the weekend, so to speak? [full post]

You Need All Levels of People For Success

The April 12 launch at Pad 39A of STS-1, just seconds past 7 a.m., carries astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen into an Earth orbital mission (STS-1. 1981). NASA

People who can see the whole complexity of the project “need to be paired with people that can deal with the details at other levels,” says Jack Vinson.


Looking back on what I have written, I haven’t made that entirely clear.

Everyone is important and necessary for the group to succeed. We need each other, each of us working at the level that challenges us, yet still within…

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