The Smalls and Menlo Innovations!

Our guest this week on the SmallsCast Podcast was Mr. Rich Sheridan, Chief Story Teller and Co-Founder of Menlo Innovations, a cutting-edge software design company, and author of Joy Inc.: How We Built a Place People Love, and Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear (Both available on Amazon, and terrific reads!). As a small Government contractor, there are several lessons to take away from Rich’s comments, and the idea of having joy at work!

First, there is the requirement to create a culture focused success, not failure, but with the ability to fail!  It isn’t about failure, but failing fast, and experimenting with possible options.  One of Rich’s apparently famous sayings is “Run the Experiment”, which suggests, if someone has in idea, try it! If it works, move forward.  If not, move on to the next idea.

Another key is having an open forum for dialog, sharing, and training/education.  Communication, often, and open, using a “high-speed voice technology”, i.e. face to face communication.  Too often we rely on digital forms of communication, i.e. email, memos, texts, etc., when something could and should be discussed and resolved much quicker, by actually speaking to someone.  On a larger scale, projects should be developed by teams, and sharing information.  At Menlo, no one is the owner of the program, but everyone on the team owns it!  They also leverage an open floor plan, and all programming is conducted in teams!

The idea of open communication and teams lends itself to the concept of paired programming, where everyone from program managers to UI/UX to Quality Assurance and Developers, work as a team, or “pod”.  Work is always done in pairs, and pairs are frequently mixed up to ensure one person isn’t the sole keeper of information.  This also works in many other business areas, but we can save that for another blog!

This blog post only touched on a few of the terrific concepts and ideas from Rich and Menlo Innovation!  If you’re interested in learning more, check out the SmallsCast Podcast with Rich Sheridan at www.thesmalls.org, or visit Menlo’s website at www. https://menloinnovations.com/, and take a virtual tour of their software factory!   As previously mentioned, Rich’s books are available at your favorite book store, or online!

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