The number #1 Ethical Rule of Fraud Detection

If you see fraud, and do not say fraud, you are a fraud*

Practically that means, when you detect #fraud, you have a couple of options and 1 obligation.

🚨 The obligation
You register it as fraud and report about it. Everything after that is “optional”.

✅ The options
1. You compensate the victim AND you (try to) find the fraudsters and hold them accountable (with or without help of the official authorities). This also means banning them from your platform
2. You compensate the victim BUT you do not pursue the fraudsters 
3. You don’t do anything further than the obligation mentioned above

Of course, all the options have consequences that you need to accept. 

❓There are several considerations that come into play in the decision making, such as and definitely not limited to: laws about the type of fraud in your country, financial risk appetite, fraud risk appetite, being a public or a private company, repetitional damage, further ethical rules in your organisations, how you feel about a certain case, what other ethical rules you want to live by as a person or as a company, etc. and so on.

🙈 Plausible deniability…
…does not exist here. Once you see or detect fraud, you need to act.

*inspired by Antifragile, things that gain from disorder by Nassim Nicolas Taleb p. 15 prologue

Spontaneous combustion rule for organisational minimalism

What if the meeting your about the attend, the process you are about to follow or the system you are using, would “spontaneously combust”, in other words, disappear immediately?

How would you feel ? Do you think you would regret it, or would you feel relieved?

Based upon (stolen from) The Minimalist Rulebook, 16 Rules for living with Less. It’s rule #13. You can find the full rulebook here.

My week of running (12 Dec – 18 Dec)

Like I said last week, not a week of running. Still one full week of not running to go.

What I did do:

  • Mon: 1500 meter swimming + 30 min hike
  • Tue: rest, sore from swimming
  • We: 1750 meter swimming
  • Thu: rest
  • Fri: Strength training, Calestenics
  • Sat: 60 min hike, sore from strength training
  • Sun: not sure yet, probably still sore, so need to recover

Still not that much though, but changing a bit how I train, so I can incorporate more strength training once I’m able to run again. Can’t wait though…

Organisational or Business Minimalism

I’m sure you are familiar with the term “minimalism”. I was introduced to it years ago through The Minimalists and the idea behind “less is more” stuck with me. One of the disorders they fight against is “hoarding”.

The definition of hoarding

“Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.”

Recognise this? I see an analogy in organisations. There’s a tendency to add a new process, procedure, checklist, person or team to the organisation for every new problem. Once the problem is solved, everything stays. Nothing is deleted. The humber of systems and processes pile up to a big jumble of complexity and nobody can understand it anymore. And the work environments starts to stink…

Okay, I might be exaggerating just a tiny bit, but you do recognise what I’m saying.

I think it’s time for Organisational or business minimalism and I’m interested in your:

  • Examples
  • Stories
  • Rules
  • Thoughts
  • Ideas

Declutter your meetings, rule 1

😥 You are swamped. Swamped with meetings. And if you take a close look at your calendar, most of them are recurring meetings you have weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or something like that. 

🤨 And of course every meeting has a clear goal, every member including you is needed in the meeting, there’s a clear agenda/topics to be discussed and in last for 45-50 minutes to make sure people have time for their needed bio-breaks (yeah, right…).

Still you need less of them, to stop the back to back meeting days.

✅ Use this rule:
Recurring meetings have a maximum of 6 occurrences. In the 6th meeting there is an extra topic: evaluation. Outcome of this topic:
– Continue yes/no
– If yes, how (cadence, length, improvements, members, etc.)

Solve your Organisational Debt, the Boy Scout Method

Technical debt
There are 3 fundamental ways to deal with Technical Debt:

  1. Stop everything for a period of time and just tackle the technical debt. Examples are “technical debt” sprints. Or in worst cases, a legacy system is so bad, the only sensible thing to do is just to rebuild the damn thing and replace it, with all the additional problems of phasing in and out.
  2. Take a certain percentage of time/effort every time period and deal with a piece of technical debt. That usually means have a full overview and then chop it up in pieces and deal with it very week. Sometimes you see even a separate backlog for technical debt… Don’t do that by the way, technical debt is part of your product, so it goes on the normal list
  3. The Boy Scout Method: when you deal with a piece of your product/code, leave it better than you found it. That means when touching code for a new solution, you also look at the code and see what you can improve.

Big chance you are dealing with your technical debt in a combination of at least 1 and 2 and sometimes 3. If possible, my advice is do 3 and not 2, but at least make a conscious decision about it. 

Organisational debt
In analogy, your organisations probably also needs to deal with Organisational Debt. Just as in technical debt, you make all kind of decisions that in the ideal situation you would not have had (to make) and your organisation is not at it’s peak happiness or performance.

The same three strategies
If the analogy applies to the problem, that of technical or organisational debt, does it extend to the solution strategies as well? Let’s try

  1. You stop everything (meaning organisational change) for a period of time and prepare a re-organisation of the team/department. Worst case you need to re-invent everything and a full company wide re-organisation is needed. 
  2. You make a “backlog” of everything that needs change and you hire a “transformation manager” to lead a change program where every team spends a bit of time every period on changing something. When one thing is done, go on to the next.
  3. The Boy Scout Method. You as a leader know that a lot needs improvement, but you don’t organise a program. With every change, (new team member, letting someone go, new system, new tool new process, new crisis, etc.) you change what you find and deal with the organisational debt related to that part of your organisation. No big bangs, no separate change programs, just improve what you find.

Note: when dealing with organisational debt, you will always find more than you’re bargained for. I use to call them pandora’s boxes where everything that comes out is in the form of a skeleton in the closet. That also means that every transformation plan needs immediate adjustments as you go along.

My opinion

  • As a leader you try to make sure that option 1 is never needed. I know that sometimes it cannot be avoided due to external unforeseen circumstances. And even then, were they really unforeseen? Or didn’t you do your due diligence to make sure risks could have been prevented? For everything that IS under your control, you do your best to not go into option 1.
  • It could be that your problems are so big that option 2 comes to mind. But starting a transformation program takes time and energy on its own and sometimes there’s not time or energy. Of course getting a quick overview of what’s going on and then thinking of a quick strategy is good, but that should not take more than a few days. The best thing to do is to start changing and adapt as you go.
  • I prefer option 3 of course. Dealing with organisational debt always brings new unseen problems, pandora’s boxes and skeletons out of closets you didn’t know even existed. That means the only way is to make use of a change and improve on the organisational debt it touches. Never waste a good “crisis”.

Oh. And never forget, organisational debt as with technical debt is payed with interest!

He Freelancer, these days happen as well!

Sometimes you might not have an assignment. Of course that happens when you choose to, but sometimes it also happens when you don’t. Keep busy and don’t dispair!

I’m in that position right now, “between assignments”. Not by choice, I’m ready to start, the right assignment just isn’t here at the moment.

Of course I like spending just a bit more time with the kids, although as family is pro 1, I do spend a lot of time with them anyway. I can’t run unfortunately due to an injury, but I try to do different things (biking, swimming). I read a lot of books about all kinds of things, just to learn and keep my mind occupied. I’m trying to acquire and/or refresh new habits:

  • Journal at least 1 page a day as part of my morning routine
  • Write 1 website/linkedIn post per day. All go here some also on LinkedIn
  • I’m back on rack on getting up early in the morning (as I would do when running)

Still, I’m under-stimulated, but physically due to the injury and mentally by not working. I love helping others solving problems, facing challenges, helping them feel they have a choice. I get that from my assignments.

So, these days and months are also all about patience, appreciating your freedom and realising how much you love to work.

I knew it! I’m an optimist!

Here’s why:

“Optimism is a belief that the odds of a good outcome are in your favor over time, even when there will be setbacks along the way. The simple idea that most people wake up in the morning trying to make things a little better and more productive than wake up looking to cause trouble is the foundation of optimism”

The psychology of money, Morgan Housel, p. 177

My week of running (5 Dec – 11 Dec)

Still no running and it will take at least until Dec 28, before I can run again. That means alternative training the last week and the coming 2 weeks. This is what I did:

Tue: Cycling
Wed: Swimming and Hiking
Fri: Cycling
Sat: Hiking
Sun: Cycling

Cycling is becoming an ordeal, as temperatures are dropping. Chill factor is below freezing. For next week I’ll be swimming more and see if I can do some light strength and flexibility training to also get more full body fitness and strength. Besides running, I need it for 2 reasons, for the army and just aging. Meaning I need to maintain my muscles everywhere a bit more

Let’s see what next week brings!

Product Owner explained in 15 minutes

Lately, I’ve seen more and more comments that Scrum doesn’t support Product Management to well. I’m not sure why. Product Management is not that difficult to understand, although it can be very hard work.

I’m not a big fan anymore of Scrum as a holistic collaboration framework. The first version of the scrum guide is a good collaboration guide for complex software development. And as the name suggests, it is a guide, not a law.

That being said, the following video by Henrik Kniberg at least explains the basics of Product Ownership very, very well, especially when it relates to the development team and what a PO or PM for that matter does and does not do.

Watch and learn!