Simon Terry

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Scripture. Traditions. Reason. Experience

At the Products are Hard conference yesterday, Abie Hadjitarkhani, a founder of the conference and a Partner of the Hotel Delta team, presented lessons from his experience consulting teams working on project management.

Abie introduced the Methodist Quadrilateral of John Wesley as a framework that teams needed to jointly consider as they do their work:

  • Scripture: what we believe and follow
  • Traditions: the way we have done things
  • Reason: our thinking
  • Experience: what happens to us

Abie’s message was that there are few universal right answers in each of these elements for teams. Each team needs to apply its own balance and assess each of these elements. Abie argued for flexibility of dogmas and methods, avoidance of over reliance on data and more consideration of human experience in the application of approaches.

What struck me as I considered these elements was an image


Across many contexts of how organisations operate, we are seeing a shift from a heavy reliance on dogma and traditional approaches to a more reality-driven, flexible, iterative test and learn approach as disruptive technology gives us new tools and approaches. Scripture and tradition do not go away. The weighting they hold in team culture simply changes and they are more lean and focused on value rather than extensive prescription.

This language is appearing in all sorts of veins of discussion such as product management, lean startups, efficiency, organisational design, testing, customer experience design, change management, leadership and culture.

This concept of a more networked, iterative, agile and fact-based approach, like that argued for in The Responsive Organisation Manifesto, is one we all need to consider as we take forward our challenges. There seem to be big benefits in a shift of thinking to a far more human and grounded approach.

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