Bob Sutton on “Crappy People versus Crappy Systems”

I‘ve enjoyed Bob Sutton’s blog for a while now. If you’re not familiar with Bob, he’s the Professor of Management Science and Engineering in the Stanford Engineering School. He often blogs about topics that are directly relevant to the Scrum community including topics on systemic change, collaboration and management behavior.

I recently saw Esther Derby retweet his blog post on “Crapy People vs. Crappy Systems” and I think it’s an important article to read. I feel it’s important because it clearly states one of the most necessary changes in corporate culture that is implied by Scrum (emphasis is mine):

The worst part about focusing on keeping out crappy people, however, is that it reflects a belief system that “the people make the place.” The implication is that, once you hire great people and get rid of the bad ones, your work is pretty much done. Yet if you look at large scale studies in everything from automobile industry to the airline industry … the evidence is clear: The “rule of law crappy systems” trumps the “rule of crappy people.”

The entire blog post is worth reading both for Bob’s opinion as well as his references.

Finally, the report from Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) is mentioned several times throughout the post, and I would strong recommend reading it. It’s interest and insightful. Here’s a direct link to the document: CAIB Volume 1.

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