Monday, July 27, 2015

Transparency - Two Way Visibility

What does the value of Transparency really mean?
Nextgov: How do you define transparency?
Fung: My definition is quite a bit different from the conventional wisdom about transparency. A transparency system is designed to allow people to improve the quality of decisions they make in some way, shape or form, and it enables them to improve their decisions to reduce the risks they face or to protect their interests. Some of those decisions are about political accountability but some are in private life, like what food to buy or what doctor to go to.
-- Archon Fung, professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government who studies government transparency.

Does your company practice fair pay?  Here's what one worker brought to Google and made a difference in transparency at the search giant.
Tell Your Co-Workers How Much You Make!  There's no law against it and it increases the chances you'll be paid fairly.

Does the Agile Manifesto imply some form of organizational transparency? I believe so, yes.  Here's what Jeff Sutherland has to say about the topic, look for the Individual and Interaction section.  Agile Principles and Values by Jeff Sutherland on MSDN.

Scrum's 5 core values list the concept of Openness.  Is this not very similar to Transparency?

There are lots of synonyms - visibility, openness, observable, apparent, etc.

Does this value of transparency imply that the information flows in both directions, up and down an organizational hierarchy, from line-workers to managers & directors, as well as from CEO to directors and wage earners also?

When the HIPPO statement about transparency is made in a public forum in your company - if you have transparency then someone should be able to point (physically) to an example of that transparency.  Search the space - if transparency exist, it will be evident.  So frequently this is a false assertion, easily tested.  So why does this highest paid person believe it exist?  Are they flat out lying?  Could it be from their perspective it is true?  So if we can hold these two competing thoughts for a moment... would we be able to distinguish between transparency and some other phenomena?

Transparency is two way - what is the unidirectional visibility that only those in power, or above the lines of production can sense?  What shall we call this?  If we continue to use the word transparency we might continue to miss the whole point.

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