Why Super adaptive works


Working in a Super adaptive way provides better results, because everything is built for real and verified immediately. You get faster results, because you focus on important stuff and you eliminate wasteful activities. It is more fun, because teams really work together and all disciplines get to know each others work and actually learn from each other. It works in any kind of field. So far, it is used in retail, hair salons, hardware manufacturing, music production, data analysis, marketing, e-commerce, software development etc. No fields have proven to be impossible to work with Super adaptive. Of course, people might not know how to apply it. Call me. :-)


But why does it work? Super adaptive has several crucial ingredients why it works.


Open to uncertainty


Once we are in a professional environment, humans are not considered as humans anymore. We are not allowed to make mistakes, we should be able to predict the future accurately, we should obey, we should control everything, we should know everything and we should not do unpredictable, uncertain stuff. This is not effective for an innovative team or organisation. Innovation and things we haven’t done before, naturally come with uncertainty and trial. The attempt to control innovation and make detailed plannings and predictions, is wasteful, as they are never correct. We are bad at predicting. Really bad. So, we just have to try something small, in an experiment and see from there, solving 1 issue at the time. Innovation teams are much more effective when they are stimulated to try things quickly to verify their ideas. Uncertainty is very normal and not scary at all. If something “fails” it should be fine. There is no such thing as failure, it is only a failure when you give up. You can endlessly try and improve. Look at evolution, starting from a big bang to you and me. Step by step, in short cycles. :-)




End-to-end teams that ship and verify immediately


When I get somewhere and I see pipeline processes, where first a research department does their work, then hands it over to a design department, then hands it over to a building department etc etc. Then I know that Super adaptive can speed up this organisation’s development 7-10 times. There is a lot of waste being created in pipeline processes, especially in the beginning of the process. Not everything that is researched is used in the final product, not everything of the design activities is applied to the final product. Every time the solution is simple: everything that happens after each other, done by separate departments, I pull together in an end-to-end team and make them deliver working stuff immediately. They do it together and they do it in short cycles. The end result only requires the specific amount of design and strategy for that result. So if your cycle is to make a feature in an app, you only design that specific feature, nothing else. We will see later.


Examples of stuff that has very little value: plannings, roadmaps, reports, meetings, presentations. They are all worthless to the end user. So why do we make them? We make them because we want to inform and convince people who are not involved in the process. The simple solution is: make them part of the game, pull them in, invite them to join. Let them co-create. All inventions are created together and naturally supported by team members or involved departments. The process is more dynamic and fuzzy in the beginning, but the results are much better.


To me, it is 19th century thinking to organise companies like factory production lines. A heritage from the industrial revolution. It doesn’t work in an environment where we need to create new things. Factory lines are designed to standardise work and reject unpredictable work, work that can be done by machines. A machine, although very good at 1 thing, can not handle unpredictable situations. Humans are much better at it. This is why, we should stop seeing humans as machines and stop seeing creative processes as factory lines. They should be organised as an end-to-end team delivering real stuff and improve in short cycles. Super adaptive is a learning process. Like how we learn to swim, to play the guitar, to walk. We do it little by little, in a safe environment first and then we scale up functionality, scale and impact.


And the process itself can grow gradually too. If you don’t know who needs to be in the team, just gather people based on your best guess and start doing short cycles. You will find out what expertise you lack, add them to your team, mostly after 30 minutes. Or you will find out which roles are obsolete, then ask these members to continue as stakeholders rather than team members. Team members do the actual work. Stakeholders help the teams by providing feedback and support.


Focus and waste reduction


The focus makes sure that we discuss less about issues we can not solve or not relevant yet. They might never be relevant. Will the target audience buy the product? We can discuss and talk about it for hours, days, years. Talking alone has never created a product. None. Try it. Try to create something while just talking. Good luck. Try to create a spaghetti bolognese with just talking. So, the most ineffective tool is talking. This means, we might as well skip it. In Super adaptive, it is stimulated to talk less and create more. Even random creation in short cycles with improvements, is more effective than talking.


Roadmaps, plannings.. All fantasy. Have you ever seen and made a roadmap or a planning that was initially so correct, that it becomes reality, precisely as predicted, up to the minute? Without adjusting it along the way? Have you? Really? There is no such thing. We, humans, are very bad at predicting and imagining complicated stuff. This is because reality is super complex. There is always a million factors playing a role. We try to simplify things, but it only works in our heads until we proved something. So, let’s just reduce the activities of planning, meeting and presenting to a minimum. Make a planning in 2 minutes and a roadmap in 1 minute. That’s it. It will not come true anyways. And even if it comes true. Has any of your end users paid for a planning only? The conclusion is that a planning has no commercial value. What is it then? Most of the time, it is waste. Especially the detailed plannings. Even in projects of a few days, most of the plannings, you can throw away after a few moments.


How can we make a planning anyway? Planning is based on random choice and can be defined by either time budget, resource budget or monetary budget. The trick is, we will make every reasonable deadline, because we treat scope, i.e. features, as being endless flexible.


Opinions on the future are fantasy. Treat them like that. You can discuss what the

weather will be like the first friday 6 weeks from now. Or what you will have for dinner, that day, or what time you will go to the toilet. As long as there is no experiment proving it, it is fantasy. Discussing on different fantasies on whose fantasy will come true is a worthless battle for power. It should be reduced to a minimum. Instead, everybody should help the team to make progress and support them to do an experiment or to build something to prove or reject any assumptions.