I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve done a post just to point at one of Phil Windley’s posts. But there’s a good reason: Phil’s a highly discriminating thinker and writer who hits some nails right on the head.
This particular nail is Phil recommending a 20 minute video on the O-Ring Theory of Production. It’s one of those great explanations of something you may have intuitively sensed before—that great teams can produce results dramatically better than teams only slightly less capable—but now can understand with startling clarity.
As society and technology grows increasingly complex, the O-Ring Theory of Production has important implications. I certainly know it mirrors my own experience of technical teams.
As I read it, I had one more revelation of where it applies: eight-oar crew teams. For a spellbindingly good example, I can’t recommend The Boys in the Boat highly enough. Yes, I’m biased: it’s set in Seattle and features the 1936 University of Washington crew team. But it’s a universal story that is not just true but so superbly wrought than I predict it will make an award-winning film as well (hopefully soon—the Weinstein Company acquired the film rights in 2011).