Rebirth of Reason

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Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 5:08amSanction this postReply

This came up as a random past article.  Like the Franklin Planner itself, this particular method requires a lifestyle adjustment. You do not just "believe" it, like you believe in the free market or modern architecture. A few years ago, I worked a software development project that used a Kanban Chart among other tools in an Agile/Scrum environment.  It seemed OK, so we made one for the house. It is still where we put it three year ago. Truly, some of the Important items have been Xed out as Done. Most have not. We are not all that chaotic here. We both take on and complete long range projects, but how those come up is not planned. "Hmmm...  seems like a good idea..." Not everything is. So, not every goal achieves fruition.  


The Tri-quation requires constant checking and tallying and measuring. And it begins with a well-defined set of goals, called "Roles."  Within each Role are layers of attributes. "Is my mission statement of building a household robot meeting the needs that require the robot?" (No such need exists: the house is fine without the robot. It is the building of the machine that is the self-actualizing project. So, is the building of the robot meeting my need for self-actualization? And how do I measure that? In gallons or inches or giggles or yawns?)


But my reductio notwithstanding, the entire method does offer some promise for improving your life - or my life, actually, mine being more important to me than yours is...  Getting off the treadmill, as we say, stopping to smell the roses, stepping back and taking stock,... whatever you call it, to me, it comes back to the fundamentals of personal morality: how do you define happiness; and how do you achieve it. 


Two similar tools come to mind. The first is the simple T-Chart of the "hedonistic calculus." The philosophical errors in formal Hedonism aside, the "hedonistic calculus" is just a bookkeeper's ledger of costs and benefits (assets and liabilities) that you expect from some action. Should we buy a new refrigerator? Should I complete an MBA? Obviously, thinking things through, quantifying when possible and appropriate, is better than just following your feelings at the moment.  The Tri-Quation appears to be a maturity model for achieving that.  


(The Carnegie-Mellon "Capability Maturity Model" is another. Like the Kanban, I am not going to discuss that right now. But the point here is that many such exist.)


The other tool is the FEMA Incident Command Structure. I hold a slew of FEMA certifications and the over-arching Military Emergency Management badge from the State Guard Association of the United States. It is one of the few that we are allowed to wear on our work uniforms because in case of Emergency, it shows that I have the authority to take command, regardless of rank. We learn and teach that FEMA ICS can be used to fight a fire - which is where it began, in California with firefighters; as you can see today - and the city police here in Austin use it 70 to 100 times a year for weekend events, and you can use it to plan a birthday party.  One aspect of it that reminded me of this Tri-Quation is "span of control." Each level of command has three to seven reporting elements, with five being ideal. Fewer than that and you are spending more on control than on effort; more than that and you lose track of stuff. So, too, here with the Tri-Quation, is there some numerical measurement for the number of goals ("Roles") you can manage.


Another aspect of that which I found consonant is that we have Missions and Tasks. Your mission might be to respond to a flood. That entails several tasks. We assign those tasks to components (organized groups of people). Here, the Tri-Quation has Roles and Tasks.


I appreciate the fact that Luke found the Franklin-Covey methods to be helpful. As with CMM, Kanban, Scrum, etc., (back in the 70s, it was "Value Engineering"), you can use any of many models. Some might be objectively better, even "Objectivistically" better, but that remains to be demonstrated. In short, almost any conscious planning methodology is better than none.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 5:20amSanction this postReply

MEM observed:

In short, almost any conscious planning methodology is better than none.


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