GCHQ's internal Boiling Frogs research paper on software development and organisational change in the face of disruption #boilingfrogs
The pace of disruptive change is increasing, from the rise of cloud technology, social business, the Internet of Things and others. We feel it as much as other government departments and so we offer this internal research paper publicly, not to present policy or guidelines, but to stimulate debate.
So why the title "Boiling Frogs?" The story goes that if a frog is placed in a saucepan of cold water, which is slowly heated, the frog adapts its body temperature to the changing heat of the water and gradually goes to sleep. The frog goes to sleep at 40 ˚C, unaware that at 100 ˚C it will boil! However, if the frog is placed in already boiling water it immediately jumps out to safety.
The metaphor illustrates that although people might think they are very good at adapting to the changing world, they don't necessarily recognise the need to jump out of that world completely to survive for the long term. Technology organisations risk being blissfully unaware that the world is changing so dramatically and that their tactical adaptions are simply not working.
Simon Wardley, CSC Leading Edge Forum, offers his view as an external reviewer:
"GCHQ operates and exists in one of the most challenging and competitive environments in the world where the table stakes are national security. It is therefore unsurprising that GCHQ has a reputation for the best technical delivery organisation in the UK Government, itself a leading example of digital Gov around the world.
This document provides a glimpse into some of those thought processes and practices from cell based structures to outcome based techniques to the use of multiple methods with the hybrid dynamic model to culture. For those in business, it gives a welcome opportunity to reflect on how we organise and run ourselves and hopefully, more than a few lessons to learn from."
You can download the document from github here.