Barney Frank Interview

Anyone who was with us at PegaWORLD October of 2008 will remember the closing address of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the chair of the House Financial Services Committee. They may also be interested in a recent interview concerning the state of financial regulatory reforms with Barney Frank on the August 28th edition of the NPR  Planet Money Podcast.

What has become clear since last October is that BPM has emerged as a critical tool to deal with the issues brought on by the financial crisis. But back then, things were not so clear, the tremors were still being felt. Those of us at PegaWORLD were hanging on every word of Frank's closing address,  trying to discern some light at the end of a tunnel none of us had been in before.

Barney Frank didn't give us any false hope, and while there is a lot of Barney Frank interviews around, I found the Planet Money one extremely interesting, to hear him one year later with an update on the regulatory reforms he promised last year. (The original October 2008 Barney Frank video is still available and a good reminder of how far we have come in just 10 months.) Frank is candidly impatient with NPR host  Adam Davidson's insistence that a bipartisan consensus on regulatory controls is achievable if we just get beyond ideology and study the root causes objectively. Frank's contrary opinion is nothing if not clear. Ain't gonna happen.

I have enjoyed the Planet Money podcasts which began with the crisis last year, but have to agree with the interviewee on this one.  It is worth a listen just to hear Adam actually try to argue with Barney. But something else interested me about Adam's desire to have a long planning session, analyzing root causes before implementing improvements.

It reminded me of BPM. Barney is more agile: we have to act, if we make a mistake this is a democracy, we will come back and fix it. But we have to act. And indeed Barney Frank is confident that the regulatory reforms will be on President Obama's desk in the fall session. At the beginning of the podcast the hosts make some incongruous introductory comments on how much better Apple is than Microsoft in issuing more frequent incremental improvements to their operatiing system (the new version of OS X Snow Leopard is out...).  The big bang, all or nothing approach to software is dated, and I certainly couldn't agree more -- but  I wondered what the heck that had to do with financial system regulatory reforms. But while Adam likes the Apple idea of many, iterative releases, he is actually proposing a Microsoft-like approach. Barney Frank, in comparison, is closer to Apple, proposing, an iterative and agile approach. What we can do, here and now?

How can we act today, learn, and continue to evolve? Another lesson perhaps on the whys and hows of BPM.