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At least 95% of all the coaching problems that come to me have at their root a very straightforward cause:

They won’t do what you want.

Go ahead.  Sit with that a moment.  I’ll talk amongst my selves.

There are many broken teams in the world of software development.  I see them everywhere, in all models of development, with all varieties of language, platform, and product. I have seen very healthy teams.  Just — well — not that many.  These teams are composed of the world’s most desirable assets: highly technically creative people who work for joy.  (The shorthand term around here is ‘geek’.  More on that later.)  But a large majority of the geeks in software, at least in north America and Europe, are not joyful at all.  They also aren’t productive.

Now, I coach something called eXtreme Programming (XP).  And XP has all these things that teams are supposed to be doing, called practices.  And practices are key to the XP view:  if you’re not doing the practices you’re not doing XP. Now, understand me, I believe in XP. I think that some variant of XP would help every hurt software team on earth.

But here’s the thing, it is embarrassingly easy to form this syllogism:

I want to help you.

XP will help you.

Therefore, I’ll make you do XP.

And down that road, my friends? Not only will you fail much more frequently, but in addition, you’ll be accused of ‘religious fervor’, and you’ll likely be broadly perceived as an asshole, and you’ll never ever get anyone to do anything you want them to.

Every morning, right after you tell yourself to be like Gisele, add another sentence:

I will help this team with their problems today.

It will work.

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