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Re: [agile-usability] Re: Inmates

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  • Ron Jeffries
    Hello, Owen. On Friday, November 2, 2007, at 10:10:53 PM, you ... Owen, in my work, I visit very many teams. I visit teams who work in separate offices, in
    Message 1 of 176 , Nov 3, 2007
      Hello, Owen. On Friday, November 2, 2007, at 10:10:53 PM, you

      > Yes, it is. I've seen many (not only here, but in my work) who laud
      > collocation as necessary in their day-to-day work because, for nothing
      > else apparently, but the fact that they have grown up to expect nothing
      > else. I believe that in and of itself, collocation is not necessary.
      > Historically, the need to be together physically only came about because
      > of the logistical necessaity to distribute products of labour so as to
      > minimise the cost of moving physical products around before sale. This
      > came about in a response to balance competition whilst maximising
      > profit.

      Owen, in my work, I visit very many teams. I visit teams who work in
      separate offices, in cubes, in open spaces, and in a distributed
      fashion I observe, uniformly, that together is better.

      Science Daily, among other places, reported a study back in 2000, at
      the University of Michigan, reporting that teams who work in war
      rooms are //twice as productive// as teams who do not. See, for
      example, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001206144705.htm

      So I'm sorry to say that your belief that collocation is unimportant
      is not borne out by my experience, nor by research. I understand
      your preference, and certainly it is possible to be a productive
      member of society and of a team. But it is not even close to just as

      > The profession that I got into deals with ideas, with knowledge, and
      > process of collecting and disseminating information. It doesn't deal
      > with physical products beyond the hardware devices constructed to
      > contain and convey knowledge. I've so far been unable to escape the bad
      > habits imposed on me. Sadly, this is having a deleterious impact on the
      > promised enjoyment of a profession I decided to take when I was 12 after
      > I picked up a TI 99/4a home computer that was collecting dust in a
      > cupboard, and found that I could get it to do things.

      The model you have chosen turns out not to be accurate, in my
      opinion. People don't come together to work so that they can move
      physical things around. They come together to move ideas, knowledge
      and information around. That process is much more effective, both in
      terms of speed and quality, when done face to face.

      > I thought I might just be able to do things others valued whilst
      > escaping the forces pulling me into social situations I felt
      > threatening. Silly me eh? The reality might just be worse than that: I
      > may have to be a corporate nomad; to endure the prospect of traipsing
      > around the world participating in war room or cubical (take your pick)
      > love-ins. This is crap and I want none of it.

      Well, while I can appreciate your fear of being in social
      situations, and while I am optimistic that there are ways of being
      productive while staying out of them, I'm sorry but it isn't crap.
      The reality today is that working physically together is better than
      even the best ways we have of working separately, at least when we
      look at the aggregate. Would you be more productive working with me
      at a distance, than in my scary presence? Possibly so. But that's
      not generally the case.

      > Inmates is indeed an apt name for this thread. I wonder what the article
      > this thread was created in respect of was talking about...

      The "inmates" line is from a book, not an article, by Alan Cooper,
      titled "The Inmates are Running the Asylum." Part of what he
      expressed in that book was that software people were arrogant,
      antisocial, and do not listen to smarter people. (I think he had
      himself in mind for that last bit.)

      I don't know what gave him that idea. :)

      Ron Jeffries
      The fact that we know more today, and are more capable today,
      is good news about today, not bad news about yesterday.
    • Scott Preece
      Hi, I think it s more about not squashing joy than about encouraging it. Most of us take a lot of pleasure in doing this software thing, and many look for
      Message 176 of 176 , Dec 1, 2007

        I think it's more about not squashing joy than about encouraging it. Most of us take a lot of pleasure in doing this software thing, and many look for jobs that let them extend that pleasure by advancing efforts that interest them in one way or another. I suspect there may be some really effective leaders who can actually build an additional sense of joy around project accomplishments in their teams, but I think that's stretching it and that much of the potential for joy of work is personal and internal. It's more about enabling and not disabling joy than about creating it.

        Organizations, managers, process designers, and everyone else involved have infinite opportunities to make life miserable, so not killing joy is clearly a good thing to encourage. I'm just not sure how to state this in the form of the Manifesto's values statements. We value Joy over what? Most of the obvious choices, like regimentation, professionalism, achievement, speed, order, are either things that organizations would stoutly deny encouraging (like regimentation) or are things aren't inherently anti-joy (like professionalism). Does any organization consciously promote misery in its staff?

        Maybe it's best to assume that valuing joy is part of valuing people?


        ----- Original Message ----

        From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>

        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com

        Sent: Saturday, December 1, 2007 4:31:23 AM

        Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Joy in work [was: interminable]

        Hello, Brian. On Sunday, November 11, 2007, at 2:34:38 PM, you


        > In fact, I'd go further. I claim that an error of the original

        > manifesto was that it left some values out that, as it happens,

        > should have been explicit. One of those is that work should be

        > joyful. Back in the first half of this decade, people on teams used

        > to tell me, "This is the best project I've ever worked on!" I'm

        > unhappy that what I hear today is more "my job doesn't suck as much

        > as it used to". We've let joy in work slip away in our effort to

        > appeal to more people.

        This is a tough one, for sure. I have guided my work life in large

        part from a joy focus, or at least by noticing, sometimes later than

        I should, that joy was absent, and moving to a place in the currents

        where more joy comes floating by. I would hope that everyone can

        find joy in what they do, though it seems to me that many never do.

        Despite the truth of the notion, it seems unlikely to "sell" to

        business people. This means that it will be "good business" for

        Agilist business people to downplay this and other humanistic

        values, so as to appeal to "hard-nosed" business people.

        I think that what might work in that regard is to find, describe,

        ultimately "prove" that working in ways that give more joy also

        gives better business results. This means that the "ways" in

        question have to be things to do that are not so much like "follow

        your bliss" and a lot like "make sure your people take the time to

        write unit tests because your product will reach an acceptable level

        of quality faster." This would need to be true, of course, and in

        fact I think it is. Then it needs to turn out that having and taking

        the time to write the tests provides an increment of joy to the

        programmers, which certainly can be the case.

        In any case ... it just seems darned hard to address these things,

        and it really could get in the way of at least some people's

        business focus on selling Agile. I'm very interested and not very

        certain what ought to be done.

        Lead us ...

        Ron Jeffries

        www.XProgramming. com

        I know we always like to say it'll be easier to do it now than it

        will be to do it later. Not likely. I plan to be smarter later than

        I am now, so I think it'll be just as easy later, maybe even easier.

        Why pay now when we can pay later?

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