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Re: [agile-usability] Re: Inmates

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  • Ron Jeffries
    Hello, Susan. On Saturday, November 3, 2007, at 7:42:22 PM, you ... I m prepared to accept that some distributed teams, carefully crafted as you describe
    Message 1 of 176 , Nov 4, 2007
      Hello, Susan. On Saturday, November 3, 2007, at 7:42:22 PM, you

      > fwiw...I've worked remotely and in-house (mostly the latter), and have found
      > that on some projects, with very well-defined roles, tasks, objective, and
      > outcomes--as well as solid existing communication and
      > relationships--productivity can be higher with teams who happen to be
      > distributed, or non-collocated, than in war rooms, same buildings, etc. I've
      > found, in some cases, that people will be more deliberate and careful about
      > their communications and make fewer assumptions about understanding each
      > other than if they were face to face.

      I'm prepared to accept that some distributed teams, carefully
      crafted as you describe above, could be more productive than some
      other team made up of different individuals. I doubt, though, that
      that same team would perform more poorly if they were all together.

      Do you think they would perform more poorly? And when you say "have
      found", do you mean that you have actually seen the same
      well-crafted team work both ways and turn out to be really more
      productive when not together?

      > Your point is well-taken, Ron, about the communications skills of technical
      > workers. I know that face to face interactions with seriously introverted
      > (but also smart, creative, productive, wonderful) workers can be painful and
      > difficult for them, and for the people around them. But allow them the space
      > of not having others physically near to them, and they shine...they can
      > express themselves far better, and more directly, without the added stress
      > of having to navigate chit-chat, personalities, social cues--which benefits
      > the whole team.

      I'm all for freedom. I don't accept force, so I don't use force. But
      I do not see why, faced with two candidates, one who was all those
      kinds of wonderful plus able to show up, and one who was all those
      kinds of wonderful but not able to show up, why we would ever prefer
      the one who wouldn't work with us.

      It seems to me that someone with this kind of "serious introversion"
      is in fact limited in performance to some degree, and that they
      would have to make it up in some other way in order to be equally
      valuable to a team.

      I'm probably treading pretty closely to politically incorrect here,
      but it seems to me that someone with technical skill X and low
      interaction skill is less valuable than someone with X and high
      interaction skill. The low interaction skill person would, I
      suggest, be properly less likely to be hired, or properly offered
      less money, on projects that value collocation.

      Such a person probably needs to have visibly //higher// skill in
      other areas, and may still need to seek out work where collocation
      is not valued.

      In addition, I've noticed that introversion, while it isn't a
      choice, isn't a rigid defining limiter on what one can do. I'm
      highly introverted by nature. Yet, because it enabled me to do
      things that I wanted to do, I have learned to interact with people,
      and have even, over time, become less introverted as a result.
      So what someone, say Owen, may feel as a hard line in himself may
      not be that hard a line at all.

      Of course, doing something about those feelings is always a choice,
      and if Owen, or anyone, decides to work from home and order take-out
      food, that's just fine with me. I'm just observing that the world
      will respond in certain predictable ways if they make that choice.

      > I'm naturally more of an extrovert, myself, but am aware
      > that some of the subconscious peripherals that may contribute positively to
      > my work experience (seeing a coworker's smile, the way they sit, a photo on
      > their desk, yes even a scent) may not be important or motivating to others.

      Yes, me too. Especially scents. I have a very sensitive sense of
      smell, even at my advanced age, and when a smoker comes back in the
      room, I really don't want to pair with them.

      > I have found when I'm not physically with a team, or we're spread out, or
      > I'm managing a remote worker, we do spend a LOT of time anyway in contact
      > with each other anyway, whether IMing, phone, audio or teleconference.

      Sure. But do the introverts do that naturally all on their own? I
      suspect not.

      Ron Jeffries
      Fatalism is born of the fear of failure, for we all believe that we carry
      success in our own hands, and we suspect that our hands are weak. -- Conrad
    • 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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