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Re: Motivation to complete stories

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  • acockburn@aol.com
    There s a different sort of view, that communication is basically a sort of sales cycle - the speaker is trying to sell an idea into the mind of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2005
      There's a different sort of view, that communication is basically a sort of
      sales cycle - the speaker is trying to "sell" an idea into the mind of the
      listener. The listener's mind isn't a simple logical deduction device, so a
      simple announcement of the statement format that lives in the speaker's mind
      isn't likely to be effective --- the competing thoughts, worries and noise
      living inside the listener's head is likely to cover, block or drown the

      Therefore, the speaker does a dance with the listener's mind, finding ways
      to get the thought to live there (I love the tag line we used to see here: "The
      mind is a meme garden"). I don't know if this is deceitful and/or
      manipulative, but it seems to me an essential part of communication.

      We've role played on various occasions different ways of delivering the same
      message, and it was fantastic the different outcomes of delivering basically
      the same thought.

      One example is that if the programmer (or anyone) details out all the work
      to be done and the actual times needed, the listener will shift into "debug" or
      analytical mode, and will start trying to optimize the programmer's work. Or
      there could be a form of sticker shock. Or there could be appreciation for
      the detail and care in the conversation. Or there could be boredom and a
      shutting off. (And the reverse applies if the message is short)

      In a message dated 4/1/2005 7:35:54 A.M. Mountain Standard Time,
      Kent Beck writes:

      I understand you to say that the
      reason you carefully couch what you say to other people is so that their
      response will be productive, that is in line with your needs, expectations,
      and desires. I don't think this is telling the truth. I think this is nearly
      the definition of manipulation. Manipulation destroys trust and is

      An example that has come up several times recently is the conversation
      around points vs. hours for estimates. One repeating argument against hours
      for estimates goes, "...but if I tell them how many hours we actually
      program then they'll tell us to work more hours so I'll estimate in points
      so they won't tell me to work more hours." I think this is untruthful and

      Alistair Cockburn
      President, Humans and Technology

      1814 Ft Douglas Cir,
      Salt Lake City, UT 84103
      _http://alistair.cockburn.us/_ (http://alistair.cockburn.us/)
      (fax: 484.970.8954)

      "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects" (1998)
      "Writing Effective Use Cases" (Jolt Productivity Award 2001)
      "Agile Software Development" (Jolt Productivity Award 2002)
      "Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams" (Jolt Award
      Finalist 2004)

      "La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien a ajouter,
      mais quand il ne reste rien a enlever." (Saint-Exupery)

      "The first thing to build is trust." (Brad Appleton)

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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