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Re: [XP] What "The Real-World" really mean...to you?

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  • Laurent Bossavit
    Marco, It s a fascinating question. Maybe we could look for real world examples of how people use the phrase. :) Here s a real quote: XP suffers from [...]
    Message 1 of 17 , May 1, 2005
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      Marco,

      It's a fascinating question. Maybe we could look for "real world"
      examples of how people use the phrase. :)

      Here's a real quote:

      XP suffers from [...] inadequate estimation methods based on
      "points" that have no consistent relevance to the real world.

      What does "real world" mean in that sentence ?

      Here's another real quote:

      There is a natural temptation to look at any development process
      as a checklist, guaranteeing success for those disciplined enough
      to tick the boxes in the right order. The real world does not work
      like that.

      What does "real world" mean in that sentence ? The same as above, or
      different ?

      More personal thoughts to follow under separate enclosure.

      Cheers,

      -[Laurent]-
      If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
    • Laurent Bossavit
      Marco, The most generous interpretation I can come up for the use of that phrase - which, after a quick search through my outbox archives, I must confess I
      Message 2 of 17 , May 1, 2005
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        Marco,

        The most generous interpretation I can come up for the use of that
        phrase - which, after a quick search through my outbox archives, I
        must confess I have used myself - is that it serves the purpose of
        "grounding" some aspect a conversation.

        If you're saying something and I make a reference to the "real
        world", my intent is to advise you to become aware of your feet
        pressing on the floor, of a huge ball of dirt somewhere beneath, of
        gravity quietly working to keep the whole thing together, and so on.

        You may take the advice, or disregard it. It's all one world - your
        ideas in it are no less real than the floor or the earth. Ideas can
        have a pretty big influence on the world. Impractical ideas even.

        Cheers,

        -[Laurent]-
        You want to know how to write a perfect program ? It's easy. Make
        yourself perfect and then just code naturally.
        Robert Pirsig (nearly)
      • yahoogroups@jhrothjr.com
        From: Marco Dorantes To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        Message 3 of 17 , May 1, 2005
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          From: "Marco Dorantes"
          <dorantesmarco.at.terra.com.mx@...>
          To: "extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com"
          <extremeprogramming.at.yahoogroups.com@...>
          Sent: Friday, April 29, 2005 12:21 PM
          Subject: [XP] What "The Real-World" really mean...to you?


          > I would want to collect thoughts about what "The Real-World" means to
          > you.

          IME, "in the real world" is a euphemism for "your suggestion
          is hopelessly idealistic."

          John Roth
        • Phlip
          ... That is one of our Official Myths these days... (But I m Sensing, not iNtuiting!!;) -- Phlip
          Message 4 of 17 , May 1, 2005
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            Laurent Bossavit wrote:

            > It's all one world

            That is one of our Official Myths these days...

            (But I'm Sensing, not iNtuiting!!;)

            --
            Phlip
          • Ramon Leon
            ... coincide. ... I have to totally agree with Ron here, every time I hear the phrase real world , it s the signal that the wall just went up and
            Message 5 of 17 , May 2, 2005
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              > Hi Marco, and all,
              >
              > When I hear the phrase "the real world", it is usually in a context
              > like this one:
              >
              > "What you're saying is all very well in [some other world], but in
              > the real world it won't work [because]."
              >
              > "Some other world" might be "academia", or "small projects", or
              > "business projects", or anything that the speaker wants to use to
              > distinguish his situation from ones where what you're saying might
              > work.
              >
              > "Because" is often null: "it won't work, period." Or often it will
              > be "because our projects are more complex", or "we have a lot of
              > legacy code", or some other obstacle that the speaker is raising.
              >
              > So I hear the phrase "the real world" almost exclusively in a
              > context of resistance. The speaker is resisting some new idea that
              > has been offered, and does so by declaring the idea to be
              > inapplicable in "the real world", meaning "the world I live in
              > rather than that happy-slappy fantasy that you live in where people
              > work together and write tests and all that other impractical stuff
              > that real men don't have time for."
              >
              > Resistance, that's my diagnosis. Getting past or around it ... it
              > depends. Sometimes I'm good at that, often I'm not. That's when I
              > wish I knew more about what our good friend Dale Emery knows, and
              > did more of what he does.
              >
              > Ron Jeffries
              > www.XProgramming.com
              > Will Turner: This is either madness or brilliance.
              > Captain Jack Sparrow: It's remarkable how often those two traits
              coincide.
              >

              I have to totally agree with Ron here, "every" time I hear the phrase
              "real world", it's the signal that the wall just went up and
              communication just stopped. The "real world" to me means "I don't
              understand and I don't want too". It's a signal to back off; I'm
              probably pushing a little too hard, better to retreat and try another
              tactic later when the wall is back down.
            • Dale Emery
              Hi Ramon, ... Maybe stopped, maybe just paused for a moment. I think it s possible, in many cases, to resume the communication. I think that the key is to
              Message 6 of 17 , May 11, 2005
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                Hi Ramon,

                > I have to totally agree with Ron here, "every" time I hear the
                > phrase "real world", it's the signal that the wall just went
                > up and communication just stopped.

                Maybe stopped, maybe just paused for a moment. I think it's
                possible, in many cases, to resume the communication. I think
                that the key is to listen with curiosity and empathy.

                > The "real world" to me means "I don't understand and I don't
                > want too". It's a signal to back off; I'm probably pushing a
                > little too hard, better to retreat and try another tactic
                > later when the wall is back down.

                I think that "real world" very likely means that I'm pushing too
                hard. I've found that there's a very good chance that the wall
                is of my own making, and that it's keeping me from listening
                deeply. If I'm listening mostly for information that I can use
                to press my idea, then I've put up a wall. In those cases, it's
                usually best to back off until I can find curiosity and empathy.

                Dale

                --
                Dale Emery, Consultant
                Inspiring Leadership for Software People
                Web: http://www.dhemery.com
                Weblog: http://www.dhemery.com/cwd

                All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they
                really happened. --Ernest Hemingway
              • Dale Emery
                Hi Ron and all, ... When this conversation started, I understood the real world the same way. It means something like my world . If someone tells me that
                Message 7 of 17 , May 12, 2005
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                  Hi Ron and all,

                  > So I hear the phrase "the real world" almost exclusively in a
                  > context of resistance. The speaker is resisting some new idea
                  > that has been offered, and does so by declaring the idea to be
                  > inapplicable in "the real world", meaning "the world I live
                  > in rather than that happy-slappy fantasy that you live in
                  > where people work together and write tests and all that other
                  > impractical stuff that real men don't have time for."

                  When this conversation started, I understood "the real world" the
                  same way. It means something like "my world". If someone tells
                  me that my ideas won't work in the real world, my initial
                  interpretation is that they don't think my ideas will work in
                  /their/ world. With that interpretation, I want to know more
                  about their world, and about the differences and similarities
                  between their world and mine. Maybe there are salient
                  differences that I don't know about. Maybe there are salient
                  similarities that they don't know about.

                  My usual response to "that won't work in the real world" is to
                  ask some form of, "What would keep it from working?"

                  As I've thought about this over the past few weeks, I get the
                  feeling that there's something more going on in the phrase "the
                  real world". If "the real world" means nothing more than "the
                  world as I see it", why wouldn't the person say "that won't work
                  for me" (and perhaps continue with "because ...") instead of
                  "that won't work in the real world"?

                  I'm thinking that "the real world" is saying something more. My
                  best guess at the moment is that the something more is "you
                  aren't hearing the frustrations that I'm dealing with". If
                  that's close to right, then this is not just about the
                  frustrations (which I will want to learn about), but also about
                  my hearing and acknowledging those frustrations. And also that
                  the person is frustrated in the conversation about my lack of
                  acknowledgment. And I'll bet that it's that lack of
                  acknowledgment that's the primary block in the conversation.

                  If that's what "the real world" means, then I might be able to
                  further the conversation by saying something like, "It sounds as
                  if you're frustrated because I'm not acknowledging the concerns
                  that you're facing." It might be helpful to end with "... that
                  you're facing in the real world" to acknowledge their reality.

                  I don't remember who started this thread, but thank you, and all
                  who have contributed, for nudging me to think more deeply about this.

                  Dale

                  --
                  Dale Emery, Consultant
                  Inspiring Leadership for Software People
                  Web: http://www.dhemery.com
                  Weblog: http://www.dhemery.com/cwd

                  Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but
                  getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart
                  enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.
                  --Garrison Keillor
                • Steve Bate
                  ... Hi Dale, In the real world, the real world phrase might have quite different meanings depending on the context. I ve seen it used in the negative sense
                  Message 8 of 17 , May 12, 2005
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                    > Dale Emery wrote:
                    > When this conversation started, I understood "the real world" the
                    > same way. It means something like "my world". If someone tells
                    > me that my ideas won't work in the real world, my initial
                    > interpretation is that they don't think my ideas will work in
                    > /their/ world. With that interpretation, I want to know more
                    > about their world, and about the differences and similarities
                    > between their world and mine. Maybe there are salient
                    > differences that I don't know about. Maybe there are salient
                    > similarities that they don't know about.

                    Hi Dale,

                    In the real world, "the real world" phrase might have quite
                    different meanings depending on the context. I've seen it used
                    in the negative sense that many people here have described. I've
                    also seen it used to highlight real and important issues that
                    have nothing to do with frustration or lack of acknowledgement
                    of one's personal world view.

                    It's not uncommon for people to base their decisions and actions
                    on a theoretical or hypothetical model of the world. As you
                    know, models often neglect certain real world considerations
                    and that can potentially be a problem. For example, a project
                    plan is an activity model. Generally speaking, a manager who
                    refuses to acknowledge any uncertainty in a plan or that the
                    plan might need modification over time is not operating with
                    a good grasp of "the real world" and its complexities. It's
                    not my intent to communicate that this strategy won't work
                    in /my/ world (implying it might work in their world,
                    whatever that means). Of course, I'd back up my assertion
                    that uncertainty exists in the real world by providing
                    specific examples and encouraging further discussion.

                    > My usual response to "that won't work in the real world" is to
                    > ask some form of, "What would keep it from working?"

                    I believe that's a good response. It keeps the conversation
                    active.

                    > As I've thought about this over the past few weeks, I get the
                    > feeling that there's something more going on in the phrase "the
                    > real world". If "the real world" means nothing more than "the
                    > world as I see it", why wouldn't the person say "that won't work
                    > for me" (and perhaps continue with "because ...") instead of
                    > "that won't work in the real world"?

                    I believe the phrase sometimes means what you describe above,
                    but not always. It's sometimes an appeal to ground decisions
                    in actual experience, presumably in shared experience.

                    >...
                    >
                    > If that's what "the real world" means, then I might be able to
                    > further the conversation by saying something like, "It sounds as
                    > if you're frustrated because I'm not acknowledging the concerns
                    > that you're facing." It might be helpful to end with "... that
                    > you're facing in the real world" to acknowledge their reality.

                    This will either work or make the other person very annoyed. :-)

                    Steve
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