Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

RE: [XP] Ease at Work, Courage, and Passion

Expand Messages
  • Kent Beck
    Jonas, First, I don t think it is an accurate assumption that, ...everyone on the list has this stuff all figured out (since there has been very little
    Message 1 of 14 , Aug 1, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      Jonas,

      First, I don't think it is an accurate assumption that, "...everyone on the
      list has this stuff all figured out (since there has been very little
      discussion in response to the video)..." I don't have "this stuff" figured
      out but I'm working on it.

      "...is there a way to throw yourself whole-heartedly into a task,
      dedicate every fiber of your being to its success (but only for 40 hour a
      week), and still be at ease with yourself when things are going badly?"

      I think so. Being at ease does not mean feeling good. When things are not
      going well it wouldn't make sense to "be happy" about it. You could be "at
      ease" in the sense that you have confidence that we have the skills to do
      the work and can trust that things will work out in time.

      When I seperate my self from my work I get better ideas with less effort.
      Instead of working in a frenzy and then requiring a big break to get an
      idea, I do what I can at the moment and (more often than not) get the idea I
      need right away. When I don't get the idea I need, I just do something else.
      Not stressing about it lets the ideas come easier. Most of the energy I used
      to expend fighting off thoughts that I wasn't good enough, that I was
      stupid, that people would think I was stupid, etc (all the "unease" that I
      talked about in the video), was energy that did not go into my programs.

      I think that there is some confusion in our industry between effort and
      emotional stress, fear, and angst. More angst does not mean that you are
      more committed and especially does not mean that you are more effective. My
      son had a soccer coach who valued effort--the more noise you made, the more
      heroic dives, the more anger when you lost was a measure of your devotion.
      This did not translate into success in terms of wins. The players who were
      in the right place at the right time didn't need to throw themselves to the
      ground, yell or swear. They read the plays, put themselves into the high
      percentage position and played their best with no drama. His misreading of
      what was important for good soccer play meant that the least effective
      players got the most playing time and their team had the losingest season
      ever.

      Now I spend my energy programming, but I'm less tired at the end of a
      session because more of the energy is going in productive directions. I'm
      still focused, concentrated, committed (at my best, anyway), but the rage is
      gone. The more I'm okay with myself, the better work I do. Instead of using
      the work to mask negative thinking about myself, I use positive thinking
      about myself to improve my work.

      Regards,

      Kent Beck
      Three Rivers Institute


      _____

      From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jonas Karlsson
      Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2006 11:17 AM
      To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [XP] Ease at Work, Courage, and Passion



      All,
      I've been thinking about Courage lately. Currently, I'm finding
      myself reluctant to share information about my project, or even to
      gather information about my project, because I'm afraid that it may
      turn out that things aren't going as well as I would like. I
      recognize the problems with this kind of thinking, and am trying to
      move back onto the path of virtue.

      Looking around on the web, it seems Courage in XP these days has been
      reduced to "don't be afraid to throw away code" (see for example,
      http://en.wikipedia
      <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_programming#XP_values>
      .org/wiki/Extreme_programming#XP_values). For me
      however, accepting Courage as a core value has always made it easier
      to choose the right course of action and not reacting motivated purely
      by fear. So, I'm wondering what makes it hard for me (and others
      around me) to be more courageous now.

      Listening to Kent talk about Ease at Work gave me some clue. I
      realized that courage came easier to me when I was more at ease.
      Kent talked about accepting the fact that sometimes you make mistakes
      or don't accomplish what you set out to do. When I'm able to do that
      (and feel comfortable about it) then it becomes much easier for me to
      report bad news, not over-commit, get feedback and help from others,
      etc. When I can accept that making mistakes does not make me bad,
      then it becomes easier for me to be good.

      However, the more I equate my own self-worth with a project, the
      harder it becomes to accept failures and mistakes. This seems to be
      happen when I feel very strongly about the project; it's my (as yet
      unrecognized) brilliant idea, or I believe that project success is
      vital for saving the world. These are the cases where I'm very
      passionate about my work. Passion is a good thing, right? It's what
      drives me to excel, gets other people excited about the project, and
      keeps me going when things look bleak. But, the same passion also
      seems to lead to less "ease at work", and less courage.

      So, is the answer to disconnect, and not care so much about success or
      failure? Or is there a way to throw yourself whole-heartedly into a
      task, dedicate every fiber of your being to its success (but only for
      40 hour a week), and still be at ease with yourself when things are
      going badly? I can tell myself on an intellectual level that to
      accept and deal with the true state of affairs is the best course of
      action, but it will still be a stressful process that does not seem
      conducive to feeling at ease.

      I'm assuming everyone on the list has this stuff all figured out
      (since there has been very little discussion in response to the
      video), so I'm hoping to hear from you how you deal with these issues
      (if they even come up for you).

      _jonas






      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.