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"Politics" as a part of a methodogy? (recovering from a rant)

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  • acockburn@aol.com
    You are of course quite right. Even in my latest writings, I talk of software development as a cooperative game , with obvious emphasis on cooperation, not
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 30, 2001
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      You are of course quite right. Even in my latest writings, I talk of
      software development as a "cooperative game", with obvious emphasis on
      cooperation, not politics. One person brought me up short by saying, "you
      presuppose there is goal alignment, when goal alignment is an outcome, not a
      precondition." So now I talk about goal alignment: not how to get it, just
      simply its existence or non-, which already puts me way ahead of the nearest
      process designer.
      However, all my work still presupposes friendly cooperation, and it has
      been made clear to me that conflict serves a useful purpose and should not
      just be submerged.
      You bring it further forward with the notion that politics, per se, ought
      to be addressed. Obviously you are quite far outside the standard envelope
      by this time. So what I have to offer is only a question, a solicitation for
      ideas. Failed ideas aren't interesting (to me... they may be interesting to
      others). I'm interested in short stories with happy endings - name a time
      when some piece of politics took a turn, even if only briefly, for the
      better. From a few such stories, we could begin to detect some how-to's
      around the politics area. And I'm only interested in the backbiting and
      "sneak around them" routines if lthey actually help (I know the latter does,
      actually).
      cheers, Alistair

      In a message dated 3/30/01 2:33:57 PM Mountain Standard Time,
      extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com writes:


      >
      > wecaputo@... wrote:
      >
      > > Has anyone ever been on a project that didn't feature a preference for
      > > political reality over technical reality?
      > > The political situation is treated by most people as a necessary evil.
      > > Something outside the process, outside the methodolgy, outside
      > > consideration.
      > > One can define politics as: "The necessary interaction of people dealing
      > > with people issues" (I just made that up). Being that people issues occur
      > > whenever people > 1 (maybe people > 2, but let's not quibble) it is no
      > > wonder that software projects have plenty of political intrigue to keep
      > > everyone from getting bored.
      > >
      > > My question is: "Why does *no* software process explicitly address this
      > > inescapible fact? Maybe its
      > > time we as an industry recognize that to ignore the problem is to
      > > exacerbate it.
      > >
      > > To my (limited) knowledge, the only one who makes a point of talking about
      > > the people question first is Alistair Cockburn by saying that process is a
      > > second order effect and people are the primary factor on a project ( it
      > > reminds of a quote often cited on this list -- "it's the people stupid")
      > > but even Alistair is subordinating process to people, what I want is a
      > > process about people.
      >



      Alistair Cockburn
      Humans and Technology

      7691 Dell Rd.
      Salt Lake City, UT 84121
      Work Phone: 801.947.9275
      Fax: 775.416.6457
      write to: alistair.cockburn@...
      http://members.aol.com/acockburn
      http://www.crystalmethodologies.org
      http://www.usecases.org

      Author of "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects"
      and the Jolt-nominated "Writing Effective Use Cases"



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John Carter
      ... It is easier to seek forgiveness than to get permission. Actively choose where you sit in meetings. Choose your meetings, (refuse some, gate crash
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 1, 2001
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        On Fri, 30 Mar 2001 acockburn@... wrote:

        > I'm interested in short stories with happy endings - name a time
        > when some piece of politics took a turn, even if only briefly, for the
        > better. From a few such stories, we could begin to detect some how-to's
        > around the politics area. And I'm only interested in the backbiting and
        > "sneak around them" routines if lthey actually help (I know the latter does,
        > actually).

        It is easier to seek forgiveness than to get permission.

        Actively choose where you sit in meetings.

        Choose your meetings, (refuse some, gate crash (politely) some, leave
        some early) don't let them just happen to you. If you have nothing to say
        and there is nothing you need to hear, don't go.

        Middle management are there to keep the ship on course, senior management
        are there to set the course. Choose your target.

        Never mind the pecking order, look for the food chain and work to that.

        The best way to destroy a silly procedure is to placidly follow it to the
        letter.

        True Consensus is hard to build. It cannot be built in large groups, as
        the unspoken majority are not in the consensus. Silence implies unspoken
        dissent or apathy that will bloom into active opposition when they have to
        do something.... Consensus can only be built in extended rounds of
        face-to-faces interspersed with full meetings to impose sanctity on the
        results. If two faced people are ruining your day have three way meetings
        including a person from the other side.

        Avoid/Evade Emperors. They are like blackholes, all pull and no give.


        John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
        Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
        PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
        New Zealand

        Carter's law of Strategic Planning.

        "Beware of plans that apply equally well to making pizza as to
        software development, for they shall neither improve thy pizza nor
        thy software."
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