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Re: [XP] New on XProgramming.com: What's the Second Directive?

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  • George Dinwiddie
    ... Yes, people do X when they know that Y would be better, etc. But did the best job they could is a tautology when looking at the past. The reason they
    Message 1 of 67 , Jun 12, 2003
      Kyle Cordes wrote:
      > It is in no way clear that "everyone did the best job they could,
      > given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources
      > available, and the situation at hand " for most projects. Rather, it's an
      > all too common human reality that sometimes people don't do the best they
      > can, sometimes they do X when they know that Y would be better, sometimes
      > very good available resources are left unused for all kinds of reasons, etc.

      Yes, people do X when they know that Y would be better, etc. But "did
      the best job they could" is a tautology when looking at the past. The
      reason they didn't do a better job is perhaps not in the list of items
      you're considering (knowledge, skills and abilities, resources and
      situation) but certainly there was something that led them to do what
      they did. Of course, you can attribute it to their laziness or
      orneriness, but in my experience this tends to lead to non-productive
      confrontations.

      It can be much more productive to search for what can be done better in
      the future rather than searching for the reason(s) that one couldn't do
      better in the past. Just because, for reasons that are not clear, this
      was the best I could do at the time, is no excuse to quit striving to do
      better in the future. And that striving can be done without identifying
      character flaws or laying blame.

      - George

      --
      -------------------------
      George Dinwiddie
      agile programmer for hire
      Baltimore/Washington area
      gdinwiddie@...
      -------------------------
    • Dale Emery
      Hi Kevin, ... One of the things I like about the PD is it directs me to explore some of those givens. The PD says, given what was known at the time, his or
      Message 67 of 67 , Jun 16, 2003
        Hi Kevin,

        > "Given a person's needs and awareness, he or she does the only
        > thing he or she can do at that time."
        >
        > If you're less deterministic and believe in the inherent good
        > in people, you might end with something more like "...does the
        > best he or she can at that time."

        One of the things I like about the PD is it directs me to explore
        some of those givens. The PD says, "given what was known at the
        time, his or her skills and abilities, the resources available,
        and the situation at hand." If we can change some of these
        things, the person may do something different next time.

        I skimmed some of the chapter "Could have done otherwise" in
        Daniel Dennett's book Elbow Room. One of the themes he covers is
        that sometimes our decision-making process is impaired, and when
        that happens, it dramatically affects what we "could" do.

        To me, the decision-making process that the person used is one of
        the givens to explore -- "Given the state of the person's
        decision-making faculties..." -- especially when the person
        decided to do something other than what they "knew" they "should"
        do. So what was going on in the decision process? What
        happened, leading up to that moment, that impaired the decision
        process? What, if anything, might we do to avoid that kind of
        impairment in the future?

        Dale

        --
        Dale Emery -- Consultant -- Resistance as a Resource
        Web: http://www.dhemery.com
        Weblog: http://www.dhemery.com/journal (Conversations with Dale)
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