Apr 092006

I just got back from CITCON and am boiling over with the many wonderful stories, ideas, and concepts that were either sparked in my head or crammed in there by other attendees. Some highlights to dig into later:

  • the spontaneous co-invention by Brian Marick, Jason Huggins, and myself of “the affinity definition game” as an alternative way to capture team vocabulary
  • the lunch-table conversation about dev team members, Maslow’s Hierarchy, and the dangers of labelling non-conformist developers as “cowboys”
  • Jeffery Fredrick’s talk about training and education in agile methods, and the dissatisfaction expressed both by recent university graduates and by hiring managers at the poor emphasis on agile techniques in the academic world
  • the whole OpenSpaces format, and how asking a question could turn into the opportunity for a talk of my own

The one thing about the conference that really stood out for me, though, was the amount of — well, not exactly surprise at — but interest in the social aspect of software teams. Or, as expressed by one participant at the final wrap-up session: “I never realized how much psychology is involved in making software.”

I was both dismayed and gratified to hear this. Dismayed because as we like to say at 3Back, “software is product and product is produced by people,” so it makes sense to us that hardest remaining problems in software are about people.

But such talk was pretty New-Agey less than five years ago, so I’m gratified to see these topics getting more attention these days.

Mar 042003

The subject of leadership came up on an online forum today. After reading a lively dialogue, I came upon this bit of wisdom:

“a leader has to have the courage to say ‘this far, no further’ and be willing to act when the cause is just and it is the right thing to do.”

Well, of course a leader has to have courage, of course a leader has to be willing to act. We can take that as a given. I think the point that’s missing here is the distinction between two meanings of “leader.” It’s an important distinction and the second meaning is usually forgotten.

Continue reading »

Oct 032002
  • Creativity and innovation always builds on the past.
  • The past always tries to control the creativity that builds upon it.
  • Free societies enable the future by limiting this power of the past.
  • Ours is less and less a free society.

— Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law and founder of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, in his speech on Free Culture.