It’s been about a month since I last posted.
The hardest thing for me about blogging is not the writing, it’s maintaining the belief that I have something relevant to say. Despite that, I have to say writing on a regular basis helps me in my job and here’s why…
I read about a theater director who had trouble with confrontation. He imagined the muse of drama floating above him; a silent witness to his conversations. This helped him focus on those specific values he needed to champion in the best interests of his project. It’s easy to give ground but to diminish your work as an artist – humiliating.
I have no short cut for doing my job well. The best way for me to contribute to my employer is to build the most value for our end users given the resources at my disposal. End user value drives consumer demand. My reading tells me that the most productive teams are up to ten times better than the least productive and that repeatable innovation requires creative investment from line level staff.
All this implies to me that as a technical manager I need to work with talented people and foster their intrinsic motivation. In my fifteen years in software, I believe a cohesive, senior level, agile team is the best multiplier of individual talent and attracts and retains the most motivated, value-focused developers.
All that said, management is fraught with compromise and difficult conversations. Advocating agile within a company is definitely a case where the pain of staying the same needs to be worse than the pain of changing. Pain being a frustratingly subjective thing.
Reading, thinking and writing about what we owe to our peers, ourselves, our employer, those over whom we have authority, and those who use the software we make helps me visualize a muse of software development.
This muse sits over my shoulder; a silent witness to my actions. She boosts my courage. She challenges me to be humble. She draws brighter lines for me between ground I should give in the interests of peace and the ground that supports my core values and my ethical responsibilities.