January 25, 2008

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

The Secret Of Great Cooking Is Good Ingredients

Hello, there.

It's Friday, and that usually means two things:

1. I'm going to get home drunk and catch the last 5 minutes of the Jonathan Ross Show on BBC1
2. I'm going to share some wisdom with all you lucky people while I'm still sober and able to form complete sentences

Today's nugget of wisdom is simply this:

No matter what you've done to change things, if you look hard enough, you'll realise that everything is just as it was when you started

That is to say, you can move stuff around and reconfigure things and repurpose things and generally go to town with the changes, provided you realise that you will not be able to create anything genuinely new or fundamentally change anything. You are stuck with the raw materials you started with - the hand you were originally dealt, so to speak.

As a consultant, this is vitally important to remember that you cannot make lobster thermadore with just spaghetti and tomato sauce. So, if you search your feelings (Luke), you'll realise that you've known all along whether the situation you find yourself in is going to lead to a successful outcome, because all the key ingredients were in place right from the get-go.

Projects fail in the boardroom, for example. Almost without exception, the big screw-ups were made long before they hired you. And as a trainer, I know perfectly well that the people who want to learn will learn, and the people who don't won't.

That's not say you should be a fatalist. No outcome is idiot-proof. A chef has to know how to cook the meal, regardless of the quality of the ingredients. And I have to know what I'm talking about, even if my students are all really keen to learn.

But the raw ingredients have to be there in the first place. Look around you. Have you got the right ingredients you need to succeed? If you haven't, maybe you need to consider whether you'll be wasting your time trying to turn spaghetti into lobster.

Posted 13 years, 4 months ago on January 25, 2008