February 20, 2008

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Kinetic Consultants Are Not For The Faint-Hearted

In a one-to-one discussion with a client today, I was candidly told:

"Jason, you are very, very good [no argument from me], but you are also very, very irritating [because he'd met me, you see]"

I am what you might describe as a kinetic consultant. Picture it this way; imagine you're asked to reshape your client's lovely green jelly (because best jelly = green jelly). (Read "Jello" if you are in a country that speaks its own, obviously inferior, version of English).

Now, you could carefully and quietly insert needles into the jelly and gradually pull on them to try to change the shape of the jelly. But the moment you let go of the needles, the jelly will probably relax into its original form. That is how most consultants operate. The work slowly and quietly, trying to simultaneously change the organisation whilst not breaking its internal structures. And it may even appear to work while the consultant is there, pulling on the needles, so to speak. But this way change takes a very long time, and more often than not the organisation just reverts back to the way it was very quickly after the consultant lets go.

I work more like a high-speed rifle bullet. I hit the organisation with a great deal of energy and noise and bore my way through it making an enormous mess as I go. This breaks down the internal structure of the organisation - the habits, the cliques, the heirarchies, the rules (spoken and unspoken). I smash my way through them until your organisation is just a bunch of self-guided individuals sloshing about in liquid jelly mix waiting to be rebonded into a new way of working.

Of course, sometimes I just leave a big, jelly mess. And in those situations, you probably need one of the guys with the pins.

But if you want actual visible change - usually as a product of rabble-rousing on the consultant's part - then you should seek out and learn to embrace the kinetic consultants like me.

Posted 13 years, 4 months ago on February 20, 2008