January 16, 2006

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Are We There Yet?

Some of best ideas are created in pubs, I reckon. On Friday I came up with a real humdinger over a pint (or two). I was thinking about the different kinds of people you tend to meet on software projects (and, I guess, most other group activities). I immediately said "that's going on the blog" - and so, here it is...

Imagine your project is a bus going from London to Manchester:

Some people like to look out of the window, and they don't really mind where they're going, just as long as the scenery's interesting.

Other people don't care about the scenery. They just want to get to Manchester.

And some people don't care where they're going, and don't much care for the scenery, either. They just want to be the driver.

In a more abstract sense, the first kind of people are more knowledge-oriented. They like to discover and learn, and life for them is all about the journey and not the destination. They might be scientists, or philosophers, or artists.

The second kind of people are more goal-oriented. They don't care how they get there, just as long as they get there. They might be entrepenuers, for example.

The final kind of people are status-oriented. If there's a group of people, they need to be in charge - regardless of what the group's doing. These people are generally referred to as "politicians".

Of course, in reality it's fuzzier. Most of us are actually some combination of knowledge-oriented, goal-oriented and status-oriented. But I have noticed over the years that senior managers, for example, tend to be less interested in learning than software developers. And software developers tend to be less interested in status than senior managers.

We could summarise three kinds of related ambition:

1. The ambition to improve (knowledge-oriented)
2. The ambition to achieve (goal-oriented)
3. The ambition for dominion (status-oriented)

I must try to remember this when I'm dealing with the different kinds of people.

Of course, like all simplistic systems of classification, it could turn out to be complete nonsense!
Posted 1 week, 5 days ago on January 16, 2006