Monday, 4 August 2014

Tinkering and soccer mom management

I am greatly influenced by Nassim Taleb and his writing on Anti fragility. The skills of a software craftsman are like our muscles. Use them or lose them.

Tinkering is the practice of development in agile projects where the developers design and code a part of the problem (which the product is trying to solve), do some reflection (testing or staring at the code, whatever works for you) and consider some refactoring.

To begin tinkering, the developer may not need any further preparation than some collaborative workshop about the architecture and the top listed backlog items. The design will evolve as you develop.

It is suggested that each step while tinkering may give the developer an opportunity of deep learning. Compiling and dealing with the tricky and cryptic warnings, testing by exploring and the thrill of the first crash, building in target and so on. All of these can be the small mistakes that would build the resilience in our craft.

I suggest that we could also look out for the soccer mom patterns here. Soccer moms spoon feed their kids to win always. This may limit the kids ability to fail and learn when necessary. In projects also, any practice that tries to avoid all small mistakes may only facilitate bigger and costlier ones.

I think pairing in agile teams is like teaching to fish. The expert can touch base periodically, guide for the next step and then step back. It is OK for the learners to try and fail.

All agile team members should at least be empowered with the courage to fail. 

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