Mike’s Dump

July 26, 2007

Change

Filed under: Work — mikesdump @ 12:52 pm

Developers are a funny bunch. We normally applaud consistency but our world is anything but consistent. It seems everyday there is a new tool, library, or pattern hot off the presses that we have to try to incorporate into our toolbox. For some, this level of change keeps software development fun and exciting.

In most cases people don’t embrace change this easily. I have been thinking about a few changes over the years that have been more challenging than others. After reading this I believe I see why some attempts at change haven’t been as successful as anticipated. In some cases I believe what has lacked is “Being Vigilant” and “Acknowledging Success”.

I don’t think you need to beat people regularly to “Be Vigilant” but it is so easy for people to revert back to old habits. Speaking for myself I know at times I have fallen backwards. Some of the excuses I have told myself:

  1. I don’t have time
  2. It doesn’t apply it this case
  3. It won’t generate value
  4. I didn’t really buy in
  5. It’s too much work
  6. I forgot

Looking at my own excuse list it is pretty easy to see I’m not ready for “self-governance”.

Looking carefully at what “Being Vigilant” says I think sometimes we neglected to set a goal other than “to be better”. It is harder to acknowledge success when the success criterion is fuzzy. Maybe having clear goals could have made a difference or at very least made the journey easier.

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3 Comments »

  1. I’ve found that creating clear goals is a difficult thing. A "clear" goal usually needs to be measurable. For software development, that often leads to the implementation of coding metrics. And in my experience, that usually leads to developers sending around a million links that talk about how easy metrics are to game. Next thing you know, you ditch the metrics and your goal becomes fuzzy again.

    Comment by mike — July 31, 2007 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  2. You are right. Maybe code reviews are the only reasonable tool that can be used until there is general acceptance of the change (of course this would be after there has been general buy in of the change).

    Using a tool for gathering a metric might be easier and less time consuming but it is also easier to game.

    Not saying code reviews would be easy but I think they have more potential assuming people care.

    Comment by mike — July 31, 2007 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

  3. "…assuming people care." Bingo. You’ve hit the nail on the head there. That’s a huge assumption. As we’ve been discussing lately, it’s probably also the biggest reason why a culture of self-governance is so difficult to achieve.

    Comment by mikem — August 1, 2007 @ 9:26 am | Reply


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