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Robert Morschel
Robert Morschel

Posted on • Originally published at

Illusory Comforts

I like process.

I appreciate that this is probably because it's in my nature to like order and predictability, but good process adds value, can often be automated, and frees up developers to do what they do best: create excellent software.

Bad process on the other hand is a killer.

It's a killer because it slows everything down.

It's a killer because it doesn't work, and is often bureaucratic.

But mostly it's a killer because it gives those in charge the illusion of progress.

I worked with a place once that outsourced their software development capability to an outfit that had CMM level 5 accreditation, and could prove it ... but developed the worst software I had ever encountered. Yet senior management were blissfully unaware of the fact, or perhaps they were and didn't care. They had achieved their outsourcing objectives, reduced resource costs, and achieved CMM level 5 in the process! I bet bonuses were good that year.

A bad leader does not trust his team to do their job. He tries to measure them, to enforce success via metrics and bad process. It offers him an illusory comfort of progress to see the hours worked and lines of code per day metric increasing; and damn those inconvenient holidays!

A good leader understands that his team consists of people, not resources. Humans who need autonomy, mastery and purpose. Motivated individuals who will take pride in their work, and do their best to get the job done well.

And that's all you can ask of them, really.

Discussion (3)

balaji profile image

I recently moved into a team, and we had two stand ups one in the morning with the internal team and one in the evening with the business team. I asked why we should have two stand ups when the business team only attends the evening one and it is taking one hour for stand ups alone(1/2 +1/2)
and they gave me a dumb answer and told me, this the Agile process they follow.

courier10pt profile image
Bob van Hoove

'That's how we do it here' is not an argument. Unfortunately it is a very common reply to get when your new on a team.

If I may suggest, take some time to lobby around and see if any of your co-workers are on the same page. Maybe then you can try and open the discussion together. Good luck :)

marcegarba profile image
Marcelo Garbarino

Couldn't agree more. Congrats on your post.