People versus Processes

As mentioned in a previous post, I’m quite amazed & amuzed over the amount of religious fervor in much of our business. It’s amazing to see that compliance to the liturgical demands, such as various certification requirements, etc,  of the “religion” currently is vougue is so important to so many people in systems and software development, often time more important than solving the real (business) problem at hand.

These fundamentalists can spend hours and weeks theorizing the inner nitty gritty details of a specific tool, process, method or technique, e.g. how to best do and document a Use Case, or the exact wording or name of a methodology or workflow within a specific process (e.g. “Scrum” or “RUP”) or whether tool x is better than tool y.

While such discussions can have huge entertainment value, they rarely constitute the “make or break” for the project or organization, and many of these “high priests” of the religion in question contribute in fact quite little to overall business value.

As always, it’s people, not methodologies/tools/techniques/processes/certifications etc that make or break projects and organizations.

If I were asked to set up and lead a team – any team, in any domain – I’d place immensely much more emphasis on the personal characteristics of the individual team members, than I’d do on their formal mastery of some specific process/technique/method etc. My first choice and priority would comprise those individuals that I personally know – from previous experience –  being trustworthy, intelligent, dependable, honest, hard working, motivated, life-long-learners,  and willing to do what it takes to get the job (any  job)  done. It’s much easier to teach such a person a lacking skill, such as e.g. “Scrum” or even a new programming language or programming model, than taking a person with all the formal requirements and certifications in place, but lacking the essential personal characteristics for becoming a true value player in a high performance team.

As an example: if someone would ask me at this precise moment to pull together a true high performance team, to tackle some seriously difficult mission, but without telling what that mission entails,  I’d nevertheless be able to immediately come up with a dozen or so names for people I’d want to join me. Most if not all of those names would be current or former colleagues, clients, or friends ( “you know who you are!” 🙂 Should the mission then turn out to be within a domain that none of us have any real experience in – say, running a 5 star hotel –  I’d still prefer to keep the original team – because they have the right personal characteristics! – and either ensure that the team catches up on all lacking necessary skills before starting the mission, alternatively, bringing in a few domain specialists to the team to mentor and coach them.

It’s all about people! 

About swdevperestroika

High tech industry veteran, avid hacker reluctantly transformed to mgmt consultant.
This entry was posted in Agile, Business, development, Leadership, Management, Organization, SelfOptimizingAgile and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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